Tuesday, October 30, 2012

U.S. Winds Map

Love this map of winds.  The actual map is animated showing winds spiraling down into central Pennsylvania where Sandy is now.

What's amazing is that this storm in central PA is influencing wind speeds and directions from Maine to Minnesota to Georgia!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Teaching about Sandy

Wind's howling outside but I still, miraculously, have electricity and Internet (lots of flickers though!).

As soon as this clears out, people like me will be incorporating Sandy into our curriculum.  Here's a good resource that just came over the email.

Teaching About Hazards in Geoscience: Hurricane Sandy

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Beautiful satellite image of Sandy

These things do have a certain beauty to them...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Why am I failing?

Not posting much lately.  Totally stressed out at work.

I had to laugh at this video.  Believe it or not, students will say things EXACTLY like this!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Classes are pointless

Cardale Jones is a freshman quarterback for the Ohio State University Buckeyes football team.
I suppose he can throw a football well, being a QB at a Big-10 school and all, but he's evidently a bit deficient in other areas (like intellect).  Cardale recently tweeted (his account has since been deactivated) the following giving his feelings about time-wasting pursuits off the field.

I suppose English class could have taught this dumb ass how to spell his name consistently, since he spells it "Cordale" on Facebook and "Cardale" on Twitter, but that's trivial.  Perhaps we could talk about how Cardale plays for a team that is currently under NCAA sanctions for various ethics violations of coaches, players, and community boosters.  Ethics, what's that?

Which contributes more to society?
It's unfortunate that our society values people who can throw and catch balls far more highly than educators.  I was born lacking that male gene which makes one want to watch guys run around messing with balls so I've never understood the attraction of organized sports.
Anyway, I've been also been feeling particularly frustrated with some students at my community college lately and I have to say I agree with Cardale.  Classes are pointless for people who have the intellectual curiosity of a turnip.  Go toss your ball Cardale.  Good luck and I hope a hard hit by a linebacker doesn't put an abrupt end to your football career.  If so, McDonalds is always hiring.  I doubt you're qualified for anything else given that you're squandering a full scholarship at an excellent university.  Which is really a shame since I personally know excellent students who would love to attend a place like OSU, and actually learn something, but can't afford the tuition.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Columbus Day

The heroic view of Columbus landing in the Caribbean "discovering" America.
Landing of Columbus (John Vanderlyn, 1847)
Capitol Rotunda, Washington, D.C.
Of course the reality was that Columbus was a nasty piece of work who engaged in systematic genocide against the indiginous people of the New World.
Regarding the Taino people of the Caribbean, Columbus wrote:

"They traded with us and gave us everything they had, with good will..they took great delight in pleasing us..They are very gentle and without knowledge of what is evil; nor do they murder or steal..Your highness may believe that in all the world there can be no better people ..They love their neighbours as themselves, and they have the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and always laughing."
He also wrote:
"They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane.... They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."
In a generation after contact with Columbus, diseases like smallpox in addition to torture, rape, slavery, and murder dropped the Taino population by 90% and today some anthropologists believe the Taino became extinct (even though some people in the Caribbean still identify themselves as descendents of the Taino).

 Columbus didn't discover America, he discovered a people who were subjugated and enslaved.  Not someone I want to honor with a holiday.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lies from the pit of Hell

Here's Congressional Representative Paul Broun (R, Georgia) speaking at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman's Banquet (hence the audience of deer heads) on September 27, 2012, in Hartwell, Georgia.
And guess what?  This dumb fuck is a member of the Congressional Science Committee.  Guess who else is a member...  Remember Todd Akin (R, Missouri) who claimed that women victimized by "legitimate" rape don't get pregnant?
Our country truly is doomed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Badlands Guardian Indian Head

I had never heard of this until a couple of days ago when a colleague told me about it at work.

In the Badlands of Alberta, Canada, near Medicine Heat, is a neat erosional formation visible in satellite imagery.  It looks like an Indian's head.  Here it is snapped from Google (50° 00' 38.20" N, 110° 06' 48.32" W).

Christened the Badlands Guardian, the road leading up to a natural gas wellhead makes it look like he's wearing an ear bud.  In the image above, the feature looks like a plateau when, in reality, it's a low drainage area.  Below is a picture someone took of the feature with a paraglider.

Note that it's not as pronounced from this angle and the different lighting conditions.

Here's an short "news" piece from 2006 on Canadian TV.  Love the woman in the sweatshirt.  "What does it mean?  What are you crazy?  What does it mean?  What in means is that when the water was retreating from the melting glaciers, that's where the softest part of the earth was."

By the way, if you need more evidence that a number of people are crazy as loons, read some of the comments about this image on Panoramio and YouTube.  Personally, I believe it's proof of contact between the ancient Mayans, who were clearly from another world based on their advanced astronomical knowledge, and the Blackfoot people of Alberta.  That's where nearby Medicine Hat, Alberta gets its name from, by the way, the ancient Mayan space gods wore helmets.  Read Erich Von Daniken for more information (Yes, I am kidding!).
While neat to look at, this feature is simply an artifact of weathering and erosion, only seen from above under certain lighting conditions, and an example of something called pareidolia.  It's similar to the infamous face on Mars and other features people have claimed to see in satellite images of the Moon and Mars.