its a mineral

blackbearmagic’s Crystal Hunting Guide

Introduction

Scientific Fact: Witches love crystals almost as much as they love jars. 
Consumerism Fact: In many metaphysical shops, nice-looking crystals can be had for relatively cheap.
Ethical Fact: Many of those crystals are as cheap as they are because they are mined with no consideration for the damage done to the environment or the welfare of the humans collecting them.

So what’s a good, honest, ethically-minded witch to do, especially if he/she/they don’t have the money to afford crystals that were mined sustainably and responsibly, or the time to research which sellers obtain their wares from ethical mines?

Find their own.

I’ve been crystal hunting all my life, but only within the last year have I started doing it seriously. I’ve walked away from a creeking expedition with slabs of smoky quartz the size of my palm or calcite hunks bigger than my fist, and I personally think creek-crystal energy is much more vibrant and easy to work with; by comparison, the crystal points I’ve bought from metaphysical shops feel… inert, lifeless.

So let’s get straight into it!

What You’ll Need

  • a good-sized creek or stream with lots of gravel spits along its length
  • offerings to the spirit of the creek, if appropriate to your personal practice
  • bug spray, sunscreen, snacks, water, and anything else you’d normally bring on a hike
  • your trusty adventurer’s Bag of Holding
  • your sweet self

Now let’s talk details.

When I say “gravel spits”, this is what I’m referring to:

These tumbles of stone are going to be where you’ll find your treasures, and the size of the stones themselves actually tells you what size of crystal you might find: When the conditions are right (ie, during a flood), the water flowing through that portion of the creek is capable of lifting and moving rocks of the size you see there now. 

In my experience, the crystal specimens you’ll find are typically half or one-third the size of the average rock on the spit. They’re usually larger than the smallest rocks, but much smaller than the largest rocks. Not always, though–I have found specimens larger. (See the introduction.)

Regarding offerings, if that’s part of your path, you’ll want to make sure it’s nothing that will harm the local wildlife or damage the ecosystem in any way. My personal go-to is water, ideally water from a bottle I haven’t drunk from yet.

In the same vein as offerings, I’ve had great success in making a sort of bargain with the spirit of the place: That in return for treasures, I will pick up and remove any litter I find in the area. It is, of course, always a good idea to remove any litter you see when you’re out in nature, but it doesn’t hurt to point out to the spirit of the place that it’s something you’re doing for it. Bring along a trash bag to help collect it.

Lastly, with regards to your bag, I would advise something with two shoulder straps. Rocks are heavy.

What You’ll Do

Once you’ve hiked to your creek and found a gravel spit with lots of good-sized rocks, it’s time to start looking. There’s two main approaches I’ve found that work well, and I tend to use both. 

The first is a broad sweep. This one works best if you’ve got good lighting on the rocks. All you do is stand in one spot and sway side to side slightly while looking over the gravel, looking for anything that glints, shines, or otherwise catches the light shining on it. If you see something, investigate it. Repeat.

The second is the more detailed search. Get down on the ground–whether that means kneeling, crouching, laying on your belly, I don’t care–and go over each rock one by one. Use your eyes and use your hands. I imagine this method is probably going to be unpleasant for a lot of you, but honestly, it’s like crack to me.

Once you’ve combed over the current gravel spit as thoroughly as you please, pack up and move on to the next. Continue for as long as you like, or until you feel it’s time to go. Just remember that as far out as you go is how far you’ll have to walk back!

Advice and Warnings

Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. If you godsforbid go missing, they’ll be able to give the police an idea of where to start searching for your poor, lost ass.

Keep a charged cell phone with you at all times. 

If you see something or someone iffy, do your best avoid it. Sometimes there are creepy people in the woods, and sometimes they do creepy things. Don’t get involved.

Make sure you’re not trespassing on private property. All of the creeks I hike on are on public land. If you’re in a state park or other protected environmental area, don’t go off the trail–you could cause damage to a fragile ecosystem.

Following the creek is a good way to get out and back without losing your way.  Don’t stray too far from it if you’re in unfamiliar territory.

The best times of year to go hunting–assuming Northern Hemisphere, a temperate climate and deciduous forests around the creek–are the spring and summer. In the autumn, you’ll have to clear fallen leaves off of the gravel before you can look, and winter is too cold. 

The best time of day is the morning, when the sun angle is lower and is more likely to glint off of shiny rocks.

You’ll have your best luck the day after heavy rain. Rain will swell the stream and shift the stones around, and could uncover new treasures! 

Inspect anything that looks even remotely worthwhile. You’ll find a lot of duds, sure, but that will help train your brain to tune out what you don’t care about finding.

“What Can I Find?”

Exactly what sort of minerals and crystals you’ll find is highly variable. All minerals are not equally distributed across the planet, because many of them require very different conditions to form and the crust composition varies slightly from place to place. However, there are some stones that are pretty common all over the Earth, so no matter where you go hunting, you’re likely to find them.

Of course, for more specific identifications, please consult the internet, a book on mineralogy, or your local rockhounding club. 

Quartz

The chemical formula of quartz is SiO2, or silicon dioxide. Silicon and oxygen are, by mass, the two most abundant elements in Earth’s crust; around 90% of it is composed of silicate minerals like quartz. Ever find a pretty, sparkly, mostly-clear rock on the ground? It was probably quartz. 

Quartz comes in a mind-boggling array of colors, from smoky quartz so dark it’s practically opaque to purple-and-orange ametrine to the brilliant clear of a Herkimer diamond (yup, not actually diamonds) but all of these varieties are still quartz. In my region of North America, clear and smoky quartz seem to be the most plentiful. 

Calcite

Calcite is calcium carbonate, CaCO3. Like quartz, it is made of some of the Earth’s most abundant crustal elements (in this case, calcium and oxygen) and comes in a stunning array of colors. In my creeks, I’ve found calcite in yellow, orange, white, and even blue and red.

The biggest giveaway for rough calcite is its texture. If you pick up a rock and it feels like someone rubbed wax all over it, you’ve probably got yourself a calcite specimen.

Feldspar

Feldspar is one of the most abundant minerals in the crust, alongside quartz. It’s also a silicate, and it frequently finds its way into other minerals, such as granite. 

What sets feldspar apart from the other two minerals I’ve mentioned here is its fracture habit: It naturally fractures along cleavage planes which intersect at 90-degree angles. It doesn’t shatter–it shears. If you find a rock with a smooth face that looks like a polished stone countertop, it’s probably feldspar.

“But Bear, I Want Crystal Points!”

Oh. Yeah.

You can find those too. 

Every one of those pictures is of quartz points that I have found in my area. (In fact, they’re actually all from the same crystal-hunting hike, and represent only about a third of the specimens I found that day!) As you can see, they aren’t all perfect–and I have plenty of others that are, like, three facets and no point–but they’re all beautiful, and some of them really sing, if you know what I mean. 

Conclusion

Finding your own crystals can be pretty simple, when you get down to it. It can be a lot of fun to get down and dirty, and is a great way to get yourself out in nature for a while. And, of course, you can rest assured that your crystals were gathered in a sustainable, respectful, ethical manner–assuming you took care of yourself and the environment while finding them!

Best of luck! –Bear

A year in 2014

January: Selfie Olympics

February: Flappy Bird

March: No Oscar for Leonardo DiCaprio

April: It’s a metaphors, you’re a metaphors, we are a metaphor, if I see another metaphor I’m going to kill someone

May: HOENN INTENSIFIES

June: Luigi death stare

July: I came out to have a good time and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now

August: Ice bucket Challenge

September: MaddenGIFERATOR

October: Skeleton War

November: When mom isn’t home

December: Crave that mineral

The Bestiary: Scaly-Foot Gastropod

These are diamond-tipped indenter heads. They are used to inflict ludicrous pressure upon various shit in order to measure the hardness of said shit. Recently, one of these was used to measure the hardness of a certain animal’s shell, and, instead of crushing the ever-loving fuck out of it, it found serious resistance.

The aforementioned animal is a snail.

Let me spell this out for ya. There is a snail that can resist the onslaught from an industrial-grade diamond applied with the pressure of several metric fucktonnes. A. Snail. That. Can. Resist. A. Diamond. Indenter.

Just imagine stepping on one of these guys. Instead of breaking their shells like those of usual snails, you’d break your own fucking ankle.

Jesus trilobitic Christ.

Today’s Episode: the Scaly-Foot Gastropod

Just look at this little piece of shit. Look at it and say to my face it doesn’t look like a tank.

What we’ve got here is the rather lamely-named scaly-foot gastropod, also known by the considerably more badass-sounding names of iron snail and  Chrysomallon squamiferum. The SFG hails from the deep-sea thermal vents known as black smokers, deep-sea vents from which water gushes constantly. That water, by the way, originates from below the mantle.

The proximities of black smokers are perfectly lightless, unforgiving badlands, with water rich enough in poisonous sulphuric chemicals to perform the chemical equivalent of curbstomping on any “superior” lifeform that dares stick it’s overspecialized, prissy ass down there, heat up to 450 degrees Celsius (one thirteenth of the temperature of the Sun’s surface) and pressures that could turn any land-dwelling scum into a Flatlander within seconds. If creatures want to survive here, they must either be hyper-effective murder-machines, or damn nigh unkillable.

The SFG’s predators, such as venomous, killer cone snails with bionic harpoon guns evolved from their own “teeth”, and car-wrecking carnivorous crabs that kill snails by pressing down on their shells for days with jagged ultra-hard pincers specifically designed to do this belong in the first category.

The SFG itself belongs in the second.

Hoooly shit does it ever.

The unkillability itself is obtained by using the chemosynthetic bacteria lurking in its glands to absorb and mineralize the poisonous iron-sulphides the water is overabundant with, making them non-poisonous for the snail. It then coats its shell with the minerals, constructing an unique three-layer structure no other gastropods possess. None.

To sum it up, the outer layer, used to block the bulk of the attack, is made up of greigite (Fe3S4), a ridiculously hard mineral. Then comes a middle layer of squishy organic matter purposed to absorb the shock of impacts, dents and blows. Finally, an inner layer of aragonite (CaCO3), designed to prevent asshole crabs from sticking their nasty claws into the shell and picking it apart splinter by splinter.

How effective is it? Well, this armor is so much better than what we puny humans possess that the U.S. Army is actively conducting research about it with the hope of developing new armor using the same build. Yes, this shell is so unbreakable that it caused the a military to lose their heads over a goddamn sea snail. Go figure.

Also, according to biologists researching the SFG, if we covered oil pipes with the stuff, they could easily shrug off damage done by such trivial things as fucking icebergs,

Not bad from a snail, I say.

But that’s not all! Look at it again.

There is a reason it’s called Scaly-foot Gastropod.

Those are scales. Made out of iron minerals.

Iron minerals that are poisonous and magnetic.

The scales are there because of the tooth-harpoon-hurling killer snails. Namely, they serve to deflect the harpoons entirely. Deflective iron scales. On a snail.

Holy crap.

So let’s sum it up, shall we? There exists a snail that forges itself a magnetic armor made out of poisonous iron ore to fend off killer crabs and venomous sniper snails that hunt it in its habitat of a vent leading to the Earth’s mantle.

Oh, and they don’t really eat anything, relying on their chemosynthetic bacteria for sustenance instead. In layman’s terms, that means that the snail keeps itself running by oxidating the sulphides in the water, all of which are lethally poisonous to most lifeforms, including the snail itself. The only reason it survives is that the bacteria chemosynthetize the sulphides, enabling the snail to quite literally live off of poison.

This molluscoid tank is ridiculously metal in more ways than one.

criminal minds should do an episode where the unsub is killing in some kind of meme inspired way and Garcia has to come along on the case and explain all the memes and the rest of the team are all utterly lost and Rossi is in a corner taking shots of Scotch in utter despair 

10 “Spinoffs of Tomorrow” You Can License for Your Business

The job of the our Technology Transfer Program is pretty straight-forward – bring NASA technology down to Earth. But, what does that actually mean? We’re glad you asked! We transfer the cool inventions NASA scientists develop for missions and license them to American businesses and entrepreneurs. And that is where the magic happens: those business-savvy licensees then create goods and products using our NASA tech. Once it hits the market, it becomes a “NASA Spinoff.”

If you’re imagining that sounds like a nightmare of paperwork and bureaucracy, think again. Our new automated “ATLAS” system helps you license your tech in no time — online and without any confusing forms or jargon.

So, sit back and browse this list of NASA tech ripe for the picking (well, licensing.) When you find something you like, follow the links below to apply for a license today! You can also browse the rest of our patent portfolio - full of hundreds of available technologies – by visiting technology.nasa.gov.

1. Soil Remediation with Plant-Fungal Combinations

Ahh, fungus. It’s fun to say and fun to eat—if you are a mushroom fan. But, did you know it can play a crucial role in helping trees grow in contaminated soil? Scientists at our Ames Research Center discovered that a special type of the fungus among us called “Ectomycorrhizal” (or EM for short) can help enhance the growth of trees in areas that have been damaged, such as those from oil spills.

2. Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Lower Drag

When it comes to aircraft, drag can be, well…a drag. Luckily, innovators at our Armstrong Flight Research Center are experimenting with a new wing design that removes adverse yaw (or unwanted twisting) and dramatically increases aircraft efficiency by reducing drag. Known as the “Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Lower Drag (PRANDTL-D)” wing, this design addresses integrated bending moments and lift to achieve drag reduction.

3. Advancements in Nanomaterials

What do aircraft, batteries, and furniture have in common? They can ALL be improved with our nanomaterials.  Nanomaterials are very tiny materials that often have unique optical, electrical and mechanical properties. Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a suite of materials and methods to optimize the performance of nanomaterials by making them tougher and easier to process. This useful stuff can also help electronics, fuel cells and textiles.

4. Green Precision Cleaning

Industrial cleaning is hard work. It can also be expensive when you have to bring in chemicals to get things squeaky. Enter “Green Precision Cleaning,” which uses the nitrogen bubbles in water instead. The bubbles act as a scrubbing agent to clean equipment. Goddard Space Flight Center scientists developed this system for cleaning tubing and piping that significantly reduces cost and carbon consumption. Deionized water (or water that has been treated to remove most of its mineral ions) takes the place of costlier isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and also leaves no waste, which cuts out the pricey process of disposal. The cleaning system quickly and precisely removes all foreign matter from tubing and piping.

5. Self-Contained Device to Isolate Biological Samples

When it comes to working in space, smaller is always better. Innovators at our Johnson Space Center have developed a self-contained device for isolating microscopic materials like DNA, RNA, proteins, and cells without using pipettes or centrifuges. Think of this technology like a small briefcase full of what you need to isolate genetic material from organisms and microorganisms for analysis away from the lab. The device is also leak-proof, so users are protected from chemical hazards—which is good news for astronauts and Earth-bound scientists alike.

6. Portable, Rapid, Quiet Drill

When it comes to “bringing the boom,” NASA does it better than anyone. But sometimes, we know it’s better to keep the decibels low.
That’s why innovators at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have developed a new handheld drilling device, suitable for a variety of operations, that is portable, rapid and quiet. Noise from drilling operations often becomes problematic because of the location or time of operations. Nighttime drilling can be particularly bothersome and the use of hearing protection in the high-noise areas may be difficult in some instances due to space restrictions or local hazards. This drill also weighs less than five pounds – talk about portable power.  

7. Damage Detection System for Flat Surfaces

The ability to detect damage to surfaces can be crucial, especially on a sealed environment that sustains human life or critical equipment. Enter Kennedy Space Center’s damage detection system for flat composite surfaces.
The system is made up of layered composite material, with some of those layers containing the detection system imbedded right in.
Besides one day potentially keeping humans safe on Mars, this tech can also be used on aircrafts, military shelters, inflatable structures and more.

8. Sucrose-Treated Carbon Nanotube and Graphene Yarns and Sheets

We all know what a spoonful of sugar is capable of. But, who knew it could help make some materials stronger? Innovators at NASA’s Langley Research Center did! They use dehydrated sucrose to create yarns and woven sheets of carbon nanotubes and graphene.

The resulting materials are lightweight and strong. Sucrose is inexpensive and readily available, making the process cost-effective. Makes you look at the sweet substance a little differently, doesn’t it?

9. Ultrasonic Stir Welding

NASA scientists needed to find a way to friction weld that would be gentler on their welding equipment. Meet our next tech, ultrasonic stir welding.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center engineers developed ultrasonic stir welding to join large pieces of very high-strength, high-melting-temperature metals such as titanium and Inconel. The addition of ultrasonic energy reduces damaging forces to the stir rod (or the piece of the unit that vibrates so fast, it joins the welding material together), extending its life. The technology also leaves behind a smoother, higher-quality weld.

10. A Field Deployable PiezoElectric Gravimeter (PEG)

It’s important to know that the fuel pumping into rockets has remained fully liquid or if a harmful chemical is leaking out of its container. But each of those things, and the many other places sensors are routinely used, tends to require a specially designed, one-use device.

That can result in time-consuming and costly cycles of design, test and build, since there is no real standardized sensor that can be adapted and used more widely.

To meet this need, the PiezoElectric Gravimeter (PEG) was developed to provide a sensing system and method that can serve as the foundation for a wide variety of sensing applications.

See anything your business could use? Did anything inspire you to start your own company? If so, head to our website at technology.nasa.gov to check them out.

When you’ve found what you need, click, “Apply Now!” Our licensing system, ATLAS, will guide you through the rest.

If the items on this round-up didn’t grab you, that’s ok, too. We have hundreds of other technologies available and ready to license on our website.

And if you want to learn more about the technologies already being used all around you, visit spinoff.nasa.gov.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Chalcophyllite

Cu18Al2(AsO4)4(SO4)3(OH)24·36H2O

Locality:

Madonna di Fucinaia (Madonna della Fucinaia) slag heaps, Campiglia Marittima, Campigliese, Livorno Province, Tuscany, Italy

1.31 mm group of Chalcophyllite crystals.

Photo Matteo Chinellato

Chalcophyllite, which is named from the Greek words for copper and leaf, is a rare secondary mineral that forms in the oxidation zone of copper ore deposits. It is a great collection mineral because it has a high luster, an attractive blue-green to green color and it forms nice tabular six-sided crystals that can be arranged into rosettes. 

Chalcophyllite is unusual in that it has three different anion groups in its chemistry. Most minerals have just one principle anion group with possibly some hydroxides or halides along for the ride. Classifying those minerals is relatively easy as they are generally classed by their most complex or highest electronegative anion group. In the case of chalcophyllite, it has the same number of arsenate anion groups as sulfate anion groups.  Another unusual aspect of chalcophyllite’s chemistry is its large amount of hydroxides and water molecules. Half of this mineral is either water or hydroxide.

anonymous asked:

Best thing about FMA:B is that Nina is still remembered and a very defining part of a lot of their convictions towards people and alchemy. Al's conversation with Gracia highlights even some of the seemingly unimportant plot-related arcs from the very beginning still have large ripples through the FMA storyline. Because Nina originally felt like a lesson in human cruelty, but ended up being a lesson on humanitarianism.

YES. YES YES YES YES

This is also one of my absolute favorite little details. The biggest complaint I have about a lot of long-running, save-the-world type shows is that the characters will go through so many traumatic experiences that–for the sake of convenience–the writers just start to forget the early ones. There will be something so vital, so life-changing that happens in early episodes that just kinda gets…phased out. The writers are bored of it. The writers have decided bigger/cooler things need to happen instead. The writers just frigging forget, or change their minds, because that was still test-phase stuff for their characters and they want to renege on the characters caring so much about “early traumatic event”

Not Fullmetal Alchemist. 

Not Nina.

The impact she has on the Elrics is lasting. It’s consistent. It’s real. It’s never. damn. forgotten. 

The final chapter. Within the final 20 pages of the entire series, we get this

Here Al is trying to overhaul his and Ed’s entire life philosophy. He is attempting to reject the core ideas of alchemy. He’s trying to prove an entire different system of equivalence. Because he has not forgotten Nina. Because Ed has not forgotten. Because they refuse to forget.

Nina died in chapter 5.

And it is her memory that motivates the boys’ final actions in the final chapter: chapter 108

Because the consequences in this series are real, and the effects are lasting, and nothing is done just for shock, and nothing is thrown away

and nothing

is ever

forgotten

3

The amazing last few pieces added to my collection from @bekkathyst (as always)

I’m absolutely in LOVE with every point (that baby fluorite is super colorful omg), the dagger has an awesome golden flash, and the obsidian mirror speaks for itself!

Basically, I’m in love with all of them and she remains one of the best mineral and jewelry shops ever.

This year on Tumblr:
  • Flappy Bird
  • Oscar Selfie
  • Frozen
  • Denny’s tumblr
  • Tumblr virus
  • Girl gets hit with shovel
  • Kim K: Hollywood
  • I’m in me mum’s car
  • Dashcon’s ball pit
  • None of My Business Kermit
  • Orange Is The New Black
  • Parks and Rec
  • Kid on crack
  • It’s a metaphor
  • I came out to have a good time and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now
  • Skeleton War
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Malala Yousafzai
  • Robin Williams
  • Ferguson Protests
  • #blacklivesmatter
  • Steal the look
  • Taylor Swift’s new album
  • I crave that mineral
  • The last meme of 2014