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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Antimetaboles and Amphiboles ~~ Amphiboles and Antimetaboles

       Antimetabole (/æntɨməˈtæbəliː/ AN-ti-mə-TAB-ə-lee) is the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed order (e.g., "I know what I like, and I like what I know").

       Six-syllable words, in general, make me quite happy especially with this great meaning for an elegant turn of phrase. 

       Simple and profound:

      John F. Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country" is one of the most famous antimetaboles. (I also just like writing the word antimetaboles).

       The antimetabole is similar to a chiasmus, though the chiasmus is applied fairly broadly to any "criss-cross" structure, often with a reference to the biblical cross. In its classical use, chiasmus was used for structures that do not repeat the same words and phrases, but invert a sentence's grammatical structure or ideas. 

       Antimetaboles brought me to amphiboles and their criss-cross crystal structure. Amphiboles are any of a class of rock-forming double chain silicate or aluminosilicate minerals typically occurring as fibrous or columnar crystals.

     The amphibole structure includes silica tetrahedra with varying amounts of iron, sodium, calcium and magnesium:

      (Note that the darker amphiboles are referred to as hornblende.)

       The double chain structure of amphibole is shown here as well:

       Amphibole shares the "two or both" Greek prefix of "amphi" with amphitheater, a theater on both sides, and amphibians, animals who live both on land and in water.

      The cleavage planes of amphiboles are at 124 degrees and 56 degrees:

        In cross-section, amphiboles show these cleavage planes:

     And in the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), these are further amplified:

       Amphiboles and Antimetaboles ~~ Antimetaboles and Amphiboles:
Criss-crossing minerals and words, words and minerals since October, 2014.

    Any good amphiboles or antimetaboles to share?

    And, by the way, "criss-cross applesauce" is what I say to get Maizie to smile like this:

      Either that or "antimetaboles" ;-).


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Blue-footed Booby, the Finches of Isla Daphne, and Mockingbirds and Mockingjays

         Resisting the gaze of the blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii) is almost impossible:

     Throw in the deep blue bill and those strikingly blue feet:

and a Neil deGrasse Tyson come hither look and well, he is quite irresistible.

     It is easy to see how their happy, rhythmic mating dance

leads to an elaborate courtship ritual

and to new baby boobies:

     The baby boobies do not acquire the blue feet until sexual maturity.

       But, clearly they acquire an open mouth early on:

     And the parental boobies wish for the good old days of happy, courtship dancing:

with a beautiful red Galapagos island background to show off their blue feet:

      Over half of all the blue-footed boobies nest in the Galapagos archipelago off the coast of continental Ecuador, South America:

     I do sense quite a kinship (footship?) with these avian creatures who have permanently closed nostrils and breathe through their mouths. However, I draw the line at siblicide, especially parent-encouraged siblicide. Yes, it is what you think it is.

     Last night's live stream of a Cornell ornithology lecture by Irby Lovette and Fausto Rodriguez about the evolutionary biology and nature of the Galapagos included discussion of the finches of Isla Daphne.

     On an island so small it would fit in the arts quadrangle at Cornell, the finches' beak size increased .7 mm in the late 1970's and has since decreased as the food supply changed from larger seeds to much smaller seeds.

          The island is quite dry and harsh with a predominant food source in the prickly pear cactus. Every finch on the island is now banded and numbered thanks to the work of Peter and Rosemary Grant and other researchers. Here is a Geospiza fortis or medium ground finch (looks pretty good for having been ground--sorry!):

            The presenters discussed the importance of the mockingbird (Mimus parvulus) in Charles Darwin's thinking on evolution and the origin of species.

         According to Lovette, the mockingbirds were even more pivotal in Darwin's thinking than the finches. There was allusion to Darwin's role not only a geologist and naturalist, but also as a naturist.

            And that brings us to the mockingjay of The Hunger Games book series (and movies) written by Suzanne Collins.

          The lead character, Catniss, agrees to take on the role of Mockingjay, the figurehead for the revolution. Mockingjays are known for their unrelenting drive toward mating via both mimicry of other birds (some birds have been recorded with up to 55 calls) and plumage displays. Some even mock car alarms:

                     Mockingbird Imitates Car Alarm 

           My favourite observation about the mockingbird is in the 1975 Pulitzer Prize-winning book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Annie Dillard wrote, "The mockingbird's invention is limitless. He strews newness about as casually as a god."

            "Strewing newness about as casually as a god" fits the title role in The Hunger Games book series, the birds and other animals Darwin studied for 5 years from the HMS Beagle, and, perhaps even Darwin himself.

             Yet, for my tastes, mockingbirds are no blue-footed booby:

     Looking forward to your bird tales and tails,


RIP Ebola:


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

1897 Red Sonoran Book, 1951 Oil Drilling Textbook, and 2014 Adjectives

     Cleaning out my basement on a rainy weekend yielded this 1897 Sonora Illustrado:


     The "general resume" of Sonora is a used bookstore find I made after 6 months working near Cobachi.

      The book is written in both Spanish and English:

     "This review of the State of Sonora, resume of its resources and its advantages is given to the public in all candor. There has been nothing overstated, nor has there been any attempt to boom Sonora beyond what its merits justify. On this it can well afford to stand."

      I am not quite sure what the arrow is pointing to in this photograph of La Colorada, near Cobachi, Sonora or what it has to do with "booming" Sonora:

       Nor am I exactly sure how these Yaqui Indians fit into the unboomed Sonora history:

      Lots of ardor. . .but not a single "amazing" or "awesome."

      This Primer of Oil Well Drilling, published in 1951, was used in our late 1970's mud-logging class:

     The entire volume is quite informative, outdated, and amusing; this is one of my favorite pages:

     The size of this drill bit is most impressive (but not amazing or awesome ;-)):

     Yes, now that I'm done with the drill bit (ha ha), time to wrap things up, sniff things out:

     put a few ornaments on the Christmas tree:

           Has anyone else here at PEOTS used their nose near a shale shaker? Seen a shale shaker used to shake the cuttings as they come out of the hole? Grabbing a pail full of those muddy cuttings at 3 a. m. is certainly a highlight of sitting oil and gas wells.

           Here are oil and gas discoveries as of 1951:

     And, for comparison, the Wikipedia oil reserves map for 2013:

            It takes a whole bunch of drilling people to make a rig operation successful:

     And, lastly, a drill bit that sits on my hearth:

      But, I wouldn't want to bore you. . .

      Oh yes, the AWESOME quiz from, of course, brainFALL:


Posting from 82 plus degrees in Denver (still swimming outside),


Atlas (see discussion below)   

Caryatid (see discussion below)

And one more October water picture:

And for Lego Joe:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Swimming Dinosaur in the Kem Kem Beds: Spinosaurus didn't Dance the Can-Can but Sailed Along in the Water

     Spinosaurus, a large, swimming, fish-eating dinosaur of the Cretaceous period had a large sail on its back. It has been described as the "biggest, baddest predator to walk and swim on earth" by National Geographic.

        In the above reconstruction from Davide Bonadonna for National Geographic, Spinosaurus or "spine lizard" is shown in two poses: catching a fish underwater and straining its head above the water. As a fellow swimmer, the second pose is unrealistic. Straining its neck like that is an untenable swimming position; when turning its head it would surely keep its head closer to the water or else visit the dino masseuse frequently.

         Spinosaurus spines and the flesh in between the spines creating the sail are one of the biggest mysteries of this bigger-than-Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur (over 50 feet long) discovered in the Kem Kem beds of Morocco:

     The long spines protruding from the vertebrae are up to eight times the size of the vertebrae themselves:

     Various hypotheses for the sail's purpose are a thermal regulating structure, a device for sailing in the water, a place for stored fat, and a structure for showing interest in mating. It may have also served a combination of these functions. I just don't understand what the flap is all about . . .;-)

     The head of Spinosaurus includes a jaw which does not handle torsion well:

      What a colorful creature ;-):

And, my, what big teeth "Mr. Big" had:

      Those teeth could sink into 8-foot lungfish, 13-foot coelacanths, 25-foot sawfish, and similarly outsize turtles also found in the Kem Kem beds.

      The National Geographic link describes the discovery of the bones as well as the recreation of the dinosaur's body for an exhibit opening this month in D.C.

       What's your idea for the Spinosaurus sail function?

       Are you dancing the can-can about the Kem Kem find?



The Fort on a cold, fall night. Waugh!