Space shuttles for sale

From Yahoo News/AP: Want a retired space shuttle? They’re up for grabs

The space agency said Wednesday it’s looking for ideas on where and how best to display its space shuttles once they stop flying in a few years. It’s put out a call to schools, science museums and “other appropriate organizations” that might be interested in showcasing one of the three remaining shuttles.

Beware: NASA estimates it will cost about $42 million to get each shuttle ready and get it where it needs to go, and the final tab could end up much more.

The estimate includes $6 million to ferry the spaceship atop a modified jumbo jet to the closest major airport. But the price could skyrocket depending on how far the display site is from the airport. Only indoor, climate-controlled displays will be considered.

NASA is scheduled to retire the space shuttles in 2010, which means that the US will go a few years again without a way to put humans into space.

Here’s an image from NASA’s Image of the Day Gallery for yesterday, showing a space shuttle piggybacked on top of a 747 for transcontinental transport.


Grace and peace

100 geological things to do

This meme was started by Geotripper, and I’ve seen it at Looking for Detachment and Clastic Detritus as well. The idea is to take a standard list, written by Geotripper, and highlight with bold the the things I’ve actually done:

1. See an erupting volcano
2. See a glacier [I’ve been on small glaciers in Glacier National Park, Montana]
3. See an active geyser such as those in Yellowstone, New Zealand or the type locality of Iceland [I’ve been to Yellowstone numerous times, having grown up close enough to go through “The Park” on a day trip]
4. Visit the Cretaceous/Tertiary (KT) Boundary. Possible locations include Gubbio, Italy, Stevns Klint, Denmark, the Red Deer River Valley near Drumheller, Alberta.
5. Observe (from a safe distance) a river whose discharge is above bankful stage [The Great Flood of 1993 on the Mississippi River destroyed my place of employment]
6. Explore a limestone cave. Try Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Lehman Caves in Great Basin National Park, or the caves of Kentucky or TAG (Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia) [Lewis & Clark Caverns, Montana, plus several smaller caves in Missouri]
7. Tour an open pit mine, such as those in Butte, Montana, Bingham Canyon, Utah, Summitville, Colorado, Globe or Morenci, Arizona, or Chuquicamata, Chile. [Berkeley Pit in Butte, and Golden Sunlight Mine near Whitehall, Montana]
8. Explore a subsurface mine. [We did underground mapping in geology field camp in the Tabacco Root Mountains of Southwest Montana]
9. See an ophiolite, such as the ophiolite complex in Oman or the Troodos complex on the Island Cyprus (if on a budget, try the Coast Ranges or Klamath Mountains of California).
10. An anorthosite complex, such as those in Labrador, the Adirondacks, and Niger (there’s some anorthosite in southern California too).
11. A slot canyon. Many of these amazing canyons are less than 3 feet wide and over 100 feet deep. They reside on the Colorado Plateau. Among the best are Antelope Canyon, Brimstone Canyon, Spooky Gulch and the Round Valley Draw.
12. Varves, whether you see the type section in Sweden or examples elsewhere.
13. An exfoliation dome, such as those in the Sierra Nevada.
14. A layered igneous intrusion, such as the Stillwater complex in Montana or the Skaergaard Complex in Eastern Greenland. [Stillwater Complex in the Beartooth Mountains, Montana]
15. Coastlines along the leading and trailing edge of a tectonic plate (check out The Dynamic Earth – The Story of Plate Tectonics – an excellent website). [Leading edge (convergent): West coast of United States. Trailing edge (passive): East and Gulf coasts of United States, Black Sea of Romania]
16. A gingko tree, which is the lone survivor of an ancient group of softwoods that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere in the Mesozoic. [City parks of Bucharest, Romania]
17. Living and fossilized stromatolites (Glacier National Park is a great place to see fossil stromatolites, while Shark Bay in Australia is the place to see living ones) [I’ve only seen fossil stromatolites, in Glacier NP]
18. A field of glacial erratics [Yellowstone Plateau]
19. A caldera [Yellowstone]
20. A sand dune more than 200 feet high
21. A fjord [Vancouver BC]
22. A recently formed fault scarp [1959 fault scarp near Quake Lake, Montana]
23. A megabreccia
24. An actively accreting river delta
25. A natural bridge [Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Utah]
26. A large sinkhole [South St. Louis county, Missouri, has thousands of sinkholes]
27. A glacial outwash plain
28. A sea stack
29. A house-sized glacial erratic [Yellowstone NP, near Canyon]
30. An underground lake or river [Meremac Cavern, Missouri]
31. The continental divide [Montana, Colorado, Canadian Rockies, North Dakota!]
32. Fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals [Denver Museum of Nature and Science; Muzeul National de Istorie Naturala Grigore Antipa, Bucharest, Romania]
33. Petrified trees [not in the field]
34. Lava tubes
35. The Grand Canyon. All the way down. And back.
36. Meteor Crater, Arizona, also known as the Barringer Crater, to see an impact crater on a scale that is comprehensible
37. The Great Barrier Reef, northeastern Australia, to see the largest coral reef in the world.
38. The Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada, to see the highest tides in the world (up to 16m)
39. The Waterpocket Fold, Utah, to see well exposed folds on a massive scale.
40. The Banded Iron Formation, Michigan, to better appreciate the air you breathe.
41. The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania,
42. Lake Baikal, Siberia, to see the deepest lake in the world (1,620 m) with 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh water.
43. Ayers Rock (known now by the Aboriginal name of Uluru), Australia. This inselberg of nearly vertical Precambrian strata is about 2.5 kilometers long and more than 350 meters high
44. Devil’s Tower, northeastern Wyoming, to see a classic example of columnar jointing
45. The Alps. [Austria and Germany]
46. Telescope Peak, in Death Valley National Park. From this spectacular summit you can look down onto the floor of Death Valley – 11,330 feet below.
47. The Li River, China, to see the fantastic tower karst that appears in much Chinese art
48. The Dalmation Coast of Croatia, to see the original Karst.
49. The Gorge of Bhagirathi, one of the sacred headwaters of the Ganges, in the Indian Himalayas, where the river flows from an ice tunnel beneath the Gangatori Glacier into a deep gorge.
50. The Goosenecks of the San Juan River, Utah, an impressive series of entrenched meanders.
51. Shiprock, New Mexico, to see a large volcanic neck
52. Land’s End, Cornwall, Great Britain, for fractured granites that have feldspar crystals bigger than your fist.
53. Tierra del Fuego, Chile and Argentina, to see the Straights of Magellan and the southernmost tip of South America.
54. Mount St. Helens, Washington, to see the results of recent explosive volcanism. [I’ve never been there. It was off limits when I was studying distal tephras in Eastern Washington for my M.S. in the mid-1980s]
55. The Giant’s Causeway and the Antrim Plateau, Northern Ireland, to see polygonally fractured basaltic flows.
56. The Great Rift Valley in Africa.
57. The Matterhorn, along the Swiss/Italian border, to see the classic “horn”.
58. The Carolina Bays, along the Carolinian and Georgian coastal plain
59. The Mima Mounds near Olympia, Washington [Mima mounds are also found in the Channelled Scablands in Central Washington, so I’ll count this one]
60. Siccar Point, Berwickshire, Scotland, where James Hutton (the “father” of modern geology) observed the classic unconformity
61. The moving rocks of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley
62. Yosemite Valley
63. Landscape Arch (or Delicate Arch) in Utah [Delicate Arch — the hike there with children on a hot summer day was one of our classic family memories]
64. The Burgess Shale in British Columbia
65. The Channeled Scablands of central Washington [My M.S. research was in the heart of the scablands, near Washtucna]
66. Bryce Canyon
67. Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone
68. Monument Valley
69. The San Andreas fault
70. The dinosaur footprints in La Rioja, Spain
71. The volcanic landscapes of the Canary Islands
72. The Pyrennees Mountains
73. The Lime Caves at Karamea on the West Coast of New Zealand
74. Denali (an orogeny in progress)
75. A catastrophic mass wasting event [I haven’t seen one actually happen; I have been to the 1959 landslide at Quake Lake, Montana]
76. The giant crossbeds visible at Zion National Park [I’ve seen the crossbedding in the Navajo Sandstone, but not actually in Zion]
77. The black sand beaches in Hawaii (or the green sand-olivine beaches)
78. Barton Springs in Texas
79. Hells Canyon in Idaho
80. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado
81. The Tunguska Impact site in Siberia
82. Feel an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 5.0. [Bucharest, Romania, 2003]
83. Find dinosaur footprints in situ [I didn’t “find” them, but I’ve seen them. Dinosaur Ridge, west of Denver]
84. Find a trilobite (or a dinosaur bone or any other fossil)
85. Find gold, however small the flake
86. Find a meteorite fragment
87. Experience a volcanic ashfall
88. Experience a sandstorm
89. See a tsunami
90. Witness a total solar eclipse [Billings, Montana, February 1979]
91. Witness a tornado firsthand.
92. Witness a meteor storm, a term used to describe a particularly intense (1000+ per minute) meteor shower
93. View Saturn and its moons through a respectable telescope.
94. See the Aurora borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights. [Only faintly, Montana]
95. View a great naked-eye comet, an opportunity which occurs only a few times per century [Hale-Bopp 1995, Hyakutake 1996]
96. See a lunar eclipse [often]
97. View a distant galaxy through a large telescope
98. Experience a hurricane
99. See noctilucent clouds
100. See the green flash

33/100 — not too bad, but I’d like to add some to the list, such as a hike through the Grand Canyon and witnessing a volcanic eruption. Living in Denver now, I should be able to add a few others, such as the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and 200-foot sand dunes.

Grace and peace

Bible reading in 2009

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105 ESV)

They received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11 ESV)

New Years Day is coming in two weeks, and many make a resolution to read in the Bible more consistently than they have in the past, and many don’t stick to that resolution.

Here’s what works for me.

Rather than using a reading schedule, with a daily listing of what chapters to read, I usually use a Bible reading checklist:

Kevin’s Bible Reading Checklist – PDF file (44 kb)

It has all sixty-six books of the Bible, with their chapters, and I put a slash through the numbers as I read.


This gives me greater flexibility than a schedule does, yet still helps me to reach my reading goals, which include making sure I read the entire New Testament every year. In 2008, I focused my Old Testament reading on the later historical books, such as 1 & 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther; as well as the wisdom literature: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. In 2009, I plan to focus on the prophets and then go back to Genesis. One advantage of this system over using a schedule is that I can vary my pace.


Feel free to download and print this for yourself and pass it on to others:

Kevin’s Bible Reading Checklist – PDF file (44 kb)

My hope and prayer is to encourage you to be in the Word in 2009, and that you would know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ better because of it.

Grace and Peace


P.S. Here are some reading schedules for those who are more inclined that way:

ESV Bible Reading Plans — several different ways to get through the Bible or just the New Testament in a year.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne reading schedule — twice through the NT & Psalms, once through the OT

More reading schedules


Next day update — The temperature here in Lakewood was even colder this morning (12/15/08): -11°F (-24°C). I love winter!

It’s a little cold this morning: -1°F (-18°C) here in Lakewood, Colorado, and -15°F (-26°C) in my hometown of Billings.


But I love winter! My comment to my wife this morning was, “I’m glad we don’t live in Florida.”

Grace and peace

map from the National Weather Service



We saw a couple of Chukars near our apartment yesterday. I thought they were quails at first, but they had no head plumes. We have a tattered Peterson’s Field Guide to Western Birds in our car, that aided in the identification.

If you like field guides, then you should be aware of, which has pages for more than 5,500 North American birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, spiders, wildflowers, trees, and seashells. Here is the page for the Chukar, which includes a link where you can listen to what a Chukar sounds like (something the Peterson’s guide cannot do).

Grace and peace

Chukar image from Wikipedia: Chukar, credit: Mdf

Cizik Resigns

From Christianity Today: Richard Cizik Resigns from the National Association of Evangelicals

Richard Cizik resigned Wednesday night as vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) during a week of growing uproar over his comments that he is shifting his views on same-sex unions.

“Although he has subsequently expressed regret, apologized, and affirmed our values, there is a loss of trust in his credibility as a spokesperson among leaders and constituencies,” Leith Anderson, president of the NAE wrote to board members today. Cizik did not return calls for comment.

Last year, more than two dozen evangelical leaders sought to oust Cizik, who has been vice president for 28 years, because of his “relentless campaign” on global warming.

I understand why he resigned at this point, and I agree that this was the right thing for him to do.

I do, however, appreciate the positions he has taken on the environment. Not all Evangelicals agreed with him on this, but if we can get together in the National Association of Evangelicals even though we disagree on things like baptism, predestination, eschatology, and ordination of women, then surely Cizik’s position on global warming should not have been such a lightning rod. Richard Cizik was a good balance to the anti-environment wing of Evangelical Christianity.

Grace and peace