Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Here's what makes Western Utah so great-neat.
Mines! All sorts of 'em! And they are all still open to invite the fool-hearty inside to see their mine-rich glory! So in I went. Wanna know what it looked like inside the mine?
I'm assuming that last one was some sort of ghost McDonalds. Anyway, depending on how interesting you find this stuff those are either pictures of a forgotten past, filled with mystery and wonder! Or maybe they are pictures of concrete blocks scattered around a field that may or may not be haunted by 8 ghosts. Either way, let's agree that stepping on nails sucks.
Right next to the stairs was this house. It had a really recent address plate (598!) attached next to the front door, so I guess someone still cares that it's there. Maybe it gets a lot of mail.
And thus ended my western Utah adventure. Ooooo, wait, there was also this!
Friday, March 27, 2009
I mean, that's practially Star Wars with more bananas. And the plot twists! Move over Shyamalan!
This guy http://jrbutterfield.blogspot.com/ and I made this many years ago. A time when you didn't need high budget car crashes and hobbits to make a good movie. All you needed was a high school teacher who didn't care if you came to class or not.
It's a filthy little monkey playing a cello. Why someone would have ever had this thing inside in the first place is beyond me, but I'm not here to figure people out. All I know is that this thing used to be inside, but was most certainly found outside.
And so, in closing, aren't we all like that little cello-playing monkey in some way or another? Maybe we are filthy, or maybe we are missing the stick part of the cello. Maybe our feet got snapped off when a farmer plowed his field. Makes you think.
Nah, it doesn't.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The Cambrian was a funny time. California was just a twinkle in Mother Nature’s eye, and Nevada was little more than a soggy plain of ocean-goo. The same could be said for much of Utah. Instead of jagged mountains and determined pioneers, Utah was covered in a warm, shallow ocean and indifferent sponges. Professional people say that Utah was at or near the equator during this time as the super-continent Pangaea slapped itself together. How these professional people know this, I can’t say. Perhaps they found a fossilized spring break tee-shirt, or a greasy old DVD of sponges gone wild. Utah marked the western shoreline of Pangaea for a time, before finally sinking below the waves some 525 million years ago as the seas advanced eastwards.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I’ve got to be honest, I have very little “factual” information concerning Fluorite. You can’t tell, but spellchecker has to keep spelling it right for me. With that in mind, let’s get ready to learn. As usual, let’s make a list of what we DO know.
1) Fluorite is hard to spell. You want to spell it Florite, but there’s a “u” in it that keeps messing me up.
2) The piece I have is purplish.
3) It’s light. Much lighter than that jerk Magnetite.
4) Ummmm….I can see through it. Kinda.
5) I’m guessing that it contains the element Fluorine cus of the name. Either that or it contains the Flu virus, which I’m hoping is not the case.
6) See #2.
There. That’s all I know off the top of my head. It’s a pretty good list. Let’s look at it in action….
That’s all well and good, but let’s see how it reacts under pressure:
Let’s move on. Fluorite stems from the Latin word “fluere”, which apparently means “to flow”. It turns out that Fluorite melts pretty easy, and the early Latinians could only distinguish it from other shiny, light purple rocks by heating them all up and seeing which one melted first. I imagine this destroyed the Fluorite, but science is like that sometimes. I also don’t know what melted Fluorite looks like. Gooey, probably.
That crazy mineral book says that Fluorite should look like this....
But the piece I have looks like this….
So I’m assuming that this book is stupid-wrong.
Let’s talk money. What can we use this wonderful rock for? Say you wake up tomorrow morning and find that your great aunt has died and left you 123 pounds of Fluorite in her will. How excited should you be? The answer is you shouldn’t be very excited at all. Looks like all they really use Fluorite for is to make hydrofluoric acid, which is useful if you are making some sort of acid monster but significantly less useful (and dangerous) to the majority of regular people. English folks used to collect the stuff cus it was pretty, but it breaks too easily to make jewelry out of. Plus, again, there seems to be a hydrofluoric acid danger.
INTERESTING FLUORITE FACT #1 (of 1)
You know the word “Fluorescent?” It comes from this very mineral! Apparently, in addition to making death-acid, Fluorite can glow under particular conditions (sometimes). Also sometimes it doesn’t. Geology is the biker-gang of the sciences. It doesn’t need your rules.
END INTERSTING FLUORITE FACT #1
I’m going to step aside here for a second and explain an odd little scale the Geology uses. It’s called the Moh’s Hardness Scale, and it’s used to measure how hard a mineral is. You have to try to scratch the mineral with a bunch of odd things, and a hardness is assigned to the mineral based on the softest thing that successfully scratches the mineral in question. For future reference, here it is in all of its glory….
MOHS FASCINATING HARDNESS SCALE THAT IS CONFUSING
1 means you can scratch the mineral with your fingernail.
2 means you can scratch the mineral with your fingernail, but it’s a little harder. (fingernails have a hardness of 2.2! Save that little factoid for a party where you need to sound smart and get the ladies).
3 means you can scratch the mineral with a penny. Good to know.
4 means you can scratch the mineral with a knife. Unless that knife is made out of pennies.
5 means you can scratch the mineral with a knife again, but its harder to do.
6 means you can’t scratch the mineral with a knife.
7 means that you can scratch glass with the mineral. So here we seem to have moved on from finding out what we can use to scratch the mineral to finding out what the mineral can scratch. Awesome!
8 means you can scratch glass with the mineral again, but it’s easier than with a 7. Somehow.
9 means you can use this mineral to cut through glass. Useful if you are planning to rob a museum.
10 means you can use this mineral to cut glass again. But apparently it’s easier than a 7, 8, or 9.
END OF MOHS FASCINATING HARDNESS SCALE THAT IS CONFUSING
As you can see, this scale is pretty relative. Also, again, it’s important to remember that there are variations in every mineral that make it harder or softer than it aught to be. So sometimes this list is true, and sometimes it isn’t. What are you gonna do about it? Nothing, that’s what. You can actually fit most things on this scale, not just minerals. I imagine that blimps are probably somewhere around a 3.5, as I’ve never heard of a blimp crashing due to being struck with a penny. Shoplifting is probably somewhere around 6. A child’s laughter is likely around 1. And so on.
So where does Fluorite (usually) fall on that list? Proceed below…..
That’s right, Fluorite is a 4, meaning that it isn’t scared of pennies, but like most of us it fears knives. Let’s test it out…
It’s true! The Fluorite has defeated Honest Abe.
Looks like Old Moh’s magical scale is safe for now. I would try out a knife, but I would probably cut myself. So we are going to have to just believe that part.
Chemically-speaking, Fluorite is made up of 51.3% Calcium and 48.7% Fluorine. These two elements meet up, go on a few dates, things move too fast, and wham, Fluorite is born.
Well, that’s 3 pages of somewhat true and boring information concerning Fluorite.
Monday, March 23, 2009
It is a little know fact that the battle between the Merrimac and Monitor was actually nothing more than a fight between two stranded-at-sea kittens, both of whom were chasing a leaf floating on the water. Also one kitten was in color because I can't figure out paint.