Feeling moderately obsessed with interior American deserts, you skip gleefully from Utah to New Mexico.

But this time you head underground, straying into a mineshaft to admire the hydrothermal alteration within cracked limestone.

#YouFindARock and it is gorgeous.
The pearly aqua-blue globular cluster calls out to you with its silky lustre. It’s so tempting!

>
> Pet

You stroke the silky gem, delighting in the smooth texture under your fingers.

Curious, you scratch it. No mark from your nails. Copper? Gem still harder, but your trusty field knife leaves a mark. Moh’s hardness 4-4.5!

>
> Lick

Despite knowing rocks, like frogs and fish, advertise their adverse health effects through pretty colours, you persist in licking.

You lick.

It tastes of nothing. You have the faintest impression of calamine lotion. The traces of zinc probably won’t hurt.

>
> Lick MOAR

The blandness is all-encompassing.

> Pop mineral in your mouth & suck it like a gobstopper.

Your tongue tingles akin to downing a bottle of water from a poorly-rinsed bottle of calamine lotion. The aftertaste is gross & cannot be healthy.

>
> zap zap zap

You pull out your trusty UV flashlight to give your rocky friend different wavelengths to bask in.

The globular lump responds by fluorescing a cheerful pink.

“Pretty!” you exclaim approvingly. “What other tricks do you know?”

>
> acid

“Double, double toil and trouble!” You cackle as you carefully sprinkle acid into the mineral. “Acid drip, and carbonate bubble!”

The pastel mineral effervesces, small bubbles of carbon dioxide popping as the zinc carbonate reacts with your dilute hydrologic acid.

>
> peer exploitingly

You place the mineral on a copy of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It’s too opaque to see anything.

You squint thoughtfully, them point a laser at it. “Yesss!” you exclaim as the laser splits, the crystal’s double-refraction opening up a world of possibilities.

>
> Take

You scoop up the Smithsonian, or given its particularly gorgeous nature, it could easily be traded under it’s gem-name Bonamite.

Your pockets are getting heavy. You may need to visit & expand your radioactive mineral museum soon.

Until next time:

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh
 

Keep Current with Mika McKinnon

Mika McKinnon Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

PDF

Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @mikamckinnon

Dec 26, 2021
The degree of rage I feel when someone flippantly declares getting COVID is inevitable and we should give up is beyond my ability to politely express.

It’s never too late to make things less bad. Like Climate nihilism, it’s self-destructive bullshit & I have no tolerance for it.
Science is an astonishing tool linking cause and effect, enabling us to create a path to any future we want.

It’s not easy! Untangling details can be lifetimes of effort to get right. But the harder part is picking a future, then doing the work.
It’s daunting. We need to do the work individually, but we also need our communities, governments, & everyone everywhere else to do the work.

But if we refuse to surrender to suffering?
If we keep struggling to do better?

We have infinite possible futures that are less bad.
Read 5 tweets
Mar 9, 2021
You know the rules:

Most vibrantly-coloured rocks are on the Do Not Lick list, but ALL rocks that are literally radiating are definitely on the Do Not Lick list.
> Record scratch

> Freeze frame of you, the protagonist, contemplating the pros and cons of licking a plutonium puck.

“You’re probably wondering how I got here. It all started when I was strolling around France...”

#YouFindARock.

📷 Roberto Bosi Densely-packed crystals of a pale translucent tan spackled a
You pick up the hunk of densely-packed quartz crystals, intrigued by the spatters of matte black.

“Did you mould?!” you ask the rock incredulously. “No, no, that’s not quite right... what IS this?”

>
Read 15 tweets
Nov 21, 2020
I’m reading a lot of well-intentioned articles that make it clear how many scicomm peeps have no idea disaster risk reduction is a deep field with a lot of research into effective communication.

ProTip: Using fear & shame as motivation backfires when applied to public health.
I can’t write this article (or even thread!) right now as I’m under medical orders to drop my stress levels (ahahahahasob), but...

If you’re writing well-intentioned pieces trying to influence pandemic behaviour, please take some cues from disaster sociology research. It exists!
Fundamental premise:
Vanishingly few people make active choices they believe will endanger themselves or the people they love.

If they’re making “bad” choices, it’s a fundamentally different risk perception. Until you understand how & why, your argument will miss its audience.
Read 7 tweets
Nov 20, 2020
Gritty has found rocks.

They are all safe but boring to lick. It’s a solid selection of common crystals from a rock shop or museum gift store.

I do have a few questions.
If you go outside and pick up a stray rock, it’s probably quartz.

This looks like quartz. Quartz is an excellent oscillator that is piezoelectric & resonates well.

White sand is also quartz, and is near oceans.

Conclusion: Gritty can use quartz as a distributed spy network.
I have questions on this ID.

If it’s rose quartz, it’s about as fun as licking a window for flavour.

But it could easily be pink halite (like Himalayan rock salt!). If it is...? Lick it! Lick it moar!
Read 7 tweets
Nov 19, 2020
I’m stunned that we’re losing Arecibo.

Even if you don’t pay much attention to ground-based astronomy, you know this telescope from pop culture & movies. It’s somewhere special. nature.com/articles/d4158…
This article from just before the closing announcement is fantastic for the context of why Arecibo is so unique:
space.com/arecibo-observ…
I just...

I know we’ve got a lot going on, especially with the mass casualty event scheduled shortly after US Thanksgiving.

But take some time to read the Arecibo tributes as they come out. They won’t be cheerful. But they’ll be heartfelt.
Read 6 tweets
Nov 14, 2020
Irregular reminder that landslides can behave like fluids.

(Thank you for all the pings!)
Landslides get weird when there really big, and can start behaving more like fluids than solids once they’re over the half million cubic meter mark.

...which was pretty much why I wrote a thesis once upon a time: io9.gizmodo.com/why-are-huge-l…
But technically landslide are fluid-like, not fluids.

Why?

Because they’re a mixed mess of materials that act differently when moving than when still. You can’t just sample a tree trunk, some peat, and water to figure out the rheologic properties (how it flows).
Read 9 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!


This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!

Ethereum

0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy

Bitcoin

3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!

:(