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Rock Doc column: Earth’s next epoch … is now
February 10, 2015

By E. Kirsten Peters, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

peters-e-k-2010-80PULLMAN, Wash. – I was raised in the Baptist church. As a grade school child, I memorized the books of the Bible. Maybe because of that personal history, when I started to study geology I didn’t resist memorizing the many pieces of the geologic time scale.

Rock Doc column: Fat and the year you were born
January 27, 2015

By E. Kirsten Peters, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

peters-e-k-2010-80PULLMAN, Wash. – New Year’s resolutions are being put to the harshest of tests. Gone are the days of early January when all things seemed so easily possible. Now we are in the tougher phase of the year when the will to establish new patterns is being sorely tested by the tug of old habits.

Rock Doc: Climate change and population collapse
December 30, 2014

By E. Kirsten Peters, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

peters-e-k-2010-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Climate is always changing. That’s one truth that stands out from the record around the world of natural samples of Earth materials, tree rings, ice layers and so much more. But how much has past climate change influenced human affairs?

Rock Doc: Seas on Titan and your heating bill
December 23, 2014

By E. Kirsten Peters, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

peters-e-k-2010-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Like most regions of the country, the area where I live suffered through colder than average temperatures in mid-November. If you pay your heating bill month by month, you are now facing the sticker shock that results from those bitter times. Happy holidays.

Rock Doc: Keeping warm with gold fever
December 16, 2014

By E. Kirsten Peters, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

peters-e-k-2010-80PULLMAN, Wash. – I own a couple of small gold nuggets. They came from the Round Mountain gold mine in Nevada, which I visited a few years ago. A tour of the open-pit mine was crowned by a visit to the foundry where the molten metal was poured into gold bars.

Rock Doc column: Harvesting solar energy to dye for
December 9, 2014

By E. Kirsten Peters, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

peters-e-k-2010-80PULLMAN, Wash. – What if there were a two-for-one sale on kilowatts? Your power bill would be cut in half – not a bad result for your monthly budget. 

Rock Doc column: Wake up and smell the genes
December 2, 2014

By E. Kirsten Peters, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

peters-e-k-2010-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Like millions of Americans, my day starts by plugging in the coffeepot. In my case, it’s an old fashioned percolator. It clears its throat and brews my coffee while I rub sleep out of my eyes and brush my teeth.

Rock Doc: How much does it hurt? Assessing animal pain
November 25, 2014

By E. Kirsten Peters, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

peters-e-k-2010-80PULLMAN, Wash. – When I take my elderly mother to the emergency room, the nurse asks how much pain she is in, on a scale of 1 to 10. There is a chart with pictures of little smiley faces, neutral faces and grimacing faces to help a person – perhaps a child – determine a number. Pain management is an important part of human medicine.

Rock Doc column: How ‘bout them apples?
November 18, 2014

By E. Kirsten Peters, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

peters-e-k-2010-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Do you have a good gut feeling about apples? Your body may – and that could be important to your overall health.

Rock Doc: Kennewick Man’s bones tell quite a story
November 11, 2014

By E. Kirsten Peters, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

peters-e-k-2010-80PULLMAN, Wash. – His teeth had no cavities but were heavily worn. He was about my height – some 5 feet, 7 inches tall. He wasn’t petite, likely weighing around 160 pounds. Well before his death, he broke six of his ribs. Five of them never healed, but he kept going nevertheless.