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25 April 2019

How We Got To Now, by Steven Johnson

I was very impressed with Steven Johnson’s The Invention of Air when I read it last summer. So recently, I decided to sample another of his books, this one a six-part microhistory about innovations that altered the course of human history. The six are: 1) cleanliness/hygiene (specifically in medicine and drinking water), 2) measurement of time, 3) glass (think lenses!), 4) understanding of light, 5) refrigeration, and 6) the recording …

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6 February 2018

An update on the state of affairs with my GigaPan images

I love the idea of high-resolution imagery that users can explore for geological meaning from the comfort of their computer screens, tablets, or phones. I think that 3D models and gigapixel-resolution panoramas (GigaPans) are powerful media for connecting people with the Earth. They allow improved access for many populations. Long-time readers will report that I regularly used to embed GigaPans in this blog as part of the stories I tried …

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20 January 2017

Friday fooled

It’s Friday, time for a … discussion of the role of misinformation in the modern media landscape and civil society? Yep, no fold this week, folks.
In honor of the Inauguration, it’s our first ever Friday Fooled.

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5 May 2014

Photoshop as a means of reconstructing fault offset

I saw this fault in Texas, north of the laccolith known as Cristo Rey: Click to enlarge I had a hard time making sense of the offset in my head, though, since the layers were of inconsistent thickness. Several people tried to convince me that the offset was “normal” (that is, right side down), but it still didn’t “click” for me in the field. So I took a photo. Back …

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20 November 2012

Digital images of the “Digital Geology Speed Dating” session at GSA

Justin Samuel at GSA sent me these images from the annual meeting in Charlotte. They show me demonstrating GigaPan technology at the Pardee Symposium called “Digital Geology Speed Dating”. With my colleagues Ron Schott and Jen Piatek, I suggested that GigaPans are a cool medium with readily obvious geologic usage for research, outreach, and education. I’m grateful to the session’s organizers, Declan De Paor, Steve Whitmeyer, and John Bailey, for …

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17 June 2012

Massanutten sketch

A sketch of the Massanutten Synclinorium is presented, made with a Wacom Cintiq stylus/monitor combination.

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28 April 2012

Skype as an EASY method of connecting scientists and students

This week, I took 20 minutes out of my day to have a conversation with a group of students… …in Canada. As you can see, our conversation was not in person, but mediated by the Internet’s video conferencing technology service called Skype. A free Skype account and a video camera allows free, easy video conversations in real time, with people anywhere in the world. It is an absolutely amazing technology, …

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16 April 2012

Sharing the M.A.G.I.C.

Last Thursday, my colleague Jim Buecheler and I took two students (Robin Rohrback and Alan Pitts) down to Charlottesville, Virginia, for a meeting at the state geological survey. The Department of Geology and Mineral Resources sponsors an annual one-day symposium on Virginia geology that I’ve participated in two or three times before. Last year I gave a talk, at the request of state geologist David Spears. This year, I gave …

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20 February 2012

Honey, I shrunk the grad students

On the airplane ride back from Texas, I bought a copy of Michael Crichton’s semi-posthumous final novel, Micro, which was co-authored by Richard Preston after Crichton’s death in 2008. Preston wrote a superb book about Ebola virus in the DC area, so I was intrigued to see his influence. Plus, and of utmost priority, I just wanted some light reading for the plane. It was mediocre. If you’ve read Sphere, …

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1 June 2010

Butter Buster animation

A million years ago, I posted about my inaugural attempt to use the Butter Buster to illustrate shear zone deformation to my structural geology students. Today, using the UnFREEz program to make an animated GIF (Thanks, Lockwood!), I give you the Butter Buster animation:

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