Conformable Contacts
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Conformable Contacts
Notes from the intersection of faith, reason and geology
Curated by YEC Geo
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The Mighty 5: A Guide to Utah's National Parks

The Mighty 5: A Guide to Utah's National Parks | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
But I have to confess that I think Utah really takes the cake when it comes to national parks.
YEC Geo's insight:
Truly stunning images by a first class photographer.  Makes you want to just get out there and wallow around in all that erosion.
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Why are we still searching for the Loch Ness monster?

Why are we still searching for the Loch Ness monster? | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
Long gone are the days of famous explorers, when the borders of uncharted lands were marked with warnings such as “here be dragons”. And yet, many of us, still hope that some amazing, unexpected creatures may be hiding somewhere.
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The environment photographers you should be following on Instagram

The environment photographers you should be following on Instagram | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"We chose some of our favorite Instagrammers whose work focuses on capturing our changing planet."

YEC Geo's insight:
Pretty amazing, and very diverse subjects.
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River on fire: Australian MP says fracking is making it flammable

River on fire: Australian MP says fracking is making it flammable | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
An Australian MP is blaming seeping methane from a nearby fracking site for making it possible for him to set Queensland's Condamine River on fire. In response, the fracking company says the seeps pose no risk to the environment or to the public.
YEC Geo's insight:
Smokin' hot rivers seem to be a thing these days (http://sco.lt/8aq1gH).
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Ice Scours the North Caspian Sea

Ice Scours the North Caspian Sea | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
In early April 2016, ocean scientist Norman Kuring of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center found a puzzling image that showed lines crisscrossing the North Caspian Sea. On its own, the image was strikingly beautiful. Shallow waters surrounding the Tyuleniy Archipelago allow you to see the dark green vegetation on the sea bottom. But the question remained: what caused those lines?
YEC Geo's insight:
And also, how long do the scours persist?  Are they cumulative?  Do they disappear and reappear annually?
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River Near Yellowstone National Park Begins To Boil, Sparks Concerns

River Near Yellowstone National Park Begins To Boil, Sparks Concerns | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
The Shoshone River, near Yellowstone National Park, suddenly and without warning started boiling, changed color and began to emit a sulfuric odor on March 25.
YEC Geo's insight:
And check this video of Geysers Gone Wild at Yellowstone:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL5vG8uRYe8&feature=youtu.be
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Scientific Regress

Scientific Regress | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"The problem with ­science is that so much of it simply isn’t."

YEC Geo's insight:
A must-read article for anyone interested in the scientific enterprise as it is currently practiced.  The author takes a thoughtful look at the influence of peer review, institutional bias, and other factors that affect the reliability of data and data interpretation.  Sample: 

"One creative attempt to estimate how widespread such dishonesty really is involves comparisons between fields of varying “hardness.” The author, Daniele Fanelli, theorized that the farther from physics one gets, the more freedom creeps into one’s experimental methodology, and the fewer constraints there are on a scientist’s conscious and unconscious biases. If all scientists were constantly attempting to influence the results of their analyses, but had more opportunities to do so the “softer” the science, then we might expect that the social sciences have more papers that confirm a sought-after hypothesis than do the physical sciences, with medicine and biology somewhere in the middle. This is exactly what the study discovered: A paper in psychology or psychiatry is about five times as likely to report a positive result as one in astrophysics. This is not necessarily evidence that psychologists are all consciously or unconsciously manipulating their data—it could also be evidence of massive publication bias—but either way, the result is disturbing. "
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How A Strange Internet Glitch Turned This Kansas Farm Into A Digital Hell

How A Strange Internet Glitch Turned This Kansas Farm Into A Digital Hell | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
Why people living on a farm in the geographical center of the United States were repeatedly accused of crimes they did not commit.
YEC Geo's insight:
A strange story from the intersection of IP mapping and real maps.
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Scientists Are Watching in Horror as Ice Collapses

Scientists Are Watching in Horror as Ice Collapses | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"Every ice shelf that disintegrated along the Antarctic Peninsula has shown the same pattern: summer melting of its top layers, winter refreezing of those top layers into icy crusts able to hold large melt ponds, and the re-exposure of long-buried crevasses.

For all of these ice shelves, the moment of death occurred suddenly."

YEC Geo's insight:
What struck me was the rapidity with which ice shelves collapsed, very much opposed to the geologic bias toward gradualism in natural processes.  Catastrophism rises!
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The alternative guide to the Karoo, South Africa

The alternative guide to the Karoo, South Africa | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
Over the years, I’ve taken many visitors out along the river courses and dams up in the mountains of the Karoo. Invariably, the first question they’ll ask me is: “Can I get mobile reception here?” When they realise they’re totally disconnected from their devices, their faces register shock. And then they begin to focus on their immediate surrounds - the landscape, the moment of being out in a sweeping jumble of big mountains, thick bush, vast valleys and along the Little Fish river where, hopefully, they will catch a trout or a yellowfish. And that’s when the magic happens, the stress falls away and the outdoor learning begins.
YEC Geo's insight:
I've known of this area as being an incredible geological wonderland of table-topped mesas and deep ravines, but apparently there's a lot of human quirkiness to explore as well.
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Why the elephant is losing its tusks (and it's not evolution)

Why the elephant is losing its tusks (and it's not evolution) | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
The change has indeed been rapid, and dramatic, with the average tusk size of African elephants halving since the mid-19th century.
YEC Geo's insight:
I usually stick to geology-related articles, but I'd never heard of this phenomenon before, and it's interesting.
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The Earth App, for kids

The Earth App, for kids | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
Sarah Jacoby is an illustrator and a production designer at Tinybop. The landscape she created to represent our planet in The Earth was a 32-foot long Photoshop file. But the biggest challenge wasn’t scale, it was figuring out an interesting and colorful way to draw dirt.
YEC Geo's insight:
A geology app geared toward children.  Includes a downloadable book.
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More Examples of Exceptional Preservation in Fossil Reptiles

More Examples of Exceptional Preservation in Fossil Reptiles | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
How could structures this delicate survive the ravages of tens or hundreds of millions of years?
YEC Geo's insight:
8-11 million-year-old snake coloration proteins, and a video on the discovery mentioned here:  http://sco.lt/6ULjRh
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Trinity scientists reveal origin of Earth’s oldest crystals

Trinity scientists reveal origin of Earth’s oldest crystals | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
New research suggests that the very oldest pieces of rock on Earth — zircon crystals — are likely to have formed in the craters left by violent asteroid impacts that peppered our nascent planet, rather than via plate tectonics as was previously believed.
YEC Geo's insight:
Interesting--a catastrophic origin, not a gradualistic one.
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Meander? I ‘ardly know ‘er!

Meander? I ‘ardly know ‘er! | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

Via Seth Dixon
YEC Geo's insight:
Love geomorphology comics.
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 15, 2016 3:27 PM

This is brilliant.  I can't say how much I love this. 

 

Tagsphysical, fluvial, geomorphology, landscape, funart.

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Fossils Sprout New Tales

Fossils Sprout New Tales | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"Geology announces a near-record find of original organic molecules from echinoderms."

YEC Geo's insight:
445-million-year-old original organic molecules.  Another one for the side bar, another conundrum for the time scale.

Original abstract here:  http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/44/5/379.abstract

What's happening is that more and more researchers are realizing this stuff is out there, so they're looking.  It used to be that the received wisdom was, there was no way organic molecules/tissue could be preserved over almost half a billion years--it beggared common sense. 

"And yet," to paraphrase Galileo's supposed quote, "it exists."
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Intelligent Design Aside, from Templeton Foundation to the Royal Society, Darwinism Is Under Siege

Intelligent Design Aside, from Templeton Foundation to the Royal Society, Darwinism Is Under Siege | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"Science Magazine announces an $8.7 million project by the Templeton Foundation seeking an "evolution rethink."


I'm trying to think of the last time I heard Science reporting on support for a "gravity rethink," or a "heliocentrism rethink."

YEC Geo's insight:
Not everyone is happy about this, despite the money.
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Volcanoes tied to shifts in Earth’s climate over millions of years

Volcanoes tied to shifts in Earth’s climate over millions of years | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"The study, led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences, addresses why the Earth has fluctuated from periods when the planet was covered in ice to times when even the polar regions were ice-free."

YEC Geo's insight:
Contains the caution that the study "explores very long-term shifts in Earth’s baseline climate, not short-term or human-induced climate change," but that's only true for old-earth theorists.   For YEC geologists, it's an interesting alternative to Milankovich-based theories.
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New Radiocarbon Measurement Device Promises Faster, Cheaper Date Testing

New Radiocarbon Measurement Device Promises Faster, Cheaper Date Testing | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
What would happen if you could get radiocarbon dates almost as accurate as AMS at one tenth the cost, within two hours? This may become common, if the encouraging announcement from Italy’s Istituto Nazionale di Ottica lives up to its promises
YEC Geo's insight:
A potential game changer--think of how many bone samples supposedly millions of years old could now be more easily and cheaply tested for C14?
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Radiometric backflip

Radiometric backflip | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
The 175-million-year dating discrepancy for the Santo Domingo formation is not an isolated case, but adds to the growing list of evidence that long-age radioisotope dating does not give real dates at all.
YEC Geo's insight:
Geologists consider fossil assemblages, not radiometric dating, to be the basis for the time scale. The International Commission on Stratigraphy states, “Geologic stages are recognized, not by their boundaries, but by their content. The rich fossil record remains the main method to distinguish and correlate strata among regions, because the morphology of each taxon is the most unambiguous way to assign a relative age.” (James G. Ogg, Gabi Ogg, and Felix M. Gradstein, The Concise Geologic Time Scale (Cambridge University Press, 2008))

So it's evolution, not absolute dates, that drives the time scale.  But where do the dates for evolutionary assemblages come from?  Scientists protest the accusation of circular reasoning, but what else can you call it?

Another little-known fact is that radiometric dating labs require submitters to estimate the age of the sample. 

See here this very interesting anti-creationist website, where the blogger contacted a scientist to answer creationist questions about radiometric dating, including the suggested age line on the submission form: http://ironwolf.dangerousgames.com/blog/archives/241

The scientist gives what I consider a reasonable answer, including that radiometric dating is not a "knockdown proof of age."  He doesn't address the question of submission forms except to say that it gives the lab "something to go on." 

In the law, this would be called "leading the witness." To me, this is a tacit admission that radiometric dates are not evidence that would be considered in court to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Again, there doesn't seem to be a good answer to my original question.  The time scale derives primarily from evolutionary assemblages, but we can't rely beyond a reasonable doubt upon the radiometric dates that bracket them.  So then why should we trust the dates given in the geologic time scale?
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How British Scientists Got Inside North Korea to Study a Volcano

How British Scientists Got Inside North Korea to Study a Volcano | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"Among North Korea’s problems, none are as potentially catastrophic as the one that sits on its border with China. We speak, of course, of nature—of a volcano responsible for one of the most violent eruptions in the past 5,000 years. Mount Paektu, as it’s known in Korean (Changbaishan in Chinese) is still an active volcano, and an enigmatic one.


Western scientists can’t get in to study it, and North Korean scientists who can study it can’t talk to anyone else—until an unprecedented collaboration came along."

YEC Geo's insight:
Talk about strange bedfellows.
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Prehistoric peepers give vital clue in solving 300 million year old ‘Tully Monster’

Prehistoric peepers give vital clue in solving 300 million year old ‘Tully Monster’ | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
Tullimonstrum gregarium or as it is more commonly known the ‘Tully Monster’, found only in coal quarries in Illinois, Northern America, is known to many Americans because its alien-like image can be seen on the sides of large U-haul™ trailers which ply the freeways.

Despite being an iconic image — a fossil with a striped body, large tail, a pair of stalks terminating in dark, oval-shaped ‘blobs’ and a large elephant trunk-like proboscis at the head end which has a pincer-like claw filled with teeth — it is a complete mystery as to what kind of extinct animal it was.
YEC Geo's insight:
Never heard of this--here's a link to a picture of a U-Haul truck with the Tully Monster on its side:  http://www.palaeocast.com/episode-63-return-of-the-tully-monster/untitled-2/
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NASA Just Opened Up Access To 2.95 Million Images Of Earth

NASA Just Opened Up Access To 2.95 Million Images Of Earth | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
Here are some of the most striking ones.
YEC Geo's insight:
Absolutely astounding images.  No kidding.
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It's illegal to have a rain barrel in Colorado, but that's about to change

It's illegal to have a rain barrel in Colorado, but that's about to change | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
Colorado is the only state in the nation where it's illegal to have a residential rain barrel.
YEC Geo's insight:
Ironic that in such a progressive state, such an environmentally friendly practice would be illegal.
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New models predicting where to find fossils

New models predicting where to find fossils | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
Using the estimated ages and spatial distribution of Australian megafauna fossils, the team from University of Adelaide in Australia and Kiel University in Germany built a series of mathematical models to determine the areas in the country most likely to contain fossils.

Published in PLOS ONE, the models were developed for Australia but the researchers provide guidelines on how to apply their approach to assist fossil hunting in other continents.
YEC Geo's insight:
Ironically, the project leader says fossils are "extremely rare," but that may depend upon what you mean by a fossil.  In Florida, for example, the Peace River is so rich in fossils that people make a living leading fossil-finding expeditions.
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