GeologicalScienceBlog - subjects include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Random Thoughts, & Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian/pragmatist viewpoint. As a Dad & Grandad, I am concerned about the overgrowth of government at the expense of freedom. Background - two degrees in Geology (BS '77, MS '90), started studying Geology beginning Senior Year of high school (1971 - 1972) <68>

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Global Warming = More Robust Poison Ivy!

About the time my computer was on its way to its crash, I mentioned a minor case of poison ivy, which turned into a major hassle. Though mostly restricted to my forearms, I was worried that it would continue to spread, so I sought a doctor's treatment, which include some steroids. So I have a the recent reminder of poison ivy as a reference. And as an aside, the pharmacist suggested avoiding beer while taking the steroids, so between that and the sinus infection, I haven't had a beer in probably 3 weeks and I am starting to get mean (just kidding). I finished the steroids yesterday, so I may have a glass of fine quality ale tonight. All things in moderation.

As reported in this link (and yesterday's AJC), more carbon dioxide means more robust poison ivy. This should be no great surprise, as carbon dioxide is plant food. There is ample evidence of other plants being more verdant as a result of increased carbon dioxide. The AJC made reference to the recent increases of CO2, but the fact remains that it still only comprises 0.038% of the atmosphere.

A part of the debate that remains - Is the elevated CO2 the cause of global warming or the effect of global warming? I have explained before about how ocean waters, warmed by increased solar activity would naturally release more of their dissolved CO2, the same way that your beer loses its fizz when it warms. It is seen as plausible by some scientists that the temperature rose first, then CO2 followed.

The debate ain't over.

A Cut-and-Paste Disclaimer

I don't know if anyone has posted anything like this and if someone can do better - Have at it!

What it is - is a "boilerplate" disclaimer that can be cut and pasted (or referred to) whenever we feel compelled to reply to the latest idiocy of a politician that once served with honor in the military. I fear that we may need something like this to preface comments if John McCain choses to run for President in 2008.

We also need it 'cause there are always Moonbats waiting to swoop and excoriate us for criticizing a veteran.

So here goes my lame attempt:

"As loyal American citizens, we honor the past military service of _____________________. We recognize the value of the sacrifice of this veteran during his/her military service. Our current criticism/contempt is not about the past military service of said subject. Instead, it is about the idiotic political viewpoints/statements/treasonous acts being committed for the purpose of furthering current personal or political party goals."

I just get tired of people trying to shield John Murtha, John McCain, John Kerry,... from their present political statements (and the damage done), by dragging out this tired old red herring.

I am not satisfied with the wording, but I can't find the proper inspiration at this moment. The morning coffee has worn off.

The Motivations of the DC Sniper

(Still blogging from the library.)

By way of Blogmeister USA, here is a Michelle Malkin post on the inner thoughts of the convicted DC Sniper.

Though apparently not part of a conspiracy, John Allen Muhammed (and his young cohort) was just a "lone wolf" doing the bidding of the Islamist mindset. I am actually surprised that this has not happened more. We are fighting a mindset that has no rules.

Has anything been said about invoking "hate crimes" prosecution for this case? Not that I agree with the concept of "hate crimes", it is just that illustrating when they are not used helps point out the danger in their existence and selective use.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Before the Hurricane Season "Heats Up"...

Just a reminder. Why not visit this link and then track down other resources concerning the Gulf of Mexico?

It is summertime and most of the Gulf of Mexico is within the Tropics. The passageways between Cuba and Florida and Cuba and the Yucatan are narrow, allowing little water exchange with the Atlantic and Carribean. Look at the 3D image of the Gulf, see all of that light-colored continental shelf off the Florida, Texas, and Louisiana Coasts, as well as North of the Yucatan? All of that shallow water heats more easily than deep water.

In other words, it is normal for the Gulf to be hot in the summertime. If the Bermuda High Pressure System shoots one or more hurricanes into the Gulf, it will supercharge them, as it did with the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and Katrina and Rita last year.

Whatever happens now has probably happened before, before the Industrial Revolution, before extensive written human history. We just have so much coastal development, i.e., people and businesses building perhaps were they shouldn't. Those are important reasons for the greater damage, along with the more active cycle of hurricane activity, in which we find ourselves.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Big Lie is Still a Lie

So, Al Gore has convinced someone to bankroll a movie about his primary obession, human-caused Global Warming.

So, a couple of years (or so) after Al Gore, the black preacher, screached "He betrayed us,... he played on our fears,...", here is Al Gore playing on our fears.

Ultimately, the Sun's activity and the Earth's distance from the Sun (and axial orientation in relation to the Sun) are the biggest influences on Earth's temperatures.

Carbon dioxide is a minor Greenhouse Gas, vastly trailing Water Vapor and the human-generated carbon dioxide emissions are dwarfed by natural emissions.

Other ways in which humans might affect the climate would include deforestation, especially in Tropical areas and the growth of Urban Heat Islands.

But with a "background" (Earth history), where the only constant is change, it is difficult at best to assess human effects. And there are Earth events that have not happened since the advent of organized human culture and written records. Whatever happens now and in the future has probably happened before, without human influences. Why did the previous Ice Age end about 12,000 years ago? What caused the Earth to at least temporarily warm? Why are we on the third period of Global Warming in the last 2,000 years?

The science of climate changes is not going to be settled for a long time, as we do not yet know all of the reasons for past changes. Some natural cycles enhance each other, some cancel each other out and all of these cycles are on different time scales. Plus toss in random events.

The hysteria is over computer models. There is some value to models, but computer modeling cannot forsee every future event. And do the models do anything, besides project current trends in the same direction, whether up or down? Do they show any current upward trends becoming downward trends at some point in the future?

What we see when we look at paleoclimate data, based on various proxies, is a history of change, both "upward and downward".

Instead of turning to Socialism (or worse) for answers, we should be looking to try to adapt to changes, as they may be primarily natural, with only a small human imprint.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Senate Immigration Bill...

If Vicente Fox and Jimmah Carter like it, something's wrong...

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama has an article on WND today that includes a lot of the hazards buried in this Trojan Horse bill.

We need to look to the House for help on this one. This ain't the kind of thing that is going to get fixed correctly during an election year.

A Little More Progress on ANWR?

By way of Lifelike Pundits, I found my way to Blog for ANWR, where they report the House passage of H.R. 5429, The American-Made Energy and Good Jobs Act, which, if somehow passed by the Imperial House of Lords (U.S. Senate), is a step in the right direction toward future energy supplies.

Yes, conservation does have its place, but we need a vibrant ecomony to produce the energy-saving technologies of the future. ANWR drilling is a part of this future. Aside from helping the supply side of the equation, it sends a message to Hugo Chavez, et al.

On the subject of Hugo Chavez, on FrontPageMag this morning, Lowell Ponte has a good article on the hoped-for future collapse of Hugo Chavez. Last night, while having trouble sleeping, I made the repeated mistake of turning to ABC News, this time it was World News Now, where they had a somewhat informative, somewhat fawning piece on Venezuela. Some of the oil fields only require about 60 feet of drilling to reach oil reservoirs. That I did not know.

From the Ponte piece:

"Chavez in mid-April threatened that if invaders were about to remove him from power, he would order the destruction of Venezuela’s oil fields. In other words, like Hitler ordering the destruction of a defeated Germany, Chavez proclaimed that if he could not rule Venezuela he would destroy its economy and leave its poor in desolation. Thus would end the society of native houses built on poles above the waters of the Gulf of Venezuela and Lake Maracaibo that prompted Spanish explorers to name the place after Italy’s Venice." (Emphasis added.)

Just a reminder of another reason "Modern Liberals Ain't", Leftists, such as Saddam Hussein and Hugo Chavez think nothing of the environmental damage caused by damaged well heads and pipelines. Capitalists don't blow up oil wells, unless it is absolutely necessary to put out an oil-well fire.

Why does the Hollywood Left adore such dirtbags?

As for what will happen in the Senate, we need to demonstrate resolve in reminding RINOs that we will not forget their self-serving alliances with Democrats. I think Georgia's two Senators, Isakson and Chambliss are reliable for a "Yes" on ANWR drilling.

Mental Illness in Michigan

(Still blogging from the library. A neighbor may look at my computer this weekend to determine if is salvageable.)

Yesterday, it was either on the Dennis Prager show or Hugh Hewatt, the Michigan Department of Education is considering purging educational materials of the words "America", "American", and such. Because they think that the terms should be available to other nations in the Western Hemisphere. Yeah, I guess they want Hugo Chavez to have access to this term if he wants it.

Pam at Blogmeister USA has more on this idiocy. This offers more evidence of the pervasive takeover of government and especially the education hierarchy by Lib/Leftists and their fuzzy-headed thinking.

Why Modern Liberals Ain't - XIII

Over at Blogmeister USA, Pam has a post on remarks by the evil, despicable British MP George Galloway (Islamist Appeasement Party), suggesting that a suicide killing of PM Tony Blair would be justifiable.

Even when we suffer through Democrat Party rule (and the prospects of more in the future), no one with a grain of sense would ever wish for the trauma of the assassination of an elected national leader, especially during wartime.

Here is the link to the original UK Telegraph article. I know in some ways, UK citizens have less Freedom of Speech than we have. Aren't there some sort of Sedition Laws that PM Blair can enforce, or does he prefer to not draw more attention to this waste of oxygen?

And we need to remember that some in the country, e.g. Randi Rhoades (sp.?) has joked about this sort of thing and I am sure that many Leftists have expressed such thoughts in private.

The Democrat Party ain't what it used to be.

Just a Reminder...

Everyday is Veteran's Day and everyday is Memorial Day.

Repeated prayers are needed for those that have stood in the harm's way in the past and for those that stand in for us in harm's way in the present and future. If we are too old to join, our prayers, "Thanks", and cheerleading still helps.

Why not visit a "local" Milblog and leave a note of Thanks.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Continuing the "Price Gouging" Rant

We all know that Lib/Leftists like to appeal to people's emotions and that is what the MSM does with the "Price Gouging"issue, whether it be about oil/gasoline prices or dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters.

We have to face this now, as evidence points toward years of active hurricanes and the Gulf Coast is a natural target.

I have friends on the Gulf Coast. But because of the distance and financial difficulties, including not having a reliable vehicle to make the trip to the Gulf and back, I have to make my donations in other ways. I plan to be going to New Orleans the first week of June to help an elderly couple rebuild, as part of our church mission.

But suppose I were in a position to get my old pickup cranked and running well enough to purchase some 4 X 8 sheets of plywood and some tarps and make a run to the coast. My costs include the retail costs of these items, gasoline, food, lodging, and once there, I would have to seek permission to "set up shop" or else drive around to serve the needs of fellow U.S. citizens.

If I double the cost of the items, by the time I take out the materials costs, sales taxes, gasoline, food, lodging,...where is the "windfall"? Even if I were to be able to stay with a friend or camp out somewhere, or even sleep in the cab of my truck, there are still expenses. And I might be missing work (and pay), while "on the road".

And as I ranted yesterday, no one has to buy the items that I would offer for sale. If my prices are too high, they don't have to buy. They can go about their business and wait for me to "cut my losses" and drop prices. At some point, I am going to have to go home and I would not want to have to carry the stuff back home and store it.

The government simply cannot cover every need. Last year some 90,000 square miles were affected by Katrina and Rita. The same thing could happen this year.

Many of us would love to give away everything needed by the hurricane victims, but we have lives too. We don't have the buying power, the "economies of scale" of Home Depot, etc..

It is not "taking advantage of someone's misery", it is serving a need, as needed goods are taken where they are needed.

We just need more politicians to show the courage to let the Free-Market system "do its thing". And ignore the nattering nabobs.

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Last Night's Fair Tax Rally Sounded Like a "Barn Burner"

Clark Howard stumbled with his support for a Flat Tax, but afterwards he made a few good points. Clark should have known that when people are pumped up about the Fair Tax, a Flat Tax is seen as a step backward.

You should have heard Herman Cain. He was especially inspiring when you consider his health concerns. I haven't been to yet this morning, but there are probably numerous links to info about the rally, the keep the "afterglow" going.

The way some Republicans have been behaving lately, voting for them in November may be difficult, but the Democrat alternatives are much likely far worse.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Random Thoughts...

Speaking of Political Whores, hasn't John McCain been busy lately turning tricks!

The Fair Tax Rally is Going to Start in a Few Minutes...

I was on my way there, but the radio said that people were being turned away from the Gwinnett Civic Center because it had reached capacity.

Neal Boortz had been worried that because of American Idol, Lost, and other distractions, no one would come.

Thankfully, it looks like that it should go well.

Maybe this portends well for keeping the groundswell going. - keep it going!

So, I guess I will be listening from home and then watching the season finale of Lost. Other blogs follow "24", "Lost" is one of my few TV weaknesses. I have found it strange enough to be interesting.

Political Fascism in Mississippi

We heard about incidents such as this last year after Katrina and Rita, but John Stossel has a detailed report about government attacks on the Free-Market system aimed at citizens trying to help other citizens.

From the Stossel piece:

"John Sheperson is a hero. When Hurricane Katrina struck, he turned on the news and learned that people in Mississippi had lost electric power. They desperately needed generators. He decided to help them, while helping himself.

He borrowed money, bought 19 generators, rented a U-Haul and drove it 600 miles to Mississippi, where he offered to sell the generators for twice what he paid for them. Eager buyers surrounded his truck. "People were excited," he said."

Instead of having the courage to let the Free-Market system "do its thing", the Mississippi Attorney Generalisimo Jim Hood order the confiscation of the generators and put Mr. Sheperson in jail, so no one got the benefits of the generators.

After renting the U-Haul, paying for the gas/diesel, lodging and food, how much money do you suppose Mr. Sheperson might have cleared, if Mississippi had not confiscated everything?

No one had to buy those generators! That's why we call it the "Free Market".

If the local citizens had thought they were too expensive, they could have driven by the parking lot for days and watched the price drop, as the seller became desperate to unload them!

This is Fascism. Jim Hood is a political whore that should be turned out of office at the first opportunity, regardless of his party. If he sells himself that easily when the MSM starts hollering "price gouging", he has demonstrated a total lack of sense.

Those generators could have helped someone. Neighbors could have formed a consortium to purchase a generator. They could have bartered, negotiated, but instead, the State of Mississippi stole Mr. Sheperson's property.

The Free-Market system brought us our prosperity. If we are going to give it away because we don't like the ebb-and-flow of prices, I am sure the government would love that additional bit of power over your lives.

Next time there is a natural disaster, would anyone blame Mr. Sheperson if he doesn't want to help? No one had to buy those generators. Other than maybe hassling him about collecting state sales taxes, the AT had no business getting into this!

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Prayers for Herman Cain

While listening to a replay of Boortz last night, Neal mentioned that Herman Cain had been ill with one or more types of cancer and that he was undergoing chemotherapy today. Tomorrow is the Fair Tax Rally and Herman had planned on being there, if at all possible.

If you have ever read or listened to Herman Cain, he is a valuable resource and a valued cheerleader for the Fair Tax. He needs our prayers for his recovery.

Random Thoughts

Why don't we pass the hat so maybe we can send the Dixie Chicks on a tour of Saudi Arabia and/or Iran (and somehow have their passports come up missing while in one of those two august nations).

Maybe they can take a look from the inside of a nation where women have few if any rights and then decide if this is such a bad place.

I made the hideous mistake of listening to the opening of Good Morning America this morning when Diane Sawyer started talking about their new CD, about the Dixie Chicks being three years older and having more wisdom. Hoo haa! I am not going to waste any more electricity for a while on GMA.

Here on WND, Pat Boone offers his thoughts as to the "wisdom" of the Chicks. As for their withdrawing their apology for their previous remarks, that doesn't matter 'cause they didn't mean it anyway! They were just sorry they got caught.

Why Modern Liberals Ain't - XII

(Blogging from the college)

Dennis Prager has a good summation as to the deterioration of the "liberal" mind since the 1960s.

He has a list of buzzwords often thrown at Conservatives or any other dissenters from their "annointed viewpoint". We need to learn not to fear these minor slings and arrows. If in an animated conversation with a Lib/Leftist, politely force them to define their terminology, if they start to fling about such words.

You often need to lead with the reminder that "Disagreement is not hate". Let them get shrill while you remain cool and calm. Sometimes the best way to get "someone's goat" is to refuse to argue with them.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Upcoming Hurricane Season is Probably Going to be Busy

As I stated multiple times last year, after Hurricane Katrina, we are in an active cycle of Hurricane activity and probably have been so since the mid- to late-1990s. The last active cycle was from approximately from the 1940s to about 1970.

So if anyone talks about hurricane activity since 1970, they ain't telling you the entire story. They are using the beginning of a "less active cycle" as a baseline to exaggerate the current active cycle.

And this cycle could last another 20 years. It is most likely just the normal "ebb and flow" of nature and we are just along for the ride. From this MSNBC link:

"U.S. hurricane experts say the sharp rise in storm activity is related to a natural shift in climatic conditions and sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic that is expected to last from 15 to 40 years. (Emphasis added)

Some climatologists, however, say there are indications that human-induced global warming could be increasing the average intensity of tropical cyclones, although there is no evidence to date that it is affecting the number of hurricanes."
(Emphasis added).

And where the hurricanes go is a matter of the location of persistent High-Pressure Systems in the Atlantic Ocean. If the High Pressure is in the Eastern Atlantic (Azores High), hurricanes may wander up the Atlantic Coast. If the High Pressure System is in the Western Atlantic (Bermuda High), it may guide the hurricanes into the Gulf of Mexico, where the water temperatures are naturally higher, which naturally "supercharges" the hurricanes, if other conditions are favorable.

As sure as the hurricanes are coming, so is the blame game, among the Leftist MSM and their fellow travelers.

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10.5 Apocalypse...Probably Not!

(Blogging from the college...)

When one's home computer has crashed, one may tend to drift towards other unusual behaviors. Until I get rid of this sinus infection, I cain't go back to my ongoing beer/ale research. I am also on steroids to get rid of my poison ivy rash, so again, a teetotaler I am. So I watch more TV than usual, when not doing yardwork or waiting for pool cover work.

I don't know if any of you have checked in on the NBC 3-part disaster flick "10.5 Apocalypse" (Saturday, Sunday, and this upcoming Tuesday), where the Western U.S. goes to hell in a geologic handbasket. It has just enough science to be interesting and I am waiting to see how much of the Western U.S. is laid waste.

You know, it is refreshing to see a natural disaster flick where the United States (and our president) are not to blame. And no mention of global warming!!!

As for the envisioned chain-reaction of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, etc..., it answer is...

Probably Not!

[Without my Physical Geology textbook here for refresher sake, I am going from memory.]

Plate Tectonics is driven by vertical convection currents in the Asthenosphere, a semi-molten layer beneath the rocky crust (the Lithosphere). So imagine conveyor belt systems upon which the continental plates ride "piggyback". Where there are Asthenospheric "upwhellings" of molten material, if these are upwhellings are linear, they split the overlying crust and push the plates apart. This is what happens beneath the Atlantic Ocean in regards to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and also in the Eastern Pacific Ocean with the East Pacific Rise. So there are upwhellings of intense heat in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean and the East Pacific Ocean.

In the last 30 million years or so, the North American Plate has pushed over and distorted a portion of the East Pacific Rise. A portion of the East Pacific Rise is present North of the Mendocino Fracture Zone, off the coast of N. Calif., Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Here the Juan de Fuca Plate is sinking beneath the North American Plate. The sinking Juan de Fuca Plate is remelting and that is what causes the occasional NW U.S. earthquakes and the Cascade Volcano eruptions (including Mt. St. Helens).

South of the Mendocino Fracture Zone along the Pacific Coast to south of the southern tip of Baja California, the coastal area is dominated by the San Andreas Fault Zone, which is where a small portion of the Pacific Crustal Plate is sliding past the North American Plate. Inland from this area, the mantle upwhelling (mantle plume) is under the continent and may be responsible for the hot spot vulcanism (San Francisco volcanic field (Flagstaff area), the Long Valley Caldera in Calif., Yellowstone in Wyoming, and perhaps the Rio Grande Rift).

The Rio Grande Rift represents a thinning of the continental crust from the El Paso area northward into central Colorado. If the continent were to be rent asunder, per the movie, this would be a natural "weak spot", as the crust appears to be thinned, based on heat-flow data, seismic surveys, and the presence of young volcanic rocks from the Potrillo Volcanic Field in Southern New Mexico, northward along the river.

The "geophysics" of the areas under the continent are different enough that stresses probably are not going to be quickly transferred from one area to another.

Another issue brought forth in the movie was the "Accelerated Plate Movement" theory as proposed by the discredited geologist father of Kim Delaney's character, Dr. Samantha Hill. If the plate motions were to reverse themselves, I would be looking at what was going on along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Had one of the plates started to sink in relation to the other? That would signify the reversal from an upwhelling to a subduction zone, where one plate was sinking beneath another.

Mantle upwhellings have stopped before, but we presume it takes millions of years to transpire. And I don't recall any mention of a mantle plume beneath the Western U.S., in the movie. Dr. Samantha Hill's character makes mention of "Sub-Asthenosphere" earthquakes, but to my knowledge, the "plastic" nature of the Asthenosphere makes seismic wave propogation unlikely. The most damaging earthquakes, by conventional wisdom (and supported by data) originate in the upper 100 km (60 miles) of the crust.

The deepest earthquakes are associated with the deep Pacific Ocean subduction zones and some of them originate from as much as 700 kilometers below the surface. With these deepest of earthquakes, the seismic waves are associated with the sinking oceanic plate, which though partially-melted, still retains enough rigidity to transfer stresses.

So, in summary, there are an endless number of "what ifs" and things that geologists and geophysicists dream of seeing (for the sake of learning), in this movie, and while anything is possible, it ain't likely. Remember, it is Sweeps Month.

[I may be rambling a bit with my rant, I have errands to run. I may add another post to this subject, when time permits.]

Friday, May 19, 2006

Overcoming a Fear of the Bible (Reposted)

Today's WND column by Bob Just has some good insights and tips as to "getting into the Bible" (or getting back there if you have drifted).

A few months ago, I blogged about the Disciple Bible Study series as a good way to get started. (I went back and tried to find the post, but my timed session at the library is about to end). And I got other places to go.

Anyway, there is no need to be intimidated by the Bible. It has "staying power" for a reason. Just find some quiet time and take some of Bob Just's advice to heart. It will have a calming effect, as does prayer.

Give it a try.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It's Official...My Home Computer Has Crashed

So blogging will be even more sporadic than it has been recently.

I tried valiently to save it. I just hope that the data (photos, Power Point, diagrams, other stuff that teachers use) can somehow be recovered. We live by the computer, we die by the computer (so to speak).

It just kind of fits in with the way things have been going lately, except for the completed hike with my son. That is one of the few bright spots lately.

I will be busy taking Assistant Scoutmaster Training prior to my son's Boy Scout camp this summer, where I will spend a week. An entire week without a beer. I hope he appreciates it. I will also be missing our local summer beer can show. I hope he appreciates it. He better make some progress on at least a couple of merit badges.

And I apologize for not blogging over at Beer Can Blog recently. I have been doing some research, but haven't had time to write about it.

Ya'll blog on and keep me in your prayers.

Be back when I can.


Monday, May 15, 2006

On the Importance of Pacing Oneself

On our Boy Scout camping trip, this last weekend, my son and I each reached a milestone when we completed (and survived) an 11.5 mile hike around the Chickamauga and Chattanooga Battlefield park, in NW Georgia, near Chattanooga. During the hike, we stopped at about 19 or so monuments, where the Scouts filled in a question sheet with info about the battle. The Chickagmauga - Chattanooga battlefield sites (just a few miles apart) are of note because they were designated the first National Military Park in 1895. More info is presented on this National Park Service website.
My son's previous best was hiking 1.5 miles of the Appalachian Trail (last summer) to a shelter and then returning the 1.5 miles. My last long walk was in September, 2000 when I walked 3 miles to a collect water level data from a well near Savannah, Georgia, then did the 3 miles return trip. Though it was flat, it was a chore as I had neglected to take along any water. Fortunately, it was a windy, overcast day in Savannah, which kept the temperatures down.

As alluded to in the previous post, I had come down with a sinus infection on Friday morning, with no time to return to the doctor, so I had to rough it. The only medication I had was an over-the-counter antihistamine, which made me a little drowsy. Though I was sick, I knew that if I didn't make the entire hike, my son wouldn't have had the motivation to do so either.

The only way I can make these sorts of hikes (as with long distance driving) is to not focus on the entire distance, but rather focus on the next landmark. As my son began to tire, I reminded him (it seemed like a hundred times) to focus on that next battlefield monument in the distance or the next hilltop or as we crossed large open fields, the edge of the next woods (and the shade therein).

By about mile 8, I was silently cursing the Scoutmaster with "breaking in" the new Boy Scouts (and their dads) with a 10+ mile hike, rather than perhaps a 5-miler. By mile 10 (or so), having run out of water (my allotment, my son still had his share), I was silently cursing the Park Service for not putting a water fountain "here, there, and yonder" in the monument areas. One downside to the length of the hike was that for the later battlefield monuments, some of the boys (and dads) were so tired, that it was hard to absorb the information on the plaques and markers.

And through much of the hike, we were trundling along at the back, yet we persevered and made it back to the visitor's center, where there were real bathrooms and water fountains. That brief respite, with a chance to refill water bottles made the last quarter-mile back to the campsite survivable.
Now before Summer Scout camp, we are going to drag the old exercycle out of the garage and make use of it, as any camp hikes will be in the mountains of North Georgia. Hopefully, without the sinus infection, I will be able to breathe and not have to stop and cough periodically.

No, I Haven't Sailed Off the Edge of the Earth,...

though it may seem that way.

In addition to the ongoing computer problems, there were finals to give, finals to grade, and then grades to post. It being springtime, there is also yardwork to be done, which has thus far, yielded a minor sense of accomplishment (in fighting back the weeds) and a minor poison ivy rash.

And the sinus infection, which began the day after I saw a doctor last Thursday (for a mini-checkup).

Today is cleanup day, after the Boy Scout campout, which means airing out the tent and scrubbing the insides clean of the mud tracked in after Saturday night's heavy rainfall. Throughout the day, I will try to provide a few more posts for your entertainment/information or whatever.

The coughing from the sinus infection makes me feel spacier than usual. So if I make less sense than usual, please forgive.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

While My Computer is Working...I Was Wondering...

Lately the cursor has been repeatedly freezing up on me, leaving me to reboot, time after time. As with many four year-old family computers, it has too many games, too many photos, too much stuff on it, so aside from being slow, it freezes up, which it has done often the last few days.
Anyway, I wondering, what do Muslims do when they find out they have accidentally ingested pork?
This brings to mind a story I heard a few years ago, from some geology grad students at a relatively large university in NW South Carolina. We were at a meeting at USC - Aiken and afterwards we adjourned for lunch at a local Bar-B-Que buffet (a redneck's dream, one price for all the pork, beef, and chicken bar-b-que you can eat). The students recounted the story from a few years earlier when they had attended another meeting at USC - Aiken and had visited the same restaurant, with a Muslim geology (or engineering) grad student. While enjoying their bar-b-que, they noticed the Muslim student enjoying his plate of (unknown to him) pork bar-b-que. They felt obligated to say to him "Hey dude! That's pork you are eating." Wherein the Muslim student stopped eating the pork, gave an odd facial expression and then resumed eating his pork bar-b-que, with no comment.
One just has to wonder if he went home and said to his friends, "You know, that pork stuff ain't all that bad!". I guess that makes him a fellow apostate to the Saudi grad students that I used to live nextdoor to in El Paso. They had quite a taste for Budweiser, hashish, and American women, to the point that they didn't want to go home after they graduated. They never did know that I had a Jewish roommate from Brooklyn. He (my roommate) found it quite amusing to be seated on the same couch drinking beer with an Arab. I guess with his strong Brooklyn accent, they just assumed he was Italian or something. Don't ask, don't tell.
What a country.

Yeah, Let Him Rot

Though I diverge in opinion from some (or many) Conservative brethren, I am satisfied with the Zacarias Moussaoui verdict. We shouldn't frame it as some sort of failure of nerve.
We should frame it in the strength of restraint, because we refuse to make him a martyr. He should be remembered as the "failed 9/11 highjacker", the one that got caught.
Now I am not averse to playing some mind games with him as he dwells (hopefully) in solitary confinement for decades. He is not an American citizen, so the "cruel and unusual" punishment prohibition shouldn't apply (but then, maybe that is my flawed mind). Linked above is a previous post from 4/15 where I floated a couple of ideas. Every once is a while, we could send him a little note "about last night's dinner". We could say that it was supposed to be roast beef, but the cook made a mistake and it was pork, "Hey Zac, no hard feelings, huh?". We could equip his cell with a speaker system that would play a little New Testament sound track at random times, from when Jesus cast the demons from an afflicted man into a herd of swine, which then stampeded into a nearby lake drowning themselves (no, I am too lazy to look up the exact Book, Chapter, and verses). That must have been quite noisy. I am sure the sound of stampeding, crazed, squealing hogs would play havoc with his psyche.
One more reason not to kill him, if he lives out a normal life existence and dies in prison, the 72 virgins will have gotten tired of waiting for him and he would be stuck with Helen Thomas instead.

Why Modern Liberals Ain't - XI

When I was a Liberal (in the Classical Sense), I hated tyranny, whether it was left-wing or right-wing.
Pam at Blogmeister USA reviews a Jeff Jacoby column that again highlights the odd choices of heroes of the Modern-day "liberals", as reflected in fashion statements.
If Adolph Hitler and other Nazi officials are pariahs, why not Fidel and Mao and Uncle Joe Stalin and Ho Chi Minh and Che? Nazism is a form of Socialism. If you are going to embrace Socialist tyrants and murderers, why not be honest and embrace all of them?
It is because Hitler had an ugly mustache and Joseph Goebbels had that gaunt, sickly look about himself? Were the Nazi German uniforms just a little too crisp and the officials a little too well-groomed to suit the rebellious nature of today's Leftists? Is that why Che is chic?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Another "Gem" of an Editorial Letter...

from Sunday's AJC has some "suggestions" on how to deal with recent gasoline price increases. I think the writer is a regular Lib/Leftist/Moonbat "contributor" to the Letters to the Editor.
From "Surefire ways to ease pain at the pump"
We have all hear the excuses for the high cost of gasoline, but few solutions have been offered. I will offer two. Take your pick.
Ask the Chinese to set up and supply a distribution system the same as Exxon has. [Yes, I guess the Chinese can save quite a bit of money using slave or semi-slave labor and not having to deal with the same environmental regulations as Exxon does. That is not to say that the regulations are all bad, but they do add costs.] Wal-Mart has shown us how to deliver goods at low prices. Refine the gas in a low-pay country: use massive retailing clout to hold supply costs down. [I guess that crude oil and refined petroleum products have different logistical issues doesn't enter into the thought process of a Lib/Leftist.]
Obviously, the oil/gasoline companies need have to little competition (sic). When have you heard of an oil company having a layoff? [This is where I lost my polite composure. I don't like to cuss on this blog as some folks from my church read this, but I cain't help it. I guess this dumbass doesn't remember the "oil crash" of the mid-1980s. Thousands of geologists, chemists, engineers, drillers, etc. were laid-off from big oil companies as well as smaller ones. Thousands of jobs, you jerk!
This triggered a cascade effect resulting in the closure of many smaller businesses. These people included my college roommates and classmates, some of which went to work for big companies, one of which opened a small drilling firm, which he lost during the crash. An undergraduate roommate went from having "more money than he knew what to do with" to going back home to work in his parents' furniture store, until he got back on his feet with an environmental job a few years later. Many a home mortgage was "walked away from" in Houston, New Orleans, Midland, and elsewhere.
And when the oil price rebounded slightly, these people didn't get rehired, despite their experience. The oil companies went back to hiring the newly-graduated geologists with BS and MS degrees, despite the willingness of the laid-off geologists to work for lesser pay. That is just the ebb and flow of the market place. I don't recall demonstrations by geologists demanding that the government make the oil companies rehire them.
One of my professors offered the opinion that OPEC dumped a large amount of oil on the world market at that time in order to damage our domestic industry (this was when OPEC still had considerable clout.)]
An alternative and perhaps better option is to nationalize one oil company. It will help bring down prices. [Now this person has progressed from simple dumbass to Moonbat, thinking that nationalizing an oil company will bring down prices, unless he is counting on the Mussolini-management style to cut costs. This is pure Communism.] (Is that suggestion treason?) Call it an eminent domain issue.
So this this idiot now has another novel way to use eminent domain. Your profits are too big, so we will just take you over and run your company simply for the social benefits.

Where Do Some Folks Get Their Inspiration?

When they write their Letter-to-the-Editor, for "all the world to see"? Perhaps the AJC just needed a short letter to fill some column space in their Sunday Letters page (C5), I just wonder if it was just a joke. For some reason this letter inspires the memory of John Prine's song "Illegal Smile".

Without rambling further, a Sunday (4/30) writer proposed an alternative to a border wall. He proposed a border canal, running from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas. Wide enough to accommodate shipping. A shipping canal from San Diego to Brownsville. He ended the letter with "What do we have to lose?"

Not withstanding the fact that it would probably take 150 years to build such a boondoggle, did he even look at a map before making these thoughts public? How would one even calculate the gazillions of dollars of taxpayer money needed for a project of this scale? Not even considering the "as the crow flies" distance involved, in some places, the border topography is quite dramatic, such as along the Rio Grande River between the Quitman Mountains in Hudspeth County and Big Bend in Brewster County? Go to and look at the topography from the Indian Hot Springs vicinity (South of the Quitmans) and immediately down-river, on the U.S. side. The river elevation at Indian Hot Springs is approximately 3,310 feet above Sea Level. How many locks would it take to deal with these elevation changes?

Did he consider the issue of where the water would come from? The Colorado River is already largely depleted when it reaches the Mexico border. When you consider the temperatures in the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona, how much water would be lost to evaporation? How much concrete would it take to build a canal that wide and that long? How would the canal cross the Colorado River, the Rio Grande River north of El Paso, and the Pecos River (among others)? How would the canal be built across the San Andreas Fault Zone in Southern California? How would an "all-American canal" cross the city of El Paso? There are potentially active fault zones there, too.

So there are a few of the geological issues, not to even mention the environmental ones.

Now my rant is probably ten times as long (or longer) than the original Letter to the Editor, but my point is, that unless you are making a joke, please think these things through before you commit them to public viewing.


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