Excavation: Son’s Room

Looking through son’s bookshelves is a fascinating experience.  The shelves contain books from pre-school, all the way to college textbooks.

This evening (after a strenuous evening of hoo-haa:  Terminator: Salvation was on TV.  Self will say again:  there was only one good thing about this movie:  Moon Bloodgood’s walk.  Well, maybe two good things:  the other being Bryce Dallas Howard’s intensely blue or grey eyes), self is relaxing by once again going through son’s shelves when she pulls out a book called Cal Poly Land:  A Field Guide.

The book has beautiful pictures.  A section of the book, written by David Chipping of the Cal Poly Physics Department, is titled, simply, “Geology.”

Self reads a few passages:

Way off to the west was an ocean ridge, from which new sea floor of the Pacific Plate oozed up as lava from a fissure in the earth’s crust.  This solidified under water into igneous rocks called basalt, gabbro, peridotite, and serpentinite.

*     *     *     *

Over time, slivers of oceanic crust jammed up against the western edge of the Americas, like wads of paper that might pile up at the end of the machine, mixing with layers of sediment eroded from the mountains and spreading westward from North America itself.  These geologic materials either stayed close to the land surface, or were fragmented and dragged downward into the depths of the subduction zone.

There is a map, illustrating “A Geological Tour of Poly Canyon.”  And here are the highlights:

  1. Serpentinite Outcrops
  2. Westward Fork – The distant line of riparian vegetation marks the eastern margin of a landslide.
  3. Erosive Stream – Blue serpentinite slopes are on the far side.

There is as well a list of Common Native Grasses found in the land around Cal Poly, which include:  wild blue-rye, June grass, deer grass, purple needle-grass, California brome, and California oat-grass.

There are, as well, Common Coastal Scrub Plants such as:  California sagebrush, coyote bush, golden-yarrow, deerweed, bush monkey-flower, redberry, fuschia-flowered gooseberry, black sage, and poison-oak.

In a section called “Mammals,” the following wildlife can be spotted around Cal Poly:  long-tailed weasels, striped skunks, racoons, badgers, mountain lions or cougars, gray foxes, bobcats, bats, rabbits, rodents, pocket gophers, western gray squirrels, deer mice, dusky-footed woodrats, opossums, and mule deer.

Under “Reptiles,” there are:  horned lizards, California alligator lizards, gopher snakes, California red-sided garters, California kingsnakes, western rattlesnakes, and southwestern pond turtles.

The lists just go on and on and on.

Fascinating, simply fascinating.

Strange But True, 2011 Edition

This just in:  Afghan woman is raped, reports the crime, is thrown into jail for adultery.

Page 1 of today’s New York Times:

When the Afghan government announced Thursday that it would pardon a woman who had been imprisoned for adultery after she reported that she had been raped, the decision seemed a clear victory for the many women here whose lives have been ground down by the Afghan justice system.

But when the announcement also made it clear that there was an expectation that the woman, Gulnaz, would agree to marry the man who raped her, the moment instead revealed the ways in which even efforts guided by the best intentions to redress violence against women here run up against the limits of change in a society where cultural practices are so powerful that few can resist them, not even the president.

*     *     *     *     *

The decision from the government of President Hamid Karzai is all the more poignant coming as Western forces prepare to leave Aghanistan, underscoring the unfinished business of advancing women’s rights here, and raising questions of what will happen in the future to other women like Gulnaz.

There must be something we can do, dear blog readers.  Self means, we women here, in America.  We’ve got to help.

Stay tuned.

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