Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm not an alcoholic, I'm a geologist...

Are all geologists alcoholics? I set out to answer this question after a few web searches on the subject of geology seemed to have a very common thread. What I found was a bit frightening…and a lot funny.

My favorite online source is Wikipedia…if I’m looking for easy, potentially inaccurate information. And I was looking for just that today when I found “Geologist” in the Wikipedia Uncyclopedia. The article starts off with the following: “Geologists are 'scientists' with an unnatural obsession with rocks and alcohol. There is a considerable, and still growing body of scientific literature that suggests that geologists are in fact the world's first alcohol-based life form.”

The only geology enthusiasts I know are myself and Annoying Geology Guy from my calc class. I certainly know I’m an alcoholic (of the recovering sort) and AGG probably qualifies as one, since he can’t seem to make it through a class without a fix, but that doesn’t mean ALL geology people are louses, right? Further research was necessary.

Majors; A Guide, featured on http://www.californiaaggie.com/, by Garrett Mccord, says about geologists that “These people worship the following characters: Indiana Jones, the main paleontologist guy in Jurassic Park, the geologist chick from Tremors, and Lara Croft.” At the end he adds, “Oh yeah, and they're all raging drunks and potheads.” My interest in Indiana Jones, Dr. Alan Grant and Tremors support Mccord’s statement, but I don’t know much about Lara Croft, so I’ve rejected his idea and moved on in hopes of finding more information.

In an attempt to find more prestigious sources, I came across an article in the New York Times. The article, titled With Great Beer, It's All in the Rocks (and That Doesn't Mean Ice), written by Kenneth Chang, discusses how different minerals and chemicals in the Earth contribute to the beer-making process. Change writes, “Beer and geology, on the other hand, are closely entwined, Dr. Maltman said last month at a seminar on geology and beer held at a meeting of the Geological Society of America. For one, geologists drink lots of beer, typically ending a long day examining rocks with a trip to the nearest bar.” So, not only are geologists alcohol-based life forms, but they also spend their time at “geology and beer” seminars. Sounds slightly suspicious to me.

It turns out that geology isn’t just related to beer…it’s related to scotch, too. In Consumed-Let's Rock, Marty Jones reveals the discovery and marketability of the process of cooling scotch with granite. Howard Lahti, a geologist, discovered that granite perfectly cooled his scotch without diluting it. He packaged pieces of granite and sold them online.

In the end, I’m fairly convinced that the saying “I’m not an alcoholic, I’m a geologist” is fitting. It seems that geology does have close ties with alcohol…if not alcoholism. I’m wondering if it’s a requirement that geologists drink alcohol and if I should just quit while I’m ahead.

References:
http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Geologist

Jones, Marty. Let's Rock . Consumed. http://www.westword.com/2003-03-20/dining/consumed/full

Mccord, Garrett. Majors, a Guide. http://media.www.californiaaggie.com/media/storage/paper981/news/2004/01/12/Features/Majors.A.Guide-1316085.shtml

Chang, Kenneth. With Great Beer, It's All in the Rocks (and That Doesn't Mean Ice). The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/14/science/14beer.html?n=Top%2FReference%2FTimes%20Topics%2FSubjects%2FA%2FAlcoholic%20Beverages

6 comments:

Zach Miller said...

That's too funny!

Julia said...

Having been at SVP for a week, I can testify that it is difficult to be a palaeontologist and not drink (I certainly don't manage it!) but not impossible. There are a number of teetotal palaeo people, such as ReBecca, and if you are happy to accept your lot as being the first person to drive the van each morning on field work, then there is certainly room for a non-drinker in palaeontology.

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