Mika McKinnon Profile picture
Field geophysicist, disaster researcher, scifi science consultant, science writer, public speaker, irrepressibly curious. #scicomm #womeninSTEM she/her 🇨🇦🇺🇸
@abuhafla Profile picture 3 added to My Authors
Dec 26, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
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.
Mar 9, 2021 15 tweets 4 min read
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...”


📷 Roberto Bosi Densely-packed crystals of a pale translucent tan spackled a
Nov 21, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
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!
Nov 20, 2020 7 tweets 3 min read
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.
Nov 19, 2020 6 tweets 2 min read
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:
Nov 14, 2020 9 tweets 3 min read
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…
Nov 13, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
Go on. Lick it. Searles Lake is a major industrial source of evaporate minerals. Brine is pumped into shallow ponds, where desert sun evaporates water & leaves behind baby crystals to screen, harvest, wash & dry.

The minerals grow so fast they hopper: outside expands before inside fills in.
Oct 19, 2020 16 tweets 6 min read
Dear coastal Alaska:
Pay attention & be ready to head inland.

Dear coastal PNW:
Keep an eye on the news until we have tsunami confirmation. Subduction zone earthquakes involve vertical movement of the sea floor. This displacement can trigger tsunami.

While we’re very, very good at forecasting how fast tsunami will travel where, we don’t know how big they’ll be until they start coming on shore.
Oct 4, 2020 11 tweets 3 min read
Cute lil dropstone!

My initial interpretation:
Once upon a time and long long ago, an existing rock fell into squishy mud. Time, pressure, & natural cementing hardened the mud into rock ...with rocks stuck in it. This isn’t the only possible story!

I’m basing my interpretation on location (beach), that the rock looks gritty (grains not crystals), and that the boundary between the colours looks raised lips (not weathering rind or contact metamorphism).
Oct 1, 2020 5 tweets 2 min read
PSA: “Earthquake prediction” is 100% bullshit in every possible way. That account “warning” of a dangerous swarm is fear-mongering to exploit your anxiety.

Block and ignore. We CAN NOT predict what size quake will happen when & where. Wish we could, but real-life rocks are complicated.

We CAN forecast probabilities and understand how stress fields interact. For example, the Salton Sea swarm is unrelated to the San Andreas Fault:
Sep 30, 2020 10 tweets 5 min read
Today’s distraction:

The winner of this match will face #Magnetite for the finals with a shot at the #MinCup2020 crown. Both are beautiful & bizarre with odd properties and a lot of charm. Both are Safe But Boring to lick. They even have similar texture (smooth). As far as your tongue in concerned, it’s a wash. You’ll need different criteria to pick your fav.

(One #MinCup we’ll have either a Fun To Lick or a Do Not Lick finalist and I will be overjoyed)
Sep 30, 2020 14 tweets 7 min read
Literally nothing about the debate tonight could possibly change how I vote, and I don’t want to deal with either rage or despair from hearing his horrid voice and cruel ideals.

So I’m focusing elsewhere.

On geologic glitter, specifically. Today’s #MinCup2020 battle is a showdown between glitter vs magnetics.

I am forever & always #TeamShiny.
Which is losing.
Sep 28, 2020 9 tweets 3 min read
Hey Sonoma/Napa kin,
If you’re told to go, GO.
If you’re under warning, pack up, turn your car, & leave early if you can.

This is moving fast & fierce, and you just don’t have that many roads to gtfo fast. Make sure you opted in to emergency alerts & that your ringer is set to max tonight.

But, uh...
it’s having some bugs in Napa & Sonoma, so also do manual checks: napavalleyregister.com/news/local/ami…

& if you’re told to evac, don’t be shy about noise. Waking your neighbours could save them.
Sep 21, 2020 6 tweets 2 min read
You’re in the desert. A deep, vibrant blue catches your eye.

It’s neither sky nor water. #YouFindARock! You pick up the perfectly civic blue crystal ans consider your future life choices.

Sep 20, 2020 17 tweets 4 min read
This is a very popular question where the answer is frustrating because it’s almost, but not quite, the right question.

Simple version: False.
Thread for complicated version. All active fault zones move.

While a particular fault may be locked or have locked segments, overall the tectonic plates that make up the surface of our planet move at roughly the same speed fingernails grow.

We have thousands of earthquakes a year, most too small to feel.
Sep 20, 2020 14 tweets 6 min read
It’s small in the scale of things, but I hope BC doesn’t hold an early election: theglobeandmail.com/canada/british…

BC is fine-ish right now. We’ve got enough going on with the pandemic numbers getting worse & school starting. Last round was decided by tiny margins.

Just... let it ride. I am trying very hard to enjoy the last few minutes of deluded faith that we're not having an entirely unnecessary election for no fucking reason in the middle of a pandemic that's sharply getting worse while attempting to manage back-to-school.

I'll miss you, blanket fort
Sep 19, 2020 5 tweets 2 min read
Dear SoCal,

Sounds like this one felt big, even if it wasn't technically a huge magnitude. Piling that on top of everything else is intense.

It's okay to be unnerved. The aftershock forecast is normal: there's a chance you might get something bigger, but the more time passes the smaller that chance gets.
Sep 14, 2020 8 tweets 2 min read
I don’t even know where to start with the latest bullshit from the Denier-in-Chief about the West Coast fires.

There’s no point in debunking when it’s not a misunderstanding, but outright lies and refusal to observe reality. “It’ll start getting cooler.”

Why yes, that’s called “winter.” But it won’t get as cold as it used to get. And then later, it’ll be this thing called “summer” when it’s hot again, but it’ll be hotter than it used to get.

Seasons (& weather!) don’t disprove climate change.
Sep 13, 2020 10 tweets 5 min read
I rolled the dice to randomize the #MinCup2020 bracket.

I’m pretty sure my dice hate me. These are both SUCH GOOD MINERALS, and I’m still working on a deadline so can’t thread yet. My campaign for #gypsum in #MinCup2019:
Sep 9, 2020 10 tweets 3 min read
That feeling of doom when you’re under perpetually red-tinged darkened skies and the scent of smoke is inescapable is...

It’s a lot even without months of pandemic & protest & breakdown of social support systems.

Do the best you can, West Coast kin. Mask up & be ready to run. Quick’n’dirty go bag tip:
What do you need to get through 24hrs?

What’s most essential to rebuild?

If you have time:
What will keep you calm while waiting?

You know how notoriously prepared parents of infants are with diaper bags? You want that for you.

old thread:
Sep 4, 2020 5 tweets 5 min read
It's #DragonCon weekend and we've still found a way to play. Join us?

All panels are free when they stream on Fan Tracks: dragoncon.tv/virtual

They're also available on-demand for a FULL YEAR with $10 membership: dragoncon.tv/login Advertising poster of Mika'... Recreational Doom in Video Games
11pm Thursday with @scarlett_jazmin @_adverbia & @M_F_Rose.

The reality, science, & gameplay of enjoying apocalyptic video games while the world burns.

Aired as part of @DragonConVG; now it's in the archives. Apologies for late notice!