Let’s break out of the North American rut, shall we? Here’s a gorgeous moth from Latvia, sent by our own RQ: Continue reading “Cryptopod: Lavender Eyes (With Bonus UFD!)”
Sigh. Yet another cycle of asshole atheists throwing feces at those of us who care about doing more than merely shitting on religion. We’ve got the so-called Amazing Atheist stirring up the masses to send ridiculous missives saying, in effect, Atheism Is All So Shut Up and Stop Dividing the Community By Requiring Basic Human Decency!!! And we’ve got Jaclyn Glenn putting up Very Concerned Comments and Videos about how divided we fall and feminists are icky and feminists are sooo divisive… my gosh, color me convinced. Mm-hmmm.
Or, you know. Not.
One of these days, I’ll get round to making a little e-book of the flowers ya’ll have identified, so I can look it up and say, definitively, “That’s the flower my readers identified as X” rather than, “Oh, hey, there’s one of the flowers my readers told me the name of, I think, only I can’t remember it off the top of my head, but they know what it is I swear!” Either that, or I will have to become fabulously rich so that I can take a gaggle of you with me all over the world, and have you identify things, and then we’ll post the pictures and idents via satellite phone or something, real-time. We could make up special t-shirts and everything. And we would also support various social-justice causes with our treks, and offset our carbon footprints, and all sorts of responsible things. All while subverting creationist drivel with fun facts. Sound good? Let’s do it! Now I just have to figure out how to become rich…
While I’m working on that, have some fun gazing upon one of the flowers you’ve successfully identified in the past: Stachys cooleyae, or Cooley’s hedge nettle. Continue reading “Stachys Standing Proud”
What Avi said about the “Why don’t X produce Y” questions that clueless privileged people ask about the horribly disadvantaged. This is in context of Israel’s current enthusiastic killing of Palestinians, but with minor modifications, it applies to just about every sort of people who have a hard time producing the kinds of artists and intellectuals and so forth that we so admire:
I remember Dawkins and other atheists asking question once. Why does Israel produce so many people who are smart and productive while Palestinians do not.
And to that I have a simple answer.
There are no mathematics lessons in a fox hole.
Why is it that people who live in societies and bits of societies where they are largely (or completely) not forced to divert all of their physical and intellectual resources to mere survival so surprised that people not similarly advantaged can’t produce what the advantaged can produce? It’s like some jackass growing a garden in rich, rockless loam marveling that their neighbor can’t grow prize-winning zucchini on a cracked concrete slab.
That’s just the sad coda to a tragic post about a horrific situation. Read the whole thing. And then consider a donation to Médecins Sans Frontières. Facing inhumanity with humanity seems the only thing to do…
And yes, I know the United States not only supports Israel so that it can bomb children on beaches, but does quite a lot of bombing children on its own. And no, I don’t approve when we do it, either.
Clearing the backlog of reader-submitted awesomeness continues apace with some lovely shots of Jackson Falls, taken by our own Heliconia, who would’ve also gotten us images of Garden of the Gods if her camera battery hadn’t given her a fine fuck-you just then. Camera batteries are assholes that way. And you can never find the size you need when you’re traveling. Or, if you do, you end up paying a fortune – just ask Cujo about that sometime, if you want to hear a St. Bernard howl. Still. Despite setbacks, Heliconia didn’t forget us, and got us some lovely images of what the Pounds Standstone gets up to when it isn’t forming ginormous shrooms. Do go enjoy!
I’ll probably be in later today with more things, unless cleaning and organizing the house into a proper workspace becomes a time-swallowing uber-Thing, in which case, you may not hear anything substantial from me again until at least Thursday. Good thing there’s a maclargehuge backlog of reader submissions including many intriguing cryptopods, some bonza fungi, botany from around the world, and beautiful mystery flora to keep us all occupied, then, eh?
The trouble with trees (and every other living thing) is that some of them have had to evolve defenses. Some of them are obvious about it, practically shrieking, “I’ll cut/puncture/poison/stickify you! STAY AWAY FROM MEEEE!!!!” Some are subtle and devious jerks, drawing you in by seeming all tame and pretty, then giving you a stealthy stab.
Such is this beauty, which attacked our own RowanVT, and whom she has dubbed Bitey McBiterson, which is the best name for a bush ever:
You’ll have to ask RowanVT where this was. All I know is that it was June, and she was camping…. somewhere. Somewhere that had many interesting and beautiful things, which she sent to us, and one evil bushy tree, which was actually quite pretty. Continue reading “Mystery Flora: Bitey McBiterson”
One of the first roadside zomg-look-at-the-scenery pullouts at the northern end of Cape Disappointment State Park happens to overlook a wonderful example of what happens when sediment fills in the sea round a sea stack. Can you spot it?
This is the result when a nice, hard stack of basalt (in this case the Eocene Crescent Formation basalt) ends up in a sea of sediment instead of a sea of saltwater. Poor thing is now stuck inland. The only time it’ll be a stack again is either during a tsunami or if sea level rises.
There’s probably some technical term for these things. I thought it was “knocker,” but that seems to only refer to knobs of rock within a melange. And my brief attempt to wrestle an answer out of Google was non-successful. Who here knows what they’re technically called?
If there is no technical term, I call dibs on calling them “broodies,” just in case that catches on.
A bizarre sight greeted our eyes at Seal Rock State Recreation Site: a nearly-motionless seagull. You scoff, I know, and say it’s not unusual for birds to hang about doing not much of anything, and that is true. However: it’s somewhat rare for them to hang about doing not much of anything in mid-air. This one looked a bit like someone had glued a seagull in a flight pose to a clear stick and was holding it up.
This little bugger went nowhere fast. It hovered happily while other seagulls (including the fledgeling mentioned, but not visible, in the video) zipped and zoomed all round it. There’s probably some explanation for its behavior that’s not limited to “Because, that’s why.” Any seabird specialists in the house?
Our second installment in our Seahawks Super Bowl Ring Geology series is up. In it, we learn how the Earth makes diamonds, and why, despite being over a billion years old, they need rapid transit to survive. It’s hot! It’s shiny! Don’t miss it.
Hey, check this out – there’s a new FtBCon happening August 22-24. Now, in the past, I haven’t managed to swing it, but I asked my new boss if I could have the time to participate, and she said,
So I’m assuming that means I have her permission, and I’m a gonna go for it. I’m giving a talk! On what? Well, I figured we’d talk about stuff. And things. Like, maybe, a little presentation on Christianist Earth Science textbooks? Or I can do a talk on some of the magnificent geology we’ve got here in the Pacific Northwest, complete with lovely photos and a theme of “See – you can still have a sense of wonder as an atheist!” Maybe you’ve got a different idea for the kind of talk you’d like me to talk, and I may say, “Hey – that’s totally something I can talk about!”
Tell me what you’d like by, oh, say, this Sunday (July 20th). Then I’ll figure out what I’m capable of delivering, and whip it up for ye.
And if the boss doesn’t like it, well, she shoulda woken up long enough to say something.