Geoloblog

Environmental science, traveling, and the sociology of the unraveling American dream.

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If you're looking for more about me, I'm pretty much hanging out over at my livejournal these days. I use this account for commenting on other people's blogs.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

To Texlahoma once again

The atmosphere when the plane flew in was one of the more stunning displays of air pollution I've seen: clear sky above, and then a sharp contact where the murky brown polluted air we on the surface breathe every day was confined by the tropopause. Entertaining, on a day when the front page news in USA Today was on a ten percent drop in particulate matter. (Since PM 2.5, the small stuff, is what seems to be most closely linked with health effects, a drop in overall particulate is good but not a solution -- smaller particulate is hardest to clean from emissions.) It did make the sunset glorious, though, the sun sinking down tomato red as the rental car shuttle drove away from the terminal.

But then I left the city, and as I drove to where I am now the stars gradually came back out from the smog and the murk, shining and cold. I drove into Orion, as it was rising in the east. For a moment I thought I saw a satellite, and looked up, just in time to see a meteor hit the atmosphere and burst into flame, dropping through the sky and burning itself out before reaching the bottom of the horizon. Were I a king of old, I would have taken it as an omen. As it is, I shall take it as a wish.