September 29th, 2013
NASA's Earth Observatory posted a slideshow depicting Devastation and Recovery at Mt. St. Helens:
The 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, which began with a series of small earthquakes in mid-March and peaked with a cataclysmic flank collapse, avalanche, and explosion on May 18, was not the largest nor longest-lasting eruption in the mountain's recent history. But as the first eruption in the continental United States during the era of modern scientific observation, it was uniquely significant.
In the three decades since the eruption, Mt. St. Helens has given scientists an unprecedented opportunity to witness the intricate steps through which life reclaims a devastated landscape. [...]
March 24th, 2013
November 19th, 2012
March 13th, 2012
I think I'd have responded the same way Grig Larson did to this job interviewer's question…
Riddled (from Grig Larson)
Not too long ago, I applied for systems administrator job. The interviews were going very well, and I had to return twice because they flew people in to meet me. One of them was a guy who, God love him, seemed like a great person but his interview skills were a little hackneyed. [...]
"If you had to move Mount Fuji," he asked, "how would you do it?" I recall thinking, "why is he asking this? What does he mean by Mount Fuji?"
"You mean, Mount Fuji, the volcano in Japan?"
He looked confused I asked. "Er, yes. How would you move it?"
What he didn't know was I was a science fiction author as well. I spent a lot of time asking odd questions like these. [...] But like a writer, I had to have a principal motive of the protagonist.
"Why?" I asked.
The man chuckled as if he had never thought about that before. "Just how would you move it?"
I felt I didn't explain my question. "I mean, who is my customer? Why does he or she wish to move Mount Fuji? I mean, to move Mount Fuji seems like the middle of a plan; it's a verb that has an end mean. Like, does my client want the rubble? Do they want to move it 10 meters to the left? What drives such a vast plan?" [...]
… which means it's probably just as well that I haven't had to undergo a job interview in almost fourteen years now. If that's the state of the art in interview questions then I'm destined to be a long time unemployed if my current job ever goes away.
February 19th, 2012
One more sport I'm perfectly happy never to have tried: volcano-boarding…
British journalist John Kay, chief reporter at The Sun, once summarized his personal M.O. as "If you don't go, you don't know." It's stuck with me ever since and is precisely what's brought me to Cerro Negro – the only place in the world you can do volcano-boarding, our guide said. The sport was created in 2005 by an Australian sand-boarder named Darryn Webb, who first tried mattresses, boogie boards and a mini-bar fridge before settling on the makeshift toboggan. Trips now run daily from the hostel Darryn also founded, called Bigfoot, where just $28 buys you a seat in the back of a flatbed truck, the use of a homemade board, and on this day the upbeat guidance of a man named Anthony, who is squat and muscly and so agile he can pop out of a hatch in our truck's cab, swing his body around as we jounce along some seriously unpaved roads, and land casually in the truck's rollicking bed. He looks like the sort of person who can handle tobogganing down an active volcano, while the 20 of us who will actually undertake the challenge look hot and tired and more like Janes than Tarzans.
June 1st, 2010
The world's first volcano renovation: it'll be pretty damn spectacular when it's done.
April 19th, 2010
November 1st, 2009
The work of White Elephant Design's Lava Project is set fair to be puzzling geologists for many, many millennia to come.
[Via The Long Now Blog]
July 13th, 2009
May 8th, 2008
This gallery of photos of the ChaitÃ©n volcano in Chile is astonishing.
It's the sort of weather you want to observe from a safe distance, preferably accompanied by a soundtrack of Metallica or Led Zeppelin.