Friday, June 15, 2007

I Have A Rock

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When I travel, I often grab a rock, any rock, from that place. Here is a map of the U. S. showing, in red, all of the states I have visited. I probably collected a rock from each and tossed it into the rock pile at home. Some geologist would go nuts looking through that pile.

create your own visited states map

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My Brain is Scientific - Yours is ?

Scientific thinking, education, common sense, and any other rational thinking process will never be able to overcome the lack of thought I see in people of faith.

People of faith do not actually need to think, they "believe" and that is enough for them.  Because they believe, then all of the facts and data that humans have available to us are meaningless to them.  This information is as useless to them as it would be to a sea slug.  (Sorry sea slugs.)

What a bizarre world it must be to them.  Every day they are presented with huge amounts of scientific information.  Some of this information may be of value to them in their lives or profession, so they assimilate this while all of the rest must be discarded.  I can only imagine that their brain has a kind of filter, much like our email systems do, that sifts out irrelevant, to them, information before it can enter any actual thinking process.

If "belief" were the only issue, then rational people, scientific thinking people, and other non-believers would probably ignore the stupidity that accompanies belief.  But "belief" is not the real issue.   Believers also believe that scientific thinking is not to be tolerated.  Their cause is to dominate and control the lives of others.   Their goal is to determine the reality that the rest of us live in.

They would never have an abortion, except when they decide it is okay for them, therefor they will outlaw abortion for everyone.   They approve of "under God" to be included in the American Pledge of Allegiance, so they enact the law requiring it there.   They proudly proclaim their full, complete and unfettered support for the U. S. Constitution, and then decide to amend it willy nilly.  Remember prohibition?

Regardless of religion, ethnicity, and sex these people are everywhere, and they want to govern your lives.  The nice old lady, in her house of worship, is a very dangerous person.  Her pronouncements of right, wrong and what is truth are not based on anything other that her beliefs.  Facts and consideration for others do not deter her.   When we see young people throwing their and other lives away, remember they were influenced by sweet old granny.

It is not absurd to think that "believers" can and will believe in the most idiotic ideas around.  There are people that believe that the world is flat and you can not convince them otherwise.  I know someone that firmly believes that no human ever went to the moon and that all of NASA's  scientific discoveries about space are a hoax. 

When "believers" are just ordinary citizens, they do not present much of a risk to the rest of us.  But when they have, money and positions of power and influence, they are a threat to our liberty, freedom and to human progress. 

Example? You would like a couple of examples?  Okay - try these:

I can not imagine how people, like these, trained in the sciences can reject scientific method, practice and the wealth of evidence so easily in support of a "belief".   It does seem that much of the thinking of the "dark ages" is still with us.   

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tectonic Plates and an Underwater Volcano

Because of my affection for rocks, I have closely followed the discoveries associated with Tectonic Plate Theory.  But when I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I quickly became much more aware of the jumble of plates and tectonic processes that exist here.  I am not a scientist, but try to understand what is going on under our feet.  Like geology, I enjoy history too and geology is another form of history.  In both cases I am really bad on dates.

The offshore area of the Pacific Northwest is a complex area of tectonic plates.  In this relatively small area there are many laboratories for scientists to study and understand the tectonic wonders of our planet.  We non-scientists have come to know about these wonders because of their impact on our lives.

Located approximately 300 miles west of Cannon Beach, Oregon is the Axial seamount.  It is a broad volcano about 12 by 18 miles with a summit caldera and two rift zones. Much like the Hawaiian volcanoes it is the product of a hot spot.  Over 2/3 of a mile in height, it is still nearly a mile below the surface of the ocean.

Axial, sits on the volcanic Gorda Ridge, an undersea formation that is a cousin to the Mid Atlantic Ridge.  Gorda Ridge runs somewhat parallel to the coast in a north-south direction off Southern Oregon and Northern California. Similar to the Juan de Fuca Ridge farther north off the Northern Oregon and Washington coasts, the Gorda Ridge is a spreading center where molten lava oozes onto the sea floor to form new oceanic crust.

The Juan de Fuca Plate plunges deep beneath the North American Plate and is the source of the Cascade Range of volcanoes above the subduction zone.  To the west along the boundary between the Pacific and Juan de Fuca Plates is a broad submarine mountain chain about 500 kilometers long.  This is the Juan de Fuca Ridge.  Here are a series of young volcanoes, lava flows, and hot springs in a broad valley less than 8 kilometers wide along the crest of the ridge.  At the north end of the ridge is the small platelet named the Explorer Plate and at the southern end is the Gorda Plate.

The Juan de Fuca Ridge, only about 200 miles (300 km) west of the state of Washington, is perhaps the most studied ridge with a medium spreading rate. The Juan de Fuca Ridge creates part of the Pacific plate and all of the Juan de Fuca plate.  

 The hot springs found in the valley are home to amazing creatures that scientists are fascinated with.  And for good reasons too.  One of them is a heat-loving creature capable of fixing nitrogen at a amazingly hot 198 degrees Fahrenheit.   It may be related to our Earth’s earliest organisms capable of nitrogen fixation.  These hot springs result in beautiful tall chimneys as Axial Volcano vents dense mineral hot hydrothermal fluids.  Regardless of the total darkness here, colonies of bacteria thrive as they feeding on the chemicals.  Magically, tube worms arrive as if from nowhere.


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