Thailand: Khao Lom Muak: Before You Go

Get ready to work for your view—Khao Lom Muak is 990 feet tall! The climb starts with stairs and then becomes a steep rocky trail that is zig-zagged with large static ropes to aid your upward progress and the long slippery descent. Because of the difficult terrain, the military posts soldiers at different points along the trail to give a … Read More

Geo-Joint: Sandy Beaches on the Move

Does any bit of ground change its appearance on a seasonal, weekly, daily, or even hourly basis as much as the beach? The tide comes in and goes out a couple of times a day in most places, narrowing and widening the margin between land and sea. Different days produce greater or smaller piles of washed-up kelp, flotsam, and jetsam, … Read More

Thailand: A Deadly Combination – Durian and Alcohol

There is a Thai belief that you should not eat durian and drink alcohol together—they often believe the combination can kill you. I thought that this was crazy, and started to do some research into the science, fully expecting that this belief was bogus. Lo and behold! There is actually some truth to this belief, and the science to back … Read More

Geo-Joint: Les Grands Goulets

Almost any road, even one crossing a flat valley floor, is the product of careful engineering and hard work. If that road goes over water or through some hills, that much more planning and effort is involved. True mountain roads are really a challenge, but their basic route may follow old game or first-inhabitants’ trails. Rock can be blasted to … Read More

Thailand: DON’T cut that hair!

I’m walking up the driveway and see Pancake sweeping the porch. I call out to her. I am hot, sweating, and marginally “hangry”, irritated that my plan for the afternoon has been thwarted. “Hey, Pancake! I just walked all over town, and every barbershop is closed. What, why? I just wanted to get a quick trim, my ends are long.” … Read More

Geo-Joint: Chicxulub Asteroid and the End of the Big Dinosaurs

The dinosaurs. What a crazy bunch, huh? Rule the world for millions of years and then check out in one fell swoop. But if things had been just a liiiiittle bit different, they mighta coulda kept their crown. Maybe. The story of the downfall of The Big Reptiles is pretty well known. Unlike the hapless mega-lizards in Fantasia, succumbing to … Read More

Thailand: A Script in Flux

The Thai writing system was introduced in 1283, by King Ramkamhaeng, in the Sukhothai era. The script has undergone very little change since its introduction—until now. It is fascinating to study, but fashions in writing styles change, and currently, new forms of a more “modern” Thai script are being introduced into the culture. That characteristic small circular terminal is beginning … Read More

Geo-Joint: Mustang Caves

People have always sought to have places free from intervention by enemies, robbers, or prying eyes. Building something large and seemingly impregnable, like the pyramids, is one way, or you can do it by stealth, creating a space hidden from view in a distant place. Another way is to find a place so difficult to get close to that almost … Read More

Thailand: Thai Writing System

The Thai written script is awe-inspiring from an artistic standpoint, filled with elegant characters. Once you learn to spot Thai script, it is very easy to distinguish from other Asian writing forms because of the small circular stroke terminals on many of the symbols. That is its most characteristic feature, and a truly beautiful quality. More on this later, though… … Read More

Geo-Joint: Volcan Paricutin

Farmers know their fate is tied to the natural cycles of rain, heat, cold, and insect invasion. They know their soil type limits the crops they can hope to grow, and that birds and varmints may take a bite out of their harvest. Nature is a kind of frenemy, but there are rules a farmer can expect to operate within—until … Read More