Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

The rest of the Lemmings and I hope that everyone on the internet has a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

You've been outback too long...

when you catch yourself checking out the goannas.

p.s. The toenail polish is a nice touch.

p.p.s. I'm adding photos to previous posts which I didn't manage to upload at the time, so old posts might appear in the RSS feed. You've been warned.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dullest geomap ever

How'd you like to do a field project on this 1x1.5 degree mapsheet?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Trophy rocks

My first trophy rock is a 4 kg boulder of the Lavras conglomerate from the Tombador formation of the mid-Proterozoic Espinha├žo Supergroup. This is a well-rounded, poorly sorted conglomerate with a clast size of 1-9 cm in this hand sample. The clasts are dominated by a pink arkose, with white and green arenites also present. The rock is clast- supported, and some clasts show evidence of minor pressure dissolution along their contacts. The matrix is slightly ferruginized. This rock is the purported source rock for the diamonds for the Lencois diamonds workings in Bahia state, Brazil.

My second trophy rock is a migmatite from the Wyoming craton. The strongly folded mesosome consists mostly of biotite and amphibole, with a minor opaque oxide phase. The leucosome follows the folds of the rock, but has equant, undeformed coarse-grained K-spar and quartz crystals, suggesting that crystallization was post-deformational.

The third trophy rock, part A, is a 45cm Cambrian stromatolite colony from an undisclosed location in Australia’s Georgoina basin. Part B is a smaller fragment of a contemporaneous stromatolite colony, with which has been progressively silicified, showing laminar color variations caused by trace elements in the chalcedony.

Unlike Brian’s rocks, these specimens are widely separated in space and time.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Santa Claus Boycotts Coal

In a dramatic bid to combat global warming, Santa Claus has announced that he will no longer use coal as a stocking stuffer for naughty children.

“As an Arctic resident, I am especially vulnerable to anthropogenic climate change,” said St. Claus at a press conference held at his North Pole workshop. “It is important that I lead by example in combating this problem.”

Santa’s elves considered several adaptive strategies to address global warming, including relocation to East Antarctica, and replacement of the reindeer with antelope, or manatees. But ultimately, they decided that a dramatic, proactive prevention effort was most in the spirit of Christmas. However, in a move certain to provoke controversy, the jolly fat man will be replacing the coal formerly given to naughty children with uranium oxide, the fuel for nuclear reactors.

Claus defends this decision, claiming that in addition to the reduced carbon footprint, the nuclear solution has two added benefits. Firstly, the higher energy density of uranium means that each recalcitrant child will only be receiving a thimbleful of fuel, instead of a large lump of coal- a change that will dramatically reduce the load on the sled. Secondly, Claus believes that the threat of receiving a radioactive stocking gift will act as a greater deterrent than coal ever did. “We looked into the renewable options,” said Claus, “but we feared that little solar cells and windmills might be mistaken for toys.”

The environmental movement’s response to this development has been mixed. Mainstream groups have described the change as “brave”, or “unfortunate but understandable”. Extremist fringe elements have been less equivocal.

“He will not be allowed in our airspace,” said the New Zealand defense minister, “unless he can certify that his sled is free of nuclear fuel.” When pressed about the prospect of denying his nation’s entire juvenile population of their Christmas presents, the minister merely muttered something about overpriced geese, impoverished young cripples, and Humbugs.

The Earth Liberation Front was more direct in its criticism. “Santa Claus embodies the materialist industrial culture that has brought our biosphere to the brink of destruction,” said their spokesman. Further probing revealed that their members had no plans to hang stockings anyway.

No matter how vituperative the reaction is, Santa says that yellowcake is here to stay. “We simply cannot afford to continue our support for the coal industry that threatens to melt our homes and workshops in a matter of decades”, says Claus. But he then added that “All the boys and girls can avoid getting nuclear fuel in their stockings this Christmas simply by being nice instead of naughty.”

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No more book rate

I went to the post office during my holiday last week, to send myself some college books that are once again useful to me as a result of my recent job change. To my dismay, I found that the USPS no longer offers any surface mail services overseas. So the book rate no longer exists. Does anyone out there know of any alternative ways of shipping large volumes of books overseas affordably?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

You go, girls

According to today's New York Times, this year's Siemens science contest was won by girls in both the individual and team categories. Janelle Schlossberger and Amanda Marinoff, 17 year olds from Long Island, split the first prize in the team division, while Isha Himani Jain, 16, from Bethlehem, Pa. placed first in the individual category. The article notes that 11 of the 20 finalists were women, and that most finalists were from public schools, and had at least one parent who was a scientist.