This week, Graycen talks about the mysterious Tasmanian tigers and Alison talks about sewer robots. Then Grace Guryan comes on to talk about her work as a hydrologist: a water expert! She also talks about rocks, wells, and conservation. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes!
A visual guide to the coolest rock’s we had lying around:
1. Alison’s perfect skipping stone that she found in a river in Vail. “I would say that it’s an igneous rock,” said Grace. “If you look at it really close, there’s like this crystalline structure.” She went on to explain that it hasn’t been very metamorphosed. “Metomorphosis is applying some combination of heat and pressure. For it to count as metamorphism, it has to change the fabric of the rock a little bit, change the mineral structure.” You can determine the types of metamorphism a rock has undergone and use that information to learn about temperature and pressure events that occurred around the rock.
2. Graycen’s crinoid fossil from the Jemez in New Mexico. Alison pointed out that it looks like a stick but feels like a rock. Living crinoids are actually still around today, but in the ocean and far away from New Mexico. They’re called sea lilies and have bunches of soft, feather-like branches attached to a stalk. This fossil is the stalk of a crinoid from long ago, when New Mexico was under the Western Interior Seaway.
3. A mystery rock of Alison’s. “This is cool! It looks kind of like an agate,” said Grace.
4. A mystery fossil of Alison’s. “It’s super cool, and it is a fossil. You can quote me on that.” – Grace
5. Graycen’s neospirifer fossil from the Jemez, which Grace deemed to be a good one. Check out its little beak! The unannotated fossils in this bowl are mostly fossilized neospirifers and crinoids that Graycen found rock hunting in New Mexico.
6. A cat hair. It belonged to a fat, white cat circa 2018.
If you want to learn more about Grace’s job and how water policy works in Colorado, read her interview with Graycen at the Science Buffs STEM Blog.
Graycen absolutely loved this piece, “The Obsessive Search for the Tasmanian Tiger,” which Brooke Jarvis wrote for The New Yorker. Not to be weirdly overly-effusive, but it’s one of Graycen’s favorite things she’s read in a long time. It’s glorious.
For Alison’s story about how new “biobots” can be deployed into the sewers to monitor opioid usage, she read this article by Justine Chen for Stat News.
This episode featured the song “Elevator Ride to Hell” by Adam Monroe and Adam Kopcinski.