Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Few Links of Interest

Well, I'm heading out for the holdiay soon and I hope all you have a great Thanksgiving. Here are a few links I've found interesting over the past few days. Enjoy!

Environmental & Engineering Geoscience (E&EG) Wants Your Paper

From the email:
We hope you had a busy and interesting summer field season. We wanted to remind our members that if you have worked on an interesting project, we would like to hear about it.

Environmental & Engineering Geoscience (E&EG), a quarterly journal copublished by the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists and the Geological Society of America, is seeking new manuscripts. E&EG publishes peer-reviewed contributions, based on original work, in the broadly defined areas of environmental and engineering geosciences (including geomorphology, hydrogeology, low-temperature geochemistry,neotectonics, and other earth surface processes). Both theoretical and empirical contributions related to these areas are welcome, although preference will be given to papers of an applied nature. Specifically, E&EG encourages the submission of the following kinds of papers.
  • Results of original research in the environmental and engineering geosciences.
  • Case histories describing the solution of new or unusually difficult problems in the applied geosciences.
  • Review papers that summarize the state of the science or professional practice in a branch of the applied geosciences, including contributions describing relevant aspects of local or regional geology or the history of environmental and engineering geosciences.
  • Short technical notes (six published pages or less) describing new techniques, novel case histories or other topics in the environmental and engineering geosciences.
  • Brief critical discussions of papers and technical notes published in E&EG.

All manuscript submissions are now electronic via AllenTrack. Authors should visit the AEG website at www.aegweb.org and click on Publications under the Professionals tab for details on submission, and for a link to AllenTrack.

For more information, contact Co-Editor Abdul Shakoor,
ashakoor@kent.edu , (330) 672-2968, or Co-Editor Ira Sasowsky, ids@uakron.edu, (330) 972-5389.

You can also submit short technical articles to AEG NEWS for possible publication. Email your article to Allen Shaw at

We at AEG wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Science and Science Fiction

Via All My Faults Are Stress-Related, I found this request for input. ScienceOnline09 is an annual science communication conference that brings together scientists, bloggers, educators, and students to discuss promoting public understanding of science and some of the moderators are looking for input. I’m in a curious place for this one – I’m both a scientist (an engineering geologist) and an avid reader of science fiction who is rather active on the web. So, this appeals to me from both directions. So, I thought I’d share.

What is your relationship to science fiction? Do you read it? Watch it? What/who do you like and why?

I’m a huge fan of reading books that I’d describe as speculative fiction – this includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, alternative history and a number of other genres. As for watching, I have limited time for TV and movies these days, so I don’t watch and sci-fi series but I do find time for the occasional sci-fi movie thanks to net flix.

I read primarily for entertainment and escape, though I certainly enjoy some ‘meat’ to the books I read. It’s hard for me to pin down exactly why I enjoy SFF specifically – I imagine that a large reason why that I deal with the ‘real world’ all the time, so I want something different, something more, when I read. I also think that SFF allows a lot more flexibility in an author than ‘normal’ fiction and seeing what authors do with that flexibility is quite rewarding.

What do you see as science fiction's role in promoting science, if any? Can it do more than make people excited about science? Can it harm the cause of science?

This depends a lot on how science fiction is defined – and that is a long debate that I don’t care to go into and that I don’t feel overly qualified to if I did (you can start here if you want). However, the answer to the first question is that science fiction has both no role in promoting science and that it often serves as a de facto introduction to science for the general public. For writers, I think it’s very rare for promoting science to even be considered when wrting sci-fi. They have their own reasons. But for much of the public the focus is often on the science part of the description rather than the fiction part – and the fiction really dominates in science fiction.

In the case of science fiction movies and TV, I think that harm often results. Most of the general public wouldn’t consider the various CSI shows as science fiction, but that’s exactly what they are. One consequence is that people serving on juries often expect more than is actually possible from prosecutors and have little understanding of important details and caveats of scientific evidence – so, our legal system is suffering due to missunderstandings that often originate from TV shows.

Have you used science fiction as a starting point to talk about science? Is it easier to talk about people doing it right or getting it wrong?

Simply put – no. I think that there are much easier and more applicable ways to introduce science than from science fiction. In an ideal world I think that it should be the other way around – science should be the introduction for science fiction.

Are there any specific science or science fiction blogs you would recommend to interested readers or writers?

I follow dozens of blogs that I don’t really have time to share here, however, I will point to a discussion on science and science fiction that was done as part of SF Signal’s Mind Meld a few months ago – it’s a very good read and much of the discussion is applicable to this one (actually these other mind melds apply as well).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ADEQ Sunset

The Arizona state legislature is a bit unhappy with the direction of regulation that is occurring at ADEQ. ADEQ sunsets in 2009 and the legislature needs to re-approve it's existence. It'll be interesting to see how things go, but I urge you to let your professional opinions be known to your representatives (contact info below).

Further Information:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ASPE Engineering Ethics Seminar

From an email:

Engineering Ethics

What are a PE’s obligations when one owner backs out of a project and a potential new owner wants to step in??? Every business wants to grow and succeed, but can participation in networking and referral organizations create an ethical dilemma??? A professional engineer’s review of a contractor’s construction work raises questions about conflict of interest …

Luncheon Seminar 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 4th – The Manning House, 450 W. Paseo Redondo, Tucson
Or Friday, December 5th – The University Club, 39 East Monte Vista, Phoenix

The Arizona Society of Professional Engineers and ACEC of Arizona invite all public and private professionalengineers, architects, landscape architects, land surveyors, and geologists to address real life ethical principles. Discover the views and perspectives of engineering ethics experts.

Leader: Arthur Edward Schwartz, CAE
Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel,
National Society of Professional Engineers

In addition to leading the NSPE staff and supporting the NSPE Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Mr. Schwartz’s responsibilities include serving as staff director to the NSPE Board of Ethical Review, Licensure & Qualifications for Practice Committee, as well as the NSPE/PEPP Professional Liability Committee and Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee.

Mr. Schwartz writes an ethics column and a legal column in NSPE’s monthly publication PE, as well as a columnon ethics for Structural Engineer magazine. He has written extensively for various professional journals on matters involving the practice of engineering and has participated as a guest lecturer at many colleges and universities, federal and state agencies, and several national professional association meetings. He has recently launched a web-based teleseminar series on engineering ethics, professionalism, and the law. This is your opportunity to fulfill the ethics requirement mandated by many states for registration. Two Professional Development Hours will be awarded for this luncheon seminar.

Register by Monday, November 24th on line at
or complete and return registration form to:
Arizona Society of Professional Engineers, 1309 Echo Lane, Phoenix 85020
or Fax to 602/995-2218.
Questions, call 602/995-2187

Annual Board of Directors Meeting Summary

Annual Board of Directors Meeting Summary

The Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG) officers convene meetings biannually to review the status and conduct the business of our organization. On September 20-21, 2008, the Board of Directors (BOD) Annual Board Meeting was in session in New Orleans, Louisiana, location of the 2008 Annual Meeting. Detailed meeting minutes were prepared and will be available for approval at the next Mid-Year Board Meeting, which will take place in Seattle, Washington in April 2009. The following summary was prepared to assist our Directors in highlighting major issues and topic areas for communication to the general membership.

AEG has twenty-five (25) sections. Twenty (20) Section Chairpersons or their proxies were present along with the Executive Council (EC): President Molinari, Vice President/President-Elect Kreuger, Treasurer Hilton, Secretary Bauer, and Past-President Kuper. Chief Operating Officer Roland was also present, as were Governance Committee Co-Chairs Prince and Andrews, Finance Committee member Beiber and other invited guests. Sections absent were Kansas City-Omaha, Montreal-Canada, New York-Philadelphia, Ohio River Valley, and Southeastern.

  • Mark Molinari gave the Presidents Report and indicated the talks he will be presenting to the sections are Practical Applications of Airborne LiDAR Data for Environmental and Engineering Geology Projects and The 2003 Washington SR-20 Rock Avalanche – A Case Study from Emergency Response through Characterization, Design, and Construction

  • Treasurer Hilton informed the board that AEG has contracted a new CPA, Anton Collins-Mitchell (ACM), who will be auditing the 2007-2008 financials during October. The audit report will be presented to the Board at the 2009 Mid-year Board Meeting.

  • Vice President Kreuger updated the Board on AEG’s investments, indicating that we have $272,349 toward the Board directed goal of $350,000 to be set aside as a reserve. The Board is in support of the EC staying the course regarding investments.

  • Headquarters is actively working to correct the $10,000 that our books logged as income from the 2006 Boston Annual Meeting, but did not show up in our account. The bank charged members’ credit cards for the meeting, but never deposited the money in AEG’s account.

  • The Board voted to change the current Fiscal Year term from July 1 - June 30 to the calendar year. This change allows for the annual CPA report to be prepared ahead of the spring BOD meeting for approval by the BOD. This also makes it easier to budget for membership dues, which are based on a calendar year cycle, and get the CPA review shortly after the Annual Meeting.

  • Since the mid-year 2008 Board meeting, AEG reviewed changing the Incorporation status from California to Colorado. COO Roland had discussions with AEG’s attorney and CPA, both of whom recommended remaining incorporated in California, and the Board voted in favor of this.

  • Past President Kuper reported on the AGI Congressional Visit Days in which she and COO Becky Roland participated.

  • Future Annual Meetings are progressing well with 2009 in South Lake Tahoe, 2010 in Charleston, 2011 in Anchorage, 2012 in Salt Lake City, and 2013 approved at this meeting to be in Seattle, WA.

  • Julie Keaton, who has served as AEG’s Annual Meeting Manager since 1997 is retiring in December 2008 but will continue to provide support planning the Shlemon Specialty Conferences. AEG has contracted Colorado Event Organizers (CEO) to assist with Annual Meeting Planning in the future starting with the 2009 meeting. CEO representative, Heather Lopez, shadowed Julie during the 2008 Annual Meeting, and these expenses will be covered by the discretionary funds presented to the Board at the 2008 mid-year meeting. In addition, responsibility for associated AEG functions (e.g. Corporate Luncheon, banquet, awards) will be handled by Phoenix AMC who will work with CEO to coordinate these with the meeting planning.

  • AEG Foundation President Hempen gave a report and promoted the member benefits of the Foundation to the Board. He emphasized that Sections are the primary donors and beneficiaries for the Foundation. Please visit www.aegfoundation.org for more information on the different funds and scholarships, and how to donate.

  • Doug Boyer gave the Communications Committee report requesting that Section Chairs encourage submittals to the E&EG Journal. He also requested that Sections solicit advertisers for the AEG NEWS in order to help offset the cost for the recently added color photos. Additionally, AEG is working with AIPG to develop a joint issue of AEG NEWS focusing on students, which will come out in the Spring of 2009.

  • AEG members can become members of IAEG for $17 or $50 if they wish to receive The Bulletin.

  • The Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by Paul Hale, intends to focus on updating the website, continuing the Visiting Professionals Program through the Student and Young Professionals Support Committee, and surveying the membership again to guide the SP workshop for the 2009 Mid-year Board Meeting.

  • All present Section Chairs answered two questions: What’s working for your section? What challenges are you (the Section) facing that Headquarters could assist you with? Section reports will be available on the website.

  • The Advocacy Committee led a workshop on Licensure. Four break-out groups came up with several ways that AEG can be more proactive in promoting and supporting Sections regarding licensure and associated legislation. An ad-hoc committee will be established to compile pertinent information on licensing and implement the recommendations of the workshop.

  • The Board approved the San Joaquin Chapter of the Sacramento Section and four new student chapters: University of Missouri – Kansas City, Fresno State, Cal Poly Pomona, and California State Univ. - Chico. Two more are pending formal application.

  • The Board supported AEG looking into co-hosting the International Landslide Symposium in 2012 with the Canadian Geotechnical Society in Banff and co-hosting a Geohazards Conference in Central America with GSA.

  • The Joint Task Force on Areas of Practice (JTFAP) draft document has been prepared. The Task Force includes members from AEG, ASCE-GeoInstitute, and AIPG and the document is under review by each organization’s Board members. After Board review, the Task Force will review the comments and prepare a revised draft for general membership review from each organization.

  • In the upcoming year, the Governance Committee, co-chaired by Andrea Prince and Dale Andrews, will take a look at the governance structure of the organization again, and will revisit the issue of Board size as it relates to efficiency. The GC will work with Headquarters to inform incoming Board members about the Director’s Handbook.

  • Planning for the 2009 Shelmon Specialty Conference to be in the Midwest on the New Madrid Fault system is going well. The Board is in support of a second Shlemon Specialty Conference on Ground Rupture Regulation in California in February 2009. A formal approval will be voted on after a budget is presented to the Board via email in October.

  • The next Board meeting will be April 18-19, 2009 in Seattle, WA.