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Dana Hunter
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Zeroth has once again hit the ball out of the park and across the interstate. He sees a pattern, and he breaks your heart exploring it. Well, he'll break it if your heart's invested in these characters at all.

>>So I’ll break with tradition a little bit here. I’m going to write assuming you’ve seen to at least the end of season five of Supernatural. If you haven’t, this will likely spoil you on a lot of things.<<

Yep, spoilers! I will kindly cut them out for those who are watching along for the first time. Here's your take-away from this episode, courtesy of Zeroth, who sees all. Well, lots.

>>“Faith” establishes that start, establishes the character of both of the brothers, so that we can get that pay off through the seasons. So that we understand why Dean does what he does.

In the hospital, he says, “- Look, Sammy, what can I say, man, it’s a dangerous gig. I drew the short straw. That’s it, end of story.” That is the ending Dean sees for himself. And we see the roots in the cycle the brothers are trapped in starting here. Sam’s intense drive to save Dean at all costs someone else their life, a life they were entitled to until it was cut short for Dean’s sake.

And the only person who seems to feel guilty about this is Dean.

Not Sam.

So, “Faith” is a long-term investment in establishing who these brothers are and what kind of choices they make under duress, to show change and growth.<<
Zeroth has once again hit the ball out of the park and across the interstate. He sees a pattern, and he breaks your heart exploring it. Well, he’ll break it if your heart’s invested in these characters at all.So I’ll break with tradition a little bit here. I’m going to write assuming you’ve seen to …
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I need the best of the geoblogosphere for July and August, folks! I'm looking for great earth science posts on any earth science subject. So if you're a geoblog reader, or a geoblogger, and you want to submit a link to something awesome you read or wrote, just send it along to dhunterauthor at gmail with the subject Best of Geo.

And yes, it's totally legit for you geobloggers to engage in some shameless self promotion! You'll be featured on Scientific American and everything! SEND ME YOUR LINKS!!!

Please do spread this request far and wide. I know there's a lot of excellent science writing out there. It deserves to find an audience!
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In our last installment, Merril finally fired rapist and thug Jason - not because the dude was stalking Carolyn and putting her in danger, but because Jason finally attacked him directly. Then I told you to do lots of self care, because you'll need all your resources at max for what comes next.

Ready or not, here we go. Sigh.

Content note: Emotional abuse, unsafe living conditions, mentions of rape and murder, stalking, threats with guns.

Merril has the police there to protect his own hide when he fires Jason's ass, but it becomes rapidly clear that his own hide is all that matters to him. Jason blames everything on Carolyn, as misogynist assbuts are wont to do. Officer Dale and James the security guard both tell Merril to get Carolyn out of there, as there's a really good chance Jason could return to kill Carolyn. Merril blows them off. James bawls him out thoroughly, explaining that he might be forced to kill Jason to protect Carolyn if Merril leaves her here. Officer Dale says James could end up in prison for life if that happens.

James begs Merril to wake the hell up. And Merril says, "I don't see any concern in this situation."

Well, of course he doesn't. Why would he? Carolyn's just a piece of property he doesn't value anymore. He doesn't give a single shit what happens to her. But, to get the other men off his back, he says he'll stay with her. Then, as soon as they're gone, he chooses a room for himself and Barbara that's safe from Jason, and buggers off, leaving Carolyn to fend for herself.


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So. Physics.

Earth Science Fourth Edition and Science of the Physical Creation have a bit of crossover here, which we'll eventually get to, but SPC covers the subject a lot more thoroughly. So, while we're still bogged down in ES4's interminable (and very, very wrong) chapters on Geology, we'll see what the creationist textbook writers at A Beka have to say about physics.

We start with Chapter 14, "Light and Color." I'm sure you can all guess which verse they use to get us going the godly way.

Of course.

Directly after, they completely ignore the existence of blind people by waxing lyrical on how light allows us to see all sorts of things. When you're talking about God's perfect creation, best leave out the fact he doesn't allow everyone to enjoy it, I guess. At least they do mention that light is good for more than sight: they mention photosynthesis, "the ultimate source of food for mankind." Because, you see, humans are the only things that matter.

They also introduce us to things which we don't normally think of as light, like "radio waves, microwaves, and x-rays." Valid.

What follows is a perfectly serviceable history of the theories of light. We learn how Newton thought it was particles, and Huygens thought it was waves. They talk about James Clerk Maxwell's work with light and his prediction of light outside the visible spectrum. Hertz and his experiments proving Maxwell right are introduced. Wavelength and frequency are quickly explained. And then they tease us into the photoelectric effect and quantum theory of light with an effective hook: "But light was to surprise us again." As I've said before: the SPC writers are actually rather excellent when they stick to pure science. These are smart and talented people. It's a shame dogma keeps them from using their skills to reveal rather than obfuscate.

We see the effects of their creationist claptrap in the next section, "Light and Color." They start off with an accurate definition of visible light, but they go right off the rails while trying to explain what color is:


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Welcome to Rio de Janeiro!

When you look at it, you know exactly why it's called the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City): it's absolutely magnificent. When you think of Rio, you probably envision sparkling white beaches washed by sapphire water, with green-cloaked mountains rising tall. Everyone can recognize the iconic Corcovado with its statue of Cristo Redentor, and Sugarloaf Mountain. The tall, conical hills (bornhardts) around the city almost look like a karst landscape, but they're really gneiss. Augen gneiss, to be precise, and the rock is at least 570 million years old.

Those mountains lead to some unique engineering challenges. You can see that travel in a straight line would be difficult with those super-steep peaks in the way. So the Brazilians have simply gone under. Neighborhoods are connected by tunnels. And when Rio won the bid to host the Olympics, they knew they'd need to add a new subway line. Metro Line 4 faced some tough geology: the new tunnel would run between Ipanema Beach and the lagoon, and had to be cut through three kilometers of sand and soft soils, but also two kilometers of incredibly hard gneiss, with some challenging faulted sections thrown in. This is rock so hard that when Louis Agassiz saw men trying to work it, he said "that the heaviest blows of the diggers produced just a little dust."
If geology was an Olympic sport, Rio de Janeiro would probably take gold. From its tall, striking mountains it its beautiful valleys and sparkling blue bay, it's one of the most stunning cities in the world. Setting the Olympics there was no simple task: there were a lot of geologic challenges to overcome. While athletes continue to bring home medals this week, let's go explore the geology behind the Games!
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Is there something wrong with your author profile beneath the article? I can only see the text "Dana Hunter is a science blogger, SF writer, and geology addict whose home away from SciAm is En Tequila Es Verdad. Her books" (and it just ends there)

Edit: looking at the HTML source gives a hint - it appears to be cut off in the middle of the amazon link:
"Her books <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Really-Terrible-Bible-Stories-vol-ebook/dp/B00WQ2U87K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8</p>"
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In our last post, Merril hired a rapist as a handyman and installed him at the motel his wife is managing. Now her cousin is out of town, leaving her alone with a predator. We're about to see just how aware Merril is of the danger, and just how much he doesn't care.

Content note: Emotional abuse, unsafe living conditions, mentions of rape and murder, stalking.

Jason is a man who refuses to accept boundaries. After Carolyn gets blown off by Merril, she tells Jason he's only allowed to discuss business with her once a day, then locks herself in the house. So he starts ringing the bell continuously - to the point where she has to disconnect it. When her cousin Jeremy returns and she asks him to keep a log of Jason's attempts to disrupt them, he counts 30 times in 3 hours. When he shows his log to Merril and tells him Jason is out of control, Merril handwaves it. He says that Jason's "burned his brain out on drugs and is a little bit daffy."

Carolyn is appalled that her husband would allow a dude who's so screwed up he can't control his own dangerous behavior to be around their children. She'd thought Merril would at least stop at that.

Jason brings a skeevy friend onto the property, who is happy to leer at Carolyn with him. Merril doesn't care.

Jason's presence drives away guests, causing a negative impact on the business. Merril doesn't care. Hurting Carolyn is more important to him than anything else.

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Before we get started on the next leg of our Burke Museum visit, I've got to announce exciting news: we got a GINORMOUS t-rex skull! And it's a rare, nearly complete one! It'll be on display in its plaster cast through October 2nd, and then it'll be behind the scenes for cleaning until 2019, so hie thee down to the Burke ASAP to view it.

So. Things got a little explosive the last time we visited the Burke Museum, didn't they? Let's cool it down and chill with some hands-on geology. The Burke has a fantabulous section for the kids called the Discovery Room. If it's not in use, you're welcome to go handle the specimens and see if you can solve a few puzzles. You'll even get a chance to solve one in this very post!
Today, we visit the Discovery Lab at the Burke Museum and get to act like a bunch of exploring kids!
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It's December, and Carolyn is back at Merril's house after completing her fall semester at college. Merril, Barbara, and Ruth took off for Salt Lake City shortly after she arrived, leaving her virtually alone with the 14 kids still at home. Faunita, the only other adult, doesn't leave her room very often. So Carolyn is free to do chores on her own. There are so many clothes to wash that, although they have to be rinsed by hand and hung to dry, it's faster to do laundry in the old industrial-sized washer than try to use the more modern automatic washer and dryer. I can't even bloody imagine the drudgery.

Content note for: Forced marriage, coerced sex

The FLDS has a new prophet, Rulon Jeffs, who took over after Uncle Roy died a few weeks before. While Carolyn cleans and looks forward to cooking for her gaggle of stepkids, Jeffs is busy arranging a wedding for Merril, who's marrying Cathleen, a young widow of the former prophet. Merril lies to Carolyn and tells her Jeffs had just sprung this match on him with no warning.

Carolyn is suddenly forced to consider how she can remain valuable to Merril when he brings home his hot new young wife:

Like every other polygamist wife, I had no say in whom I would marry and no way to divorce my husband if it did not work out. Sex was the only currency I had to spend in my marriage - every polygamist wife knows that. Once we are no longer sexually attractive to our husbands, we are doomed.

It's not just that a husband who still wants sex with his older wife will treat her (marginally) better. The other wives will treat her relatively well, too. Her sexual value to her husband even determines whether her stepchildren respect her. And, of course, everybody in the community gossips about whether a woman is being bedded by her husband or not.

It's grim stuff.
It’s December, and Carolyn is back at Merril’s house after completing her fall semester at college. Merril, Barbara, and Ruth took off for Salt Lake City shortly after she arrived, leaving her virtually alone with the 14 kids still at home. Faunita, the only other adult, doesn’t leave her room very often. So Carolyn is …
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People, it took me days to fact-check the 31 (thirty-one) pages of Science PACE 1086. I’m boggled. I have no idea how they manage to get so much wrong. It doesn’t even make sense – I mean, there are several creationist canards, and I know why those are there, but they fail at facts that even Answers in Genesis gets right. It’s like they got their information about rocks from a source translated from French, which was translated from Tagalog, which was translated from a paper written in Pig Latin by someone who’d never seen a rock in their life, but heard something about them once.

Take their inability to get famous volcanoes right. Not to mention their myths about medicine.

Like many people, they use erupting volcanoes as a metaphor for holding things in until you explode. Racer relates the story of how a boy at school offended him once, and he said nothing, but brooded. He worked himself into such a lather that he didn’t turn the other cheek when the boy offended him a second time. (Don’t worry – there was forgiveness all round afterward, even from God hisownself!) Racer’s dad, apparently a true believer in folktales about disease, solemnly informs him that holding in anger causes diseases like toxic goiter (nope), and ulcers (wrongo), and heart problems (well, I suppose one outta three ain’t bad). Then he equates the damage angry people cause with the devastation caused by volcanoes. Like Tambora. Which he then proceeds to bork.
People, it took me days to fact-check the 31 (thirty-one) pages of Science PACE 1086. I’m boggled. I have no idea how they manage to get so much wrong. It doesn’t even make sense – I mean, there are several creationist canards, and I know why those are there, but they fail at facts that …
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Look at it as an opportunity to laugh at the ignorami... You used to have to pay to watch the circus freaks!
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(Heyo, I did another Supernatural thing! And this time, we get to point and laugh at faith healing, woo-hoo!)

We open with the Impala pulling up to a spooky, run-down house. The brothers dig into the trunk, and Dean pulls out two Tasers he's amped to 100,000 volts. We find out the boys are hunting a raw-head. This is an interesting monster we haven't seen so far, but alas, it's only a brief set-up for our main conflict.

The boys go inside, find two children stored in a cupboard for later eating, and start to take them to safety. The raw-head grabs Sam's ankle through the stairs, kids scream, Dean shoots his Taser and misses, and the raw-head takes off. Dean tells Sam to get the kids out, so Sam gives him his Taser and exits while Dean goes hunting. The raw-head ambushes him and punches him in the head, which knocks him onto the waterlogged floor of the basement. He's not knocked out, but he's clearly dazed, so I'm giving him one o' these:

What Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?

Dean: 5

Congratulations, Dean! You've caught up to your brother.

The raw-head comes after Dean, who shoots it with the Taser. The good news: it gets fried! The bad news: it's standing in the same puddle, so Dean gets fried, too. Since Tasers do at least briefly impair cognitive functioning and he got hit with at least twice the normal amount of juice, rendering him unconscious, let's give him another.
We open with the Impala pulling up to a spooky, run-down house. The brothers dig into the trunk, and Dean pulls out two Tasers he’s amped to 100,000 volts. We find out the boys are hunting a raw-head. This is an interesting monster we haven’t seen so far, but alas, it’s only a brief set-up …
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Despite her terrible marriage, Carolyn has had a decent summer, finishing a summer session at college and exercising a modicum of control over her life. She goes home for a while in August, and tries to spend time at her parents' home.* Her mother is having trouble caring for the nine youngest kids without Carolyn's help.

But Carolyn can't be there all the time, and so it's 16 year-old Annette who piles 9 young siblings into the back of a pickup, along with Cousin Bonnie and 6 little cousins, and drives out for a picnic.

Content Note: child fatality, rollover accident, descriptions of serious injuries

When you have families that big, it's extremely hard to transport them safely. There are few vehicles a 16 year-old could drive that would provide adequate protection for 17 people, much less many small children needing boosters and car seats. The open bed of a pickup is pretty far from a safe place. I've ridden in one, back in the 80s, when people were more lax. It's hard to hold on as the truck speeds up, slows down, and turns, like riding a roller coaster without the padded bar to hold you in. It's uncomfortable as hell, there's nothing to grab on to easily, and you get whipped by the wind. Fun? Hell yeah. But I was always acutely aware I could fall out at any time, that there was no metal cocoon around me if we wrecked.

And on the sandy high-desert roads, it's even more dangerous. The road bed typically sits several inches below the surrounding scrubland. Drifts of sand make control tricky, and hitting one of those raised sides is much like hitting a concrete curb. Hidden rocks can also jolt you unawares.
Despite her terrible marriage, Carolyn has had a decent summer, finishing a summer session at college and exercising a modicum of control over her life. She goes home for a while in August, and tries to spend time at her parents’ home.* Her mother is having trouble caring for the nine youngest kids without Carolyn’s …
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(I'm contacting various emergency management agencies to see if I can get a solid response on the car question, but in light of the fact that so many flash floods are going on in the United States over recent weeks (with more in the forecast), I'm going to go ahead and publish this here. An updated version will make an appearance on Rosetta Stones next week. If you have any safety tips to add, let me know!)


The eleven European tourists exploring Antelope Canyon on a fine summer day in 1997 probably never considered drowning in a desert slot canyon to be a possibility. They may have known that water carved those sandstone walls into fantastical curves and angles. But it wouldn't have seemed like an ongoing process. Why would anyone be thinking of water, standing on dry sand, with shafts of sunlight spearing through from the narrow opening above? Despite it being the height of the Arizona monsoon season, it wasn't raining.

It started with the sandy silt on the canyon floor leaping six inches into the air. Tour guide Pancho Quintana and his group heard a roar so loud it drowned out screams. The solid rock walls shook. They began running, trying to find a place to climb out. And then they were hit by a wall of water that filled the canyon to a depth of eleven feet. Bodies were thrown into the walls. People might find a grip for a few seconds before debris or other bodies hit them and tore them away, tumbling them down the canyon. Pancho was the lucky one: despite the water and rock tearing off his clothes and skin, he managed to get a foot wedged in a crevice. The rest of the people with him, his tour group and another, were swept out of the canyon and into Lake Powell. Some of their bodies have never been found.

How? How could water suddenly appear from nowhere and end almost a dozen lives in a few minutes?

People who grew up in the high deserts of Arizona were well aware of the potential for disaster. We were warned about flash floods from the time we were little. We knew that those dry washes and canyons could end up filled with water without warning. We knew that the sun could be shining and the ground bone dry where we were, while a thunderstorm dumping water a hundred miles away could be sending a sudden flood our way. We knew. That knowledge didn't always save us.
I’m contacting various emergency management agencies to see if I can get a solid response on the car question, but in light of the fact that so many flash floods are going on in the United States over recent weeks (with more in the forecast), I’m going to go ahead and publish this here. An …
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In her circles
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Currently Beating Cell Phones into Submission by day, geoblogging by night. I write for the Scientific American Blog Network and am a proud part of FreethoughtBlogs.
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Science Blogger, SF Writer, Compleat Geology Addict, and Owner of Homicidal Felid.
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I finished NaNoWriMo one year. Never bloody again.
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Seattle, WA - Tempe, AZ - Flagstaff, AZ - Prescott, AZ - Sedona, AZ
Dana Hunter's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Looking For Detachment: Lida Summit Roadcut
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Politics. Sex. Science. Art. You know, the good stuff.

SOS Earth Science
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Reaffirm your homeschool student's understanding of God's creation with Switched-On Schoolhouse Earth Science from Alpha Omega Publications!

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My intrepid companion, Sony Cyber-shot and I are off to Oregon. We should have plenty of lovely pics and interesting tidbits when we get bac

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Oh, my darlings, will I have treats for you! Lockwood and I are in the midst of our geoextravaganza tour down the Oregon coast and across ..

Vaginas invade Michigan
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Keep Religion Out of Health Care
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Don't let this decision be made without you. Voice your opinion.

Apology from the AAI President
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Atheist Alliance International (AAI) is the umbrella organization of atheist groups and individuals around the world committed to promoting

On Sexual Harassment | Richard Carrier Blogs
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Thunderf00t's post today on the ongoing sexual harassment policy debate (titled MISOGYNIST!!!) has already generated nearly 600 comments (an

I | En Tequila Es Verdad
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My reading of 18th and 19th century freethinkers continues apace. Charles Southwell – radical bookseller, socialist “missionary,” publisher,

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This means I'll have limited access to the intertoobz, and first-time commenters will be stuck in moderation until I can set you loose. Sorr

The Right to Bear Arms
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What occurred in Connecticut was absolute pandemonium. The scenes were completely grizzly and judging from the comments it has polarised the

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Don't forget that today is the international day of protest against executions and for the release of political prisoners in Iran. Join this

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I have now read and marked up dozens of books by freethinkers of the past, including eleven of twelve volumes of Robert G. Ingersoll. In rea