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>

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A New, Very Interesting & Thoughtful Website/Blog...

was found through a post at American Thinker, by Jonathon David Carson, PhD.

The website (which doesn't apparently allow comments) is Festina Lente (Make Haste Slowly). Just a slow scan of the posted articles looks like there is a lot of cogent, deep thought here and that I am probably not worthy of commenting on those writings, even if there was the opportunity to do so.

Because of college-related work (and other tasks) at the moment, I don't have the time to delve into these articles in-depth, but if you do have the time, I would advise it. At first glance, it seems filled with material that is far beyond our MSM sound-bite world.

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Some Sage Words on the "Climate Crisis"...

from a member of the Bush family. Jeb Bush that is.

As it seems that George W. has caved in to the "Green Gang" (producing economic gangrene), it is nice to see a little wisdom coming from a "First Brother" for a change.

From American Thinker, Thomas Lifson reports these words (and others) from Jeb Bush (from an AP report in the Miami Herald):

..."Bush said those who advocate action to limit climate change are acting out of something like religious zeal.

"I don't think our policies should be based on emotion; they should be based on sound science," he said.

Rather than reducing oil consumption, Bush said the United States should focus on "energy security" - reducing dependence on oil imported from hostile or politically unstable countries by encouraging alternative fuels."

Jeb, now that you have described yourself as "light green", does that mean you are willing to allow some offshore drilling on Florida's continental shelves, far beyond sight of land?

Is someone jockeying for position to repair the nation's economy in 2012 after the "Kyoto damage" that will be done under Barack/Hillary/McCain?

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Just Another Thought...

If you are weakening and thinking about jumping onto the AGW bandwagon (well, maybe they are right), ask yourself...

Who is driving the bandwagon?

And does the bandwagon have any brakes?

If there is a driver, if the bandwagon starts picking up speed going down the slippery slope, and the driver bails, who will operate the brakes (if there are any)?

Al Gore has his tens of millions. So does Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. So does Hillary. Maybe Barack isn't quite there yet, but if Hillary/Bill manage to take the nomination away from him, there will be books written on the racism of it all and the millions will roll in.

$5 - $6/gallon gasoline (because of carbon taxes) will not hurt them as much as it would those in flyover country.

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Just a Thought...

Instead of instituting a "Windfall Profits Tax" on oil companies (that worked so well in the 1970s), why don't we institute a "Windfall Profits Tax" on futures traders and hedge funds.

I know they are a part of our free-market system, but from my point-of-view, they contribute nothing as far as production, refining, or delivery of the petroleum products to the public. That is unless individuals invest in exploration and drilling projects.

Perhaps that might be an answer, maybe use tax laws to encourage those that play upon fears to drive up futures prices to invest in privately-funded efforts to build new refineries and/or engage in new exploration.

Just something to think about as Barack/Hillary drool over the prospects of all that cash that would come by taxing oil company profits. Those taxes, of course, will trickle down to you, the consumer. But they will blame it on the Republicans. Or else remind us that it is for our own good.

That is my bias and I am sticking to it. [Though I reserve the right to edit this post, after giving it some more thought.]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Few Thoughts on April 22nd...

Happy Birthday Vladimir Ilyich Lenin! This is your day.

Oops, I meant it is Earth Day. [Same thing?]

So on the one hand, while some are concerned about the possibility of a significant period of global cooling (by observation of sun spots), Al Gore is still singing his same tune on Oprah.

If the Russian (and other) scientists are right about the cooling period, similar to the Little Ice Age (approx. 1350 - 1850), Ted Turner and others may get their wish of a smaller world population, already having screwed up the food production system with their bong-dream for high-tech corn squeezin's. Simply put, warm is better for life than cold. Warm is better for biodiversity than cold. Warm is better for agriculture than cold.

As I didn't have a class today, some of the day's activities and thoughts (that may or may not be environmentally friendly) include:

1) Class prep for the remaining Environmental Science classes for this semester (that end next Monday). That would include last minute final exam review and writing the final itself.

2) Getting a couple of recycling bins ready to go to the curbside with the trash for tomorrow AM.

3) Picked all of the morels in my front yard, washed them, sliced them, then sauteed them in butter and mixed them in with some spaghetti sauce and some pasta. It was quite a distinctive taste and the house still retains that distinctive morel aroma several hours later. I enjoyed a 22-oz bottle of Great Divide Oak-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout (in case I mis-identified the mushrooms, at least I will have had those last great glasses of ale). [There are more than one way of getting stomped, whether by Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale or Great Divide Yeti Stout.]

4) Visited a nature preserve across the river and shot a few dozen photos of wildflowers, including a couple that I had not seen before - "Fire Pink" and "Pink Lady's Slipper". I am still looking for Trout Lilies, that is one of my unfulfilled "2008 Quests". Their flowering season will be ending soon. I was at Arabia Mt. (near Stone Mt.) last Friday and Trout Lilies have been found there, but I didn't know where to look (there are 2,000 acres in the Arabia Mt. preserve). I did get some other neat photos that day.

5) Got a little more info on another component of my 2008 Quests, I am still wanting to try a beer (or ale) from Mississippi. If not for the migraine while I was in Destin for the wedding, I would have had it on draft at a local Mello Mushroom pizza place. But someone from the brewery called me and said there might be some bottles of Southern Pecan Ale in Starkville, maybe my niece can bring me a six pack. As I may have mentioned before, I have had beers from 42 of the 50 states, the missing ones are MS, WV, NE, NV, ND, SD, AK, and WY).

6) If I am not too tired, I may fire up a cigar, as it is getting warm enough outdoors at night to enjoy one. Now I just got to remember where I left my cigar cutter. [The idea is to find that stuff before you enjoy the 22 oz. bottle of stout.] I don't want to be so gauche as to use a pair of scissors to cut the tip off the cigar. I guess that is better than biting the end off. [Yes, I am lightly stomped at this point.]

7) So I am left with the challenge of "figgering out" how to photograph wildflowers (weeds to some) in my backyard that are approx. 2-3 mm in diameter. And also some of the flowers that occur on spindly stalks that sway with the least hint of a breeze.

8) At this point, I will pronounce Great Divide Oak-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout as a very good stout.

9) I haven't a clue what has gone on with the Pennsylvania primary. They probably managed without my help or analysis. Heh.

10) I am stomped, I can't remember what else I was going to blather about...

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Doldrums...With a Purpose

As the end of the semester approaches, I have been busy with writing exams and such.

Spring fever brings the desire to be out in the woods photographing wildflowers, and mushrooms, and such, on days when I don't have any classes. And this appears to be a better spring for that purpose, as we didn't get a late hard freeze and there seems to have been more rain this spring than last.

And finally my daughter's wedding reception is this evening.

So I hope to get back to doing some posting, soon.



Friday, April 11, 2008

The Morels are Back!

My encouragement worked, or so it seems. I counted three yesterday.

It is supposed to rain some more this afternoon, but then be followed by cold temps, so if some more pop up, I may do some more internet searches to verify their identity and then decide what to do (regarding harvesting, while insuring additional growth).

[Saturday AM update: There are now six, I am waiting 'til they get a little larger and hoping for a few more to pop out of the ground. Not having harvested mushrooms for food purposes before, I wonder should I thump them gently to knock a few spores off before picking them, in hopes that more will grow?]

[I am so easily entertained, sometimes.]

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Looking Forward to "Expelled"...

I hope that Ben Stein's efforts at highlighting the concept of Intelligent Design explains it well, as a number of prominent Conservatives/Libertarians get it wrong, e.g., Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz are two that come to mind. [The movie, about the Modern Liberal war-on-Intelligent-Design, is slated to be released in select theatres on April 18.]

The concept of Intelligent Design is not meant to expel discussions of fossil succession over long periods of time.

The fossil record is fact, how the changes happened cannot be replicated in a laboratory, thus it seems to me (and others), that allowing speculations is a viable part of science.

It is not meant to expel discussions of evolution in a general fashion. It is not meant to go back to the "bad old days", when no discussions of evolution were allowed at all.

It is a variation of the "Evolution with a guiding hand" concept explained to several Georgia Southern geology students in a private conversation, by a Catholic geology professor - a respected vertebrate paleontologist - 30+ years ago. It is simply to allow questions to be raised about "how could these changes have happened by accident?". Or "How did life begin without 'some assistance'?".

The Intelligent Design concept does not preclude an Old Earth, i.e., it is not "Creation Science" or "Young Earth Creation", though ID seems to have been co-opted by Creation Scientists eager to get their foot in the school-house door. In other words, the original Intelligent Design proponents do not believe that the Earth was necessarily created in six 24-hour days, 10,000 years ago.

Belief in the existing aspects of Darwinian evolution are also a matter-of-faith, though the Naturalists (Evolutionists) will deny this. And if they had strong faith, i.e., more confidence, in their own philosophy, they would be more willing to allow discussions. The treatment of ID proponents and AGW skeptics are two sides of the same Leftist, authoritarian coin and it a violation of the concept of Classical Liberalism, wherein discussions and lively debates are welcomed, not suppressed.

It is OK for scientists to say "I don't know", as there will always be mysteries. That doesn't mean we stop looking for the answer, we just need to remain in awe of the majesties of nature (big and small), whether we believe a Creator played a direct role, an indirect role, or no role at all.

Intelligent Design is not zealotry. Banning its discussion is.

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Why Modern Liberals Ain't - Victor Davis Hanson...

writes about it in his own articulate, well-thought manner, in a column.

So go give it a read.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Hillary's "Tribute" to Dr. King

After listening to another replay of Hillary Clinton's "tribute" to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the Saturday Mike McConnell radio show, it struck me that it was more about her than it was about Dr. King.

Her narrative about throwing her book bag across the room would be better served in a novel or an autobiography, where it is OK to verbally "draw a more detailed picture".

Rather, she could have described her feelings with "I was devastated when I heard the news.", then gone on to describe her view of Dr. King's accomplishments.

But as with Bill, it has to be about her. She should have spoken from her "heart" rather than relying on her ghost writer.



Waiting for the Morels

These April showers better damn bring some May flowers and hopefully some mushrooms, too.

As I may have mentioned before, photographing and identifying mushrooms (for educational purposes) is one of my science-related hobbies. Generally though, I don't trust my identifications well enough to consider cooking and eating a wild mushroom, 'cept for this case.

In the first week of April 2006, as I was walking to my car, past a portion of our front-yard xeriscape rock garden (what else do you expect a geologist to do with all of those extra rocks after field trips?), I noticed a Yellow Morel mushroom rising above the gravel. I stopped and began looking and found a total of about eight morels growing. I had never even seen a morel and here they were growing in my front yard. I chose not to pick any of them, hoping they would do their "re-seeding thing" and there would be more, next time. But there wasn't a next time. I don't know if it got too warm and dry, or what.

And there were none last year, either. And because of a late freeze in 2007 and the drought, it was a lousy year for wildflower/mushroom photography, in general.

From my reading of different mushroom websites, morels are highly desireable and somewhat hard to find. So, while I am abstaining from complaining about the rain, I eagerly await warmer temps after the early Spring rains. So if any spores remain in the soil beneath the gravels, it is time to do your thing.

[In case you are wondering, the pink petals are from two old ornamental cherry trees that provide some beautiful litter each spring, though they no longer produce cherries. They will be blooming soon, barring another late freeze, which doesn't seem likely at this point.]

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Why I am So-Not-Looking Forward...

to the "TV" changes early next year.

Aside from budgetary issues, I would prefer to keep cable TV (or anything resembling it) out of my home, if possible. As a science nerd/redneck, I miss the Discovery Channel and the Weather Channel and the History Channel and the occasional NASCAR races and other events on SpeedChannel or ESPN/ESPN2.

But the main reason is the filth that is present on many of the cable channels, represented by the likes of Jack Cafferty on CNN and Keith Olbermann (and others of his ilk) on MSNBC.

NewsBusters has a post on David Gergen being forced into the role of a realist to counter one of Jack Cafferty's rants regarding the Bush Administration's "role" in high oil prices.

I know that Gergen is not as much of a Moonbat as some libs are, but I am sure that the far-Left end of the Democrat Party is not happy with his de facto defense of the free-market system and oil companies in particular.

By way of NewsBusters is this Protein Wisdom post on the April Fool's Day Congressional hearings to "gin-up" some scapegoats for this election season. Embedded with the Protein Wisdom post is this link to a Business and Media Institute article reminding us of OPEC's influence on the oil markets. Also within the BMI article is this reminder of the realities of the "oil biz". Quoting from the article:

"...ExxonMobil reported $404.6 billion in revenue in 2007. It reported $40.6 billion in profits."

And ExxonMobil paid $105 billion in taxes in 2007.

If Talking Heads and Politicians told you the first two facts, in a court-of-law, without telling you the third one, that would amount to perjury. But then that is just "News" and Politics as usual.

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