January 31, 2009

Article Two: Casting VolAsh/Pumice

*Photo, cast of my foot in Pumice*

The conditions in which the large majority of researchers work in, consist of substrates that are no where near the consistency or feel of Volcanic Ash or Pumice. But, none the less, I felt it was important to test various methods using a substrate as fine as this substrate. As many of you know, I began my testing using TriCalcium Phosphate or Bone Ash, then later moved on to soil samples collected from Onion Mountain.

Using an internet link provided to me, I was able to purchase a product called VolAsh/Pumice. Is this "pure" Volcanic Ash, or "Virgin"? I did not have all the answers to that question, so I actually phoned the retailer to make the purchase and requested a specific Item.

Volcanic ash or "Pumicite" is the direct result of a volcanic eruption. As a volcano explodes, the explosion ejects rocks, ash, lava and various gases. The average "lay person" would call Pumicite, Volcanic Ash.

Pumice is ejected during an eruption in the form of various sized rocks (some very small, some very large) or as the result of a lava flow. Both Pumice and Pumicite can vary in size, but there is a difference in how these two products ,of a Volcanic eruption, are created.

This is where being precise is important. It helps to be certain you are not confusing people with your statements.

The product I ordered is the man made result of mining a lava flow in New Mexico. Chunks of a lava flow are mined then taken to a factory and ground to a fine substance, but it is still Pumice.

The company that manufacturers this product "CR Minerals", is very specific on this point. In the condition it arrives to the factory in, it can not be used by various manufacturers, so the chunks of Pumice must be milled down and ground to a fine consistency. I asked the gentleman from CR Minerals a minimum of 5 times, "Is this Volcanic Ash" he responded with a very firm "This is NOT Volcanic Ash". He was so firm on this point, after asking for the 5th time, I did not ask again.

I am sure all of us women who use cosmetics thank CR Minerals for doing their job so well. Yes, this product is used in the making of Cosmetics, along with other products you use, or have at least come in contact with (those things may surprise you).

Lets be clear. Will you have to worry about casting in Pumicite (Volcanic Ash) where you live? Well, most likely not, unless you live near a Volcano. I decided to add this substrate to my tests as I am interested in knowing how casting agents preserve dermal ridges. I will test in as many substrates as become available to me.

I purchased the product I was directed to. And, as promised, the Pumice arrived in the mail.

My first order of business was to examine the material sent to me.

(1) MSDS supplied by the retailer of this product. Also included is the sales receipt. I do find it confusing and surprising the retailer would identify this product as volcanic ash, when the MSDS from the manufacturer states otherwise. But, when you take into account the fact that Crystalline Silica is (2) "probably carcinogenic to humans", it would make sense to me why the Manufacturer would be so deliberate in their comments about the product which they are releasing for use by the general public. Especially with (3) OSHA keeping tight regulations (4) on this industry. The (5) MSDS on the website for CR Minerals is actually different from the MSDS I received from the retailer. The MSDS on the website for CR Minerals lists their product as Amorphous Silica.

(6)This review summarizes the current knowledge about the health effects of amorphous (synonym: non-crystalline) forms of silica. The major problem in the assessment of health effects of amorphous silica is contamination with crystalline silica. This applies particularly to well documented pneumoconiosis among diatomaceous earth workers. Intentionally manufactured synthetic amorphous silicas are without contamination of crystalline silica.

So, knowing there was some discrepancy in the information I received, I proceeded with caution anyway.

Once I read up on what I was actually dealing with (as we all should do, prior to exposure to something that may be dangerous), I then began the process of pouring out enough of the contents of the bag, to fill my baking pan. I was immediately aware of the lightweight nature of this product, as it floated in the air, and hung.

I then began the process of first attempting to cast my own dermal ridges.

I placed my foot in the center of the baking pan, and applied my weight. I was immediately taken with the fact that regardless of the lightweight nature of this product, my foot did not immediately go to the bottom of the pan, as it did with the TriCalcium Phosphate. I was able to apply all my body weight, and not sink to the bottom of the pan.

I then mixed the casting agent (per the manufacturers specifications). The water used was tap water, unheated. The temperature was 65 degrees.

As you can see the end result was a cast that did in fact preserve the dermal ridges of my very own foot. I did observe the "pour mark" as had been evident in all the other casts I had completed to date. Were there artifacts?

My own dermal ridges were preserved, with NO dermal ridge artifacts. So, this experiment shows that if you follow the manufacturers specifications for mixing:

1. Water at air or room temperature
2. Add Casting agent to the water, not the other way around.
3. Use your hand (with a laytex glove) or another object for mixing - no smaller than the width of your hand.

The results you obtain can be relied upon. I performed this test 3 times, and the results were the same. There was no deviation. My dermal ridges continued to be preserved.

While I did not heat the water used to 100 degrees, this test was not about water temperature, it was an attempt to discover if my own dermal ridges could in fact be casted in this very fine substrate. I still think dermal ridge artifacts are possible, my thoughts in this regard have never changed.

But, why did I not have artifacts?

To be continued.....

January 30, 2009

Article One: Casting VolAsh/Pumice

“The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.”

Frank Herbert.

When I first began this "voyage" to try and understand how to cast properly and secondly the preservation of information that may be contained within the very tracks I was trying to preserve, I did not fully understand how this "voyage" would forever change the direction of my life. I began to understand how complex this world is, in which we occupy. The world which we call Earth is in constant change, some would even call it upheaval with the onset of "global warming". Understanding those changes can give us a better understanding of how this world works.

How did this "voyage" change my life?

It opened me up to information I had never really paid attention to in the past. My work had become more about the Earth and the sometimes violent changes, and less about how to preserve a cast that was allegedly left by a mythical or mysterious animal.

How did this happen because of casting?

Well, the issue of Dermal Ridges inevitably lead to a 6-12 month journey into the world of Volcanism and Geology. For instance I have learned there are more than 50,000 soil types in this country, did you know that? I also learned that non-human primates have dermal ridges, I didn't know that either. I discovered the pumice and pumicite ejected during a volcanic eruption is just as varied as the volcano itself. I learned the items ejected or, that flow out of a volcanic eruption begin to break down and change in as little as 2 years.

What did I learn about Dermal Ridges and casting?

The outcome of that may surprise you. This article is the first in a series. I plan to detail the work I have completed in a very methodical way, so that everyone understands the message of the work that has been done to date. By being precise, in explaining this, hopefully some understanding can be achieved. Those who care too, can implement what I have discovered during the course of my casting.

Are the artifacts that were produced possible? Yes, and I have always said that is the case. Anything can be replicated. All it takes is the ingenuity and time. That is a fact.

But, just because something can be replicated, does that mean it will happen?

Because Dermal Ridge artifacts have been produced, does that mean it will happen to you every time you cast a track in the field?

I say no,

It does not have to. What's more I will explain one way to keep artifacts from happening in your work.

I think it only proper I (as a researcher) understand the tools, methods, and techniques to preserve any potential evidence found in the field (in the form of tracks).

I am sharing what I have discovered with you so you as a researcher have a small level of confidence in the quality of your casting and the outcome of the finished cast.

When you decide to set out on your own "voyage of discovery", you will find, the voyage is not about how others see you, but that you have the strength and the determination to see that voyage through, to the very end. Be proud of yourself, and let nothing or no one stand in your way. Your "voyage" may not be popular, and you may not reach the desired outcome, but at least you will have no regrets when you are done.

At least you completed your goal.

To be continued....

January 29, 2009

President Obama Signs Equal-Pay Bill

I found an article this morning..While it may not be "bigfoot related", ladies it's a historic day.

Find out what this means to you.

While this type of legislation took long enough, it's finally here and the contribution to companies and corporations made by women across this country is finally being recognized.

In your paycheck.

The lady standing to President Obama's left is Lily Ledbetter. While Lily lost her fight in the Supreme Court against Goodyear, she continued on and fought for the rights of women (through legislation) to receive equal pay for work they perform. Work men were doing and receiving more pay for. This wage discrepency has been an issue in this country for many years. That has come to an end. I should say, it should come to and end, if it does not - there are now serious rammifications for employers.

As part of that "next generation", I would like to say thank you. It is never easy for anyone to take a fight as far as Lily did. I have seen the discouraged looks on more than one face of someone who was facing a legal battle, and Lily's fight was by far one of the biggest struggles facing women. What she endured could not have been easy. Lily continued and now employers will be held responsible for being certain the women they employ are being treated "financially" the same as their male counterparts.

It's women like this I admire.

Thank you Lily!!!!!!!!!

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama signed an equal-pay bill into law Thursday before cheering labor and women leaders who fought hard for it and the woman whose history-making lawsuit gave impetus to the cause.

Obama, choosing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as the first bill to sign as president, called it a "wonderful day" and declared that ending pay disparities between men and woman an issue not just for women, but for all workers.

With Ledbetter standing by his side, Obama said she lost more than $200,000 in salary, and even more in pension and Social Security benefits losses that she "still feels today." He then signed the measure that effectively nullifies a 2007 Supreme Court decision and makes it easier for workers to sue for discrimination by allowing them more time to do so.

"Making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone," Obama said. "That there are no second class citizens in our workplaces, and that it's not just unfair and illegal — but bad for business — to pay someone less because of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion or disability."

Ledbetter said she didn't become aware of the large discrepancy in her pay until she neared the end of her 19-year career at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant in Gadsden, Ala, and she filed a lawsuit. But the high court held in a 5-4 decision that she missed her chance to bring the action.

Obama appeared before a jammed East Room audience, and his entrance and many lines of his brief remarks were met with happy applause and yells. He paid special tribute to Ledbetter, who fought for the bill even though it won't allow her to recover any money for herself.

And in the room were the living symbols of this fight: Nancy Pelosi, first woman speaker of the House, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who took her pursuit of the presidency further than any other woman, even though she ultimately lost to Obama in the Democratic primary season.

Of Ledbetter, Obama exclaimed: "This grandmother from Alabama kept on fighting, because she was thinking about the next generation."

First lady Michelle Obama hosted a reception after the ceremony in the State Dining Room.

Ledbetter became a regular feature in Obama's campaign for the White House, addressing the Democratic National Convention in Denver last year and traveling to Washington aboard Obama's train for the inauguration ceremonies. Obama spoke strongly in support of legislation to change the Supreme Court decision during his campaign and the Democratic-controlled Congress moved it to the top of the agenda for the new session that opened this month.

The high court had a person must file a claim of discrimination within 180 days of a company's initial decision to pay a worker less than it pays another worker doing the same job. Under the new bill, given final passage in Congress this week, every new discriminatory paycheck would extend the statute of limitations for another 180 days.

Congress attempted to update the law to extend the time, but the Bush White House and Senate Republicans blocked the legislation in the last session of Congress.

Opponents contended the legislation would gut the statute of limitations, encourage lawsuits and be a boon to trial lawyers. They also argued that employees could wait to file claims in hopes of reaping larger damage awards. The bill does not change current law limiting back pay for claimants to two years.

Obama cited Census Bureau figures that women still receive only about 78 cents for every dollar that men get for doing equivalent jobs — "women of color even less," he said.

"Today, in the year 2009, countless women are still losing thousands of dollars in salary, income and retirement savings over the course of a lifetime," he said.

This is more than just a women's issue, said Obama.

"It's about parents who find themselves with less money for tuition or child care; couples who wind up with less to retire on; households where, when one breadwinner is paid less than she deserves, that's the difference between affording the mortgage or not; between keeping the heat on, or paying the doctor's bills or not," Obama said.

The measure, which amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act, also applies to discrimination based on factors such as race, religion, national origin, disability or age.

This is interesting.. How did your Senator Vote on this Legislation January 22? Pay attention to party lines. The divide is stunning..

Grouped By Vote Position YEAs ---61

Akaka (D-HI) Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN) Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO) Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA) Brown (D-OH)
Burris (D-IL) Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA) Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE) Casey (D-PA)
Collins (R-ME) Conrad (D-ND)
Dodd (D-CT) Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL) Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA) Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA) Hutchison(R-TX)
Inouye (D-HI) Johnson (D-SD)
Kaufman (D-DE) Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN) Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA) Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT) Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT) Lincoln (D-AR)
McCaskill (D-MO) Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR) Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK) Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL) Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR) Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV) Rockefeller(D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT) Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH) Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA) Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT) Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM) Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA) Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

NAYs ---36

Alexander (R-TN) Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT) Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS) Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC) Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK) Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN) Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID) DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC) Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH) Hatch (R-UT)
Inhofe (R-OK) Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE) Kyl (R-AZ)
Lugar (R-IN) Martinez (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ) McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID) Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL) Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD) Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH) Wicker (R-MS)

Not Voting - 1

Kennedy (D-MA)

January 24, 2009

New Climbing Catfish Identified

January 22, 2009—This fish out of water is a newly identified species from a remote region in Venezuela.

The catfish handily inches along rocks using its highly flexible pelvic fins (bottom, the two leg-like appendages) and wide mouth as grasping tools. Such climbing ken may be crucial for the fish, which live in strong, high-flow streams.

An anthropologist first collected the fish in the state of Amazonas about two decades ago, but the odd sample brought to Caracas's Instituo de Zoologíca looked "like it was run over by a truck," American Museum of Natural History ichthyologist Scott Schaefer said in a statement.

Intrigued, Schaefer and colleagues eventually pinpointed the source of the fish—a tributary of the Orinoco River—and literally picked 84 specimens off of rocks.

New analysis of the samples, published in the journal American Museum Novitates, confirmed that the new species, dubbed Lithogenes wahari, belongs to a group of fish that span two families.

Bony plates on its head and tail (top) link the creature to Loricariidae, a family of armored catfishes.

But its specialized pelvic fins—which move backward and forward independently—are seen only in Astroblepidae, a family of climbing catfish found in the Andes.

(Related story: "Fish Lives in Logs, Breathing Air, for Months at a Time" [November 6, 2007].)

The combination of features suggests that common ancestors to both fish families lived in upland streams of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, which currently house most of the groups' members.

"We see new fish species all the time," Schaefer said, "but when you also get new information about the biological history of a group, it's the most fun."

—Christine Dell'Amore
Photograph courtesy S. Schaefer/AMNH

January 23, 2009

'Hobbit' Fossils Represent A New Species, Concludes Anthropologist

Data collected from the LB1 cranium (superimposed on the original photo)of Homo floresiensis. (Credit: Karen L. Baab and Kieran P. McNulty. Size, shape, and asymmetry in fossil hominins: The status of the LB1 cranium based on 3D morphometric analyses. Journal of Human Evolution, 2008; (in press) DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.08.011)

ScienceDaily (Dec. 19, 2008) — University of Minnesota anthropology professor Kieran McNulty (along with colleague Karen Baab of Stony Brook University in New York) has made an important contribution toward solving one of the greatest paleoanthropological mysteries in recent history -- that fossilized skeletons resembling a mythical "hobbit" creature represent an entirely new species in humanity's evolutionary chain.

Discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003, controversy has surrounded the fossilized hominid skeletons of the so-called "hobbit people," or Homo floresiensis ever since. Experts are still debating whether the 18,000-year-old remains merely belong to a diminutive population of modern-day humans (with one individual exhibiting "microcephaly," an abnormally small head) or represent a previously unrecognized branch in humanity's family tree.

Using 3D modeling methods, McNulty and his fellow researchers compared the cranial features of this real-life "hobbit" to those of a simulated fossil human (of similar stature) to determine whether or not such a species was distinct from modern humans.

"[Homo floresiensis] is the most exciting discovery in probably the last 50 years," said McNulty. "The specimens have skulls that resemble something that died a million years earlier, and other body parts reminiscent of our three-million-year-old human ancestors, yet they lived until very recently -- contemporaries with modern humans."

Comparing the simulation to the original Flores skull discovered in 2003, McNulty and Baab were able to demonstrate conclusively that the original "hobbit" skull fits the expectations for a small fossil hominin species and not a modern human. Their study was published online this month in the Journal of Human Evolution.

The cranial structure of the fossilized skull, says the study, clearly places it in humanity's genus Homo, even though it would be smaller in both body and brain size than any other member. The results of the study suggest that the theorized "hobbit" species may have undergone a process of size reduction after branching off from Homo erectus (one of modern day humanity's distant ancestors) or even something more primitive.

"We have shown with this study that the process of size reduction applied to fossil hominins accounts for many features seen in the fossil skull from Flores," McNulty said. "It becomes much more difficult, therefore, to defend the hypothesis that the preserved skull is a modern human who simply suffered from an extremely rare disorder.

Public interest in the discovery, analysis and implications of Flores "hobbits" has been high ever since 2003, inspiring several television specials (including a recent episode of "NOVA" entitled "Alien From Earth") and other media attention.

While the debate over Homo floresiensis will continue, McNulty believes this comprehensive analysis of the relationship between size and shape in human evolution is a critical step toward eventually understanding the place of the Flores "hobbits" in human evolutionary history.

"I think the majority of researchers favor recognizing this as a new species," McNulty said about the categorization of Homo floresiensis. "The evidence is becoming overwhelming, and this study helps confirm that view."
Journal reference:

Karen L. Baab and Kieran P. McNulty. Size, shape, and asymmetry in fossil hominins: The status of the LB1 cranium based on 3D morphometric analyses. Journal of Human Evolution, 2008; (in press) DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.08.011

Adapted from materials provided by University of Minnesota.

January 21, 2009

Both Monica and I are pleased and excited to announce, our show is about to reach a much larger audience, yet still accessible from your computer. That's right. Global Radio 1 (Richard J. Hannah of the Big H Radio Show) is creating a 40 minute version of "The Grey Area".

Here is the show description:

"If you like your radio, uncompromising and no punches pulled then you need to listen to the Grey Area. Its our own 40 minute version of hit paranormal talk show hosted by Monica Rawlins and Melissa Hovey. These two sirens of the paranormal community have been researching Big Foot and other phenomena for online radio for three years and have become the poster girls for bursting the paranormal bubble.

Hovey and Rawlins do not pull their punches about fellow researches and hoaxes like 2008's Georgia Hoax - whether a believer or a sceptics its a fascinating area - a grey area."

Isn't the internet a wonderful thing. There are other great programs also accessible from the Global Radio 1site such as:

Amanda David: Amanda produces the Big Book segment of The Big H Radio Show. It has become a 'not to miss feature' of the Show.

Olivia Wilder: Olivia Wilder has become a featured Broadcaster in just 18 months. She is heralded as one of the most popular online celebrity interviewers.

Richard J. Hannah: Richard has voiced hundreds of independent radio ads, and produced hundreds of radio ad campaigns. He has voiced books for the blind, training and corporate videos and he is an active adult literacy campaigner. He is comfortable taking on serious business related topics as well as the lighter request and music based shows. He does most of the station's continuity work and showcases his comic talent in sketches found in Rob Erisson's Comedy Hour. With the growth of the internet - Hannah's shows are getting bigger audiences than most local radio stations on FM.

Rob Erisson: Another multi talented producer/broadcaster - Erisson is an actor/DJ/ Singer and for over a decade Rob Erisson and Richard Hannah have been close friends. They met completely by accident when booked to compere the same show. They decided to do the night together, an unrehearsed impromptu act became a huge success - 'Vegas and The Queen' and the two became the greatest of friends.

The first show has been uploaded and sounds fantastic. No worries, you can still find us every other Wednesday on Blogtalk radio, but now you have another option.

Both Monica and I look forward to working with Mr. Hannah, and thank him for this opportunity to reach a much larger audience.

January 20, 2009

1-21-09 On "The Grey Area"

Join Melissa and Monica as they take a look at the return of Steve Kulls and his show Squatch Detective. Has he returned full force, or will he be needing a reality check?

If you would like to call in and give us your take on his show with the GA boys, our Call-in Number is (646) 929-0652. Our chat will also be open as usual.

Do you think Steve told all, as he said he would? Did you hear his "Proof"?

This show will be using Steve's own words, you be the judge.

This should be one to remember.

The Grey Area on Blogtalk Radio