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View Diary: Why We Need to Monitor Volcanoes in the US (189 comments)

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      •  I also want to take my kids to Yellowstone (11+ / 0-)

        I really wish that the economy hadn't tanked. We would have probably done that by now.

        I have visited volcanoes, both Etna and Vesuvius. Vesuvius spouts sulphur all the time, so that the towns below it smell like rotten eggs. I don't know how people stand that. I was privileged to see Etna erupting, it was pretty damn cool.

        I am sure I was over 3/4s of a mile away, but the heat coming off that lava unobstructed, felt like I had stuck my head in an oven.

        That experience ruined me for silly volcano props in movies forever. Most of what is shown, I am fairly certain that the people would have spontaneously combusted long before the "scene" could transpire.

        I didn't experience my first earthquake though, until I moved back to Oklahoma LOL. All those injection wells on the Nemaha Lift I suppose.

        •  My grandfather's town was close to Mt. Etna. They (8+ / 0-)

          were farmers: olives, hazelnuts, lemons, figs,...

          I wish I could go there and see it, too.  Some day when the economy is better, I hope to travel and see the Pacific Northwest as well.

          There are so many beautiful places on this earth, but the people in power are blind and ignorant.  They spend trillions on wars based on lies that destroy lives, even lives unborn due to the damage they do with depleted uranium.  Jindal doesn't question that spending, though.

          Bobby Jindal is a prime example of why we need better science education in America.  

          Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

          by CIndyCasella on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:41:32 AM PST

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          •  Jindal's comment was right up there with Palin (8+ / 0-)

            scoffing at spending research dollars on (gasp) fruit flies.

            Sure, fruit flies may sound silly, but they, with E.coli, are of giants of what scientists call model systems (and to lesser extents, the same is true of yeast and mice). Fast generation times, easy to study in quantity, easy to induce and study mutations, and researched for so long that there's a foundation of knowledge that facilitates further study. There is a vast amount of knowledge of genetics and basic molecular biology that comes from fruit flies, without which we would know very little about how these things work in humans and other higher species. The details don't all correspond directly, there are differences, but the basics are pretty darn similar, and provide a starting point for looking at "higher" species.

            This is some of the basic research that makes applied research possible, and that's something that general science education at lower levels should be conveying, and at its best, does. I believe that greater scientific understanding of the world is worthwhile for its own sake (like art or music), but is also has a role in what people consider to be "useful" applications, like understanding and treating human disease.

            Yes, there is some bad science out there, but some of the things that superficially sound silly really aren't.

            The volcano remarks are even more astounding, because it's an even more obvious leap for laymen to grasp why it's important to us than the fruit fly thing, which was a personal outrage to me as a former molecular biologist. (who, yes, worked with both fruit flies and E. coli).

            Public funding for universities, research, libraries, etc., is the reason that people from other countries have come in such great numbers to the US to study. It would be an incredibly sad self-inflicted wound to lose that position in the world, but some forces in this country sure do seem to want to go that direction.

            •  Well she is against the science of evolution, and (4+ / 0-)

              fruit flies are one of our most favorite analogs for studying evolution, because we can grow so many generations due to their short lifespans.

              So there are lots of reasons to attack fruit fly studies.

              I remember when the GOP attacked the Shrimp on conveyer belts--like a jogging machine. It was used to simulate migratory journeys so that Scientists could study the health affects and resiliency of crustaceans in polluted waters.

              But all GOPers could see were Shrimp on Jogging Machines--not deep thinkers. An imaginative person would at least ponder the why.

              Why would this study be important?

              We eat tons of shrimp and other crustaceans globally, so it's a multibillion dollar industry for starters.

              It's a bell weather with regards to our fisheries, since a lot of fish eat krill and shrimp as well--crustaceans being one of the species in the base of the oceanic food chain.

              And it lets us know how bad, bad is, in terms of pollutants, of which there are many in our waters.

              If I face palmed myself for every dumb thing uttered from that side of the aisle, I would have a permanent dent in my head.

              •  interesting about the shrimp study (5+ / 0-)

                I hadn't heard about that one. Really illustrates the point perfectly, doesn't it, that some research that sounds silly on the surface really isn't. Excellent explanation and defense in your post. Given that there is peer review and a lot of competition for research grants, truly silly stuff tends to get weeded out.

                •  Don't forget the IgNobel Awards in Science (4+ / 0-)

                  Some of the questions that need to be asked seem silly or uncomfortable, and cause giggling to happen, but providing a solid conclusion one way or the other, still pushes the collective knowledge of our species forward, and silly or not, will help other studies go even further.

                  You can read more about here.

                  I turn myself inside out laughing at this stuff every year, when it's broadcast on Science Friday at NPR.

                •  Another "silly on the surface" bit of science (6+ / 0-)

                  The observation that female mosquitoes and flies (at least most of them, I think) mate only once in their lives seems pretty silly.  (The female stores the sperm, and can fertilize all the eggs she ever makes from that one supply.)
                  The obvious silly comment is 'what a dull sex life'.  But that observation is the basis of the program that has successfully eradicated screwworms from the USA, Mexico, and much of Central America.
                  Males are raised, sterilized, and released.  Every female that mates with a sterile male is sterilized for life.
                  Screwworms lay their eggs in cuts on livestock and humans.  The larve hatch and feed on the host's flesh.  They were a significant source of disease in cattle, and can cause fatalities.  
                  Do we want flesh-eating fly larve around, or do we want to pay for some science even if we don't immediately see the point of it?

                  We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

                  by david78209 on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 12:29:50 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed. (5+ / 0-)

        I've lived all over this country, and my favorite area is definitely the Cascades. Not just for the beautiful scenery, but the people tend to be pretty damn cool, too.

        "Reality divorced the wingnuts after the wingnuts were discovered to be fucking goofy." - DWG

        by Jojos Mojo on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 08:46:36 AM PST

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    •  It's volcanology, not vulcanology (7+ / 0-)

      And it's volcanologist, not vulcanologist.

      While some references suggest either term is OK, current usage is far more common with volcanology and volcanologist.

      Vulcanology is kind of jarring -- it looks like the study of Star Trek.  

      •  I thought the u came in when you added the Ology (4+ / 0-)

        My bad.  Now I have to go look it up.

        I would be sort of surprised if anyone would mistake it for the study of Star Trek characters. I love that series and all, but still...

        •  My initial search showed these to be inter- (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CIndyCasella, RiveroftheWest

          changeable. I even saw a blog by a person who called themselves a vulcanologist and a geologist.

          I am thoroughly confused now.

          •  I have no doubt you did (0+ / 0-)

            But I invite you to look at usage by the USGS as well as the major academic institutions in the USA and UK.  I believe you will find that volcanology is uniformly used.

            And volcanology is a branch of geology. Similar to my field: hydrogeology.

            •  I am looking at the Random House Dictionary (6+ / 0-)

              Of the English Language, the unabridged version, and it shows them to be interchangeable.

              I understand what you are saying, I simply used the older version of the word. It's not unheard of because I am getting old myself, and this is the word I distinctly remember from elementary school. I did attend a public school in a poor state--so we were lucky our books were not scrolls or clay tablets.

              The reason that Vulcan and Volcanoes are related, is that Vulcan was a Roman god that lived in a Volcano. So Volcanoes are named for this classical god and not Mr Spock.  See also Hephaestus, the Greek equivalent who was wed to Aphrodite.

              Both were patrons of metallurgy and craftsmanship dealing with fire/heat.

              So Vulcanized Rubber was named this way, because to harden rubber one needed heat and sulphur. Two items known to be in and near volcanoes.  

              I realize this irks you, but it's not incorrect. I have no trouble personally delineating between Vulcanism and the study of Mr Spock. One deals with actual processes here on earth, and the other involves an imaginary character played by the actor Leonard Nimoy.

              •  Yes -- I took Greek Mythology and Greek Literature (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GreenMother, RiveroftheWest

                in college -- it was how I helped fulfill my humanities requirement.  Glad I did, too: references to the stories and various entities are vary common in our culture.

                As for the Random House dictionary, I suppose one might consult a general dictionary rather than, say, look to what actual experts in the field tend to call their endeavor.  That's certainly your prerogative.

                I wonder: do you take a horseless carriage when you need to go to the aerodrome or do you prefer the omnibus?

                •  I might. It depends upon the person in the (3+ / 0-)

                  conveyance. ;)

                  Nothing personal Mr Bass.

                  Newt Gingrich, Eric Cantor, and several other talking heads who would drag us back to the pseudo-Victorian Golden Age with their beliefs about womerns--Yes, those people travel about in horseless carriages.

                  I think what irks me about this conversation, is that I did look this up after being questioned.

                  I looked it up on conventional sites that did not indicate that Volcanologist [which btw appears to be misspelled according to the computer elves that check spelling] whereas Vulcanologist  is not highlighted.

                  Vulcanism is correct by computer, but Volcanism is also correct. Vulcanology is highlighted, but Volcanology is also highlighted as misspelled. That's not confusing at all.

                  So you sort of have me at a disadvantage here.

                  Conventional sites indicate these are interchangeable and the computer spell check, highlights the word claimed to be the *Most correct as misspelled.

                  And I remember using the word and reading the word Vulcanism and thinking that was strange given the switching of the O with a U and then thinking--oh well, English is weird!

                  So I did my poor best. Perhaps the Scientists should petition for Merriam Websters and other Dictionary sites to fix this. List Vulcan--as the archaic form or for chemical processes exclusively and notify the rest of us that the other spelling is preferred or accepted.

          •  I like the "u". At first, I thought of trekies. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I didn't know the word, either spelling, so I learned a lot reading this diary.

            BTW, Mr. Bass sounds a bit like Mr. Spock, which may explain why he prefers you don't employ the letter, "u":

            There is an error in your spelling.
            You have made a common spelling fallacy, which it would seem, is rather common in humans.
            Allow me to explain where you have gone wrong...

            Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

            by CIndyCasella on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:55:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe you learned about vulcanization (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jojos Mojo, RiveroftheWest

          in elementary school - a chemical process dealing with rubber....

          The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

          by ybruti on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 06:36:30 AM PST

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      •  Greek/British spelling is acceptable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        We promise not to get confused.

        "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

        by Horace Boothroyd III on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 07:12:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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