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Dana Hunter
Lived in Seattle, WA
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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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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
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Seattle, WA - Tempe, AZ - Flagstaff, AZ - Prescott, AZ - Sedona, AZ

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Dana Hunter

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This trip to Mount Rainier hadn't looked promising. After scorching heat all week, the weather took a turn for the Pacific Northwest. We'd intended to go down on Sunday, but the forecast changed to snow showers. Snow. I'm not doing snow on a volcano in a Honda Civic. So Merideth and I switched our plans, moved the trip up to Saturday, and decided we'd play it by ear. We didn't think we'd see any volcano, but there are plenty of things to do around the base of Mount Rainier. And hey, since the National Park Service was celebrating its centennial, we were going to get in free anyway, so if the trip turned out to be a bust, no big deal.

I had Mud Mountain Dam on the wish list again, but since we got a leisurely start and stopped for a proper lunch, I'd changed my mind. I wanted to get Merideth to Longmire for some hawt hot springs action, and since we were coming in from the north, it was going to take quite some time. But as we passed the sign for Mud Mountain Dam, I decided to hell with it. We'd try for it. I couldn't remember how far off the highway it was, but figured we'd turn around if it was too far.

It's not. It's only 2.1 miles. And it's so much more neato than expected: there is a HUGE recreation area complete with playground, picnic areas, and a wading pool with a mushroom shower. And it's all completely free!
Usually, when I go to Mount Rainier, there’s no time for diversions. Which is sad, because I’ve wanted to see Mud Mountain Dam ever since I found out about it a few years ago. Every time, I plan to swing by, and every time, it just never works out. Until now.Behold!This trip to Mount Rainier …
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Dana Hunter

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I've collected some informative links for the Central Italy earthquake. Find out how to help, the geology behind the quake, why so many towns were destroyed and lives lost, and learn how to stay safe in an earthquake.

<<A few days ago, an earthquake struck Italy's Apennines mountain range, destroying villages and killing almost three hundred people. The geology around the Mediterranean is a deadly mess, involving a number of tiny tectonic plates all subducting, colliding, pulling apart, or scraping past each other. This leads to plenty of earthquakes and volcanoes. Add in communities with ancient masonry buildings, and you get a recipe for disaster when the earth shakes. The before and after images of the towns destroyed in this quake are terrifying.>>
The 2016 Central Italy Earthquake has claimed hundreds of lives and destroyed cities.
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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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Dana Hunter

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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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Dana Hunter

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So, my friend Merideth and I went down to Mount Rainier on Saturday. The weather didn't start out promising, but it put on such a fantastic show for us once we got there! Look at this lenticular cloud the mountain is wearing!

There's a whole lot more where that came from. To get a sneak peak at trip highlights and unedited photos, hop on over to my Facebook feed. Everything's set to public, so everyone can enjoy!
So, my friend Merideth and I went down to Mount Rainier on Saturday. The weather didn’t start out promising, but it put on such a fantastic show for us once we got there! Look at this lenticular cloud the mountain is wearing!There’s a whole lot more where that came from. To get a sneak peak …
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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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Don't let this decision be made without you. Voice your opinion.

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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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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

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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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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