What's on my mind.

31 July 2007

I for one am disappointed...

...in the wizarding press.

The apparent paper of record for the wizarding world, The Daily Prophet, is little more than a mis-quoting mud-slinging tabloid. And if the Order of the Phoenix movie is any judge the word of the paper is taken over the word of highly accomplished wizards! Disgraceful!

Rita Skeeter should be tarred and feathered for what she said about Rubeus Hagrid!

P.S. Yeah, I'm only half way through Goblet of Fire. I know I'm like seven years behind the times.

30 July 2007

Wow, am I lucky!

I thought my family was crazy but these two, Evan at Mutant Babies (formerly of Atheist's Wager) and Female Science Professor have shown me they could be much worse.

Thank you Mom and Dad for raising us so that by the time we were out of our teens we, mostly, didn't resort to petty fighting. (Wish I could say you are still setting a good example but the whole thing with Pat is just silly on both sides.) And for raising us so that we would never suggest throwing a glass of cold water in a toddlers face to calm him down. I doubt there is a parent of a grown child out there who never wanted to do something similar to his child at some point but at least we wouldn't suggest anyone else do it and wouldn't actually do it. Particularly to a 1-yr old.

Thank you for teaching me that I could do and be anything I wanted. I never doubted that I could be a geologist. I'll also take the liberty of thanking you on behalf of my sister-in-laws (present and former) for teaching my brothers how to wash clothes, do dishes, pick up after themselves, and cook. They may not be primarily responsible for these household chores but they do know how to and can help out.

FSP's family is so different than mine. I'm a little amazed she is a science professor coming from a family with such rigid gender roles. What her family must think of her and her husband's life?!? I sometimes forget how wonderful my family is. When we get together, everybody is in and out of the kitchen, fixing food, cleaning up, playing with little ones,...no

I don't know how deeply entrenched the gender roles in FSP's family or if she was encouraged by her family much in school but I'd like to tell you about my family. I had a shirt when I was little that said "Girls can do anything" and they made sure I knew it.

Mom's father, Paw Paw, had a hard time with Granny working (A man-of-his-position's wife volunteers and plays bridge, she does not work.) but he always supported my mom. When she went to college, she assumed she'd be a teacher (the other option was nurse, and WOW do you not want my mother to be your nurse). Even though she was married and had kids her parent's encouraged her in her education. When she realized school teacher was not her calling and went to graduate school, Paw Paw couldn't have been prouder, I'm sure. I know he was proud when she got the appointment at UAB. When she and her first husband separated and then divorced, he always supported her. (Of course he also thought Mom had hung the moon.) He never took me to see the trains. He took Pat, even though he'd been retired for several years. But I was a girl and why would I want to go see his trains? Still, he believed I could be anything. (Paw Paw thought the sun rose and set in my eyes, which is OK since I thought same about him. Hell, he thought that about all of four of his grandkids, his daughter, and wife.)

I don't know where my dad learned to be such a good man (Grandpa died when I was 3) but he is. He treats me like I'm still 12, but he's pretty good. He was even a stay at home Dad for awhile. As soon as I discovered geology he was all for it. If I'd wanted to study slugs, he'd have been right there, too. My brothers and sister, of course, have always encouraged me and are proud of me, their sister the scientist.

I don't know where I'd be without them.

26 July 2007

Lots and Locks of Love

My sister is awesome!

About a month ago her BFF donated her hair to Locks of Love. Nettie wanted to donate but was also relieved when Mom said her pony tail wasn't 10 inches long and so she couldn't yet.

Jump to yesterday. Mom stops by Kidz Kuts to get Nettie's bangs trimmed. Nettie asks the hairdresser if her hair is long enough to donate and is told yes and her hair will make a great wig for a child. So she says "let's do it." Not only does is she the cutest thing EVER but on the form she wrote that she was donating in honor of our sister Anna and then donated her whole next allowance (which Mom matched and then some). Her hair pony-tail went in the envelope as they watched and it will be go out with today's mail.

I'm so proud.

Carbon Sequestration, WTF is that?

It is what I do. Or at least the research I am currently working on.

'Carbon sequestration' is the term used by the U.S. Dept of Energy to refer to projects designed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it for the long term. Why DOE choose sequestration instead of storage, like the rest of the English speaking world, no one out side the agency knows but we are stuck with a word that has most of the public going "huh???" but no one asked me.

Twice recently when asked what it is I do, I've had people assume that because I work in fossil fuel research I am not in an environmentally friendly field. Both times I was quick to point to the CO2 sequestration project, which I spend most of my work week on (unless of course I am slacking off). I am sorry I didn't challenge the individual's perception that fossil fuels are inherently bad. (as this cartoon illustrates)

The division of the state agency I work for is called the Energy Investigation Program. There are several projects going at the moment. A couple of them have to do with estimating reserves and potential for conventional oil and gas development, coal bed methane development, and coal reserves; two of them are about CO2 sequestration; one is tangentially related to CO2 sequestration. Not one employee in the EIP (or the whole agency for that matter) wants to see our planet raped and pillaged or rapid global climate change (a.k.a. global warming), nor (I am fairly certain) do any of us hold any other anti-environment views. We do however understand the necessity of the use of fossil fuels in the short and long terms to maintain the standard of living the developed and developing worlds have come to know and love.

Are big energy companies environmentally friendly? Not out of the goodness of their hearts. They are businesses and they exist to make money not be nice. If being "greener" will make their profits go up, then they will be "greener".

Are Americans prepared to stop driving their cars, stop using electricity, stop buying plastic shit,...? NO.

Most of the electricity you use (at least if you are living in America) is from coal fired power plants. If we stop mining coal you will not be able to set your thermostat at 70° and keep your beer cold in the fridge.

The gas used to heat millions of homes across America (and the world) comes from the burning of natural gas and propane. It has to come out of the ground. I like to not get frostbite. How about you?

Almost every single drop of the fuel used to power cars, trains, buses, boats, and planes comes from crude oil. (A very few of you use biodiesel and good for you. There is ethanol being used. There isn't enough used cooking oil for all of us. Not enough corn to feed the world and run our cars. You are still shooting CO2 out your tailpipe.) Without oil rigs the world over, I would not have gotten to work this morning and neither would have you. Are you prepared to ride a bike, keep horses, and not travel very far ever? I didn't think so.

Are there things we can do to lessen our impact on the Earth? OF COURSE! There are many things we can all do everyday to lessen the amount of fossil fuel used to support our way of life and lessen our environmental footprint (carbon and otherwise). Public transit, car pooling, planning errands to avoid extra driving, recycling, shorter showers, public transit, washing the clothes in warm rather than hot water, turning the thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter, programmable thermostats, recycling,...I could go on and on.

Do we need to look into alternatives for fossil fuels? YES. It will one day be economically and environmentally unavoidable. Right now there are no commercially viable alternatives to the gasoline and diesel, universally available. Alternatives for electricity production help but all have environmental costs that have to be weighed. (Where you going to put that nuclear waste? What river are you going to dam?)

These are complex problems that we created over the last 100 years. There is no simple solution. Please don't assume that my job is about stripping the world's natural resources, future be damned. I hope to one day have grandchildren, too. I am, however, a realist, geologist, and environmentalist.

24 July 2007

Lovely Rant

A lovely post here by John Scalzi at Whatever about Bush, the administration and the pointlessness of impeachment.

I'd just like to add that not only was Clinton worried about his place in history and he had actually read the Constitution, he had more than two working brain cells. Whether you like he politics or not, you have to admit he is smart. I don't know about W. I think he is LD but there is a slight possiblity that he is really smart and just plays dumb.

23 July 2007

Quickies (icky picture at bottom)

Two quick things (second one contains a graphic picture, you have been warned):

1) My life has, in the last few weeks, become a soap opera. Not one of those racy Mexican ones where everyone is having sex all the time, either; no, my life could almost be the lifetime original movie of the week.


Don't scroll if you aren't prepared for grossness!

2) Why you should know what poison ivy, oak, and sumac look like:
This is my nephew -

This is my nephew on poison oak or sumac -

I warned you. Nasty, isn't it?

A Celebration of Anna

Last weekend was a crush of family.

Friday evening, almost thirty of us ate at Robert and Patricia's house. Saturday morning about twenty of us went rode out just off Anna's favorite beach and gave her earthly remains to the sea. The family all regrouped at Riva's house for lunch. Then we had the celebration of Anna's life Saturday afternoon and we did our best to celebrate. (Much laughter was heard). I have no idea how many friends of hers joined us at Masonboro Yacht Club to enjoy each other's company and the lovely surroundings. I think it is safe to say we exceeded the maximum capacity at certain points of the evening.

I took pictures of almost all of the family (and near family) members at Robert's and the Celebration, along with some secnic shots (no not the guys on the boat, sorry). I some how missed Tom and didn't get a good picture of Betsy. You can see them here:
Anna's Memorial

Guess I'm not worring about using names anymore!

20 July 2007

Ack! Mice!

Just went to see Of Mice and Mozart, performed by local 6-10 year-olds. Two very brave ladies (both of whom, coincidentally, I know from church, how weird is that?) decided to try a musical with little kids this summer. In two weeks, three hours a weekday, they got a musical out of those kids. They all had their lines memorized, mostly sang loud enough to be heard, and were entirely too cute. (I'm only slightly biased, being the sister to one of the actresses.)

Kudos to Laura and Jane (and any other helpers)! Bravo to the kids!

I took pictures, of course, but not very many (low battery).
Of Mice and Mozart

19 July 2007


John Scalzi brought the song "One of Us" (as recorded by Joan Osbourne) to mind this morning. Yes, I know many people find it annoying, trite, and/or stupid. I like it. Didn't so much at first, but it got under my skin. (I've never been accused of having impeccable musical taste.)

I like it for one of the reasons Scalzi points out - it asks a question in a way that might make the listener think about the topic in a different way.

My favorite bit, the one I think is the reason I really started liking the song, is "if God had a face, what would it look like." I think that who one is, how one lives one's life, what one creates, and what one leaves behind are far more important than what one looks like. And a person creations and reputation/legacy is far more important to recognize than a picture of the person. It also tells you a lot more about someone. So I feel that, in a way, God does have a face. It is in the beauty around us. In my admittedly weird and contradictory belief system, God created the universe and is created by us and the rest of the universe. Therefore, it is his face or at least far more important indicator of who he is than any corporeal visage he might have or we perceive. All parents thinks their child has the face of an angel (at least when asleep); I think we all have the face of God. (There are some implications to this that I try not to dwell on.)

That verse is part of what spurred me to verbalize (not quite the right word, synthesize?) that belief. I heard it and thought "but God doesn't have a face, he doesn't have any kind of body..." and ran with it.

One or two of the comments on Whatever mention the God was one of us. But does any church really teach that the Christ was just like you and me? No, they teach that Jesus was like you and me, only perfect. I've always felt that the song referred more to the God-the-Father persona anyway, not God-the-Son. The authoritative rule giver, God.