Between Aunty Flow and trying to read up on Nazis, I’ve been a bit lax on blogging. But in case you missed them, here some spiffy recent Rosetta Stones posts for your reading pleasure:
Trump’s Presidency Will Be a Disaster for Public Education: wherein I rip Chitler a new one over his education picks.
I didn’t post here until recently because America’s election of the least qualified president in our history has me scrambling to assess and mitigate the damage. Much of what he’s done so far doesn’t yet touch on geology, which is what this blog is mainly concerned with – but we will be talking about the threat to our national parks, and there will doubtless be impacts on the USGS and other agencies responsible for essential geological services like volcano monitoring, seismic studies, and similar.
Trump is already showing which direction he’s taking the country’s public education. If you care about kids being taught science, you’d best gird yourself for a war, because we’re going to have to fight to preserve our children’s right to a strong STEM education.
To begin with, Trump’s Vice President, to whom he plans to delegate most of the actual presidential work, is an evolution-denying Christian extremist who wants creationism taught in public schools. He’s also brought all his political power to bear on overturning the will of Indiana voters while he pushes for expansions of school vouchers and charter schools.
Trump also plans to slash NASA’s earth science division, which would not only cripple our nation’s climate change research, but also have a terrible impact on earth science research.
That rather sets the tenor for what’s to come.
But Pence is merely the beginning. It gets worse.
The Light of Science: wherein I shatter the illusion that ignorance is bliss.
It’s getting harder and harder to relate to those who remain deliberately ignorant. The more I know, the more I want to know, and the more I enjoy the world. Well, the world aside from those fools who revel in their own ignorance, anyway. There was a time I subscribed to the inane belief that science deconstructed things, reduced everything down to meaningless component parts and took the mystery out of life. Well, back when I wanted elves to exist, I suppose that was true. Science is murder on belief in elves, fairies, and those sorts of things. But that wasn’t really the main problem.
Science the way it’s taught in far too many schools saps the life out of everything. They feed us rote fact and formula and pretend that’s science. And some of us take their word for it. Some of us had decent schools, but were unfortunate enough to grow up with assorted religious and spiritual sorts babbling inanity at us and calling it truth, all the while dismissing science as cold and mechanical and in no way spiritual. Some of us got screwed from both sides. We end up with a bad taste in our mouths. (To be fair, they did the same thing with Shakespeare, too.)
That’s really too bad, because none of it’s true.
The Real Story of Plymouth Rock: wherein I discuss the geology and cultural history of one of America’s most celebrated stones.
Plymouth Rock is one of America’s most enduring myths. We get told from childhood that the Pilgrims landed there (they didn’t), and then there’s a bunch of nonsense about how they were starving (they weren’t), and the Indians saved them that winter (they didn’t actually meet until spring), and the Pilgrims were sooo grateful they threw a big harvest banquet with the Indians that fall (the Wampanoag weren’t actually invited – they came to check out what all the shooting was about).
Fact is, nobody really cared about Plymouth Rock for about 120 years, until a misty-eyed old gent informed everyone that the Pilgrims had shown him the exact rock upon which they had stepped when they first arrived. Everybody trooped down to the beach, carrying the near-centenarian with them, and had him point out the stone, over which he wept, and an American legend was born.
I got told the story of Plymouth Rock over and over as a child, but nobody ever actually explained what the rock was.
And Cyber Monday deals may be over, but there are lots of geological gifties just waiting for you to give to that special geologist someone!