Daily Archives: June 23, 2012

Dana Hunter and the Big Blast

Are you aware of Dana Hunter’s current project? The author of En Tequila es Verdad, the blog that always makes me want to take a shot, is writing detailed essays that track events connected to the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens. She’s writing them as part of her blogging over at Scientific American, but she just posted an update on Freethoughtblogs that serves as an index to all of the stories so far, so you should click here to get oriented and then click through to the stories.

Even though we know how the story turns out, Dana’s posts make for an edge of your seat thriller. Also, you probably don’t really know or remember exactly how it turns out because it was a while ago. The main thing I remember about it was hearing news from my sister who lived pretty close and got pretty heavily dumped on, and my other sister who lived a little farther away but mostly upwind, but who’s travel plans got messed up for a long time.

I hope Dana turns her story into something people visiting the region can carry along and learn stuff. There is a lot of interest these days in the Yellowstone Caldera and related magma movements and earthquake. This story, about Mt. Saint Helens is in many ways more interesting and more immediate.

Skeptically Speaking: Don't miss these shows

I hear things are pretty busy in the Upper Upper Midwest of Alberta, Canada, and I suppose because of that, Skeptically Speaking has two off-air productions, one with the podcast just out, the other, this week’s show, coming out next week. Both are really interesting to me, and I’m sure to you as well. Here are the details:

#169 Play Reality

… we’re looking at the intersection between science and play time. Guest host Julieta Delos Santos talks to Dr. Jayne Gackenbach and Teace Snyder, about their book Play Reality: How Videogames are Changing Everything. And we’ll listen back to “The Petri Dish,” a panel discussion by kids for kids (and parents), about getting kids interested in science, recorded live at LogiCON 2012.

The podcast is available now, here.

#170 Infrastructure and You

This week, we’re taking a break from live recording. Guest host Marie-Claire Shanahan spends the hour looking at the infrastructure that makes our modern, increasingly urbanized lives possible. She’s joined by journalist Scott Huler, author of the book On the Grid: A Plot of Land, an Average Neighborhood, and the Systems that Make our World Work. And she’ll speak to environmental journalist and urban design critic Tim De Chant, about his population density blog Per Square Mile.

The podcast of this episode will be available to download at 9 pm MT on Friday, July 29.

Details, and eventually, the podcast, HERE.

Rainy Day Amusements

It’s cold and raining at the cabin. We got the physics right, capturing the cold night air through open windows and then closing up so that when it get warmer later in the day we’ll have built in air conditioning, but we might have overshot slightly. Huxley got up early and was sitting in his crib counting to ten over and over again as the sound of rain provided an accompaniment to the white-noise making fan that was running in his room. On about the 28th count, so he was heading towards 300, he hit “seven” and a flash of lightning and an instantaneous clap of thunder stopped him in his tracks and made all the electricity go off. Silence but for the rain. Then, seconds later the power came back on.

Seven. Powerful number.

And now, for your Rainy Saturday Morning Amusement, I’ve got two alternatives for you. 1) Learn the details of special relativity (Einstein wins); and 2) Man fights goose with light saber (goose wins): Continue reading Rainy Day Amusements