I haven't been a scout since I was kicked out of the cub scouts for stabbing a fellow cub with a pencil (no, you may not touch my pinewood derby racer, you lout). And since I always knew they'd never let me back in, I gave up on being a scout -- even though I'm honest and virtuous and I help old ladies cross the street all the time. So imagine my excitement when I came across the Order of the Science Scouts of Exemplary Repute and Above Average Physique. What ho!
Potential members need the following qualifications:
- not opposed to alcohol.
Check. Possibly double-check.
- fond of IPCC reports (especially the pictures).
I've seen not only Gore's movie, but also Gore himself dissecting it and providing many colorful charts, some of which I think maybe could have come from the IPCC.
- mostly in agreement with the "truth."
Get thee behind me, Intelligent Design!
- into badges.
Indeed! Oh, you mean those badges. Yeah, sure I dig them. I even had a few of my own before I got booted. I never managed that knot one, and I didn't fare well on the bead count.
- grieving for the slow and miserable death of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Sure. Many a desktop wallpaper has come from the Hubble. I'm sad enough to see it go.
- possibly possessed of supernatural powers.
Hrmm. I'd have to think on this one...
- not in the business of total world domination
- committed to the constant and diligent presentation of science stories, be it to editors, producers, directors, educators, relatives and/or friends of various ilk, in an effort to lessen the gap that is this thing we call public scientific literacy.
I've forwarded the occasional link. And many people have (probably unfortunately) heard me go off into the conversational weeds about arcane nonsense like why clouds are like pork and beans cooking on the stove, or why cashews aren't really nuts, or what the mineral composition and method of deposition are of the rocks on the side of a highway. I've even written a thing of two about such topics.
So I think I'm a shoo-in. If they let me in I'd even promise not to get stabby (as long as they don't touch my junk)
They have various merit badges, which I think is the best part. Here's the ones I think I'm qualified for (click on the links to go to the OOTSSOERAAAP description for that badge):
As stated above, it can take a few minutes between the zoning out and the "That's great dear"-style pat on the knee.
I once used old cash register parts as a server monitoring system. Does that count?
I think anyone who knows me knows the answer to that one.
Back in the early 90's my roommate and I used a part surplus, part kit-built HeNe laser to shine Morse code at the dorms of our university.
I'm going to have to take this one, even though I wish I could suspend the pedantry sometimes.
Well, I own a belt-fed, tripod-mounted, crew-served weapon -- and the first thing I did with it was take it apart!. That's lethal, I guess. Not so sure on the ninja front, though. I'll look at this badge as partially earned. It's a goal.
Halfway through my 9th grade biology class, the teacher decided he wasn't really teaching me much of anything, and put me and a couple other kids on a special science project for some self-paced learning. It involved breeding various fruit flies and counting them and such. After a couple weeks, we wound up soaking cotton balls in the ether used to anaesthetize the flies, turning the lights off in the lab and playing flaming hockey to pass the time. Until they caught us, that is. Then we decided to turn the flies loose and let nature decide if the recessive ones ought to live.
Tess will call me remiss if I don't choose this one, too.
And she'd make me pick this one, too.
I'm probably not legally allowed to talk about this one.
Yep. When I was a kid, I spent all weekend rounding up carpenter ants. I put a bunch into separate jars and then froze them all for varying times in the deep freezer on the back porch. The aim was to see how long an ant could stay frozen and still wake back up. I'm not going to say whether or not the "wake back up" part ended up involving a magnifying glass or not.
All sorts of things have gone into a cooler with dry ice. Some of it may have been alive at the time. I'm not going to say.
I think I'm going to have to take this one as well. Though I come across plenty of people every day at work who beat me by a mile in this category, I think I hold my own. I've even written (and run!) programs in Chef and Brainfuck. Beat that, COBOL-lovers!
In college I went on a trip to the Petrified National Forest to look for evidence of bee burrows in the petrified wood. The goal was to answer the question of which came first: the bee or the flower? As a result, I was a co-author of a paper on the topic. I wish I could recall the publication. I've tried looking for it, but it pre-dates the web. It's probably widely available via gopher.
An odd aside, on that trip I also found a really cool fossil that's in a museum in Colorado now. It's true. I was off taking a whiz against these large, flat rocks sticking out of the side of a dry stream bed, and wound up peeing the sand right off this one that had really cool symmetrical ripple marks in it. After my business was done, I scraped off more of the sand, only to find all these paw/claw, tail, and tongue marks from a small reptile embedded in the ripples. Turns out this little guy liked to feed at the water's edge, and did so by hopping back and forth and then using its tail to launch it into the water, at which point it stuck its (presumably) sticky tongue out to catch insects in or on the water. The reptile in question was called Hesperosuchus agilis, and fossils of it are very common in the Park. But up until then, nobody knew for sure how (or what) the thing ate, and the marks in the sand clearly showed what its mehtod was. The downside? I had to carry that goddam 60 pound piece of pee-moistened sandstone 5 miles back out to the trucks. Shit, I'm taking the badge just for that.
Oh yeah, I'm not going to tell you if the bee or the flower came first. That would spoil the mystery! You'll just have to go to Arizona and destroy radioactive glass logs with a pickaxe to find out. Oh, all right. The entire story is here.
Lots and lots of it.
But of course! Though I've never frozen, burned or electrocuted one. I've blown a few up I think.
My best friend's dad when I was growing up was a dental technician. He made dentures and crowns and so forth. They had a lot of dental equipment in the garage that got put to good use.
I've woken up on the ground after a big jolt, sure.
Hells, yeah! I've done more work in this area than I'd admit to publicly. Put it this way: when I was a teenager I built a rocket launcher. That is to say it was a shoulder-fired method for launching model rockets. All perfectly legal. Had a range of a few hundred yards, and was pretty accurate after I got the guidance system worked out.
Yeah, been burned by flame and acids, had to use the eye wash station once, been cut a few times.
Started out in biology, spent a lot of time in geology, now it's computer science. So I guess I'd have to take this badge as well.
Indeed, a very large one at U of A. Even when it wasn't for a class (I took a few Astronomy course as electives), I'd go down there when the seeing was good or I was bored.
Lots and lots of stuff.
You bet. Magnesium rocks.
Not any more, but I have in the past.
I have indeed. Not for a long time, though. When I was growing up, I wanted to do this for a living.
So there it is. Not a bad lineup! I can see them all sewn onto my sash right now...
What a difference 10 days makes:
All the cabinets are in, and the moulding is going on tomorrow. The Corian guys came in today and made measurements, and will have the coutners done Thursday. Two day turn-around. Not too shabby. Once the counters are in, Jim can put in the plumbing (read: sink) and the rest of the appliances. That's a good thing. It's tough using the bathroom, the garage, and the grill to make dinner. Later in the week is electrical and gas. We're in the home stretch.
As an aside: I'm so very glad I didn't attempt this myself. There's nothing being done outside my skill range, but Jim (our installer) has access to knowledge and parts that make the job 10 times easier. I would have done a fine job I think but it would have taken 3 months. Since our kitchen has completely weird dimensions and lots of hidden mysteries (which is probably why the last guys got the cabinets refaced instead of torn out like we're doing), every time Jim turns around he's got to put on his "craftsman" hat -- which is a hat he wears very well!
If we'd have had the guys who did our kitchen in San Diego do this one, we'd be screwed. Totally screwed, blued and tattooed. But we lucked upon a guy who spent 23 years in the Navy as a carpenter, and does this as a semi-retired job. The guys takes pride in what he does. Can you imagine that? A person who cares about doing a good job, because he's the person doing the work? What a completely novel concept. Jim makes even the stuff nobody will ever see very presentable. The guy cares about his workmanship. He even cleans up after the other contractors. Pride in what you do is a good thing, especially if you do it well.
We were talking the other day before he took off and I had a long discussion about craftmanship. He was shrugging it off, but I insisted that what he does qualifies. He's not just "hanging cabinets", he's designing and fabricating stuff. He's a carpenter, not an installer, and I told him that meant a lot to use. He's doing what we can't do to "make our house a home". It sounds cheesy, but Jim had a smile on his face in the end. Because I think now he knows that his skills and efforts are appreciated.
Our house is finally starting to come along. All we have left is the exterior wood damage to fix, stucco/paint in the front, a little painting in my office/spare room and the kitchen:
I swear this is the last fixer-upper I buy. What a complete pain in the ass. 95% of that pain is from contractors, by the way. A pack of friggin' retards, all of them. I'm surprised half of them know how to wipe their own ass without someone pointing. Then again, I'm a misanthrope at heart so my cynicism may only be like 80% warranted. Ninety percent, tops.