Monday, July 6, 2015

The Lunar, the Better

When you think of the small East Texas town of Lufkin you might not immediately think of fossils, dinosaurs and space travel but those are some of the topics covered in the town's little known (at least I had never heard of it) Naranjo Museum.

But among the impressive dinosaur skeletons and archaeological specimens is the museum's most impressive piece...which came from a long distance to its East Texas resting place.

That's right, the world's largest moon rock on display can be found in Lufkin, TX!  It was collected by the Apollo 14 mission and was permanently loaned to the museum by NASA’s Johnson Space Center.  Here's a close look at the 4 billion year old specimen:

The moon is approximately hundreds of thousands of miles away so if you want to see a big piece of it you're probably a lot better off heading to Lufkin.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Daisy Bradford No. 3 Discovery Well

Devin takes a look at the history of the Daisy Bradford No. 3 Discovery Well which brought about the discovery of the East Texas Oil Field and Oil Boom of East Texas:

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Devin's Adventures in Amsterdam Part 1

And now here is part 1 of a travelogue from EMI's writer/producer/geologist Dr. Devin Dennie about his recent exploration of the Dutch city of Amsterdam:

I recently had the opportunity to head across the pond to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.   They say getting there is half the fun but that nine hour plane trip was rough.  It takes a lot of effort to get to the other side of the world.  After landing at the Schiphol Airport, my journey had only begun.  I then had to hop aboard the great train system to central Amsterdam and headed to The Hague.


The Hague is is a city in South Holland that is sometimes called "Judicial Capital of the World" because it not only is the home of the Dutch Parliament and government, it is also the home to several international courts in what is known as the International Peace Palace:

I also visited the famous Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis.  It's a world renown art museum that houses some famous works of art.  One of the more well known paintings is "Girl With a Pearl Earring" by Johannes Vermeer:


More of the sites I saw are coming up in part 2 so stay tuned!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Marking Time #33 - Camp Howze

If you drive from Texas to Oklahoma and back as much as we do, you will quickly notice that near the border, on the Texas side, are signs indicating a that there is a World War II monument in the area.   Which begs the question, "What part of World Wart II happened in North Texas?"  A little exploration led to this Historical Marker:

The marker reads:

     "In operation from 1942 to 1946, Camp Howze served as an infantry training facility during World War II. It was named for General Robert Lee Howze (1864-1926), a native Texan whose distinguished career in the United States Army began with his graduation from West Point and included service in France, Puerto Rico, Germany, a South Dakota Indian War and the Philippine Insurrection, 1899-1902. 
     Clifford McMahon of the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce first contacted Federal authorities with the idea of establishing a military installation here. Attracted by the community's active endorsement of the plan, the government activated Camp Howze on August 17, 1942, under the command of Colonel John P. Wheeler. In addition to infantry training, the base was also the site of a German prisoner of war camp and an air support command base, now part of the Gainesville Municipal Airport. Services provided for the soldiers included camp exchanges, libraries, chapels, theaters, service clubs and a base newspaper, the "Camp Howze Howitzer." 
     The economic and social impact of Camp Howze on Gainesville was significant and was instrumental in the town's rapid growth and development. (1982)"

So apparently in the 1940's, near Gainesville, TX,  the Army operated a Training Base/POW Camp.  But if you go to the location today all you see is an empty field behind an historical marker.  That's because the Army had always intended it to be a temporary facility.  The buildings were not made to last and after the war they were torn down.  Some concrete foundations can still be seen if anyone wants to look for them.

In a letter to his sweetheart (which can be read along with tons of other old letters on this great site), PVT. Prune R. Brooks mentioned the shoddiness of the buildings, helping to explain even more why there's nothing left of them today. 

He writes:


Dearest Donna,

Well honey here I am down in Camp Houze Texas and what a hell of a camp. The buildings are so old and so about to fall down. But the south is very beautiful and the girls are pretty as the devil. I stopped off in Fort Worth Sunday and went roller skating and met a few very nice girls and had lots of fun.

This will be a very short letter till the next. I haven't much time. Honey I want you to write often and please send your picture. I send you mine for Xmas. I will close for now and will compose soon again 


But if you are in the mood to stop during your drive along I-35 to snap some pics of something historic, you can hit the Texas Travel Information Center in Gainesville (and take a much needed restroom break) to see the other historic World War II monument. 

Look behind the great big Texas photo op and you'll find the 103rd Infantry Division Monument.  Sculpted by artist Edd Hayes and titled "A Call to Duty," the monument pays homage to the 103rd who trained, in part, at Camp Howze. 

It's amazing what you can learn along the roadside. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Wilds of Africa at the Dallas Zoo

We've been digging through the archives and found some pics and video from our shoot of the Dallas Zoo years ago.  We had previously posted our video from the Lacerte Family Children's Zoo at the Dallas Zoo in the past but now, for your viewing pleasure, is our video from the "Wilds of Africa" exhibit at the Dallas Zoo:

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dino Food: Jurassic World Fruit Snacks

Welcome to "Dino Food," our new semi-regular feature (not to be confused with Geology Candy or Geology Kitchen) where we take a look at dinosaur related snack treats.

The next installment of the Jurassic Park franchise, Jurassic World, may still be months away but the barrage of merchandise has already started.  One of the most tried and true promotional tie-ins is the Fruit Snack.  Every great franchise has delved into this high fructose Wonderland and today you can fill your shopping cart and your belly with these suckers: 

Now when it comes to passing judgement on a new fruit snack, taste is not an issue.  They all taste the same.  No, it all comes down to shapes: variety, design, appearance, relevance, etc.  I mean you don't want to open up a box of dinosaur shaped candy and not find anything dinosaur related.  Well, good news:

Let's break them down one by one:
  • "T. rex" (orange) - no surprise there.  He's the big man on the dinosaur campus and the star of the first movie.  We got a good full body shot of him here.
  • "Pteranodan" (red/cherry) - Flying dinosaurs are always a hit.  It took awhile to get them into the JP franchise and I wouldn't be surprised to see some in the new movie
  • "Triceratops" (green/lime) - We just get the head but let's face it, the second most popular dinosaur has a very distinctive head.  Can't blame Kellogg's for that.
  • "Roar" (yellow/lemon) - This is clearly just another way to get a T-Rex-like shape into the mix.
  • "Raptor Claw" (purple/grape) - When you think "raptor," you think "raptor claw."  But this is a three toed foot which doesn't feature the distinctive curved claw that Alan Grant used to threaten a young boy's genitals in the first movie.  It could be several different types of dinosaur claws.
  • "Fossil" (blue/blue raspberry?) - A nice nod to the science behind studying dinosaurs and it definitely fits in with the JP themes.  Although, c'mon, here we go with the T-Rex thing again...
Now occasionally there is a miscommunication with the marketing and promotional people and some spoilers can slip through in the merchandise before the movie comes out.  Unfortunately we didn't get any of that this time.  There has been talk of some new super mutant dinosaur in the new movie but it looks like he didn't make the cut for the fruit snacks.  Maybe he'll be in the cereal.      

Don't forget to sneak a box in to the theater when you see the movie this summer!