Monday, December 27, 2010

12 Months of Geotripper Blogging

I love year-end lists! Chris and Ann at Highly Allochthonous have listed their first posts of each month, and I couldn't resist joining in the game. I'm breaking the unstated rules by posting the first substantive post that wasn't just linking to something else, and instead of writing the first line, I am sometimes using an excerpt from the post. It's been a busy year for blogging, with nearly 300 posts and counting...

January: The Other California: The Prairies of the Past
A colleague of mine in an earlier phase of my life at Santa Barbara City College was fond of saying to field trippers that "I wouldn't take you JUST anywhere!" And a great Peanuts cartoon talked about a field trip the kids went on, and how they went and saw...a field. And that's what we have today: not just anyplace, and it is ... a field. And not just a field, it's a real dump. Well, ok, more like a municipal solid waste landfill...

February: The Other California: Chaos! And Jumbles Aren't Always Word Puzzles
We are in Lassen Volcanic National Park, a place that is on all the postcards, but the park receives roughly a tenth the visitation of a place like Yosemite, somewhere around 350,000 people a year. In the last post, we visited the volcano that isn't there...

March: Words That Have Meaning: False Alarm and Warning (A Tsunami Wrap-up)
Two situations:

In the first, it's a school day, and some kid pulls the fire alarm. Bells ring and students have to evacuate even though there is no evidence of a fire and everyone knows it was a prank. This is a false alarm.

In the second, a teller pushes the alarm button. There's a man demanding money. No one knows if the man is armed or not. The police evacuate the neighborhood, surround the bank, and ultimately arrest the man. If the man turns out to be unarmed, it makes the whole thing a false alarm, right? No? I don't think so either. The police and the people of the neighborhood were warned of a possible dangerous situation. There could have been a deadly shootout. Will anyone fault the police for doing their job?

April: Happy April 1st!
Toads Predict Earthquakes!

Democratic President opens up vast areas for offshore drilling!

Senator criticizes federal government for taking over federal program!

Radio talk show host says of tanning salon tax: "...I feel the pain of racism"!

Decade of 2000-2009 hottest on record!

Sooo.....which of these is your April Fools headline????

May: Dispatches from the Road: Far Western Section Conference in Bishop, California

A few preliminary views from the road at the joint NAGT/CalESTA field conference at Bishop California. One of our stops: the Mono Lake Tufa Towers. The tufa is made of calcium carbonate, and forms near freshwater springs in the intensely salty and alkaline lake...


June: Secrets of the Trade: How Geologists Find Features in the Field

Ever wonder how geologists find those really cool features and faults that we are always discovering? Here, from a few cherished trips to the Hawaiian Islands, are the trade secrets....

July: Something Doesn't Feel Right About This: The Serpentine Issue in California
The more I read about this, the more disturbed I become. Andrew Alden gets right to the point about the very strange goings-on in the California legislature while they avoid working out the state budget. Senate Bill 624 would remove serpentine as the California State Rock, and declare in effect that serpentine is a dangerous mineral...

August: Serpentine: An Update on the State Rock Debate in California

...The issue of raising awareness of asbestos and the role it has in causing lung cancer and mesothelioma was the stated reason for the bill. As I read editorials from across the state (see the excellent compilation by Silver Fox at Looking for Detachment, or check my incomplete list below), the only message in the media seems to be that many scientists and teachers object to the bill because of the inaccurate scientific language, and that there are more important problems faced by the state of California. The bill will not save anyone from getting mesothelioma...

September: Dispatches from the Road (the one I wish I was still on): The Nu'uanu Pali and a bit of Hawaiian History

It's been a few weeks since I was enjoying a visit to the Hawaiian Islands, and school has begun in earnest, but I had a few more dispatches that I hoped to complete before academic matters overwhelm me. We've visited Pillbox Hill, stepped over molten lava, searched for native bird species, found invasive species, and explored two kipukas on the Big Island. We explored one other trail, the Old Highway on the Nu'uanu Pali near Highway 61 where it passes through the Ko'olau Range between Honolulu and Kailua. It's a place of mysterious stories and tragic history...

October: The Other California: A Mystery Photo for a Saturday

I hope you are having a nice Saturday! Here's a photo mystery along the lines of the Silver Fox "Where in the West?" series (and no, I don't know where her picture was shot). What is in the photo, where was the photographer, what are some of the meteorological and geological circumstances?

November: "There is No Reason For Optimism"

The age of oil is ending. "Can the political order face up to the challenge? There is no reason for optimism." I don't usually do a lot of politics in this blog, but regarding the elections tomorrow, think about who might represent you, and who represents Big Oil ("drill, baby, drill"). Oil is running out worldwide...

December: A Lucious Churn....

My students who are new to geology often have a great deal of trouble with terminology and spelling, and so I get a lot of weird misspellings and interpretations of common geologic terms. Baslat, continental margarines, and mantle plums are common errors. I've had to navigate through seduction zones, excretionary wedges and abnormal faults, but I can usually figure out what a student was trying to say...
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