Tag Archives: dark matter

Notes from La Brea: Fossil Lab

This week is about cleaning and sorting: matrix from fossils, guesses from identifiers, non-microfossils from microfossils, bio-fuel from sediment, unexpected finds into new experiments, contaminants from useful data.

“The biggest picture we are trying to paint is of climate change over time – to see what happened in the past in order to help us to understand what is happening now.”

Photo of Hollywood sign taken at the intersection of Cochran and 8th while cycling to La Brea.

“At a time when libraries around the western world are in decline we are building a fossil library that will be here for generations to study.” Continue reading

Notes from La Brea: Excavations

The Dark Matter: Anthropocene special project at La Brea Tar Pits and Museum in Los Angeles uses the lens of art to investigate the work of paleo-scientists researching the preservative properties of bitumen and the prehistoric stories revealed within.

Each discipline has its own language with which to communicate. The paleo-scientific world of La Brea is no exception.

    “This site is a living organism…

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We Are All In This Together


Self change dressing + stitches + wire cube + bruising 17 March 2011

The fingers are working. It has been over a year since the second operation to repair them. The surgery was a success. Scar tissue was cleared. Therapy and hard work paid off. A year ago this coming week the therapist signed the appointment sheet, “S.O.S. only”.  Consultant and therapist sent my hand and me away with orders to continue the exercises and to massage the thin white scars and reclaimed fingers through to September of this year.

The rebuilt and restored digits are not yet really mine. Although they look like fingers they feel more like stuffed sausages, swollen, stretched, thick and tight, protruding from my hand. Like ‘meat substitutes’, reconstituted fingers are similar to but not quite the real thing: a bit conceptually flawed, usually falling down in name and often failing in practice.

But needs must during these difficult times.  Everyone knows compromises must be made.  We are, we are told, “all in this together”. My fingers and I must put aside our prejudices and accept if not fully embrace our differences.

The fingers had not asked to be crushed in a garage door. It wasn’t their fault they ended up this way.  They are trying to do their bit. They almost straighten completely when extended and they curve nearly perfectly into a closed, crooked fist. Only the middle finger insists on making a statement, dragging up the past with a slightly twisted joint and too thick middle. “You don’t notice unless you’re looking”, people kindly say.

Post therapy III + IV + monster puppets/stitches out 21 March 2011

As children we did not usually notice what was wrong. Things happened when no one was looking.  It was never clear who had done it.  What was clear was that someone had done something wrong and the culprit had to be found.  Continue reading