Happy Father’s Day to my Dad.

My Dad, brothers and I visiting the Badlands

One time my dad decided to do some electrical work on the house by himself. Who needs a licensed electrician? Not this guy!

It only took him about 15 minutes to do whatever he was trying to do, and in the end, everything worked… just not how it was supposed to. My bedroom light switch now controlled the living room lights. The bathroom light switch controlled the garage lights. Everything was random and horrifically mixed up. I still don’t understand how the hell it happened.

Still, there’s clearly no need to get an electrician out for this, my dad decided…


My two cents

I wrote the following piece on Facebook a few years ago after chasing a thief through my neighborhood while walking my dog late one night in Australia (I’m an American back in the States now). While not perfectly suited to the question, I think it is still relevant and I hope you think so too:

With the current debate on guns raging and with both sides contributing near equal amounts of sound reasonable points along with whack-job crazy assertions, I’d like to relate what happened to me a few years ago.

Here in Australia, almost nobody has guns. They are…


shared an old story of mine

I was living in a house full of college students (being a grad student myself) where people would move in and move out pretty frequently. As I moved my food into the refrigerator my first day there, I noted a half-gallon of orange juice in an unlabeled container in the back. I didn’t think much of it since the fridge was completely filled with stuff. Here is what it looked like:

It looked exactly like this image in every possible way. Anyway, we all had a policy of not throwing away anyone else’s things, and this bottle remained at the…


The answer might surprise you.

I might be the only person actually qualified to answer this question, so allow me to try to explain. Not only am I a geologist, but I was also a creationist when I began my studies. Moreover, I know several geologists who are currently creationists. The answer might surprise you. And no, the answer is not “because creationism explains things better.”

I started studying geology in the late 90s at Michigan Tech, a fantastic school for that (formerly a mining school). I’ve always had a passion for volcanology- the study of volcanoes. I was also a fundamentalist Christian and a…


How about the fact that Dr. Strange is now at least 70 million years old?

In Infinity War, he tells Stark that he’s seen 14,000,605 futures in which the Avengers only win once. If he were only checking out a single day’s events, that would mean he’d lived more than 38 thousand years, which is pretty damned long. In Endgame, though, it is clear that he’s looked well into each of those futures to determine exactly what needs to happen and how and…

It’s clear he didn’t just look as far as the snap-in of each of those futures, but that he followed them for at least 5 years and probably longer in most cases…


Scientific research is not PBS. It is not funded directly “by viewers like you.”

Cartoon by Tom Dunne

Allow me to dispel some myths about how funding works and then explain where the fear-mongering comes in.

Scientific research is not PBS. It is not funded directly “by viewers like you.” Nobody has ever received grant money from Kickstarter. Thus, there is absolutely no point in stoking unwarranted fears in the general public because that does nothing for your funding (besides being pointless, detrimental to science as a whole, and totally unethical). Scientists do not shout their findings on street corners while standing next to a donation bucket like a charity Santa Claus.

***

Scientists submit their findings to…


Step by step investigation of a rock and how it formed

Image credit: Amy Greeley (with permission to use the image)

I participate in a group of rock enthusiasts in Michigan and was asked about this very strange rock. In particular, the asker wanted to know what it was and especially how did it end up looking so bizarre, with these odd patterns all over it. My answer follows…

Ok, this one freaked me out a bit when I saw it. I was overwhelmed by the patterning. I actually kind of took a deep breath and told myself not to overthink it and approach it like any other piece. …


Evolution is less controversial when you understand it

Dinosaur gardens in Michigan

With logic and science and I will lay out exactly how you can convince everyone. I suggest you take notes.

I must warn you that if you intend to take down the notion of Common Descent (all animals on the planet are descended from a single group), you’re going to have to show how the many many recorded examples of evolution, that have been observed and documented by biologists from around the world, cannot be extended backward in time. This is probably impossible to do because, scientifically, we understand very well the basics of how evolution proceeds and how it…


This is a myth that needs to be put to rest.

It’s pervasive enough that it must be getting taught in schools. Here is a very simple map of the world’s deserts I lifted from the internet:

Please note the location of the deserts relative to the ocean. Deserts are dry for various reasons, most often because they are adjacent to very cold ocean currents that don’t put a lot of moisture into the atmosphere or because they are behind (relative to prevailing winds) tall mountain ranges that effectively strip the moisture from the air passing over them.

Sure, there…

Craig McClarren

Geologist, a lover of all science, father of a young child, published writer on Forbes and Mental Floss

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