kaberett: Stylized volcano against a stormy sky, with streams of lava running down its sides. (volcano)
Quoth [profile] sporkyrat:
For some reason, when I imagine Kaberett at a rock concert, I imagine a lot of confusion as to where the actual geological rocks are.


Nov. 10th, 2015 12:30 am
kaberett: Stylized volcano against a stormy sky, with streams of lava running down its sides. (volcano)
If you're interested in some fairly accessible accounts of the kind of work I do, I strongly recommend Geochemical Perspectives as a series - I'm currently reading my way through White's (2015; Probing The Earth's Deep Interior Through Geochemistry) and have grabbed a couple of the others (Arndt on continental crust formation; Moreira on noble gases in the mantle). The White is written colloquially, clearly and accessibly, assuming very little background: it's very readable, and is an excellent introduction to my PhD's topic area.

I've not looked into it at all but I'm amused by a leaflet I received with one of my charitable wossnames advertising Book Aid International as a reverse book club: you buy three books and you never receive them because they get donated to people who would otherwise struggle to afford them (e.g. medical textbooks and the like).
kaberett: photograph of the Moon taken from the northern hemisphere by GH Revera (moon)
I can't make it, alas, but on the 23rd of October the GSL are holding a screening of the speech given by the first geologist on the Moon (Apollo 17 mission) upon his return: Through the wonders of 1970s video technology, Schmitt will be beamed live from 1973 to once again present his lecture ["Apollo and the geology of the Moon"] at a special screening in the Upper Library of the Geological Society, Burlington House. 7pm, approx 75 minutes, tickets £12.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. Dinner last night (and lunch today) was a modified version of Smitten Kitchen's baked chickpeas with pita chips and yoghurt. I am delighted that I now have The Knowledge Of The Pita Chips, which I adore but have not been able to find at prices that don't make me cry in this country, and we consumed the lot. Variations were: I couldn't face acquiring tahini to make up the yoghurt dressing as described and just ate yoghurt; I also didn't bother with the pine nuts. The salad-y thing was equal volumes tomato, cucumber and parsley, and I didn't bother dressing it. (I really like parsley.) It was tasty. Would eat again.

2. Via [personal profile] inoru_no_hoshi on the tweetrz, an exciting ScienceDaily summary of a Nature Geosciences paper on the topic of iron, the Earth, how it got here, and why it is where it is. tl;dr the vaporisation pressure of iron is significantly lower than we thought it was, which is why the Moon has sod-all of the stuff and not all of it on Earth has ended up in the core, even with the Late Veneer. There is the truism that Nature Geosciences papers are always wrong (extensible to some extent to Nature itself), but this looks pretty exciting to me.

3. My favourite band are releasing a new album called Elevator Music and it makes me cry every single time. It is bitter and vicious and cynical about the space age and space exploration and generation ships and existentialism and forgettability, and I adore it. The Last Man Who Walked On The Moon breaks my heart every single time, even the first time they played it in public and Simon warned us in advance that he hadn't finished writing the lyrics yet and did indeed end up singing "something something something something -ation" in the middle, because -- soon there will be no-one/left that I can call/just space suits in museums/with mission details on the wall. And then breath/they simulate our breath/to make us feel at home. And. This band.

4. Dave Hughes and the Renegade Folk Punk Band have also just released a new album, Rise, Again. I have not got my act together to listen to it yet (see also: depression), but expect to find it comforting, because I love a lot of what these folk do. (Currently the lyric of theirs stuck in my head is is it a love song/if I tell you that I love you/but I can't see me sharing your bed?//though there are days/when I don't think of you/they rarely outnumber/those I do...)

5. P thought it important I meet this baffling collection of photographs of unspoons.

6. Music I have particularly enjoyed recently: Singzu Joint - Fly and this one Taiwanese music video about marriage equality (has English subs; warning: WILL MAKE YOU CRY)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Happy housiversary: my housemate and I have been living together for a year as of today in our ridiculous flat with our ridiculous lives, and she just took the time to spend five minutes curled up on me on my sofa catching up before running out the door again. It is pretty great.

I just sent myself an e-mail containing the following:

Marie on Mars: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X14007262

Lunar dynamo paper: www.sciencemag.org/content/346/6214/1246753.abstract

Carbon-bearing iron phases and the carbon isotope composition of the deep earth: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/12/11/1401782112.short

LIPs and supercontinent assembly: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026437071400163X

Lower-mantle water reservoir: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v8/n1/full/ngeo2306.html

Lunar cryptomaria: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032063314003912

I am having feelings about access to speech.

I wrote two things for Yuletide this year: At the going down of the sun, in the Vorkosiverse, an oral biography/history of Olivia Vorbarra Vorkosigan's life and how she got involved with Piotr anyway; and a treat in the Mechsverse, specifically about the Sirens in Ulysses Dies At Dawn: You'll Reign Supreme. Two things to note: (1) I now want to write Ulysses-fic about the Furies; (2) to my utter bafflement, the Vorkosigan fic has immediately become the most liked thing I've ever written??? Which I suppose is a little reassuring given that I wasn't convinced I'd done a terribly good job of it.

I have discovered that I can reliably do French and Dutch braids tolerably neatly on myself. This is excellent because it means that my hair is less of a disaster when I go a week without brushing it, which makes Dealing With It less intimidating; it's also excellent for reasons including "it does a better job of keeping my hair off my face" and "people's reactions are really funny".

I am poking at my brain quite hard and will post about it soon.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
1. Okay, hold onto your hats, folk who've been around for a while: middle brother and I haven't argued yet. Not only that, we have cooperated in moving furniture for my mum (and despite having worked construction over last summer he didn't think crippy ol' me was totally useless, which was nice ;) and have managed to talk about science in a way that didn't end in bloodshed! I am... kind of astonished, and really hoping it manages to hold for the next few days. (I leave on the 27th, you see.)

2. I swung by college when in town running errands earlier, and spent a little while sat in the chapel and a little while sat on the back wall swinging my legs over the river. Seven or eight years ago I stood on that bridge and looked into the library windows and said "I'm going to be one of them"; it turned out the floor I was looking at was the sciences one. So -- yes, I sat on the wall with my legs over the river and the punts dry-docked behind me and watched people walk over the bridge and listened to the single solitary punt guide and -- yes. This, too, is home.

3. DRD HAS PUBLISHED THAT ONE PAPER I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR HIM TO GET AROUND TO PUBLISHING. Seriously pleased about this. It is A Big Deal in terms of mantle plumes, and I think his work is solid.

4. I have played the piano some! Really badly, but less badly than I did this weekend. My hands and elbows and shoulder blades really bloody hate me and, well, this is why I don't play any more, and it's extremely bittersweet to be stumbling over playing stuff that is fundamentally still in my muscle-memory and completely incapable of sightreading, but -- I made music, I made music, and I didn't end up crying on the sofa like I did this weekend just gone, and -- it is a comfort and a blessing that I still have this. Also, I am starting to remind myself how to sight-sing.

5. I have had a lovely time interacting with baby brother also. We have been being gently rude at each other and very affectionate (hugs! hair-ruffling! sarcasm!) and he popped his head round my door earlier to be all "SO I thought of a PRESENT for you do you want a slow-cooker" and I was all "that's very sweet but thank you no my housemate has one" and he was all "awwwwwww I was gonna say, coz I want a blender, and if we both just had to go to the same shop..." -- so I provided him a list of DVDs I'm after in decreasing order of priority (and I think he's picked up lots of them?!) and then I was mildly profligate but it is a blender that should last him a good long time, so. I also acquired gjetost for my mother and consequently we have a mildly ridiculous cheeseboard, which makes me very happy. (It is my major contribution.)

6. My mother is making tiramisu as we speak. :-)

7. I am hoovering up Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series courtesy of my housemate's copies, and am Forming Several Opinions. Some of them are favourable; some of them are really not; but I am at least enjoying thinking about them.

8. I appear to have been wearing Liminal and only Liminal pretty solidly since Friday. It feels right for this time of year, and for reorienting myself and taking a moment to be inwards, and so on.

9. My mother made a somewhat involved and very tasty dinner, and we had it with wine from one of my favourite Austrian grapes that I very rarely actually get around to drinking, because it's not really worth getting a bottle when it takes me well over a month to get through one if I am working at it, and I think of it as A Special Treat To Be Savoured because it's slightly hard to acquire and therefore wince at people gulping it; perhaps the moral of the story is that I should host more dinner parties, but in any case, it was tasty and I am happy and contented.

10. Kinda intimidating emotional work/conversations have been going well, and it is a relief and a comfort. AND I SOLVED AN ENTIRE GRAUN CRYPTIC CLUE ON MY OWN. ONE WHOLE ONE. Now to try for a few more. ;) (Why do I list them together? Partly because I have run out of ten, but also partly because they feel like similar amounts of thinking sideways around a corner to work out solutions.)

kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
Honestly? I live in a sedimentary pseudo-basin, so to me the most exciting things are the building stones. Which -- don't get me wrong! There's some lovely ones! There's a garnetiferous marble used to face this one building, which has streaks of tiny garnets pressed into waves and curls and it's great. There are also My Favourite Kerbstones, full of great big semi-aligned plagioclase laths; and lots of nice labradorite granites.

Much more interesting is the coast around the Mouldering Ancestral Pile: the beach a five minute walk away (Polurrian) features an outcropping of the Lizard Boundary Fault - the join between continental and oceanic crust. And then there's the Lizard complex as a whole, wherein what-used-to-be-the-mantle is actually exposed at the surface - over a few miles of coast you can actually walk from the base of old oceanic crust up to the surface, through gabbroic cumulates and sheeted dykes and pillow basalts; you can literally stand on an exposure of the Moho-that-was, the boundary between crust and mantle, and it's really cool. SO: for these purposes, Cornwall is home much more than London is. ;)
kaberett: photograph of the Moon taken from the northern hemisphere by GH Revera (moon)
(Paper crunch + resurgence of home internot has made things complicated! I am currently sat in a restaurant and putting things together.)

  • Pallasites! They're very pretty, and they are (probably) what happens when you've got something meteorite-ish big enough that it starts differentiating into a metallic core (whence iron meteorites) and silicate body (hence a subset of stony meteorites) and then gets smashed up -- with pallasites being what you get from the core-mantle-boundary equivalent! So you've got the translucent yellow-green olivine (which is the major constituent of the silicate mantle and is in gem quality called epidote) embedded in iron-nickel alloy and it's pretty.
  • The Iron Meteor I Found Under My Desk. It is about the age of the solar system, as you can tell from the scale of the Widmanstätten patterns.
  • MARTIAN METEORS, okay. Very roughly - and I'm not looking up references for this while awesome ex-housemate C and D and K Xeno's paradox cheese-bread at Kyrgyz Kazakh House - we knew Martian meteors were from Mars before we had ever made it to Mars because, right, meteors frequently contain entrapped gases from their atmosphere-of-origin. Now the precise isotopic composition of that atmospheric gas - how much 1H to 2H, or (more helpfully in this particular example) the ratio of 15N to 14N - lets you work out the required gravity field in order for the right amount of the lighter isotope to escape the gravity well from the top of the atmosphere. And it turns out that you calculate this out and discover that Martian meteorites must have come from a Mars-sized body, and then we sent brave space robots to Mars, and the atmospheric compositions matched (and so did the rock compositions insofar as we could tell), and basically it's all really cool.

Special bonus mention to the Moon, which is the only space rock I've actually published anything on; I continue very excited about lunar formation nonsense, and was delighted by a recent review paper on the lunar dynamo written by a friend of a friend. Lunar differentiation is a topic on which I can be very excitable with respect to Canadian analogues so!
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
Geochemistry is a compilation of imprecise, irreproducible and uncoordinated analyses.
(i) Keep the rocks in mind, for they cannot be reduced to analytical measurements; (ii) (from O. F. Tuttle) minerals are the archives of the rocks; (iii) keep filing [your] fingernails while waving [your] arms.

Relatedly: a lecturer's assertion during my undergrad that fundamentally you cannot argue with the rocks [ergo any theory you develop must be supported by the rocks], hence in part this poem of mine; and the general feeling among my group's principle investigators that geochemistry is fundamentally characterised by paranoia, and how relaxed you're willing to be about cleanliness.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
nts: Rhodri Davies on LLSVPs as purely thermal; statistical analysis --> plumes actually initiate prompted by downgoing slabs

pattern of downgone slabs? ages? association with age of AOC? globally widespread? modern-day plumes shouldn't care about 2.5Ga subducted slabs - but enough subducted crap lying around to explain it? Rather than LLSVPs, entrain mix of wossnames from lower mantle ("slab graveyard") allowing for more interesting complexity than LLSVP?
kaberett: Zuko kneeling, offering up his wrists (zuko-defeat)
1. I ate raspberries I picked in my mother's garden yesterday.

2. I have worked through another level and a bit of Psychonauts on my ludicrous completionist replay. I appear to have little-to-no interest in the storyline this time around; apparently my patience for the misogyny and sizeism and even cissexism is 0 while I'm still interested in the mechanic. Also, I am playing through MUCH faster than last time.

3. Two meals, lots of meds. (Dinnerfood was leftovers from last week; it meant it was easy and I didn't have to wash up, just put things in the dishwasher.)

4. I continue my Ancillary Justice reread, and am probably going to put off reading the first chapter of Ancillary Sword until I have finished. (And I wept all over it on the tube, as ever - the scene at the beginning on Nilt with the kid whose family member was injured! The way the kid interacts with their mum! I have FEELS EVERYWHERE, every time.)

5. To my complete astonishment, I appear to have managed to tentatively set up a collaboration with someone I didn't previously know who is acquainted with my supervisor, on the merits of explaining my own research and asking tolerably intelligent questions about hers. I am flummoxed, but also greatly relieved (I feel like having set up a collaboration before I've even actually displayed my poster is fairly good going). (I really don't know how to feel about this conference - neither of my supervisors is present, but my head-of-group's wife & my mentor is one of the coorganisers, and two of the other organisers lectured and supervised me during undergrad, and there's an awful lot of people I know from Cambridge hanging around. Also an awful lot I don't, but... still weird.)

6. Wheelchair. I'd otherwise have been in even more pain by the end of the day than as it happens I was.

7. Continued progress on the introductions meme. I will post announcing properly when I'm actually up-to-date, but I've written a small pile more introductions!

8. D has arranged for me to own metallic teal eyeliner. I'm pretty chuffed about this. I mean, I'll have to learn to use it, but if I also acquire some gold + silver I will actually be able to do drag make-up eyes at least a bit?

9. Going via Green Park station (at least when I'm not transferring between Picadilly and Victoria lines) always makes me smile: the station art is lovely, as I believe I mentioned the last time I went to a conference in the area. (It's mostly built out of a limestone full of shells, in the way that means the outside face of the block has depressions for the hollows of the shells; one line of blocks is, instead of limestone, concrete with similar patterns made at like 100x scale.)

10. Because this conference is in Burlington House and hideously inaccessible (... more later maybe; not a good thing to dwell on now), I ended up waiting around a bit for help leaving. This meant that I got to peek behind the curtains at the bottom of the stairs that cover the first geological map in the world.
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
... on checking the work calendar to determine whether you can manage an overnight run on a Friday, you establish that in fact you can because nobody has the machine booked on the Saturday or Sunday and consequently you start seriously considering blowing off (1) a friend's housewarming and (2) your mum's birthday, because data.

(Relatedly: dear Wednesday!Alex, thank you heaps for making an enormous vat of leek-and-potato soup to be eaten straight from the fridge. Love, today!Alex, who has eaten about three portions of the stuff.)
kaberett: Stylized volcano against a stormy sky, with streams of lava running down its sides. (volcano)
My supervisor's spending the next two months on a boat; she's sailing as a petrologist, not a geochemist, so it won't exactly be like our normal work, but if you're interested her blog Crustal Death and Rebirth in the Ring of Fire is now syndicated on DW as [syndicated profile] crustaldeath_feed :-)


Jun. 24th, 2014 05:02 am
kaberett: A sleeping koalasheep (Avatar: the Last Airbender), with the dreamwidth logo above. (dreamkoalasheep)
ridiculous hotel is ridiculous and full of nice rocks; pleasant flight was pleasant; I got to wave at Mt St Helens & Mt Rainier out the window of the Vancouver-->Portland leg; Portland is currently having a rose festival; pho for dinner; and for all I managed to sleep on the plane crashing out now yes yes.

[as we were coming in to land in Vancouver the pilot announced that Terminal 2 hadn't managed to get all hold baggage onto the plane. I was very pleased to be doing carry-on only...]
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
I kind of want to be excitable at people about my work (and I kind of want the human contact without needing to actually parse audiovisual cues as required in in-person conversation), so... if you are curious please Ask Me Things? <3
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
You cannot argue with rocks
or at least you cannot win an argument with rocks,
for they are slow and stolid and steeped in sunlight
(enough sunlight even for me)
but if I believed that this would keep you from trying
if I believed you less joyously stubborn, less bent upon
discovery and disentanglement, then I would needs must
love you less, and so
I delight in your delight, and in the act
of observing as you determined dreaming strive.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
The age of the Earth and of the Sun and the Universe are central questions for mankind.

Until the 19th century the ages were unknown; however, at that time with the advent of modern time, a significant debate arose concerning the age of the Earth. Geologists with their prestigious leaders Lyell and Darwin defended an old age, estimated to be several tenths of billions of years, while physicists tended to defer to Lord Kelvin who claimed that the Earth was not older than a few tens of millions of years.

Whereas physicists have physical laws and calculations, geologists only have simple observations of geological phenomena: the erosion rates of mountains, sedimentation rates, and the amount of volcanic eruptions today compared to the total amount of volcanic rocks, and maybe just intuition, but geologists were right (Thomson (Lord Kelvin), 1899; Darwin, 1859; Lyell, 1930; Rutherford and Soddy, 1902). The Earth is not 20 to 100 million years old as Kelvin thought, but rather billions of years as Lyell (1930) claimed. the debate was resolved when the physicist Rutherford (1929) used the newly discovered radioactivity for measuring ages of rocks and soon obtained an age of billions of years using the U-He method.

In the middle of this century, Hubble's observations initiated a second debate. This time the target was the age of the Universe (Hubble, 1929). Astronomers and geologists fought about that, and again the geologists were right.
CJ Allègre, G Manhes, C Göpel. 1995. The age of the Earth, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 59:1445--1456
kaberett: Stylized volcano against a stormy sky, with streams of lava running down its sides. (volcano)
because it is 1am and I've just wolfed leftovers quesidilla and spilled the tomato sauce all over myself and my housemate left the hall light on for me and I'm about to wash and clothes are the worst and I spent 14 hours at work today and got data and I am buzzing--

-- and yes it is the euphoria of sleep deprivation but it's also the euphoria of data and of I love my job (and some of the exuberant delight in it is precisely because every single person up my line management looks at me and goes "... for fuck's sake get some goddamn sleep" instead of telling me to do more work), and -- this, this, this is why I do research completely divorced from social implications, this is why I care about shit that maybe 20 people ever will really engage with if I'm lucky --

because I get this from it, and that is enough to keep me going through the endless trans 101 and the queerbashing and the ableism and the bullshit. When I am needed I do my real work, and the rest of the time I fuck around with volcanoes, and actually that's pretty fucking brilliant.

(I mean it about Wednesday as downtime. Thursday through Sunday is going to be kinda hectic again, but I'm then intending to spend most of Monday asleep also once I've bundled P. out the door in the direction of the Eurostar; I know I'm kind of giddy at the moment and this maybe looks a bit concerning, but I promise you don't need to worry unless I don't get the downtime I'm committing to. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night and I pass by my not-exactly-an-altar and I smile at the art on my walls and I say "today I will try to make good choices", and those choices include that downtime, when it's scheduled. And by "downtime" I don't mean "the evening", I mean "I am unlikely to get out of bed for longer than it takes to shower", and in the meantime -- this, this, this. Only this.)
kaberett: A stick figure wearing safety goggles taps their fingers together, standing over a pressure cooker on a stove. (xkcd-science)
... having asked me how long I'd been on the machine for. (Answer: since Saturday afternoon.) I told him I was going to spend Wednesday asleep. He grinned and told me this was the correct decision -- but I wasn't to fall asleep right then. (I mentioned in passing to my supervisor that I was contemplating sleeping here tonight. "... you have the code to [the head of group]'s office, right?" she asked -- because the PIs got so sick of PhD students refusing to go home during machine time that they shelled out for a sofa specifically for us to sleep on that lives in HoG's room.)

On Saturday morning my body decided I hadn't noticed sufficiently that I'm quite stressed at the moment, and concluded that a good way to get my attention was FACIAL HERPES. Meanwhile I've been walking too much: I can tell because the knee with the old cartilage injury has started screaming every time I walk down stairs. I am fairly certain that the last time I washed was Friday. I think I am still wearing yesterday's clothes; I can't remember if I changed them this morning or not.

But this sprint on the machine is nearly over - I have til midnight tomorrow - and I am getting data (and still eating regular meals!). And I am spending Wednesday alternating between sleep and cooking all the things, and in the two hours I spent home yesterday evening while the machine was running without me I cooked dinner and did the washing up and put away laundry and sorted out my pills for the next week and hoovered.

As mentioned, I chatted to my supervisor briefly this afternoon and asked her - she's been poking the very expensive vacuum leak when she gets in at 7am; I'm tending to stay til chucking-out at midnight - whether I'd got it tuned up okay. (There are eleven electromagnets, two quads, and three axes of torch position to adjust every single time you start a run; in addition to the sweep gas flow rate that is currently needing tweaking every hour or so, which is suboptimal, and the nebuliser pressure, and and and. This is why the first day on the machine is, for me, tuning up. Always.) She grinned and told me it was perfect - that she'd gone through two iterations of attempting to improve the tuning right down to the fine-grained settings, and hadn't changed a thing.

And you know what? That was pretty nice.

(Last night I got locked into the building through misjudging how fine I could cut it when leaving for the second time. I had to phone security - "ImpSec" in my phone, obviously - to be let out; thankfully I got someone nice. And then I got a night bus, because at 00:15 on a Monday morning in London there are still buses, which took me halfway home; and I walked the other half reading Octavia Butler and hugging the gingko trees along the A4, a little giddy on sleep deprivation. On Sunday morning I got to bed at 3am, via the Oxford Tube to Notting Hill Gate and hoping like hell there'd be a suitable night bus - and, again, at 2.15am, I only had to wait 5 minutes for one, after I'd got myself turned around twice trying to drowsily follow a map having slept on the Tube. My body is quite right to be kind of unimpressed with me, to be honest, but I haven't yet slammed into the wall. There is no way I can keep pushing myself this hard, but at the moment -- oh, right now, just right now, it's kind of glorious.)


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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