Im going to get political. Hardcore. Not much to say on geology these days. Hopefully I will have more on geology in a few days time - but in general its going to take most of the summer before the geology picks up here again. Its all connected to the studies you see. In class - lots of material - out of class - less material.
If you dont like me complaining about very liberal political issues, dont read any further. You have been warned!
As a modern European, I love my social freedoms (wich some americans regard as "immoral", "decadent" or "eurotrash"). I value them more than the economical freedom of America. I have no eny on that part really. I wouldnt trade my rights to say or think what ever I do for a little bit less taxes. Money isnt everything. America has social freedoms as well, but its quite obvious that the christian moral norms apply, and that all who thinks different is thought of as strange - this I know from Swedish people living there. Of course it varies from state to state. Very conservative in some parts, very liberal in some. But in comparison, western Europe is all roughly like San Fransisco, and since 9/11 and your patriot act and such, Im not very impressed with the American view on freedom in general. On the contrary.
Social freedoms are more important to me than any thing else. No one should ever dictate what I should love and hate or when its OK for me to speak up and I should always trust that my rights are protected by law. But unfortunatly, the social freedoms of Europe are shrinkring. Unfortunally thanks to Americans ideas on freedom, where people can get imprisoned without trial for years like on Guantanamo. Our idiotical politicians look at the American modell. When its quite obvious that most Americans today are getting tired of the american way as it has been for the last 8 years.
One of the reasons I like to write blogs (and I actually write several more blogs than this one, but those are in Swedish) is the anonymity. Its not like Im up to no good, its simply that if I had my name and picture on my blog I not only could, but I most surely would recieve nasty threats from people who thinks different from me. Ive seen it happen to people I know. Geology is seldom a topic of discussion wich makes people angry, but when discussing politics and religion people have strong opinions. One is forced to think twice about everything that one publish. And even then, theres always the idiots you can never forsee.
Sweden and Europe is presently being dragged in to a political trend thats similar to the one america experienced after 9/11. Civil liberties are reduced in the ridiculus name of "freedom". A couple of days ago the Swedish parliament voted for a law that gives a govermental beurau called FRA (Försvarets Radioanstalt) the right AND duty to monitor ALL communication and radio/internet/telephone traffic that crosses Swedish borders in the hunt of terrorists. Meaning that when I send an email to a friend in the USA, our Swedish goverment has the rights to read that mail. Its quite absurd really. From one of the freest countries in the world, Sweden is reduced to yet another totalitarian fucked up fascist state that has USAs ridiculus view on freedom in combination with an East German Cold War monitoring system of the citizens. Hello China. Hello Noth Korea.
Thats not all, and this latest thing is what really pisses me off. Now theres a member of the parliament of the European Union that wants to impose a law DEMANDING all bloggers in the EU to be non-anonymous. That is, no more blogs if you dont post your name on it. Of course I doubt that this fascist rule will go through in practise, but if it does, I doubt that anyone will follow it. And good luck taking it to court EU, you will loose badly if you try to enforce the law on its citizens because this must break several international laws on humans rights as far as I know.
The cowardly countrymen of my home Sweden might not do anything, but I doubt that the inventors of modern liberal freedoms, the French (liberal thoughts is not an american invention), will stand by if this ever becomes a law.
Hello second French revolution - Im in.
Oh, I almost forgot. The person behind the manifest from EU about more control over the bloggers is this person. Her name is Marianne Mikko and shes from Estonia. Screw you Marianne.
Happy midsummer everyone!
Say what? Well, in Sweden we celebrate a holiday called Midsummer - and its probably the most celebrated holiday here - larger than Christmas in popularity almost. It roughly co-exist with the summer solstice - but is not exactly a celebration of just the solstice. The roots of this celebration is pagan and connected to farming and fertility. Pre-christian traditions here in the north of Europe. However, the traditions we celebrate today have very little to do with farming. Today we just simply celebrate for the sake of celebration and tradition.
Its fun. Its quite non-religious and most people in Sweden join in the celebration in one way or the other.
What do we do? Well many people try going to the countryside and joind family and friends for a feast. We eat a lot of traditional Swedish food (things like pickled herring for example) and we also decorate a Maypole. (Pictures above - A symbole of fertility, I guess its some kind of phallic symbol, but today most Maypoles look more like a christian cross for some strange reason). Some people wear traditional clothes even and dance traditional dances, often around the maypole. Some people still also light a big bondfire since the Maypole is more of a northern Swedish tradition and the fire is more of a southern. Or at least it used to be like that. Nowdays the tradition of bondfires (St Hans fire) is almost dead even here in the south.
Then people dance and get drunk all evening and night basically. Its probably easily the most drunken day of the year in Sweden. If you ever want to see something very uniquely and truly Swedish - this is it.
Basically its a crazy pagan celebration of food and love (well a lot of drunk people fighting also).
The largest found in Sweden to date and one of the largest found in Europe. Weighing 1185 kilos, around 2600 pounds. The two men finding it hopes that the Swedish museum of national history will buy the meteorite from them, since they "would prefer it to stay in Sweden".
Just my smart ass opinion, but if they prefer that and actually really care, why not just give it to the museum for free. I guess since its valued to about 6 million Swedish crowns (about 1 million US-dollars), money of course talks more than anything else.
Update: Via the Swedish blog Populär Astronomi I now read that these types of iron-meteorites are common in this area (although not this size of course). Theres a theory going on about a 100 000 year old Tunguska-like event. More on that here. (In english)
In my collection of “things and stuff” I got one really nice object that usually makes people envious. It’s a shaft hole axe from Uppland in Sweden. It was my grandfather who in his youth found it on a field. The archaeological dating sets this axe to the middle or late Neolithic. Around 3000 BC perhaps. But I’m not sure on that, it’s been a while since I took archaeology and the making of shaft hole axes streches some time.
Geology-wise this axe is made of, what I think at least, some form of ordinary diabase. The weight, the archaeological practise of using diabase, it all tells me this at least. There’s no volcanoes in or near Uppland (which basically is mostly old igneous bedrock, granites at about 1800 Ma), so I dont think its basalt, but rather diabase. It could be imported/transported of course. But theres a lot of shaft hole axes found in Uppland so I dont think so.
At first, the axe was all nice and shiny black in colour, with some hints of olivine green even. But then I decided to wash it and under a thick layer of like 70 years of handling and showing to people (sounds better than 70 years of deposited human dirts and fats) and that revealed a more grayish dull stone with a hint of green tones. Theres also some redish spots that came out from under the filth which looks like rust almost. I’m not so sure any more of what this stone is made of in detail since no crystalline structure is visible because of the grinding and smoothing of the axe. Any suggestions? My guess is diabase and that the small cracks and holes are the result of erosion of more fragile plagioclase in a resistant matrix of augite and olivine.
Anyhow, depending how you look at it, its an 5000 year old axe or a 1800 million year old pice of rock. And its all mine, my sweet precious shaft hole axe…
The "missing - walking - link" between primates and homonoids is mathematically solved according to National Geographic. If you (the primate that is) stand on two legs when foraging for foods in higher bushes, its more energy efficient to remain on two legs and walk the distance to the next nearby bush than it is to drop to all four before walking. But only if its 9-16 meters. Longer than that distance and four legs is better.
Its funny how much can be solved simply through maths. Or perhaps its only me and my math-allergic brain that get amused by such things.
Extremophilic life on mars. The hypothetical one that is of course. Would that be life based on extremly cold or warm conditions you think? Is there any active geological hot spots on Mars at all?
Nature has a message for us.
Somebody asked me in my last post to describe the job situation for geologists. I can only speak for Sweden, and not very much on that either really. The main reason for not knowing exactly is the simple fact that Im new at geology. Ill know a lot more in 2 years time when Im "finished" with the studies.
But I can share my experiences thus far. According to many news paper reports, and some on the news on TV, theres a great shortage of geologists in Sweden. Something like only 50% of the demand is filled with new students. This has been the case since about 2005 when the boom started. Companies are forced to import educated workforce. Some 28 different nationalites are represented among the experts at the big mines of Kirunavaara and Luossavaara in the north of Sweden. They have big troubles with finding Swedish geologists (petrologists, mineralogists).
One of the teachers spoke also about how companies often contacted her and wanted to get in contact with soon-to-be-finished students of different academical levels - basically grabbing them when they still are at the the univ. Many teachers also speak how private companies try to employ the teachers all the time, and I dont think thats an exaggeration. All over the bill boards there hang offers of employment in the private sector.
The biggest sector demanding new geologists def. is the mining industry. As some probably know, Sweden has one of the most impressive mines of iron ore in the world in the north. The Kirunavaara mine has one of the finest and largest ore deposits in the world. And an increased demand for steel from countries like India and China has made this old mine very interesting for prospectors. And then theres copper, uranium and many more types of minerals on high demand also. All of them found in interesting numbers in Sweden. Even new gold and silver mines have started up in the last years.
At the same time theres an increased demand for geologists specializing in enviromental issues. Cant build anything these days without the right enviromental knowledge.
And Ive also heard that the Norwegian oil and gas-industry is looking for experts. The increased price in oil comes and the shrinking supply of it in the world with the good aspect that more jobs in the petroleumindustry are created when more and more sources of oil will be needed.
Basically - Geology in Sweden, at least if you are ready to move around to where the jobs are - means really good job opportunities as far as I know. And this seems to be the case for many years to come.
You can choose the dark side and work with oil or minerals, or the good side and work with the enviroment. Sith or Jedi. You choose.
I’ve been saving this rock for a later post. But complications have made it impossible for me to examine the rock up close any time soon. All I have are these older photos below. So I can just write about it now I guess, it wont matter if I wait any longer.
It’s (supposedly) not magnetic (that rules out iron slag right?). It (supposedly) weighs about 1-2 kilos. Its about 15x10x10 cm in size. (reduced size on the photos)
I sent the photos to an geology expert a couple of years ago, before studying geology myself in the hopes of helping my (now sadly enough dead) friend in helping to identify it.
The expert just replied shortly and claimed that it “most definitely was a conglomerate”.
Im no expert, just a first year student. An amateur. But this doesn’t look like any conglomerate that I know of. Where are the pieces of rocks and granules? Shouldn’t there be at least one lousy piece of granule visible if the craters are the sockets of rocks? Are they really all loosened and gone? Doesnt sound very plaucible to me. And when I replied to the experts answer with a follow up queastion and asked how this could be a conglomerate without any visible captured parts, his stuck up pride probably got offended and he just got bored with me and didnt answer at all. I almost lost all faith in geologists that time. What an idiot. Esteemed professor emeritus of Lund university and all. Well, he didnt make that far in the academical world on being friendly to the taxpayers who payed him and his research (Publically funded universities in Sweden you know). Well enough about him.
In my, very unprofessional opinion, this looks much more like a meteorite. But according to the expert, that wasnt even an option. I really never understood why.
I know that meteorites of course are less likely to be found in comparison to just about any type of rock. I’m not stupid on that part. But I can’t get over the fact that it looks like one much more than it looks like a conglomerate.
The rock also comes with a story (from my dead friend) that his father actually saw “a falling star” and went looking in the direction of where it seemed to have fell. Some miles away he found burned grass and this piece of rock between some cliffs at the west coast of Sweden. Around 1920 I think he said this all took place.
What does my readers say? Conglomerate? Meteorite? Iron slag? Flint? Or something else? What can you make of it just by looking at these photos (that’s all I have, its impossible for me to examine the rock itself or take better photos any time soon). Im all ears.