Keeping with my vow to limit my political junky tendencies, I find myself reading more and more non-political stories these days, watching more helpful youtube videos and really diving into Climate Change Solutions these days. I’m going to try and post more on Climate Solutions as time permits.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of stories I read this morning I thought I would share before I dive into my day.
The kids are all right:
A Portland high school student has Oregon governor’s ear on environmental justice
At 6 a.m. on a Tuesday last July, Danny Cage was packing for a camping trip with friends when his cellphone rang. The caller ID flashed “Salem.”
He picked up: The governor’s office was on the line. A staffer for Gov. Kate Brown told Cage, 17 at the time, that he had been nominated to serve on a state board, the just-revamped Environmental Justice Council.
Cage had never heard of the council. The Grant High School student had never even been to Salem.
Cage, now a senior at Grant, became the state’s youngest environmental justice commissioner – and a fresh voice on a group that advises the governor and the state’s natural resource agencies how to identify and help communities around the state that experience disproportionate environmental harms from such things as wildfires, diesel pollution and nitrate-laced drinking water.
“I was sitting in a room with people who have been the directors of an agency or of a nonprofit, who have their master’s or doctorate degrees, when I’m an 18-year-old high school student who has none of that professional experience,” said Cage. “But I also knew that my voice matters, just as much, if not more, because of my personal experience.”
His awakening to the climate crisis came gradually. Since he was a child, Cage had heard talk of a warming planet but initially dismissed climate activists as “vegans and hippies,” he said.
That impression changed during his freshman year when he watched Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg’s short film, which began: “This is not a drill … We are living in the beginning of a mass extinction. Our climate is breaking down. Children like me are giving up their education to protest. But we can still fix this. You can still fix this.”
I live in a place where finding fossils is…well if not commonplace, frequent. The big news for us a few years ago was when they found a torosaurus near my old neighborhood. That was fun to drive by and watch them excavate it.
Turns out there are rules for these things and former Florida man did the right thing:
What do you do if you stumble across a significant dinosaur fossil in the woods? Ask this guy.Colorado Springs rock hunter went out looking for geodes but found a dinosaur’s tibia insteadKate Johnson, a volunteer with the Western Interior Paleontological Society, cleans mud from a tibia bone of a sauropod dinosaur on Jan. 27 in Cañon City. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun via Report for America)
His quest for a geode took Chad McCarty into the hills of Fremont County a mere five months after he moved to Colorado.
He was drawn to the state from his native Florida because the geological diversity would allow him to better pursue his passion of rockhounding.
But on this October day something else caught his attention — something that looked like bone. He dug around it a bit, enough to determine that it was a bone. And a large one at that.
“Then I covered it up and continued to look for geodes, because that’s what I was focused on that day,” said McCarty, a 31-year-old Colorado Springs bartender who is working toward pursuing his metal sculpture art full time.
He returned three times to dig around the bone.
“It was a bonding experience,” he said with a wide smile. “Part of me wanted to keep it. It would look great on my mantle. But my conscience wouldn’t let me do that.”
He called the Bureau of Land Management and reported his discovery.
They worked to keep the dino bones in the county where they were found and it’s been a boon for the small museum and the area:
Acouple dozen children crowded along the roping that held the public about 3 feet from the new lab bench, their eyes laser focused as the technicians cut through the plaster to reveal the bones.
McCarty had been introduced to a loud round of applause, and he was assisting Broussard with the fibula. WIPS volunteers worked on the tibia. When the plaster came off, the wide-eyed youngsters grinned and applauded — along with the hundreds of adults in the room.
For the next few hours the crowd filed between the roping and table, taking photos and asking questions. More people arrived at the museum to take a look. No one rushed and the volunteers were eager to talk about how dinosaur bones are prepared. How to tell the dirt from bone. How to harden the cracks to keep the bone from falling apart.
Read the entire story about the full find and the reveal here, again worth your time.
Cool about the dino bones. All we have are fossils from the creek at the back of our property. They are 445 million years old and new ones crop up all the time as the creek washes the side of the hill it flows against. Every big rain storm leaves a bounty of new things to see. I have a gorgeous hunk of slate that has a perfect impression of a seashell in it.
In other news of climate and (sorta) fossils:
Archaeologists who study tree rings in the Ancient Mediterranean have put together a decent case that the Hittite Empire collapsed after 500 years because of a three-year period of severe drought:
Not that we ourselves need to worry about changes in climate leading to the end of empires, thank goodness.
Well, that’s a relief. I was a bit worried for a time.
Guess I’m not fully aware of how state boards work, but I’m a tad surprised that a governor would nominate someone to a board without even discussing it with them first.
BJ readership capture for sure: This Crew of Street Veterinarians Treat the Pets of L.A.’s Homeless Residents of Skid Row
He started in L.A. but the article mentions other cities as well. Such a wonderful thing to do, considering so many unhoused people have pets and obviously won’t have the money to pay for their health care.
Washington state has some cool paleo background. One of my faves is that we’re the “new” coastal state: the tectonic plate we (and, I think, Idaho) sit on traveled across the Pacific 17 million years ago and crashed into what was already here, thus robbing Montana of its chance to be ocean shore property. I’ve had the chance to go fossil digging around in an Eocene era lakebed in Republic, WA, more than once, and my prize find was a mayfly. (Since the rock it was in cracked so that both halves had the insect’s impression, I got to keep half.)
There is no feeling quite like holding a layered bit of rock in your hand, striking it with a hammer, and looking to see what’s inside.
For someone who loves all things paleontological, I’ve been incredibly remiss about visiting my local natural history museum, The Burke. Gotta get out there soon.
@Alison Rose: There is a show on Animal Planet called Dr Jeff, Rocky Mountain Vet. His team regularly goes to the streets to help the homeless with their animals and does spay and neuter clinics in poor areas around the world. Wonderful cause!
How old do you have to be to get this bit of library humor?
@Alison Rose: Thanks for sharing that because I know you sent it to me and I’ve been remiss.
@Tdjr: That used to be my mom’s favorite show, so I haven’t been able to turn it on since we last watched it together. But his team does great work – taking it lots of cases that could not afford vet care otherwise.
Not a story or link, but I’m at Crested Butte this week, and watching the Adaptive Ski program folks taking guests out on the trails with various gear to accommodate differing disabilities is soooo cool. I’ve seen people in “bucket skis” before, and that’s a great device (my best snowboard buddy for many years accompanied a guy with CP who is an accomplished rider but needs assistance in the lift line & getting on/off the lift).
But what was new to me yesterday was a kind of elaborate “walker” frame with skis that a skier used for assistance (with two program aides on either side of her). That so many people want to share the gorgeous beauty, sun and snow and everything is inspiring.
I can’t say for sure at C.B., but I was acquainted with an Adaptive guy at Winter Park year’s ago. He and all his fellows who teach and support these guests are volunteers. Their only compensation is a season pass (and, after *20* years, Scott was gifted a lifetime pass!).
@TaMara: I don’t think I did! I just saw it last night, I think. Maybe someone else did :) GMTA!
@jeffreyw: I’m only somewhat old and I got it :D
Chemistry majors will chortle:
Sodium, sodium, sodium, sodium, sodium, sodium, sodium … Batman!
@Alison Rose: You are correct. I just check my Kindness files and it was
So thanks to you both!
(At least) 3 great minds found the same wonderful story!
Open thread? I finished writing Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Saved The World Again, the second book about Avery Special, 15-year-old girl necromancer! Now I have to figure out the beta reader situation in my post-Twitter life.
Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m A Giant Monster just got cover art, and I’m supposed to get a release date soon. Boy, do I hope that goes well. Everyone told me that A Spaceship Repair Girl Supposedly Named Rachel would be a hit, and it totally flopped.
It’s agent hunting time again too, but that’s its own private Hell to navigate. I appreciate my current publisher putting my books back on the market, but that’s ALL they do, and I need at least some marketing assistance. I had to wait until I’m free to start a new IP before there was any point agent hunting again, and that time is now.
EDIT – Oh, one thing that was neat for me is that Giant Monster and Save The World Again take place at the same time, but the characters’ lives have almost no overlap. There is one scene that happens in both books, from the POV of the different protagonists.
RIP Burt Bacharach, one of the greatest composers of the 20th Century.
Good luck on the sales.
Triggered memory of a title dragged out from time to time to make gentle mock of the series of books: Tom Swift and His Electric Grandmother.
@Frankensteinbeck: Good luck! Hope you find the right people to help you.
Cope and Marsh didn’t need all this elaborate rigamarole. Dynamite the bones out of the rock, shove the pieces in crates, ship them back east.
(I’m sure modern paleontologists cringe when they think about what was lost. My favorite (?) story along those lines relates to the Dead Sea Scrolls, when one of the caves in which the hundreds of documents were found in untidy heaps on the ground was cleared in a few days — with shovels.)
Paul in KY
@Old School: The Gov kept looking for him on MySpace.
Paul in KY
@Frankensteinbeck: Best of luck to you on your most recent works! Have utmost respect for someone who’s able to get their stuff published!
Talk about a left-handed compliment, re: Jacques de Morgan:
One of my favorite clips of Burt Bacharach:
There’s a quote I can’t remember, something like,
“What is it with music? First they play a chord, then another chord, then your heart breaks.”
Bacharach knew those chords.
Hats’ off to citizen scientists.
There is a human as well as archaeological tragedy in that biography: A brilliant archaeologist until he became too fixated on his own speculative theories and destroyed a major archeological site chasing ghosts.
@TaMara: I’m a climate campaigner by trade and part of the Dems Abroad leadership, including the DA climate caucus. Would love to collab with the community here on climate action and advocacy work, there’s a lot of good stuff happening both within the party and externally.
Also the DNC climate caucus is quite effective and worth staying up to date with: https://www.dncclimate.org/
@Tdjr: Dr. Jeff was the vet I went to from the time he opened in Denver (1990-ish). He did some amazing things for me and my dogs over the years. Don’t live in CO anymore, and sorely miss his clinic and wonderful approach.
@Tim Ellis: I am going to email and yes, let’s do this. I’ve been looking for someone to work with me on this. Thanks!!
@Alison Rose: There’s a similar project here in Seattle, my cousin just started working for them. It’s so, so needed and appreciated; it’s mainly for the unhoused, but also for people barely making it by with their rent. Their main funding is from Paul Allen’s foundation.
So I read the synopsis and some reviews on Amazon, and got the Kindle version. If I like it enough, I’ll get the paperback and send it to a grandniece.
I went to a 9-yo’s birthday party; Harry Potter themed, and the kids were all into it. I’m all for it: I started reading SF since “Shy Stegasaurus…” and the Heinlein YAs. But reading HP as an adult… meh. I plodded through them, until I bogged down in the middle of the last one. Still haven’t finished it.
I want something to interest these kids I know to Science! Adventure! “Have Space Suit, Will Travel”! Looking forward to the read.
@NotMax: Took me a beat, but then the tune kicked in.
Dolly Parton & Jim Stafford.
Whoopsie doodle. #33 in wrong thread.
@Peke Daddy: We took some of them to the Falls of Ohio to have them dated. Seems our outcrop of fossils is pretty rare for our IN county.
The kids are not alright. They just pretend to be in a horrible world. It worries me a lot.