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So Tejas governor Rick Perry is going to throw his hat into the ring for the republican nomination. Really, people? Are you kidding me? A smarmy, neo-confederate, evangelical Texican praying for a resolution to the debt crisis? I have no doubt that Jesus Christ himself would tell us in lilting Aramaic to pull our thumbs out of our asses and reach for a settlement, not stand around in a stadium groveling for forgiveness of our sins with outstretched arms. Fix the bloody thing and save your
wishes prayers for grandma’s recovery from hip surgery.
Christians should be grateful for the concept of sin. The whole religion is built on it. Sin is the denominator of Christianity- if it collapses to zero the whole religion becomes undefined. Without sin, our cherished fraternal hatreds would resolve to mere anthropology and lose that zesty cosmic fizz that we so enjoy.
The University of California system is pushing back on price increases by publishers of periodicals. Let’s hope they have some success. Why do researchers just hand over copyright of their work, anyway? The public finances the work and then the public has to pay to read the results.
Think the internet is giving you a short attention span? Steven Pinker doesn’t think so.
Why are the British so rude? Are they naughty by nature? I have my own views on that, thank you.
Looking to upgrade your collection of Soviet Posters?
I’m glad to hear that the US and Russia have decided, in principle anyway, to dial in another notch of reduction in nuclear arms. I think it is hard for people to fathom the magnitude of the effects of nuclear weapons or to estimate how many are really necessary to bring an adversary to submission. You don’t have to knock down every city, crater every underground installation, or bounce every bit of rubble to rattle an enemy state to the point where they sue for peace.
But enough of this heady atomic theatre. I have my own nuclear policy. You see, I’m generally in favor of the extreme reduction of nuclear warheads to maybe less than 100. But I must insist that a few be kept aside for the purposes of bringing the hammer down on those who would devise computer viruses.
Yes, individuals or groups who devise malicious code to infect computers should live in fear that tactical nuclear hellfire could rain down upon their greasy, pointed heads at any moment. People who initiate malicious code should be regarded as international combatants-against-humanity with bounties on their heads.
Microsoft should be required to post a kind of bond for the purposes of reimbursing society for the countless hours of time lost waiting for anti-virus software to come out of scan-mode so your computer can function in the manner it is designed to work.
The dark collusion between Microsoft and the plurality of organizations thriving on the weakness of MS products should be brought to the surface for all to see. Apparently, nobody really wants to see a virus-proof OS dominate the market. It would bring too many vendors to ruin. And, too many 20-somethings holed-up in the dark, fetid recesses of the internet would have to find honest work with their skills.
As I lay reclined in the chair looking up at the blue sky and the palm tree, I found myself wincing at the tugging at my head. Cool water splashed my face and ran past my ears and down my neck. A face came into view and peered intently at me. Against the hushed conversation in the background a sound track played a vocal piece by Cher, no doubt the one in which she appeared in some black gauze and tape outfit while lip synching on a navy battleship.
For me this Cher video remains high on the list of most convincing bits of evidence that there is no God in heaven. Surely no master plan for the universe can include this performance.
Suddenly a shrill, piercing whine zinged into my consciousness and resonated in my skull. The sonic waves seemed to converge to a focus on my auditory apparatus. As bad as it was, it did block the Cher sound track and for that I was grateful.
I looked away from the illuminated image of the palm tree in the ceiling light panel and focused on the looming snout of the dental hygienist. Sitting over two coal black nasal passages I could see twin distorted reflections in her glasses. A gaping oral cavity ringed with teeth and filled with fingers and tools. The ultrasonic device that she was using conducted mind numbing vibrations into my head all the while irrigating my face.
Just another day.
The play opens in two weeks so rehearsal is getting intense. My brain has some kind of grip on the lines, but it is a delicate grasp and subject to fumbling. Rote memorization is not my strength.
The play was made into a movie by RKO in 1938 and starred the Marx Brothers. They made it look easy. The madcap and rapidfire banter is really quite difficult for a drudge like me. I have to work at it. Luckily, I have minor roles and only 10 minutes of stage time.
There is a big difference between doing voices for a reading and actually acting out the role with 3 or 4 other actors on stage. My previous two plays have only gotten me to the point where I do not faint or wet myself on stage. But realistically, I suppose, the last two weeks are when a play shapes up in rehearsal. Maybe there is hope.
After an insane week in the lab a road trip to the cool meadows of the nearby mountain range was just what the doctor called for. It was the last weekend before the family- one teacher and one kid- return to school. Summer break 2009 is history.
We piled in the car and pointed it uphill towards Leadville, Colorado. The planetary atmosphere thinly blankets this insanely high mountain city. It was just what I needed to clear my scrambled mind. Nothing like blinding sunshine and mild oxygen starvation to reset a brain in chronic spasm from sensory overload.
Leadville sits at 10,152 feet above sea level. If you doubt the effect on your stamina, just take a short sprint in any direction. Or just plod up the stairs of your hotel. Lordy. All of those business dinners- all that lovely Cabernet and creme brulee- and years of driving a desk have caught up with me.
Leadville is located in the Colorado mineral belt and began to populate with fortune seakers about the time of the Colorado gold rush in 1859. Some placer gold was found in the streams, particularly in what was then called California Gulch, but for the most part Leadville became a silver camp.
In 1874, two investors with metallurgical training, Alvinius B. Woods and William H. Stevens arrived in Leadville and analyzed the muds found in the local sluicing operations. According to A Companion to the American West, edited by William Francis Deverell, (2004, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 0-631-21357-0, p. 319) Woods and Stevens found the heavy black mud so problematic for gold sluicing was in fact composed of lead carbonate with high levels of silver. Woods and Stevens invested $50,000, quietly buying as many claims as they could and began hydraulic mining operations immediately.
By 1890 there were nearly 90 mines in operation employing 6000 miners. At its peak there were 14 smelter operations supporting the mines. Leadville was a genuine boom town with the expected mix of characters.
A mine is a hole in the ground with a liar standing at the top.
All mining towns have characters who go on to dominate local legends and stories. Among the well-known-for-being-famous rags to riches to rags players in Leadville are Horace and Agusta Tabor, along with Horace’s mistress and 2nd wife, Elizabeth “Baby Doe”.
To make a long story short, Horace was a struggling shop keeper who invested in a mine east of Leadville. Though it was salted by the previous owner to entice buyers, Tabor dug 25 ft further down the shaft and struck a rich and extensive vein of silver ore. The operation was called the Matchless Mine, after Tabor’s favorite brand of chewing tobacco.
According to the tour operators, Tabor operated the Matchless Mine 24/7 for 13 years, pulling an average of $2000/day of silver out of it. At its peak, the mine is said to have employed 100 people. Miners were paid the common rate of $3.00 per day to climb 365 ft to the bottom of the shaft for 12 hour shifts.
The underground workings of the mine followed the vein structure and focused on sending concentrated ore to the surface. Buckets carrying approximately one ton of ore per load (my estimate) were tipped into ore carts and rolled into the ore house for hand sorting. The most highly concentrated and valuable ore was dumped down a chute for loading into a rail car and the gangue (or tailings) was dumped into the gulch.
An assay building (not shown) was on site to provide a continuous assay and accounting of silver sent to the smelter in Pueblo, Colorado. Unlike many other mine operators, Tabor owned a rail operation and had a spur at the mine for pickup and delivery of ore. Many mine operators had to employ mule-skinners to cart wagon loads of ore to a rail siding for transport to the nearest smelter.
In 1893 the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act and the collapse of the railroad industry bubble were part of a panic that lead to a crash in silver prices. Tabor lost everything and, as a respected public figure, was appointed postmaster of Denver for a short time. Eventually Tabor died at age 69 in 1899. Ex-wife Agusta had invested her divorce settlement wisely in Denver and lived comfortably. Widow Baby Doe Tabor was found frozen stiff in her shack at the Matchless Mine in 1935.
All of the digging from the boom time of Leadville has left an enduring legacy for those who live in the watershed. Much of the mining activity occurred uphill, east of the city and as a result, that area is pock marked with many large colorful tailings heaps. While the colors are interesting to ponder and sample, the ground and surface waters are greatly affected by aqueous extraction of metals from these piles.
If you stand next to one of these heaps, you can’t help but notice the smell of sulfur. The ore and tailings are enriched in sulfides and once exposed to air and water, oxidation occurs to make corrosive runoff. This is a kind of heap leaching phenomenon that will eventually exhaust itself, but only at the cost of water quality.
I’ve been too busy inserting Mg into R-X bonds to pay attention to the www. The DSC is on the fritz and the ethernet is playing games with my TGA. I need to run an FTNMR and a GCMS of my cpd ASAP. Luckily the HPLC is still spewing out results. I treated my headache with NSAID’s but my ADD is flaring up. The Jeep is in the shop, DOA, and I’m PO’d. I need to gin up a procedure for the ARC and RC-1 tests. And, worst of all, I’m out of concentrated givashit. SSDD.
First, my apologies to John Milton for my self-indulgent bastardization of a line of his prose.
Gaussling’s TOE (theory of everything) suggests that the universe will continue to exist until every strange occurrence that can happen, will happen. Perhaps the Hindu’s thought of this first … I don’t know. Anyway, we are one bit of strangeness closer to doom now that Snoop Dogg and Buzz Aldrin have cut a hip hop song. If I weren’t too cheap to pay for a download, I’d comment further on it.
Roger Ebert has captured the words I have been searching for to describe Bill O’Reilly and his ilk. My hat is off to Mr. Ebert for getting it right. I think it is time to thin out the herd.
The photo above is from Nasa’s Earth Observatory web site and was taken by an ISS astronaut. Note the whitish pyroclastic flow radiating to the 5 o’clock direction. The Sarychev volcano is located on the Kuril Islands north of Japan.