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1 April 2016

Geomancy for the mundane geologist – “Games Wizards Play” by Diane Duane

I don’t often do book reviews on here (Callan is your go-to guy for that), but I recently finished a novel by one of my favorite authors and I really wanted to write about it. Diane Duane, if you’re not familiar with her, is the author of a long-running series about wizards. But not just any wizards – in her version of the universe, which is very similar to our own, wizardry is a science in and of itself.


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25 March 2012

Geologist’s bookshelf: Older offerings

I’m a bit of a pack rat when it comes to books, especially geological ones. I’ve got quite a few that I’ve collected but never really had time to read. (When you read journal articles at work all day, sometimes you really don’t want to read about more geology when you go home. Because I also have a lot of fantasy and scifi books, those are what tend to end up on the bedside table instead.) More often then not, the books I collect are older, because buying a lot of new ones can get expensive when you’re on a grad student budget.


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22 February 2012

“Magnificent column of smoke” (Accretionary Wedge #43 Entry)

My choice of favorite geologic illustration, for Accretionary Wedge # 43, comes from a book that geobloggers (and others) have written about in the past: Sir William Hamilton’s Campi Phlegraei, Observations on the Volcanoes of the Two Sicilies. I won’t repeat all the background about Hamilton, who was a British natural historian who observed eruptions of Mount Vesuvius in the 1760s and 1770s. Campi Phlegraei, a three-part work, contained wonderful descriptions of the volcanoes and eruptions of Naples and Sicily, including the 1779 eruption of Mount Vesuvius (discussed and illustrated in a supplement to the first two volumes).


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12 May 2011

Childhood bookshelves: Geology reading for kids

Visiting my folks is always an opportunity for me to look through all my old stuff (mostly with the aim of cleaning it out of the attic so the ceilings don’t collapse). But books tend to be exempt from the cleaning sprees, and I usually come across something that I loved as a child and would still like to keep on my bookshelves. Often, these are geology- or volcano-related; since I’m taking a few days off from research, I thought I’d point out some great leisure reading titles for kids (and adults). And I don’t just mean the slimmed-down generic “Geology” or “Volcanoes” subject guides that come in series, but some unique books that I remember piquing my interest in Earth science.


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2 December 2010

Book review: The Planet in a Pebble

One of my favorite ways of thinking about Earth science is to compare it to a crime investigation, particularly along the lines of Sherlock Holmes, where the investigator gathers minute detail into an encompassing explanation. That’s why I was intrigued when Oxford University Press approached me about reviewing a new book that they’re publishing, The Planet in a Pebble.


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24 February 2010

Essential reading for volcanologists

One of the things I’ve found out since starting serious research in volcanology is that a lot – and I mean a lot – of the best texts are either out of print, expensive, or both. Fortunately there are enough people in the department that we have a fairly good selection of them – better than the library, anyway – although we’re going to be in big trouble when certain …


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5 February 2010

Blast from the past

On Wednesday the volcanology lab groups here at UB had a discussion about basaltic eruptions, particularly at Paricutin and Jorullo volcanoes in Mexico. The first thing I was reminded of on hearing the name Paricutin was not a geological fact, but a childhood memory – one of watching Reading Rainbow, actually. Reading Rainbow, if you aren’t familiar with it, was one of the best children’s shows out there. Sadly, it …


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14 November 2008

Volcanoes in fiction

Volcanoes are a really popular subject for movie-fiction – they’re flashy, dangerous, unpredictable (unless you’re Pierce Brosnan), and they explode. They’re also appealing because moviemakers can, for the most part, get away with really spectacular CGI and not a lot of thought about the processes occurring on the volcano. (Not that they can get past us, but the average moviegoer hasn’t had much volcano education beyond the cone-with-a-central-conduit diagram.) Incorporating …


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15 May 2008

Oldies but Goodies: A Report on the Geology of the High Plateaus of Utah

I feel like I’ve been totally lazy about posting anything substantial lately, and (probably because I was in the throes of paper writing) I missed the PodClast again. I did, however, see this post at Clastic Detritus, and I thought it might be interesting to write about some of the older books and papers on my shelves. This is one of my favorites, probably the oldest, and (unfortunately) not one …


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