2010 Lassen PIT Project at SexyArchaeology.org

This past week (August 9-13, 2010) Lassen Forest hosted its second Passport in Time (or PIT) project of 2010.

Passport in Time is a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program of the USDA Forest Service. Throughout national forests in the United States, PIT volunteers work with professional Forest Service archaeologists and historians on a number of archaeological related activities. These activities can range anywhere from archaeological survey and excavation, to rock art restoration, site monitoring, archival research, historic structure restoration and even analysis and curation of artifacts.

PIT volunteers receive a passport. Each time a volunteer visits a project, they receive a stamp and their hours are documented. Volunteers have the opportunity of collecting stamps (and experience) from projects all over the country.

This year, PIT Projects were hosted at a number of locations across the US. Here are just a few of the 2010 projects:

The goal of PIT is to preserve the nation’s past and share the excitement of archaeology with the public. PIT brings together people of all ages and experiences. It also provides FS archaeologists with “people power.” Our crew is normally limited to six individuals, but with the inclusion of over thirty additional people (including twenty volunteers and nearly a dozen archaeologists from nearby National Forests) we were able to work on a scale we could only dream of.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting my covereage of the event on my other blog SexyArchaeology.org.  There you will find pictures, trench stories and excerpts from my field journal detailing all of our work.

And in case you missed it, I was tweeting live from the project all week. Head over to the Sexy Archaeology Twitter page and check out the 140 character blow by blow of all our work.

300 words after a murder

The breeze from the balcony door tossed the curtain aside and admitted a bold ray of sun into the room. Like a spotlight it shone brightly on the stage, highlighting the monstrous scene.

She raised her hands to shield her eyes and realized they were trembling; aftershocks of an earthquake. She turned them over. Her knuckles were bruised, bloody and broken; a small price to pay considering she was half his size.

Her eyes moved from her quaking hands to the lifeless corpse. The body rested on the floor, propped up against the box spring like a puppet; limp limbs splayed out, palms turned upwards, as if asking her “What now?” Blood dripped from split cuts, the rumpled t-shirt soaked up most of it. A swelled tongue hung listlessly from behind his swollen lips. Two glossy green eyes starred intensely at the carpet. Vacant windows now.

God, he looked even more revolting dead.

She couldn’t decide what was worse; the bloodied body before her or the fact that she actually felt good. Hot adrenaline was coursing through her veins, through each tendon, every fiber of muscle and to the core of each bone from her head to her toes. She felt charged up, ready to go again; alive. And she liked it.

She removed the sheet from the bed and stretched it on the hotel room floor. She then grudgingly wrapped her arms around the chest of the body and struggled to maneuver it across the room and on to the sheet. This close she could smell the sweat that had leached through the shirt and mixed with the faint stench of cigarettes, so she held her breath. She dropped the body on the linen and kicked it hard with her foot. She wasn’t sure why, but it felt deserved.

Word count: 300

Cosmological models with no Big Bang

Browse back through the years worth of posts and you’ll discover I have a penchant for news stories involving quantumcosmology, superstring theory, quantum mechanicas and astrophysics.  The culmination of my love for all things deeply quantum pinnacled last year when I attended a lecture at Bristol University given by Leonard Susskind.

I caught wind of this news story via The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, a podcast to which I’ve tuned in “religiously” for nearly 5 years.

Wun-Yi Shuan, associate professor at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, has suggested that that mass, time, and length can be converted into one another as the universe evolves, thus eliminating the need for a Big Bang and dark energy and solving two cosmological dilemmas (the flatness and horizon problems).

In a very small nutshell, Shuan’s has developed a theory which hopes to explain how geometry of spacetime and the distribution of mass energy interact.  He proposes that time and space can be converted into one another by using a varying speed of light as the conversion factor.

Shuan’s theory also eliminates the need for dark energy, something scientists use to explain 75% of the mass-energy in the galaxy.

This is a radical idea and while this theory will definitely come under heavy scrutiny, but right now I’m completely enthralled by it.  Time and further study will determine if it is actually viable, in the meantime definitely something to keep my mind running.