So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Ethnicity. that of my father and his father before him
Location Altadena, CA
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The Link To Zanzibar's Past
This is my page in the beloved art community that my sister got me into:
Extra points for people who know what Samarinda is.
The Phases of the Moon Module
The Tree and the Telephone Pole
I Do Not Know Their Names
Today I am Young
A Night Poem
Siren of the Sea
If I Were a Dragon
To the Dreamers Leave the Sky
The Honor of the Oyster
Return From San Diego
A Late Summer's Night
Of Dragons and Men
The Edge of the World
The Snake's Terror
Metaphysics and the Middaymoon
Of Adventures in Foreign Lands
The Rogue Wave: The Unedited Version
Adventures in the PRC
Voyage of Discovery
Drinking the Blood of Goats
Ticket for a Phantom Bus
Os peixes nadam o mar
Three Villages Far Away
The River Weser
Children I Should Have Kidnapped, Part I
Let's Get You Out of Those Clothes
If Underwear Could Speak
Croc Hunter/Combat Wombat
Only My Favorite Baseball Player EVER
Aw, Larry Walker, how I loved thee.
M: Science and Exploration
T: Cook a nice dinner
Th: Parties, movies, dinners
F: Picnics, the Louvre
S: Read books, go for walks, PARKOUR
Su: Philosophy, Religion
The Reading List
This list starts Summer 2006
A Crocodile on the Sandbank
Tales of the Alhambra (in progress)
Dark Lord of Derkholm
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The Lost Years of Merlin
Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers (in progress)
Atlas Shrugged (in progress)
A Long Way Gone (story of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone- met the author! w00t!)
The Eye of the World: Book One of the Wheel of Time
From Magma to Tephra (in progress)
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Harry Potter 7
The No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency
Introduction to Planetary Volcanism
A Child Called "It"
Is Multi-Culturalism Bad for Women?
Americans in Southeast Asia: Roots of Commitment (in progress)
What's So Great About Christianity?
Aeolian Dust and Dust Deposits
The City of Ember
The People of Sparks
When I was in Cuba, I was a German Shepard
The Golden Compass
Clan of the Cave Bear
The 9/11 Commission Report (2nd time through, graphic novel format this time, ip)
The Incredible Shrinking Man
The Elves of Cintra
The Gypsy Morph
Animorphs #23: The Pretender
Animorphs #25: The Extreme
Animorphs #26: The Attack
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
To Sir, With Love
Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Hunger Games
Shadows and Strongholds
The Jungle Book
Beatrice and Virgil
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
No One Ever Told Us We Were Defeated
The Name of the Wind
Tao Te Ching
What Paul Meant
Lao Tzu and Taoism
Sand and Sandstones
Lost Christianites: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
The Science of God
Great Contemporaries, by Winston Churchill
City of Bones
Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne
Stranger in a Strange Land
The Old Man and the Sea
Flowers for Algernon
Au Bonheur des Ogres
The Road to Serfdom
De La Terre à la Lune (ip)
In the Light of What We Know
Devil in the White City
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
How to Be a Good Wife
A Mote in God's Eye
want to read: Last Hunger Games Book, Honeybee Democracy, The Bell Jar
Thursday. 12.14.06 6:05 pm
Sometimes you just have to take a break from work and stare up at the ceiling and think about what it would be like if suddenly gravity pulled you in the opposite direction as it does now (or the entire local world were turned on its head). For the love of heaven, don't do this outside, or you will fall into the sky and you may never return. A stairwell is a good place, though. And it's usually a good idea, for the sake of neatness, to assume that everything that is on the floor or shelves is fixed to it, so that you are the only thing suddenly on the ceiling.
Or are you? Look at the ceiling! What an odd shape it has. If it's made of ceiling panels you're going to have to be very careful or you're certain to fall through. You might need to climb up the bookshelf until you can grab onto a chair or a table so you can start swinging across along the floor. You might think the best way out is to leave the room and seach for a more sturdy ceiling, but if you'll notice, the bottom of the door is more than three feet from where your feet are right now. You'll have to climb through, and then maybe hang by your arms to reach the ceiling on the other side. Lord help you if the other side is a foyer. You might have to jump, and the whole thing's covered in dust and at an extremely inconvenient angle for walking.
Now to get from the top of the stairs to the bottom. Good Lord, who made the stairs this way??? You'll have to climb up using the floor-to-ceiling pipe and jump and grab onto to the railing (thank goodness there is a railing!) and then you'll have to climb, inch by inch, legs dangling down toward the ceiling or woven through the banister railing to make your position more secure. Oh, but you are tired! who ever knew going "down" the stairs would be such a lesson in hardship. If only this were that type of staircase where you could see the stairs in relief on the bottom of each set!
Finally, you reach the end of the banister. But what now? The foyer rises below you. There are some five to ten feet of vaulted ceiling and a door before the ceiling from this floor comes in. Look, over there, on the other side of the foyer. There is a "ledge" comprised of a short ceiling right before the door to the outside. You have precisely the time it takes to fall through the y-distance from first-floor floor to the first-floor ceiling-ledge (minus the length of the banister) to cover the x-distance between the banister post and the outside wall. Can you do it? Can you muster that much of a swing after that long and treacherous climb from the third floor? Do it! It's your only chance to figure out what's going on here! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
That was reallly close. The dust made that ceiling slippery, and you didn't even think about whether or not that ceiling was a flimsy ceiling panel before you jumped, you just jumped! But luckily the ceiling was made of wood backed with stone, because it is part of the fancy entrance way into the building. You can jump for the door handle, but you're going to need some leverage so that you can push the handle up while you're hanging from it, because it's one of those doors you see when you exit public buildings with the bar handle that goes all the way across the door width-wise. And you have to push it, which isn't easy either considering you don't have any floor to push off of. Maybe you can swing back and get it all done at once. Ready?
Oops. You forgot about what I said about not going outside.
Wednesday. 12.13.06 11:04 pm
So the big news of today: my advisor is coming back this Friday instead of next Tuesday. This is even bigger news than the whole "we just found flowing water on Mars" thing from last week. At least for us in the department.
As Sam so succinctly said, "I think it could be worse... I just can't think of how right now."
As PI said, "So... one more... maybe one and a half more days of peace and quiet... and then all hell breaks loose. Son of a bitch. Don't tell him I said that."
A little ditty keeps running through my head, it goes a little bit like this: "My advisor's back and you're gonna be in trouble (hey-yah, hey-yah, my advisor's back)"
hmm... I don't think those are the original lyrics... hmmm....
Accordingly, upon the completion of my remote sensing term paper this afternoon I turned my attentions not to my cratering term paper nor my geophysics final but to Wrinkle Ridges.
Don't know what a wrinkle ridge is?
These are wrinkle ridges.
Got any idea how they form? Cause I would sure like to know. Preferably before Friday but really any time in the next 5 years would do.
Some folks think that wrinkle ridges are formed when you have a sheet of lava pouring out and it kind of folds over itself or bunches up or whatever and ta-da, a wrinkle ridge forms. Other people think that they're caused by the whole globe shrinking just a little bit and the surface contracting in response (meaning that the ridges themselves are reverse (thrust) faults that don't quite reach the surface). Still others think that the ridges are indeed blind thrust faults, but that they are caused by a huge change in the atmosphere, which, instead of causing the planet to shrink, causes just the surface layer to expand a little bit because it's warmer. Once again the crust is a little too big for the planet, and faulting occurs. My leading theory right now is that the lava layers laid out on the planet were so thick that they didn't cool right away, and they were sort of flowing downhill ever so slowly, and as they did they bunched up and froze. That would kind of mean they were buckling like thick rug rather than faulting, but they could fault too, if they wanted to. I'm not going to stop them.
You see a lot of times wrinkle ridges come in sets, they look like sand dunes almost, only they're made out of the crust as opposed to sitting upon it. They're parallel and evenly spaced. That would suggest some kind of geophysical mechanism like buckling, rather than volcanism or something like that. But the volcanism could be evenly spaced because the surface cracked evenly and then the lava just took advantage of the cracks!
Obviously I've been focused on wrinkle ridges way too much today. As Sam was holding out a card to me I found myself watching his arm and thinking about how his criss-crossing veins looked very much like anastomosing wrinkle ridges on the surface of Mercury. Point of fact they actually called wrinkle ridges some crazy word in latin or greek that mean "vein" because they look like veins protruding beneath the surface.
Well, t-5 days til All Hell just became t-1 day, so I guess I'd better get my act together, which means for the moment cranberry juice, colby cheese, wheat thins, and a bit of repose.
Tuesday. 12.12.06 12:20 am
The Moon too has its awkward transitions
From slender crescent to beaming gibbous
The half-moon intervenes, geometric.
A Dream, still wet from his midnight swimming
Is dripping moonbeams upon my dark floor
It forms pools in squares beneath my windows.
My eyes spy by the mirror's reflection
His footprints that I will mop by daylight
Careless dream, he whirls away with the sky
And myself, dark-eyed observer of night
Reflected: Here, not safe in starless void
Once full, hoping to be made new again
Hypothetical Question Time
Sunday. 12.10.06 10:35 pm
If you woke up tomorrow morning
and everything was totally as it had been
only that everyone in the world had disappeared...
how much time would have to go by before you stopped locking your door?
My other abstract
Friday. 12.8.06 1:57 am
SOURCE ROCK AGES AND PATTERNS OF SEDIMENTATION IN THE LAKE SUPERIOR REGION: RESULTS OF PRELIMINARY U-PB DETRITAL ZIRCON STUDIES
Although most commonly applied to Phanerozoic orogenic belts, U-Pb age analysis of detrital zircons has great potential for illuminating the sedimentary evolution of cratonic regions. Here we report preliminary results of U-Pb dates of detrital zircons from Paleoproterozoic, Mesoproterozoic, Neoproterozoic, and early Paleozoic sedimentary rocks from Minnesota and Wisconsin. U-Pb analyses (n = 120 grains per sample) were conducted using laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) at Washington State University.
Pre-Animikie (>1.85 Ga) sediments (Denham Fm.) contain zircons with two age populations (3.5â€“3.4 and 2.8â€“2.5 Ga). Basal sandstones of the Animikie (Pokegama) and Marquette (Palms) Supergroups (~1.85 Ga) contain mostly Neoarchean zircons (2.9-2.6 Ga). In contrast, overlying basin sediments (Rove, Thomson and Tyler Formations), deposited in a migrating foredeep north of the Penokean orogen, consist mostly of zircons with ages from 2.05-1.80 Ga; few Paleoproterozoic or Archean grains are present. Sediments deposited during the early stages of Midcontinent Rifting (Nopeming and Puckwunge Sandstones) have three zircon populations (2.8â€“2.5, 2.1-1.8, and 1.2-1.1 Ga), whereas those from interflow sediments of the North Shore Volcanic Group are dominated by zircon ages of 1.15-1.0 Ga. Post-rift (<1.09 Ga) sediments, including the Jacobsville, Fond du Lac, and Hinckley Sandstones (Mesoproterozoic to Neoproterozoic?); Franconia Fm. (Late Cambrian); and St. Peter Sandstone (Middle Ordovician) contain zircons that are mostly 1.5-1.2 Ga, or less commonly 2.0 - 1.5 Ga. Archean populations (>3.2 Ga; 2.8-2.5 Ga) are poorly represented in the Mesoproterozoic to Neoproterozoic(?) sediments, but become increasingly more abundant in the Late Cambrian sandstones.
Many of the observed zircon ages can be correlated with known source rock ages in the Lake Superior region. Some zircon populations (e.g., 2.5â€“2.1 Ga, 1.6â€“1.5 Ga, and 1.4â€“1.1 Ga), however, have few obvious local sources and must have been derived from more distal sources or from regional sources with unrecognized multicyclic components. In particular, most of the post-Midcontinent Rift sediments that we studied have abundant ages between 1.5 and 1.1 Ga that might have been derived from Grenville Province sources.
Just so you know, the Paleoproterozoic was between 2.5 and 1.6 Ma, so all of my samples (from the Tyler and Rove Formations) actually have zircons that are almost ALL in the paleoproterozoic, not "few".... there aren't any that are NOT in the Archean or paleoproterzoic!!!! AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
it's cool, I didn't write this one, I just worked my ass off getting data for it.
Thursday. 12.7.06 10:08 pm
Spectroscopy of GRB 051111 at z=1.54948: Kinematics and Elemental Abundances of the GRB Environment and Host Galaxy
Journal-ref: Astrophys.J. 646 (2006) 358-368
We present a high-resolution, high signal-to-noise optical spectrum of the afterglow of GRB 051111 obtained with the HIRES spectrograph on the Keck I 10-m telescope. The spectrum exhibits three redshifted absorption systems with the highest, at z=1.54948, arising in the GRB host galaxy. While the Ly-alpha feature is outside the range of our spectrum, the high column density of weakly-depleted Zn suggests that the host is a damped Lyman-alpha system with N(HI)>10^21(Z/Z_sun)^-1. The bulk of the gas (>80%) is confined to a narrow velocity range of |v|<30 km/s exhibiting strong dust depletion of refractory elements such as Fe and Cr. The depletion pattern is similar to that observed in warm disk clouds of the Milky Way. We also detect absorption from all ground-level fine-structure states of FeII, the first such example in a QSO-DLA or GRB-absorption spectrum, which indicate conditions that are consistent with the "warm disk" depletion pattern. The absorption profiles of FeII and MgII extend over several hundred km/s, with a depletion pattern that more closely resembles that of QSO-DLAs, suggesting that the sight line to GRB 051111 probes the halo of the host galaxy in addition to the dense disk. Thus, detailed diagnostics of the interstellar medium of GRB host galaxies continue to provide insight into regions which are generally missed in quasar surveys.
Wednesday. 12.6.06 6:59 pm
Well, the day came and went. Exhausted from staying up late last night writing my remote sensing of planetary surfaces paper for next Monday (mine was on all the clever ways people have gone about discovering the surface of Venus), writing the presentation for it (which was today) and putting together grades for the class that I TA, I stumbled through the day with a sick feeling in my gut, not aided by the fact that I had to actually give my presentation. Public speaking normally doesn't bother me too much, but since I liked my Venus project so much and I was so excited to share what I had learnt with my class and professor, it was a little tense because I hoped they'd catch on to my enthusiasm.
So I showed up very late to my last class with my S.C.,
Guess what! This weekend I'm goin' on VACATION! I'm going to visit my friend Route 66 in her secret underground biology lab in Washington DC. She's the one with the secret government job. Not really. She actually just manipulates kitten DNA or something. Don't ask me. Then they find homes for the kittens. That's a lot better than some labs... there was that one lab that got in serious trouble a while ago because they'd been dumping baby chicks by the hundreds into an old dumpster out back, but they weren't dead... so there was just this huge dumpster full of dirty, starving, dying crowded baby chicks like a mass grave.
My friend Seth, I shall call him simply Esophagus Boy, he has a mouse problem in his room (which is basically a basement). Since it just got cold here all the mice came indoors. His roommates caught seven before he even knew of the problem. They put out these traps where the mouse gets caught to a sticky pad. However, once the mouse gets stuck, it absolutely can't get off. They tried to pull one off because they felt sorry for it, but they almost pulled its legs off in the process. So Seth found his first mouse, a little tiny mouse with delicate little legs and arms, and he didn't know what to do with it... it's still alive, still wriggling, a little furry guy.... he wasn't exactly going to bash its head in with a shovel, so he threw it in the dumpster. I reminded him that instead of having a quick, shovel-death, the mouse was now going to slowly starve together, or freeze, or both. He was distraught. The next day (today) the exterminator came, and they found that the other sticky trap had caught pretty much a whole hill of ants, who were stuck extremely densely to the sticky trap. Seth put them outside, where over the course of the day, they froze to death, lithified in the very throes of death, trying to escape sticky oblivion.
Seth, gentle soul that he is, has had quite a time of it, having his apartment flooded and then molded over, having practically his whole wall removed as they redid the pavement to try and fix the flooding, having his esophagus burned through, having his apartment invaded by mice, then ants... becoming a cold-blooded animal MURDERER, etc.
All this talk is making me hungry, I'd better go eat. Or fall asleep. When will my paper about the reversals of geomagnetic poles get written? Well, sometime before Friday, that's all I know. Maybe not tonight.
Wednesday. 12.6.06 6:28 pm
I'd like to take this moment, at the end of a semester of cratering classes, to admire my planetary cratering professor. I really like him. He thinks the same way I do, and this is how...
He was in Hawaii for some conference or something, and he was watching a field of pineapples being watered by sprinklers. He suddenly wondered why the sprinkler is designed so that it doesn't water continuously, but that it is designed to shudder, thuk thuk thuk shrrrrrrr thuk thuk thuk shrrrrrr... the reason it does that is because if you had water coming out of the sprinkler head continuously, it sticks together due to the surface tension that water has and would follow an arch as a cohesive column of water. The effect of a column of water is to jettison the water droplets further than they would normally go (because they are effectively being pushed from behind) and to get a ring around your sprinkler where the water does not land. To stop this from happening, the sprinkler sends out spurts of water, a jerky jet, and is continuously moving. This causes the column of water to be interrupted. Then, depending on the size, angle and velocity of the drop, it follows an independent ballistic trajectory and comes down at any radius from the sprinkler head, from right next to it all the way out to its farthest extent. A single drop can't water as far out as a stream of water, but it does water so that you don't get huge dead circles of grass or pineapples right around your sprinkler head. My professor likens this to trying to throw a single drop of water to a window on the 10th floor of a building. You can't do it. The kind of energy that would have to be applied to the drop would simply vaporize it, or the atmosphere would pull it apart. However, you've seen firemen's hoses that can reach up to the 10th floor.
Anyway, after communing with the pineapple field, it occured to him that the spray of the sprinkler was not unlike the outward moving ejecta curtain that forms when a meteor impacts a planetary body. The curtain goes from being one, solid stream of rock with tremendous energy, to suddenly becoming thin enough for air to flow through, causing the curtain to suddenly be porous enough that the solidity of the curtain is ruined and each piece of rocky ejecta suddenly acts as its own body and falls to the Earth ballistically.
Pete sees science (particularly cratering) in everything. He watches waves, beating against a shore. He once dug a crater in the ashtray at a hotel and then tapped gently on the side to see how a crater could be made to subside over time on a planetary surface.
When I walk along the streets of Providence, I see that the sidewalks are totally broken up into all kinds of crazy jagged pieces. No one ever fixes the bricks, the cement, anything. But the cracks!! Each one tells you something both about the stress that the sidewalk has been under and the structural weaknesses of the cement. When I look at the clouds, I see how two air flows of different densities have made the clouds form waves, long sets of parallel linear clouds like sets of waves at the beach. There is a bulge in the linoleum on the way to the restroom at work. I know if I could dissect it I could learn something about planetary wrinkle ridges, I just know it.
The way Pete thinks, it reminds me of that quote from Life Of Pi (best book ever) which says, "Hindus, in their capacity for love, are indeed hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in their devotion to God, are hat-wearing Muslims."
The part of the quote that reminds me of him is the "The way they see God in everything" part. Because seeing order, structure, patterns and similarities between all types and scales of life, people and the natural world is my way of seeing God in everything.
Peel back the layers of God's elegant creations, and all you will find are additional layers of elegance therein.
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