David Bressan writes: In October of 1792, the crew of the H.M.S. Discovery was surveying the west coast of North America and spotted a cone-shaped mountain. It was named after the British diplomat Alleyne FitzHerbert, 1st Baron St. Helens. However the true nature of Mount St. Helens was discovered by scientists only in 1835, when a minor eruption revealed its volcanic origin. In November 1842 the missionary Josiah Parrish experienced a rain of ash, probably coming from the active St. Helens. This phase of volcanic activity continued until 1857.
“According to their legends, the mountain was once the beautiful princess Loo-Wit, who was fought over by two great warriors in a battle of fire and smoke. To end what threatened to be an eternal battle, all three were transformed in mountains.”
To the local Klickitat people, the mountain was already known as Loo-Wit Lat-kla– “Keeper of the Fire” or Louwala-Clough “One from Whom Smoke Comes” and also as Tah-one-lat-clah – “The Fire- or Smoking-Mountain.” According to their legends, the mountain was once the beautiful princess Loo-Wit, who was fought over by two great warriors in a battle of fire and smoke. To end what threatened to be an eternal battle, all three were transformed in mountains. The beautiful and shy princess became the symmetrical, ice-covered St. Helens, while the two angry warriors became Mount Hood in the south and Mount Adams in the west. This myth was possibly inspired by the observation of a prehistoric eruption of one of the mentioned volcanoes, but there are also more recent reports of their activity.
In 1800, the Sanpoil and Spokan nations told to the first missionaries and traders visiting the area of an eruption occurring on St. Helens:
“The people called it snow… The ashes fell several inches deep all along the Columbia and far on both sides. Everybody was so badly scared that the whole summer was spent in praying. The people even danced – something they never did except in winter.
They didn’t gather any food but what they had to have to live on. That winter many people starved to death.”
Minor eruptions with small explosions and lava flows occurred again in 1898, 1903 and 1921.
In 1969, the geologist Dwight Crandell warned a conference in San Francisco that the volcanoes of the U.S. were still poorly studied and monitored – and also much more active than previously assumed.
“The beautiful and shy princess became the symmetrical, ice-covered St. Helens, while the two angry warriors became Mount Hood in the south and Mount Adams in the west.”
Based on dated deposits of past eruptions, Crandell and his colleague Donal Mullineaux published a paper in which they warned that “the scheme of activity of St. Helens led to the assumption that it is possible to postulate an eruption in the next 100 years and maybe even before the end of this century.”
In March 1980, a monitoring system was finally installed on St. Helens. Read the rest of this entry »
A look at some of the more entertaining recent headlines to come out of Obama’s America
Before the tryptophan in the turkey induces somnolence, give thanks for living in such an entertaining country. This year, for example, we learned that California’s Legislature includes 93 people who seem never to have had sex. They enacted the “affirmative consent” law, directing college administrators to tell students that sexual consent cannot be silence but must be “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” and “ongoing throughout a sexual activity.” Claremont McKenna College requires “all” — not “both,” which would discriminate against groups — participants in a sexual engagement to understand that withdrawal of consent can be any behavior conveying “that an individual is hesitant, confused, uncertain.”
A severely moral California high school principal prohibited the football booster club from raising money by selling donated Chick-fil-A meals because this company opposed same-sex marriage. The school superintendent approved the ban because “we value inclusivity and diversity.” Up to a point. At a Washington state community college, invitations to a “happy hour” celebrating diversity and combating racism said white people were not invited.
At Broward College near Miami, a conservative who was asking students if they agreed that “big government sucks” was told by a campus security guard that she must take her question to the campus “free-speech area.” She got off lightly: The federal government has distributed to local police, including those of some colleges and school districts, more than 600 surplus MRAP (mine-resistant ambush-protected) armored vehicles designed for Iraq and Afghanistan.
The federal government, which has Tomahawk cruise missiles and Apache and Lakota helicopters, used the code name “Geronimo” in the attack that killed Osama bin Laden but objected to the name of the Washington Redskins. The Department of Homeland Security, unsleepingly vigilant, raided a Kansas City, Mo., shop to stop sales of panties emblazoned with unauthorized Royals logos. A U.S. Forest Service article on safe marshmallow toasting did not neglect to nag us: It suggested fruit rather than chocolate in s’mores. The droll Orange County Register wondered, “Why not replace the marshmallow with a Brussels sprout?” The federal government’s food police began cracking down on schools’ fundraising bake sales: Step away from those brownies and put your hands on a fruit cup. Read the rest of this entry »
And if a whole marshmallow is a little too much for your overweight kids, the article suggests scrapping the whole idea of roasting marshmallows, and instead using marshmallow creme out of a jar
“Put a piece of fruit on a roasting stick, dip quickly in the crème and roast over indirect heat until a delicious golden brown.”
The U.S. Forest Service on Friday published a nearly 700-word article on how to safely roast marshmallows, all in preparation for Saturday, which is National Roasted Marshmallow Day.
“You’re still having campfire fun, but the focus is on a healthier evening snack.”
As one might expect, the article is riddled with safety tips that might make you think twice about even carrying matches into the forest at all, let alone actually igniting a marshmallow and putting your family’s life at risk.
“First, let’s talk safety,” the article says. “Never start a campfire when there are fire restrictions in place. The restrictions are put in place for your safety and for the safety of others.”
It also warns that children should be given a stern talking-to before any of the “fun” begins. Read the rest of this entry »
JOHN NOLTE reports: On top of handing President Obama a blank check that will explode the size of our deficit, the blank check itself (the bill that re-opened the government and increased the debt ceiling), contains billions in additional spending. Most people have already heard about the $2.9 billion Kentucky kickback and a $174,000 payment to the wealthy widow of Senator Frank Lautenberg. Fox News found another billion-plus:
The bill also put up another $600 million for firefighters in the Forest Service, who have been dealing with a rash of major blazes this year. Another $36 million was appropriated for Interior Department firefighting. Read the rest of this entry »