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I'm a consulting geologist for a small company in the Denver area. I study problems related to active tectonics, using geomorphology, structural geology and remote sensing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Beatbox Flute

I have never seen this before, tho apparently it's been on the internets for a while. Check it out:

By the way, both these guys are professional symphony and chamber orchestra musicians, this is a side project for them. Just google Beatbox Flute or Greg Patillo and you'll see some interesting things.



I've been choking on data recently... having problems converting data formats and getting over-focused on minutia related to really minor aspects of my work. Although it hasn't been the best use of my time (yesterday was practically a waste because of file format issues) I still came up with a couple interesting figures. I've been trying to show that a certain suite of terraces are actually and old basin floor deposit, but this image seems to say otherwise. Either that or the mapping is just off a little and the georectification could be changed enough to make an argument for that hypothesis.

Science seems largely subjective some times, which is a little scary. The picture is interesting anyway...


Sunday, June 22, 2008


With apologies to my southern liberal elite friends, you are not yankees. This was pointed out to me the other day, and of course it's true...

I was hoping to find some interesting terminology applied to those southern liberals who identify with many of the political and moral "standards" thought to represent Yankee ideals, but have not managed to find any such pejoratives. Instead, I've only run across many blog entries about bitter rural Americans and a few mentions of the so-called "upland southerners".

Perhaps the most interesting article I've run across on this search was the following, on the perception of outgroups:

Scientific American article on Harvard Students and Rednecks


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I kind of wish I was playing with Legos today... it's just that kind of day. Instead, I'm drawing block diagrams through an imbricated thrust sheet that displays an incipient duplex which is terminated or stalled by a lateral ramp. yeah. Legos would be way better.... just not as productive. I caught coffee at Cafe Sole this morning.. taking a minute to sit outside and look out at the flatirons there, with the I.M. Pei designed National Center of Atmospheric Research prominently in the foreground of the foothills. Very idyllic, indeed.

Recently I've been more aware of the increasingly popular and derogatorily muttered name that conservative media has given many of the left-leaning members of society:


That's me! From an old article quoting a conservative interest group's advert during the last rounds of elections: "Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont, where it belongs." Hey now... I like lattes (or Breve-Lattes to be exact), I love sushi, practically everyone in my hometown drove a volvo when I was growing up, and I also happen to have pierced ears. Rather than vilify something as tasty and benign as coffee or sushi, these folks should just bring back the term "Yankee", since that's really what they mean. The thing that really gets me about the idea of elitism is that somehow only Liberals can be elite. If (just as an example) a conservative man graduates from both Yale and Harvard, avoids military service, gets a wrap-sheet for substance-abuse related arrests and then becomes president, how on earth is that not the very definition of 'elite' with respect to all the negative connotations bred by the right-wing of this country?! Maybe it's ok to have all those advantages, as long as you're an annoying prick that's dumb as bricks. I personally would be thrilled to have someone who could be called a Liberal Elite as president. Wikipedia has a great article on this, which states, "In Thomas Frank's 'What's the Matter with Kansas?' the idea of a liberal elite is suggested to be similar to the character of Emmanuel Goldstein in the George Orwell book Nineteen-Eighty Four, the fictional hated enemy of the people. Frank argues that anger directed towards this perceived enemy is what keeps the conservative coalition together." ...interesting interpretation.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ride last night...

went for my first trail ride since getting back into CO... just around Marshall Mesa in south Boulder, but the sunset was perfect. I stopped for a moment to watch deer grazing and red wing blackbirds flitting over the fields, all while the sun was casting rays upward from the few clouds over the Rockies. Unfortunately non of that was captured on my cell-phone camera, so I just took a goofy picture of myself that also didn't show up very well.


Ah, mountains, sun, beers...

Here's a pic for those of you in Taiwan or on the East Coast who might be missing mountains and sitting outside in perfect weather for happy hour... from the rooftop of the Lazy Dog pub in downtown Boulder.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Still catching up...

Hey all,

Still catching up... yesterday saw my afternoon nap turn into a 6 hour dream-filled sleep. I woke up completely disoriented and I couldn't even tell what day it was... anyway, I am starting to feel a little more in tune with normal hours here.

just a quick post, while I'm thinking about it: while I was staying in Taipei, I was generously hosted by Kamil and Micha, two post-docs working with John Suppe at Tai-Da. I must thank them profusely for their accommodations but I also wanted to share a post from their blog... While I was there I was often offered the convenience of a ride to work, albeit on the back of a bike. This is the norm in Taiwan, where one often sees two people riding one bike. Micha's comment about a rare metamorphosis is well taken, I suppose two geologists dressed up in ties riding the same bike really is an uncommon sight!

See "MiKaTaiwan" blog here, and pics of two guys on the same bike...


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Finally back

Just an update... I am finally back from the other side of the planet. Yesterday was spent mostly asleep, even when technically conscious. see next post below for what I did on the plane-ride back. Today I am back in the office, sorting through 4 gigs of new data, and trying to get my feet back on the ground.



More for the color than anything, but also for the light. There have always been certain houses I've lived in that stuck in my mind... and the single unifying aspect of all these memories is light. The lines, the angles... how it hit my face in morning or crossed the floor in afternoon. My house will have light... bright light that wakes me at sunrise and easy light in the evening. Artificial light is always important, and so much can be achieved with it, but there is nothing like the sun. Two houses I've lived in so far have had dedicated "sun-rooms", overflowing with plants and framed by large windows on at least two whole sides. My mothers was open and clean, with hand woven hammocks hung across the corners offering spots to swing in the afternoon with a breeze from the windows and the sweet smell of the hand-spun fibers filling my nose. My fathers was small and cloistered, but jam packed with books and every issue of national geographic since the forties. A rocking chair in the corner was where I sat, or on the small single bed that made this a guest room.

I could have been an architect... I thought about it seriously for a time, but chose to pursue my love of mountains and rivers instead. That particular choice is the reason I am writing this in the SFO airport, after a 12 hour flight from Taipei. I suppose I could travel as an architect too, but I have the feeling that no matter what I do, I will always lust for more.

Houses in memory... brasil, bali, taiwan, all tropical. Factories, industrial plants, museums, research institutes. airports even. The idea for the green-house is minimalist... open studio-style rooms with kitchen/living downstairs, large sliding glass panes frame the back of the house which would look onto a small yard. This is designed for a city lot, neighbors on both sides, the large completely translucent, fogged acrylic pane covering the utility/closets/bathrooms on the front of the house (with perhaps additional opaque white acrylic panels on the upstairs shower). The roof serves as a sun deck with a full length planter built into the walls for herbs and flowers, maybe some strawberries and cherry tomatoes too. Stairs aren't shown here, but I'd like to put them somewhere out of the way, but central to the house, maybe by increasing the space between the front addition and the main-house enough to put them in between, accessing all the three floors of the main and two of the front. obviously still a design in progress, but for a time-waster to tide me over on a long flight I think it's a decent first cut. Back to work though...

-drawn with google sketch-up


Friday, June 06, 2008


from "I can has cheezburger?", a random website of funny cat pictures; also a bit of a response to a big country hair statement by blogger JustsomeGirl...

yes, there is a cat in there somewhere. back to all lowercase at the moment, no other reason than i am feeling very tired and kinda lazy. it's humid and warm here, but since the sun is down and moon is up (somewhere behind all the haze) the result is just a clammy feeling that permeates my very being. like standing next to ocean spray from waves in cool fog mixed with sweat. the breeze tonight merely acts stir the air, since it is already at saturation with water vapor. no chance to dry out... even MY hair is acting weird. thankfully not as bad as kitteh tho...



I just found the reference for a paper I helped with a few years ago... it was finally published! "River terrace development in response to folding above active wedge thrusts in Houli, Central Taiwan", Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, Volume 31, Issue 3, 2007. Those of you with access to science-direct or subscriptions to elsevier journals can access the article here.

I am the fourth author of five, but I definitely spent a solid month doing the analysis and figures for my contribution. Hopefully my first paper as first author (to be submitted sometime this fall, fingers crossed) will be in a journal that is a little more widely read, but as long as I start publishing before I get scooped I'll be happy...


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Earthquake correction


I thought it felt a little bigger than 5.3.... the Taiwan central weather bureau, monitoring agency for the more than one hundred seismometers stationed on the island, have reported the earthquake from the other night at 6.0

USGS, using a global array and being positioned on the opposite side of the globe, have considerably less constraint on the near-field data of the event... I tend to trust the local knowledge... after all, the Taiwanese are experts on seismicity almost by default of living smack in the middle of not one, but two active subduction zones and one of the most active subaerial orogenic wedges on the planet. Even the USGS seismic hazard map for Taiwan shows almost the entire island scoring off the chart on predicted seismic activity.



Monday, June 02, 2008

How stupid do you have to be???

Global warming bill faces stiff GOP opposition

A character's quote in a book I recently read said something like, "Genius has its limits, but stupidity is not constrained thusly." The GOP appears to me to be the very embodiment of this fact. "The cost is too high", "The people will suffer", give me a fucking break. It still boggles the mind that the very concept of global disaster seems somehow insignificant to these people when compared to the increased taxation of their beloved corporations. Do they think scientists are lying to them? ..that we as a community somehow harbor some ill-will toward their financial freedoms? I could care less if these same assholes stay filthy rich for the rest of their lives, but what I do mind is their head-in-the-sand approach and belief that they won't have to pay the ultimate price like the rest of the world if they don't realize that we (meaning humankind) are all in this together. we don't get a do-over. climate change and all it's associated challenges is already the primary threat to our way of life, and our very lives... bar-none. get it through your unbelievably thick skulls already.

...maybe they're just counting on The Rapture and are really that selfish, so as to spin around in the air on the way up and yell down to the rest of us heathens,




Bolognese: served ~4

braise about 10 beef bones with several smashed cloves of garlic, fresh rosemary and a bit of dry lager, Kirin or Asahi. remove the bones (save!) and rosemary once the liquid has been reduced by 1/2 - 2/3, add a little olive oil and a small mixing-bowl's worth of chopped cherry or grape tomatoes and nice chinese eggplant (sweeter and softer than your standard aubergine). toss and coat with the mix in the pot/wok and simmer for a few minutes. add pinches of salt and pepper, then a splash of dry red wine like Tempranillo or Rioja. simmer the wine down, then add a little prepared tomato marinara and tomato paste (not more than a cup combined). this is your sofrito. once the vegetables have begun to soften, turn up the heat to high and add a half pound of finely chopped beef: this shouldn't be too lean but not chuck either, use whatever you like as long as it's fresh. sear the beef and tomato skins, then turn back down to low-med-low... add 5-6 finely sliced porcini mushrooms, a few sprigs of fresh oregano and thyme, stir and simmer for a bit. taste. maybe a little more wine, if not in the sauce then in a glass for you. if needed, add a little more salt, pepper. I add another tablespoon or three of olive oil (extra virgin, of course) and a small splash (1-2 tsp) of balsamic vinegar to brighten the acid a little. done. the texture should be reminiscent of thick chili and the flavor should be mellow but deep and meaty. serve with (preferably fresh) tagliatelle and the rest of the bottle of wine. some fresh brandywine tomatoes with basil and some aged parmesan on the side make it perfect.


Tarka in Taipei redux

back again... Yesterdays recconoitre to Miaoli was mission successful. Of course it wasn't a militaristic exercise (rather one of international cooperation) but sometimes it feels like a battle, just sitting though a 16 hour deluge of intellectual bombs dropped on you by your academic superiors and industry experts. It's no wonder to me, that given the opportunity on the free market, the Taiwanese (painting with a broad brush, I know) have very quickly dominated certain markets... they are smart, motivated and tireless.

It certainly didn't help that I only managed a few hours of sleep the previous night... thanks in part to a nice dinner that went on later than it should have (I made a rustic bolognese sauce that started with braising beef bones, more on it later). The real shock came in the form of Surface Wave arrivals from the 5.3Mw earthquake we had that night. Granted, 5.3 is pretty small. By a seismologist's standards it's barely worth putting down your coffee for (though if you did put down your cup it might not even spill the coffee) but it was certainly enough to wake me from sleep. Oddly, this was the first earthquake I've experienced that actually woke me up... I've slept though a few before. It's an odd sensation to describe; like having your bed attached to elliptical orbit linear actuators, or more simply being shaken very smoothly but strongly. The first acceleration is a bit like the feeling of nodding off in seminar, smooth and suave but enough to grab your attention. Then the accelerations quickly build and oscillate and, then, slow as smoothly and suddenly as they started.

                  wom - woom -
                                                        - woom - wom

I woke with a start and got out of bed, pulling on pants and walking into the hallway where my hosts (PhD's currently working on post-doctoral work in coseismic neotectonics) were also a bit wide-eyed but all of us were smiling. "Cool" was what came out of my mouth and the statement was echoed by my hosts. The frogs in the garden outside had been quiet till now but spent the rest of the evening nervously singing in noisy concert and stopping in perfect unison at each humanly imperceptible aftershock. My fight-or-flight response had been triggered by the sudden awakening and so I spent a good deal of time trying to fall asleep, all too aware of the frogs' sensitivity to vibrations in the ground.


Sunday, June 01, 2008


to "apologies" below... better (and shorter) cut and scratch video from Japan. unreal.

Still cloudy and cool in Taipei, thanks to the passing typhoon deflecting the mainland jet-stream. work is slow...