Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I've been catching up on my reading by working backwards to April's editions of New Scientist. This is actually working better than trying to read forward from that month. So in the middle of the thunderstorm we had here yesterday, mother rang and told me to get off the phone because there was a thunderstorm. At the time I was reading about a by-product, as it were, of lightning.
This pretty specimen is Fulgurite. A tree might be blasted apart by lightning but when it goes straight to ground in sandy soil, given the right conditions of that soil, it melts a path which is preserved in glassy tubes called Fulgurites. The name coming from the Latin - Fulgur- meaning lightning.

The longest know specimen was found in Florida and consisted of three branches totalling 38 feet. The best place to find them is in desert sand where the wind can uncover the fragile branches.

When they're preserved in deserts for thousands of years they can provide scientists with past climate information. Researchers have analysed bubbles of gas in a 15,000 year-old fulgurite from the Libyan desert. The gases have suggested that the soil conditions at the moment the lightning struck were similar to those in the southerly Sahel region of today.

Geologists discovered another type of fulgurite in Greenland which ran down a rocky hillside transforming the rock surface into a smooth glass. The glass was coloured blue, red and yellow and the lightning was attracted to this place because of its iron-rich rock formations.


Something else that caught my eye considering the looney times our family is going through was this:

"All emotions affect our thinking and motivation, so it may be best to avoid making important decisions under their influence. Yet strangely there is one emotion that seems to help us make good choices. In their study, the Chicago researchers found that sad people took time to consider the various alternatives on offer, and ended up making the best choices. In fact many studies show that depressed people have the most realistic take on the world. Psychologists have even coined a name for it: depressive realism."

Okay, I'm with them on that. I am taking a very depressing realistic view of losing any weight off my lardarse considering the weather which makes me want food, dealing with a parent who makes me want to eat in large soothing quantities and aversion to exercise in freezing cold conditions where I might fall over except when I stagger out to buy chocolate.

Mind you I don't have to go out to fall over. I fell off the blanket box yesterday, that would be half fell off, since one foot remained on it while the other went skidding down the sharp edge. The bruise is a ripper, black and blue shin. Here we go with the depressive realism again, I've lost my ablitity to climb anything so there goes the plans for abseiling next summer.


Anonymous said...

'In fact many studies show that depressed people have the most realistic take on the world'

Kinda follows doesn't it.

Shelley said...

Yay! Hi, my name's Nails and I'm a depressive realist (so f**k you, pond spawn)... I love this. Really, really love this.

Brian Hughes said...

"...many studies show that depressed people have the most realistic take on the world."

Isn't it more the case that realistic people are just more depressed for obvious reasons.

As for all this anti-fat nonsense it's time to stop worrying and get back to the good old grub tub. Men prefer women with a bit of meat on them...with the exception of fascist dictators, such as Hitler, who like so many politicians today believed in concentrating on health and fitness whilst dumbing down knowledge and self expression. Remember, the thicker and healthier a person is, the more willing and able they are to fight people they've never heard of for reasons that politicians don't want to explain to them.

Now that's realism for you...and that's why I (and so many other realists) are permanently depressed nowadays.

JahTeh said...

I'm not usually depressed, it must be the weather, politics, poverty, no decent blokes around (Andrew/gay/Hughes/pommie) and age galloping up behind me. Mostly age, I've just had to delete my files of young cute things because I'm nearly at the 'too old and creepy to perve' stage. Depressive realism means nekkid photos of Andrew and Hughes are allowed.

Middle Child said...

Oh dearie me. I was down in melbourne recently...first with melissa in Sydney and then a week with Ali in South melbourne...would love to meet up with you all one day. But when I go to melbourne I tend to spend all the time with Ali, as she has been very unwell and when i am there its a precious time...but as she improves hopefully in the next months or year...maybe will catch up with you and Brownie.

You make me laugh...may be tears which cause it but laugh I do...

JahTeh said...

I've caught up with you on the blog and I hope she's feeling much better. We'll catch up with you one day, hopefully when it's warm.

Ann ODyne said...

Andrew and Brian are right about the relation between 'realistic' and 'depression', so I 'third' their remarks.

Drat damn and blast!
BlanketBox 1, CWitch 0
Comiserations dear CopperWitch and may the healing be rapid.

JahTeh said...

The leg is a spectacular sunset, yellow, a bit of orange in a sea of purple.