Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Ha! I have poor writing skills! Actually it will be revealed right now! The answer is that we will actually be headed to the vast desert-y regions of eastern Utah. A land where the sagebrush is king, and beetles roam free and un-harassed by the human foot! A land parched by sun, frozen by winter, and a little of both of those things in spring and fall! And land rich with potential, but even richer with un-potential. You know that story about the magical monkey paw that could grant wishes, but all the wishes had some sort of cruel side-effect that were all evil and stuff? That monkey paw is Eastern Utah.
You could see this mined out crack in the earth stretching for miles over the hills. I don’t know how they got down there to mine this stuff out, but next time you ink up your quill or crack open a barrel of your finest hops and barley you had better be glad that they did. You can even see the mine from space. Here is a google earth photo of it.
Apparently we also can spray it on mailboxes. Neat!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Twas late in my room, and naught but the steady bubbling of my fishtank was to be heard. I sat awake, as was the style at the time. I was getting tired, and soon found myself in that nearly asleep mode where you might be snoring, but you also would hear someone come into the room. Before I had fallen almost asleep I had decided to read a passage or two from "Where the Wild Things Are"as for some reason I felt like it had been far too long since I had read a relatively creepy book about monsters and crazy preteens that live in rooms that morph into jungles. I read what I needed, and then placed the book on the head-board above my head. Falling asleep, I remember feeling oddly uneasy, but I dismissed the feeling as a "Wild Things" hang-over.
Heh, let me interject here, if I may, with a joke that I just thought up...
Q: What kind movies to do mosters watch at Spring Break?
A: Wild things gone wild! or perhaps Wild things gone wilderer. Gene Wilderer....I dunno. This joke sucks.
Anyway, I entered the half-asleep world and there I stayed for a time. Suddenly, my leg jerked without permission, as is aught to happen sometimes when one is in half-sleep. Down came the Wild Things and bonked me on the head. I awoke with a start from my drooling state, and instantly my eyes met something altogether not-entertaining. A figure of a person was standing at the foot of my bed. It wasn't towering over me, nor did it have tenticle for arms or snakes for hair or plaid socks. Just a person, standing and watching. I sat up, more confused than anything. What was going on? Why was there a copy of "Where the wild things are" smacking me on the head? Why was I drooling despite the fact that I was partially awake? Why was there a shadow person at the foot of my bed? Mostly that last one. I stared for a second at the figure who stood out distinctly from the rest of the moonlit room. It did not more, make a noise or anything. I freaked out, as one is aught to do when dealing with shadowy-folk, but before I could run the thing just disappeared. Faded, really. Like a hologram onboard a starship running on failing back-up generators. Within a second it was gone, but the unease and stark terror remained. And so I ran out the room and into the hallway, which was no better because it is well known to me that the hallway is the most terrifying part of the house. Long and forbidding, the hallway featured many mirrors at all ends, as well a number of objects that cast strange shapes all over the walls in the light of the nightlight. So I ran down to the living room and slept behind the couch. There I was safe. Far away from where the wild things are. Er, were. So anyway, yeah, ghosts are spooky.
There. I will post something better later. But tired now. Sleepy time. Leave lone.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
(That's the scientific picture of pyrite. I think. Or possibly some sort of virus.)
Pyrite is everywhere. Well, nearly everywhere. It’s likely to be anywhere you can find sulfur and iron, which is most places if you spend a lot of time underground or at some sort of sulfur and iron factory. Which to my knowledge don't exist. If you looked really REALLY close at pyrite, you would see a single atom of iron that has totally hooked up with a pair of hot atoms of sulfur, resulting in a steamy, HBO-style chemical formula of FeS2. You would think that this would mean that pyrite is 33% iron and 66% sulfur, but it isn’t. It’s actually 46.6% iron and 53.4% sulfur. I’m not here to explain why this is. You will just have to trust me.
*BEGIN FUN FACT*
Now, some of you may notice that piece isn’t really “metallic” anymore. Like all of us, pyrite is not long for this world. Too quickly the ravages of life take their toll upon the pyrite cube and work to turn it into something else. In this case the pyrite has weathered into a mineral called Limonite. In short, it has simply rusted. Like my Honda.
A fun little note about weathering pyrite is that it often forms a weak acid, which likes to find its way into the groundwater. Here's something special for the nerds! A chemical explination of how pyrite is actively trying to kill you!
4) FeS2 + 15/4 O2 + 7/2 H2O --> 2H2SO4 + Fe(OH)3 4
Ahh, the beautiful simplicity of chemistry! The problem is with that nasty little H2SO4 guy. This guy is known as sulfuric acid, and it's an environmental pain in the butt. Anyway, it gets into the water and makes all sorts of problems.
And here’s what it would look like if it were a super villain.
Pyrite is perhaps better known as “Fools Gold” because it looks like gold to fools. I think it looks a lot like gold, but I wouldn’t ever admit it because I don’t need people thinking I’m a fool. I hate everyone so much. Anyway, if you ever find yourself with a block of shiny, gold-colored mineral and need to figure out if it is gold or if you are a fool, then here’s what you do.
So what is it good for? Other than starting fires when people hit it with hammers and contaminating groundwater when it weathers, the answer may shock and amaze you. Pyrite isn’t really good for anything. Well, other than as a test to see if you are in the presence of fools I guess. Some countries use it as an iron ore, but it stuff produces so much sulfur it isn’t really a preferred source. So I suppose it falls under the large list of rocks that are best used as paperweights, doorstops, crude weapons, and the like.
will keep his eyes open for the stuff. Because I strive to only bring you the most accurate and crudely drawn information, let's take a look at these easy to understand stick-figure drawings of how pyrite forms as a result of magmatic intrusion thingies.
The general idea behind those pictures are that lava squishes into the rocks and sends boiling hot earth-waters into the surrounding areas. This water usually contains a ton of crazy minerals that form all sorts of things, including pyrite.
And that is Pyrite. Kinda. Well more or less.