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Fri Dec 9 13:03:12 PST 2011

of observations for Old Faithful. Why that geyser? It's not because it's th=
e most regular. Or because it's thought to be the oldest. Or has the most i=
nteresting geochemistry. Or is the tallest, or largest eruption by volume, =
or a host of other criterion. We have a long baseline of observations... be=
cause somebody (actually, lots of somebodies) thought to do it.=0A=
Because it was fun. Or unique. Or caught their interest.=0A=
The same is true with F&M, for a different set of people, in a different wa=
> What is the destination or goal of your study?=0A=
I don't think it really has one, nor dose it need to. It might help predict=
 things in the short term, making it more practical for other people to enj=
oy. It certainly has all the excitement of a horse-race or sporting event, =
which humans seem to get a big kick out of despite having no "useful" purpo=
And in the longer run, such observations may be useful for reasons we simpl=
y don't know presently. There's a lot of good astronomical research being d=
one by "amateurs" now (including finding extrasolar planets!), and they are=
 doing it largely for the fun of it... and as a by-product, adding to our u=
nderstanding (finding a new sun-grazing comet, or noticing "Hanny's Voorwer=
p", etc.)=0A=
Personally? I love the descriptions just for being able to partly experienc=
e something I've never actually seen (same reason i read caving trips, or b=
ooks on climbing K2)... and partly because it inspires me to think about wh=
at might be going on below the vents (pressure-temperature changes, calorim=
etry of the system, different modes of oscillation, etc.). Without the deta=
iled descriptions, and the background statistics to realize what is normal =
and what is unusual... I couldn't do that.=0A=
> ...can't for the life of me figure out why the =0A=
> efforts that are put into tracking one F&M geyser?  =0A=
Ultimately? Because people want to. For a variety of reasons. I'm currently=
 involved in the active exploration & mapping of one of the longest caves i=
n the world; this has been an ongoing project for 30 years, involving 100's=
 of people... and we're doing it because we love doing it. The rest... is g=
ravy :).=0A=
-- =0A=
Brian Davis=0A=

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