11 February, 2011

Los Links 2/11

That'll learn me.  I didn't build Los Links throughout the week, instead choosing to throw links into a scattered heap and sort them out later.  Wot a mess.  And I feel I've missed some important things, but I haven't got the faintest idea what they are.  My wetware is nonfunctional, people.  I'm in the midst of reading three books, one of which is warping my brain severely, one which is stretching it, and one that is making me want to throttle Simon Winchester for his inordinate fondness for cliffhangers.  This is all by way of apology to those I've shamefully neglected this week.

We're in need of a good guffaw, methinks.  Which is why we're leading off with Neil & His Magnificent Oracular Journal. Seriously, people.  Click the link.  Read the warning.  Shake the Oracle.  It's hysterical.

The Brewing Kristol, Beck Feud...: "In the case of U.S. policy towards Egypt, the dynamic is well beyond left vs. right. Instead we're seeing (a) those in the U.S. who support the protesters, their calls for sweeping democratic reforms, and Mubarak's ouster; (b) those who support Mubarak and fear his unknown replacement; and (c) those who believe caliphates run by zombie Islamists, the Illuminati, and the Loch Ness Monster are coming to steal your car." (The Washington Monthly)

Mosses That Move and the Rocks They Reveal: "This further explains why geologists flock to newly blasted road cuts like flies to honey, and further why they carry around rock hammers* for splitting rocks to see what they truly look like. It also explains why I get nervous around them when they get that glimmer in their eyes suggesting that if they could napalm the countryside in their research area, they would." (The Artful Amoeba)

An Abbreviated Numerical History of the Great New Madrid Earthquakes: "750,000,000: Years ago, approximately, when the supercontinent Rodinia began to break up, during which the New Madrid Seismic Zone is thought to have formed.  The NMSZ is a reactivated fault system that was initially formed when what is now North America began to split apart, or rift.  The rift failed, although the NMSZ provides a lasting reminder." (+/- Science)

The myth buster: "In 1953, Evelyn Hooker, PhD, applied for a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant to conduct research on 'normal homosexuals.' During this period of American history, Sen. Joseph McCarthy was seeking out communists wherever he suspected they might be lurking; homosexual acts were a crime; bomb shelters were springing up in backyards; and the term 'normal' homosexual was thought to be an oxymoron. A variety of medical and psychological treatments to “cure” homosexuality were employed, including ice pick lobotomies, electroshock, chemical castration with hormonal treatment or aversive conditioning. Gay parties were raided by the police, particularly in election years when a crackdown on 'sexual perversion' was seen as a positive step in the fight on crime." (Monitor on Psychology)

Bullseye: "It is also clear to me that the so-called ‘skeptics’ are allowed to make up whatever they want at will without consequence, and create a large but ill-thought out laundry list, and that we must play this game or else we’re being ‘dogmatic.’ If a climate scientist make one mistake, or a date gets screwed up in the middle of a 1000 page document about glaciers, it will receive international attention. However, if ‘skeptics’ toss out 8 conspiracy theories, 10 logical fallacies, and 17 arguments with ZERO thought put into them, then it is a good thing that we get to hear all sides. Then, when one item on the bucket list is knocked down, they can just jump tot he next item. In the meantime, they are just as valid as everyone else’s idea, since the criteria for acceptance is 101% certaintly in everything." (Open Mind)

Pondering Landscapes: A Chat with BLDGBLOG Author Geoff Manaugh: "A few years ago I stumbled upon the fantastic web site BLDGBLOG and have been following it closely ever since. BLDGBLOG is curated by writer Geoff Manaugh and is wonderfully difficult to describe. Geoff explores ideas of the interaction of our designed/built environments with landscapes and natural processes. Geoff kindly took time out of his schedule to sit down and ponder a few questions I had about his work. I hope you enjoy it." (Clastic Detritus)

Best of the Ice Caves, Mt. Erebus, Antarctica: "Descending into and exploring the ice caves on Mount Erebus has to have been the most surreal experience of my entire trip to Antarctica this past field season. Now that I’m back from the ice, I’ve had time to sift through all of my photos and those of my colleagues, and I’ve picked out the very best of the ice cave photos from Erebus Expedition 2010-2011." (Science Friday)

Of Bad Odors and Good Yarns: "I was sitting in on a class at Harvard the other day, taught somewhere in the ancient warrens of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, listening to a lecture on molecular evolution. The professor, a tenured Harvard biologist and museum curator, was talking about a particular group of genes in Drosophila. But first he said something surprising: he never liked biology as a kid. 'It was always about Drosophila,' he told the class. 'I just couldn’t get excited about flies.'”  (Tooth & Claw)

The New Atheism: "But this, quite evidently, simply will not do. We still go back and  back, and when we get to the end of a chain of traditions, we find someone with a pen! A human being, just like you and me! So the church, just like the Muslim authorities, took some human writings, no matter how fenced round with sanctity, and then elevated these writings to a stature they simply do not and cannot possess." (Choice in Dying)

Pakistan floods: Predictable or predicted, but a disaster nonetheless: "So the Pakistani government did forecast the flood – at least four days out – in plenty of time to get people in northern Pakistan’s valleys out of the way. The problem was not with the meteorological and hydrologic science either internationally or in Pakistan. Instead, disaster was ensured when flood warnings were not taken sufficiently seriously by regional authorities, media, and residents." (Highly Allochthonous)

Friday Fault Photos: Fault Scarp at Fairview Peak, Nevada: "On that same gray day in early December that MOH and I found flow-banded rhyolite, brecciated rhyolite, tuff, fossils, and Earthscope, we made our way up the wide, gravelled, but unmarked road to the fault scarp on Fairview Peak." (Looking for Detachment)

Stand Back! "Ah, rocks. How I love pounding on you." (Outside the Interzone

A Look at the Marcus Landslide in the McDowell Mountains of Arizona: "For those aware of the special appeal in 'seeing' long-gone events and the power of geologic observation in resurrecting such events, the Marcus landslide is a truly wonderful story." (Earthly Musings)

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