Mika McKinnon Profile picture
Field geophysicist, disaster researcher, scifi science consultant, science writer, public speaker, irrepressibly curious. @mikamckinnon@mastodon.social
Oct 2, 2018 21 tweets 8 min read
A woman won the Nobel Prize in Physics?!?!?!? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Right. Time to learn about Donna Strickland, the 3rd woman to EVER be awarded the prize. cbc.ca/news/technolog… I still think the Nobel Prizes (particularly for physics) are sexist garbage with this whole “50 years between each woman” trend they’ve got going on, but I’ll take learning a new name, dammit.

& she’s not even a variant of Maria!!!
Sep 14, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
I made a plea for compassion for people who didn’t evacuate. It included the dreaded p-word.

My inbox has been ...interesting. Camp 1: “THANK YOU! Me/my people can’t evac because xyz. Of course I don’t want to die or endanger rescuers; I did the best I can!”

Their stories are making me so fiercely proud of how determined they are to survive in the face of overwhelming odds against them.
Sep 13, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
For very specific technical reasons:
- It takes until well after a disaster to establish the official death count as we prioritize saving lives.

- Official death counts are conservative: actual recovered bodies with cause of death linked to the disaster. Recovering bodies is not always feasible, especially as disasters have a nasty habit of killing response personal.

In BC, the Hope landslide is a grave for 4 people whose bodies were never recovered from under the 47 million cubic meters of rock.
Sep 10, 2018 19 tweets 6 min read
I hate the New Normal, redux: Dear south coast: If you’re under mandatory evacuation orders, pack up and LEAVE.

Listen to your local officials. Please?

Info for SC in advance of Hurricane Florence:
Sep 4, 2018 17 tweets 8 min read
Oh no. It’s the most contentious time of the year for geo-folk. I usually stay out of it, but some of these minerals are going to make me stan hard.

Lineup below. Hashtag to Follow or Mute is #MinCup2018 Round 1: Olivine vs Diamond:
Aug 30, 2018 9 tweets 3 min read
@markmccaughrean 1. The text of the resolution changed since Monday. Neither the conference website nor the eNewspaper has the updated text. @markmccaughrean 2. The two head dudes presented their argument to rename, allowed a few comments with no rhyme or reason, ate time refuting criticism, & only named speakers who supported them, before cutting off comment without warning to give a closing statement of support.
Aug 18, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
The number of Last Jedi haters in my mentions telling me I’m wrong is kinda delightful.

Like, I did this EXACT sequence of actions last time I was in Utah when to figure out if I was in sand or salt. Hating the movie (fools) doesn’t make the geo less plausible. FAQs:

Q: How does a terrestrial condiment end up on an alien planet?
A: Salt is halite, a naturally occurring mineral of sodium & chloride. It’s not even unique to Earth inside our own solar system (see: a million news articles on Mars rock salt)

More: earther.gizmodo.com/the-amazing-ea…
Aug 16, 2018 24 tweets 11 min read
I’m feeling weirdly hurt by the viral tweet mocking geoscientists for licking rocks.

I get that we’re a bit weird even for scientists and get a bit more blunt with our toolset, but licking rocks is a real strategy. Taste & texture are diagnostic. Evaporites are soft (scratch with your fingernail), but the easiest way to ID between halite vs sylvite is salty vs sour.

IDing sand vs clay is the cutoff between gritty or not.

Fossils stick to your tongue.

You don’t NEED to lick rocks; it’s just faster & easier.
Jun 10, 2018 16 tweets 7 min read
It appears we need a refresher on how bloody terrifying wildlife is in Canada.

Imagine a moose, or beaver, Canadian goose, polar bear, elk, lynx, or any other iconic animal.

It’s bigger, bites harder, & is way more aggressive than you‘re imagining. And it gives no fucks. How tall are you? Great, bull moose are taller.

Bull moose are up to 7 feet at the SHOULDER. Moose are so big their eyes don’t reflect in car headlights at night because they’re TOO TALL.

BC highways even has pamphlets yelling about how big moose are:
May 17, 2018 16 tweets 7 min read

No. Just no.

Can we take a Time Out on the frankly bizarre attempts to shoehorn sciencey-sounding nonsense into climate change denial until we don’t need to constantly debunk volcano myths? Ready for a quick’n’dirty dive into sea level?

1. Sea level is not level.
2. Sea level is changing both globally & locally.
3. Global & local (relative) sea level change are independent.
4. Sea floor sediment depth has zero impact on surface water volume.
May 13, 2018 18 tweets 8 min read
The fuck?!

1. Uh. Every expert quoted (rightly) points out Hawaii’s eruption has NO impact on the (normal, ongoing) risk of an eruption on the west coast.

2. Hawaii isn’t part of the Ring of Fire (& why it has volcanoes anyway leads to drastically different eruptive styles). I don’t even know how scientists are supposed to help journalists write good pieces when the writer completely ignores what the people they interviewed said. Like... what?!
May 3, 2018 13 tweets 6 min read
interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) measures change between satellite passes.

More rainbow stripes = more movement. What to learn more? My best InSAR explainer uses a dated example (2015 quake) but is otherwise good: gizmodo.com/this-is-how-mu…
Apr 14, 2018 43 tweets 15 min read
#SWCCan2018 3:15 TODAY in room 1600: Join @BL_Owens & I to get expert feedback on pitching from editors @SonyaBuyting @BrendanGlauser @ShannaDBaker Don Shaefer & @MTatalovic! I’m really excited by the range of experiences we collected for this session:

Buyting is currently radio (Quirks & Quarks), formerly TV

Glauser is currently nonprofits (David Suzuki Foundation), formerly marketing, radio, & TV

Baker is online magazine (Hakai) & photographer
Mar 10, 2018 34 tweets 30 min read
It's #StargateAlive time! I was the scientist, so if you watched the show you know my handwriting really, really well. All that math? Legit real physics, although often modified to function in a fictional setting. I had cheatsheets of my actors' handwriting so I could mimic it well enough to do "Finish this equation" props (like this notebook for @dhewlett blending solar flares & black holes & time travel). #StargateAlive
Jan 4, 2018 10 tweets 2 min read
True story:
I made 74 press requests for women & 15 for men on [topic]. No women give interviews (although several suggested other names). 11 men gave interviews, 2 stating they weren't experts.

5:1 ratio. Still failed. Note: This was an unusual & frustrating Epic Fail for me.

I typically get a slightly higher rejection rate from women than men when making press requests, but can often ask why & find a way to make it work.
Oct 9, 2017 55 tweets 16 min read
Dear #California: Need updates on the fires? Text 888777 with your zip code & follow @CAL_FIRE. #napafire #sonomafire #cafire Want push notifications? Register with Nixle (local.nixle.com/register/) or find your local emergency management's custom notification opt-in.
Sep 13, 2017 34 tweets 4 min read
"If Titan was orbiting the Sun instead of Saturn, we'd call it a planet." - Jim Green "We must protect those bodies for future exploration." - Jim Green (Earth germs are nasty!)
Sep 13, 2017 34 tweets 4 min read
"If Titan was orbiting the Sun instead of Saturn, we'd call it a planet." - Jim Green "We must protect those bodies for future exploration." - Jim Green (Earth germs are nasty!)
Sep 10, 2017 19 tweets 4 min read
Video & photos of people exploring exposed sea bottom are making me twitch. Not tsunami, but tides & storm surges will rise deadly-fast. Q: Why is ocean floor exposed?
A: Wind is pushing water away (drawback); it'll rise rapidly with storm surge soon.
Sep 8, 2017 40 tweets 10 min read
Damn damn damn, a major subduction zone earthquake is not what this week needed. Red pager alert - likely high damage for large population. A subduction zone is when an oceanic tectonic plate is slipping under another tectonic plate. This particular region is a messier story.
Sep 4, 2017 13 tweets 3 min read
Water is heavy. We'll get (much slower) rebound when Huston dries out. Saying our planet is a sphere is a 1st-order approximation: a lie of simplification. It's actually a lumpy oblate spheroid.