I’m probably going to take a blogging hiatus for a few weeks or so. I’ve had a draining week and I don’t want to blog right now. I’ll be back, though, hopefully refreshed for the busy spring semester. Happy holidays, everyone.

I love my Subaru!

Ha! This is from Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde:

100 Things I’ve Done

Internet memes are about right for my attention span right now. This one is going around lots of blogs right now. Bolded things I’ve done, italics are for the 5 things I want to do.

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (I don’t think those eclectic music groups count here.)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (it was closed back then!)
18. Grown my own vegetables (only herbs!)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run (not counting whiffle ball)
32. Been on a cruise (I say research cruises count!)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors (sure, might be interesting)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language (kinda)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (Having a job is amazing!)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (and there is humiliating video)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt (What about Geysir! Mostly I just want to get to Yellowstone already, not so much for Old Faithful.)
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades (I’m counting driving through it!)
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone (never!)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (not the inside.)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (poor mussels!)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury (I’ve never even been called, it’s weird)
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake (it was WAY too cold)
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee (never!)
100. Ridden an elephant

New FotC!

Season 2 is coming out in a month, and the first episode was released as an online premiere on Funny or Die! (Sorry, can’t seem to get it to embed properly here.)

It’s magmalicious!

I am not at AGU this year, sadly, but I just saw this article about some hot AGU-released news! A geothermal exploratory drilling project in 2005 drilled right into a magma chamber beneath the Kilauea lava flows, at 1050ºC and only 2.5 km down! And it’s dacitic! OMG!!


I am taking a break from editing my final thesis draft to do a geeky geology meme! Fun! From the Geoblogosphere!

Things I have done:

1. See an erupting volcano
2. See a glacier (Okay fine, not up close.)
3. See an active geyser such as those in Yellowstone, New Zealand or the type locality of Iceland (Iceland for me!)
4. Visit the Cretaceous/Tertiary (KT) Boundary. Possible locations include Gubbio, Italy, Stevns Klint, Denmark, the Red Deer River Valley near Drumheller, Alberta.
5. Observe (from a safe distance) a river whose discharge is above bankful stage
6. Explore a limestone cave. (Lots and lots, I was a caver for a while.)
7. Tour an open pit mine, such as those in Butte, Montana, Bingham Canyon, Utah, Summitville, Colorado, Globe or Morenci, Arizona, or Chuquicamata, Chile.
8. Explore a subsurface mine. (I got so sick down there.)
9. See an ophiolite, such as the ophiolite complex in Oman or the Troodos complex on the Island Cyprus. (This was a debated ophiolite people can’t agree on, but good enough for a meme, I say!)
10. An anorthosite complex, such as those in Labrador, the Adirondacks, and Niger.
11. A slot canyon. Many of these amazing canyons are less than 3 feet wide and over 100 feet deep. They reside on the Colorado Plateau. Among the best are Antelope Canyon, Brimstone Canyon, Spooky Gulch and the Round Valley Draw.
12. Varves, whether you see the type section in Sweden or examples elsewhere. (Sweden! You can see this in New England, people!)
13. An exfoliation dome, such as those in the Sierra Nevada.
14. A layered igneous intrusion, such as the Stillwater complex in Montana or the Skaergaard Complex in Eastern Greenland. :(
15. Coastlines along the leading and trailing edge of a tectonic plate (check out The Dynamic Earth – The Story of Plate Tectonics – an excellent website).
16. A ginkgo tree, which is the lone survivor of an ancient group of softwoods that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere in the Mesozoic.
17. Living and fossilized stromatolites (Glacier National Park is a great place to see fossil stromatolites, while Shark Bay in Australia is the place to see living ones)
18. A field of glacial erratics
19. A caldera
20. A sand dune more than 200 feet high (Didn’t measure, but probably!)
21. A fjord
22. A recently formed fault scarp
23. A megabreccia
24. An actively accreting river delta
25. A natural bridge
26. A large sinkhole
(See caving, above.)
27. A glacial outwash plain
28. A sea stack
29. A house-sized glacial erratic (Probably room-sized doesn’t count here.)
30. An underground lake or river (Again, caving!)
31. The continental divide
32. Fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals
(I’m being liberal here, this is mostly in museums.)
33. Petrified trees
34. Lava tubes
35. The Grand Canyon. All the way down. And back. (Okay, no, I didn’t get to go down. Someday!)
36. Meteor Crater, Arizona, also known as the Barringer Crater, to see an impact crater on a scale that is comprehensible (and it is quite BIG)
37. The Great Barrier Reef, northeastern Australia, to see the largest coral reef in the world.
38. The Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada, to see the highest tides in the world (up to 16m)
39. The Waterpocket Fold, Utah, to see well exposed folds on a massive scale.
40. The Banded Iron Formation, Michigan, to better appreciate the air you breathe. (Why aren’t other BIFs good enough for this list!)
41. The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. (Do these still exist?)
42. Lake Baikal, Siberia, to see the deepest lake in the world (1,620 m) with 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh water.
43. Ayers Rock (known now by the Aboriginal name of Uluru), Australia. This inselberg of nearly vertical Precambrian strata is about 2.5 kilometers long and more than 350 meters high
44. Devil’s Tower, northeastern Wyoming, to see a classic example of columnar jointing
45. The Alps. (Very painful skiing experience!)
46. Telescope Peak, in Death Valley National Park. From this spectacular summit you can look down onto the floor of Death Valley – 11,330 feet below.
47. The Li River, China, to see the fantastic tower karst that appears in much Chinese art
48. The Dalmation Coast of Croatia, to see the original Karst.
49. The Gorge of Bhagirathi, one of the sacred headwaters of the Ganges, in the Indian Himalayas, where the river flows from an ice tunnel beneath the Gangatori Glacier into a deep gorge.
50. The Goosenecks of the San Juan River, Utah, an impressive series of entrenched meanders.
51. Shiprock, New Mexico, to see a large volcanic neck
52. Land’s End, Cornwall, Great Britain, for fractured granites that have feldspar crystals bigger than your fist.
53. Tierra del Fuego, Chile and Argentina, to see the Straights of Magellan and the southernmost tip of South America.
54. Mount St. Helens, Washington, to see the results of recent explosive volcanism.
55. The Giant’s Causeway and the Antrim Plateau, Northern Ireland, to see polygonally fractured basaltic flows.
56. The Great Rift Valley in Africa.
57. The Matterhorn, along the Swiss/Italian border, to see the classic “horn”.
58. The Carolina Bays, along the Carolinian and Georgian coastal plain
59. The Mima Mounds near Olympia, Washington
60. Siccar Point, Berwickshire, Scotland, where James Hutton (the “father” of modern geology) observed the classic unconformity
61. The moving rocks of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley
62. Yosemite Valley
63. Landscape Arch (or Delicate Arch) in Utah
64. The Burgess Shale in British Columbia
65. The Channeled Scablands of central Washington
66. Bryce Canyon
67. Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone
68. Monument Valley
69. The San Andreas fault
70. The dinosaur footprints in La Rioja, Spain
71. The volcanic landscapes of the Canary Islands
72. The Pyrennees Mountains
73. The Lime Caves at Karamea on the West Coast of New Zealand
74. Denali (an orogeny in progress)
75. A catastrophic mass wasting event (I’m guessing seeing the aftermath doesn’t count for this one.)
76. The giant crossbeds visible at Zion National Park
77. The black sand beaches in Hawaii (or the green sand-olivine beaches) (Both! I want two points!)
78. Barton Springs in Texas
79. Hells Canyon in Idaho
80. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado
81. The Tunguska Impact site in Siberia
82. Feel an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 5.0.
83. Find dinosaur footprints in situ
84. Find a trilobite (or a dinosaur bone or any other fossil)
85. Find gold, however small the flake
86. Find a meteorite fragment :(
87. Experience a volcanic ashfall. No, thank god!
88. Experience a sandstorm
89. See a tsunami
90. Witness a total solar eclipse
91. Witness a tornado firsthand
92. Witness a meteor storm, a term used to describe a particularly intense (1000+ per minute) meteor shower
93. View Saturn and its moons through a respectable telescope.
94. See the Aurora borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights.
95. View a great naked-eye comet, an opportunity which occurs only a few times per century
96. See a lunar eclipse
97. View a distant galaxy through a large telescope
98. Experience a hurricane
99. See noctilucent clouds
100. See the green flash. I looked so hard and didn’t see it! I’m not convinced it exists!

Okay, well, this list is all about the specific places you’ve traveled to. I want a new list! Where I score better! :) I mean, shouldn’t going down in a sub count for something? Not that I’ve done that, either.

January Scientiae

This month‘s Scientiae, hosted by acmegirl, is about the opening and closing of doors within the past year. An excellent New Years topic!

I opened and closed a lot of really obvious doors this past year. I am literally just formalities away from having my PhD right now. I left my PhD home and moved to a new state, far away from my significant other, to take a faculty job ABD (soon to be with D). (My job is great!) Said significant other moved far away to leave academia and take an industry job, and then we parted ways. I got a paper published early in the year, and I wrapped up one whole chapter of labwork. I moved closer to my family. Did I mention finishing my PhD and starting a new job? So yeah, this was a big year.

I also started a blog! What could be more important! :)


(This one is from Shakesville.)


So I passed my defense last week. I am breathing another sigh of relief. Hooray! The formalities are not quite done yet, but hopefully they will be by the holidays, making me officially Dr. Volcanista and no longer ABD faculty, which is decidedly less fancy. I have also successfully survived my first semester of teaching.

I had a long post in the works about some of my observations about progressivism in science, based on my interactions with scientists in the meat life and on observing discussions on science blogs, but I scrapped it. The truth is that I’m pretty new to the science-o-sphere, and only pretty recently added a lot more blogs to my feed (not all on the blogroll yet – things are under construction!) and started reading more comment threads. Observing more before commenting on generalities felt like the right approach at that point.

This all originally occurred because after Thanksgiving, I got pretty upset reading a post by the brilliant and awesomely-shoed Goddess Isis. Isis and I disagree on a social justice issue that I care about particularly strongly (we agree on most else, as far as I can tell). That prompted me to reflect on other discussions I’d seen, and since then I’ve done a lot more reading in what I’ll call the feminist science blogosphere.

Short version of my recent observations, as a relative newcomer: the science blogging community is awfully small, and insular. It makes it really different from the social justice blogs where until now I have spent most of my internet-time: big communities of thousands of readers and hundreds of commenters, where trolling is a huge problem and comments have to be heavily moderated. I am used to not just the flamer trolls but the more subtle “concern” trolls being either filtered so I never see them, or publicly ridiculed. My initial impressions from becoming a regular reader of, say, FSP and Green Gabbro, and occasionally dropping in on Zuska, Isis, and a few others, were that the science community, on the other hand, was overall too small to restrict commenting to those who have at least passed Feminism 101. There just wouldn’t be enough commenters left for interesting discussions to happen. That kind of strict moderation does allow for more informed discussions about, say, the intersection of gender issues with the realities of being a scientist, but it doesn’t allow much room for discussing the important 101 stuff for those who might benefit from it. I admit that upon finding science blogs, was initially pretty taken aback by what sounded like basic Anti-Feminist Bingo comments on straightforward feminist posts. While many blog posts were addressing these gender (and other social justice) issues in really thoughtful ways, I found myself honestly surprised by the uninformed-ness of some of the comment threads. And I felt like to some extent, that reflected the reality of the science community IRL. Most scientists do not take, for example, very many social justice classes, and there isn’t much discussion of these issues in most departments, IME. So there just isn’t as much awareness and education on these topics in the science community as a whole as I’ve grown accustomed to seeing on my favorite blogs. Sometimes that makes it feel like I have to lower the bar when talking to a general scientific audience – teach more 101 and have less in the way of advanced discussions. Sometimes I find that feeling frustrating (this is, incidentally, independent of my disagreement with Isis, who is clearly informed on these topics and very thoughtful about them).

This general feeling of uninformedness in the science community may or may not reflect reality. To some extent I also think a lot of bloggers prefer to police their comment threads less stringently than I’m used to. This is true among “progressive” and social justice blogs as well (it’s why I so strongly prefer places like Shakesville to, say, Feministing or Feministe – I can’t stand the trollishness of the comments on most of the internet. Oftentimes it’s not a discussion, it’s a screaming match). I most highly value informed dialog, and I do favor the argument that if you want to be more informed on an issue, it’s your own responsibility to read up on it and find the resources yourself.

So I don’t really have a firm position on this subject. Some of the threads I’ve read on Sciencewomen have been really good, initiating conversations that I hope continue and that I plan to think about more. I think we have a strong group of progressive science bloggers out here in this corner of the internet, and I’m excited to be starting to join it in my little way. I’m also excited by the idea that it might lead to a slightly more educated science population, which would sure make it easier to be a woman in science. And I look forward to reading more (on issues aside from just gender, for one).

Ahem, so now that I have some time for more than just quick hits, I suppose this is a more long-winded way of saying, Hello Science Blogosphere! I am reading ur blogz.

(Please note that I got to this corner of the blogosphere in earnest a little too late to join the December Scientiae, but my research is totally hotter than Dr. Isis’ Naughty Monkeys because I study hot magma. Seriously.)

ETA: In my frantic-ness finishing up the PhD and classes this week, I missed the active debate about women in science over at DrugMonkey and Isis’ blog. I haven’t quite finished all the threads, but it kind of seems like a case in point – a couple trolls derailing the conversation to complain about AA and women and minority scientists. But while I generally prefer troll-free conversation, I do enjoy the occasional troll smackdown. Thanks to all the fabulous troll-smacking commenters!