Archive for geology

You can take the girl out the geology department …

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on September 22, 2010 by Cara Marie

Because I’ve decided to follow along with [ profile] build_a_world, last night I busied myself drawing a rough map of one of my worlds. This quickly gets complicated, because I decide, right, this area of the world is quite volcanic, so there’s going to be a subduction zone right along here … and I know I want a massive mountain range here, so let’s make it a continental collision zone …

So my map is not just a map of the continents, but a map of the continental plates, complete with little arrows to show their direction of movement. If I decide to worry about the rest of the planet, I’m going to need to make a globe.

Tell me something new, please

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 12, 2009 by Cara Marie

Catching up on Shakesville, there’s a post up on climate change, and how the last time greenhouse gases were as high as they are today, there were no ice sheets. I read this and go, uh, duh? This is news? I mean, sure, people are always doing new research showing this sort of thing, but I’ve been looking at those curves my whole degree (only four years, but it feels like forever!). My 100 level Antarctica paper did a lab on it just the other week, so it’s even fresh in my mind.

Also made the mistake of reading a comment by a climate change skeptic, which of course rarks me up. Hello, the scientists actually studying climate change don’t know about sunspots and natural climate cycles? For god’s sake. And saying a 200-1000 year error in a core date is a big deal? We’re talking at least hundreds of thousands of years, people. And it’s generally harder to get an accurate date, than, say, a temperature estimate.

Here is something future climate change models don’t take into account, and it’s not any of those things people like to mention. It’s hurricanes. And yet, models for the huge warming event back in the Eocene don’t get up to the temperatures recorded then unless you model for hurricanes. Which doesn’t really suggest good things for us.

I should really just stay away from climate change discussions. There will always be someone there to piss me off.

where I whine about rocks

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 27, 2009 by Cara Marie

I’m working on a report for my volcanology class, at the moment. I flaked on starting the writing any earlier than a week before it was due. Which probably wasn’t smart for a 7,500 word report. I feel myself flashing back to the years I did NaNoWriMo: come on, another 100 words, 100 words isn’t that long, is it? And then another 100. If I do 1250 a night, I’ll be okay.

I am well put off science at this point. I can’t wait till I am back just doing plain old undergrad courses. All I want to do at the moment is read smutty Star Trek fic, dammit!

Actually, Hekla is a pretty interesting volcano. Also I love reading all the Icelandic names (maybe not the part where I have to keep going into ‘special characters’ to write them). I should just be grateful I got my last seminar over and done with and it’s only writing I have to do now.

Right, off to do another 100 words…

Scientists with babies – they’re out there.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 26, 2009 by Cara Marie

Looking through the Scientiae carnivals, this post at My Middle Years piqued my attention.

If I wanted a role model for women having families and doing science, I didn’t have to look hard at Vic. One of the postgrads who came along on our second year fieldtrip I found out had a toddler, who’d been born in her second year at uni. Which hadn’t stopped her from completing two degrees, one with honours, getting really good marks, and going on to do masters.

It didn’t stop her partner from going on to do masters either! (Obviously they had good support elsewhere.)

She had another baby at the end of last year – we actually had two pregnant women in the department, with one of our lecturers getting steadily rounder over the course of the trimester. It was really nice.

I met both the babies at the conference last year. My lecturer wasn’t actually attending, but the postgrad had her baby in tow most of the conference. Which I guess is probably easier when they’re only a few months old – her daughter was along one afternoon too, and I think toddlers are definitely more trouble :) I remember my religious studies lecturer last trimester had to bring her little daughter along for one of the classes, and she was a bit of a show stealer.

It’s nice to be reminded that your lecturers have families too, and it’s nice to know that OMGBABIES doesn’t have to end your scientific career. Particularly when you’re always being told that the reason there aren’t as many women scientists is that women have babies.

To which I always just want to say, “But men have babies too!”

I am actually thinking it would be really interesting to do an article on being a scientist father for the women’s issue of Salient… if I had the guts to actually do a feature. Because I know there are men in the department with kids whose partners aren’t also in the department! And I think it would be a nice counter-point to the whole parenting-as-a-women’s-issue thing*. Because it’s everybody’s issue.

It would of course depend on me having the guts to do a feature that actually involved interviewing people.

*And I have used the word nice way too many times in this entry. Which is keeping me up past bedtime. Night night.

One Keke report slayed…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 24, 2009 by Cara Marie

We have to write a maximum of three pages for our Keke report.  I have now written three pages.  I have played Over the Atlantic’s ‘Dimensions’ three times over the course of the day.  I shall no longer bother bullshitting like I understand the faults, and shall declare myself done.

Well, mostly done.  I may yet throw in some more figures.  My hands are covered in glitter because I couldn’t find a normal inky pen to ink in my faults with… had to use a sparkly pen.  If only we got extra points for sparkles!

So now at least I feel like I’ll actually pass the course, which is nice.  Because I couldn’t bear to do it again.

I like to write poems about my field trips.  Here is one I wrote about Keke:

Oh, Kekerengu…

No, book, no!

Posted in Books with tags on May 7, 2008 by Cara Marie

I have nearly finished reading In Search of Ancient New Zealand, a pop-science type geological history by Hamish Campbell and Gerard Hutching. It’s easy enough to read that I’ve put up with the poor prose, and the fact it really could have done with another proofread. But. Talking about the Last Glacial Maximum as it occured in New Zealand:

Glaciers would have certainly formed on the major North Island volcanic cones of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Taranaki, but subsequent climatic warming and volcanic eruptions have erased the geological memory of any glaciers. There is no evidence.

And now I can’t trust anything this book says. Indeed, I threw a hissy fit at it. Because not only are there still glaciers on Ruapehu (albeit very small ones), but there is certainly evidence of glaciers. I was looking at it last weekend! But now I know what fools we were, thinking those were lateral moraines we were climbing up. I’m sure my glaciologist lecturer will be very disappointed when I tell him. I may as well not do my mapping project, being as we clearly imagined the whole thing.

What the hell, book? Really, if I’d been further than 10 pages from the end of the damn thing, I’d be throwing it away in disgust.

Most relaxed field trip ever

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 6, 2008 by Cara Marie

So, last weekend I was on a geology field trip up to the Central Plateau. Which, unlike every other field trip I’ve been on, was actually quite relaxing. We didn’t have to do work in the evenings! It makes an amazing difference to stress levels. Although the trip to the hot pools probably helped too.

On Saturday night then, most everyone was drinking. Some of them were still drunk in the morning. I, instead, had a very intense debate with one of the boys in my class, Ben. I’m not even entirely sure what we were debating most of the time, but the point that got me all worked up was when he told me women are more emotional than men, that this is scientific fact.

For context: I had been talking about my anthropology lecturer who told us that female anthropologists are all ethnocentric (more so than men). This is so because they are all studying gender. It annoyed me to no end (and one girl actually walked out).

So when Ben says to me, bitter sexist anthropology lecturer is right, I am immediately on the defensive. First, he is telling me that my work is never going to be as good as a man’s, because I am a woman, and I am too emotional. (I am quite sensitive about this because I do tend to be an emotional person, and I am not comfortable with it. I don’t see how it affects my work though). Second, he is telling me that my feelings towards the lecturer’s statement are not justified; I am over-reacting. He is not saying either of these things, but that is how it reads.

Being on the defensive, I wasn’t arguing as well as I could. I wanted to know how they could have really proven such a thing, how you can take socialisation out of it. Rather than saying, even if they have proven this, I bet it’s on bell curves that overlap very closely – the average might be different, but you can’t say anything about any one person based on such statistics. Rather than saying, which emotions are you talking about?

He might’ve felt confident telling me he wasn’t particularly emotional, but see, it sure sounded that way when he’d been describing to me how he liked riding his motorbike. There are stereotypically male emotions as much as stereotypically female ones: you get the anger and ambition associated with testosterone, while us ladies get the sympathy and sadness and love. Maybe each sex is more susceptible to different chemicals, but I will not accept that women are more emotional than men. More emotionally expressive, yes. But that’s a socialisation thing.

(Oh, for Heian Japan, where men were supposed to be sensitive and cry a lot, and it was bad manners not to cry when someone told you something sad. I would’ve done awesome.)

It was actually fun, though I do wish I had used my better points. Scaring people by debating really intensely with them is great. I don’t know if he thinks he upset me or not? ( I more couldn’t stop thinking about it from an intellectual perspective, an is my position justified perspective.) But I’d already astounded him that night, with the revelation that I don’t see pictures in my head. I am just a total freak, really.

I’m not wordy, I’m loquacious?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 29, 2008 by Cara Marie

Today, I have been hard at work on my report for the Te Muna fieldtrip. I have now finished my Lithostratigraphy. It is almost three pages long, in a 10pt font. It is supposed to be 1-2 pages.

Oh, god. I suppose I can blame the imprecision of page counts? It all fits if I only make the font tiny!

See, I got the comment in my field notebook that I was too wordy. Which is true. I thought, hey, at least I’ll write an ace report. Now I feel like I should be warning Cliff, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

So much for ‘a very BRIEF summary report’.

I suppose I’ll never learn to tickle a fish then

Posted in Books with tags , , on November 4, 2007 by Cara Marie

How to work me up, for book publishers:

    Publish something called ‘The Outdoors Book for Adventurous Chaps’
    Have a spread on finding fossils. Have a picture of a trilobite. Call it an ‘ammonite fossil’

Ammonites and trilobites look nothing alike, but what would a girl like me know?