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In Edward O. Wilson’s new book The Meaning of Human Existence, he asks the following question:

Are human beings intrinsically good but corruptible by the forces of evil, or the reverse, innately sinful yet redeemable by the forces of good? Are we built to pledge our lives to a group, even to the risk of death, or the opposite, built to place ourselves and our families above all else.

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I barely passed chemistry during my undergraduate civil engineering degree.  I enjoyed the geology course, although it took a lot of intellect to learn the difference between sedimentary rock, volcanic rock, and metamorphic rock.  For I grew up in the flat, featureless landscape of the Witwatersrand where very old soils covered all rocks—the first rock I saw was in the geology lab. (more…)

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Merry Christmas to all that have celebrated and those yet about to celebrate–it is all about the time zone you are in. We have cleaned up the Christmas dinner and are now relaxing watching TV, playing games with the kids, and grandpa is blogging. (more…)

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No posts these past few days as I have been in Huntington Beach with kids and grandkids.  In between family time I have read Dickens’ Bleak House.  Many strange and mad characters in that book.  Victorians all I concluded; until I looked around me in Huntington Beach and saw the following two whose story I tell. (more…)

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Got a long lesson in using the new format CareerMine today.  This is what I found about mining jobs for engineers in Vancouver. First up is a job with Robertson GeoConsultants (RGC).  Probably no secret that I work for RGC.  Not full time.  I take off as much time as I want to so that I can blog and visit kids and grandkids.  In fact I will be off on Wednesday to the kids in California and then a month in Spain with my son and his family in a house on the beach.  OK, I like the rain in Vancouver as much as anybody—kind of sensuous and clean, what with the lights sparkling and the streets shining.  But time in southern California and southern Spain are not to be deprecated. (more…)

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Here is information I received as a comment on a recent blog posting:

California is an anomaly from the perspective that it is only one of 5 or 6 states or territories that do not recognize mining as an engineering discipline; along with Guam, Hawaii, Delaware and a couple of others. The need for being registered is driven primarily by the State Boards. There are several places in the industry where signatures are required: on 10K reports for certification of reserves. This requires a “qualified person” and since there are 20 states that don’t recognize geologists as a profession, then the role may be defined as engineering in some cases. There are a plethora of state and federal mining permits requiring a PE signature. Underground seals must be constructed and signed off by a PE. Roof Control and Ventilation plans and many environmental permits require signatures. As I said, California is one of the exceptions and I really don’t understand why mining is ignored when mining was at the core of the state’s formation. I will say that the lack of recognition by the State has caused some confusion regarding liability and accountability.

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Turned the clocks back in more than one way today.  The ordinary act of taking an hour off every clock so that we abandon daylight saving time and go back to normal time, whatever that is. The second clock-turn-back was watching Francesco Cavalli’s opera Elena. Monteverdi was the first opera composer.  I have watched many time his two surviving operas: Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria and L’Incoronazione di Poppea.  Both imminently watchable and hearable. (more…)

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