This weekend should be worth at least one decent post…

This weekend, one of the two of this semester’s classes that I have not yet used for a “what I learned in school today” post took a field trip.

Yes, Our “Environmental Chemistry” lab went to Yellowstone National Park and (legally – we had a permit and everything) did some water sampling. We got some on-site lectures about the types of water systems in the park, considerations involved in sampling things, and so on. All in all, I thought it was pretty interesting, but after spending the entire weekend either driving to or from the park or walking around in the park I’m a bit exhaustipated. Plus, bummed out that I can’t afford a good portable field microscope to go with the regular microscope which I also can’t afford. Woe unto me. I imagine the permit we had would have allowed me to also dangle some slides in the water to look at.

I did record a GPS track of both days field-trips, I got ICBM addresses for our sampling sites, and a number of photographs with my cheap and ancient digital camera along the way. Give me some time and I’ll get at least one real post out of it.

Meanwhile, a bit of trivia: “The Microsoft Network” search system is pretty Fupped Duck. I do get the occasional obviously relevant hit from one of their searches, but the great majority seems to be “hits” from random one-word searches, many of which seem to refer to words that appear nowhere on the site (and others of which are so broad I have no idea how many pages some MSN user would have to click through before hitting my site. For example, while I like to think I’m making a reasonable effort to do interesting science blogging, I’m having trouble imagining that this blog would show up in the first few pages for a search consisting solely of the word “science”…which one of the recent hits seemed to show.

Actually, this probably has less to do with users than with Microsoft itself – the hits for this don’t appear to be loading real views (it pulls one page and doesn’t reference, for example, images) though it is coming from “The Microsoft Network” addresses. Perhaps Microsoft has one of their bots masquerading as a real user (the user-agent string looks like regular “Internet Explorer 7″)…even the IP address resolves to a bogus name ” bl2sch1082217.phx.gbl.”, for example) which doesn’t resolve back the other way. Of course, it’s also possible the hit is ENTIRELY bogus and the “referer” tag that seems to indicate this is also faked. Perhaps it’s time to start blocking Microsoft…or maybe just messing with them. This apparent standards abuse and obfuscation of what exactly it is that they’re trying to do with my blog (and messing up my logs!) kind of bugs me. (Moral of the story is probably “Everybody should just use Google“…)

Sure “Cardboard Sarcophagus Instructions” is a pretty weird search, too, coming from Google, but at least I know why THAT one got here. I doubt the searcher – possibly from the Memphis, Tennessee area – was really searching for metaphors for expired JellO boxes.

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The Author is (currently) an autodidactic student of Industrial and Environmental microbiology, who is sick of people assuming all microbiology should be medical in nature, and who would really like to be allowed to go to graduate school one of these days now that he's finished his BS in Microbiology (with a bonus AS in Chemistry). He also enjoys exploring the Big Room (the one with the really high blue ceiling and big light that tracks from one side to the other every day) and looking at its contents from unusual mental angles.

3 thoughts on “This weekend should be worth at least one decent post…”

  1. As much as you complain, I think you enjoy these little “field trips”. It’s nice to hear what you’re doing, too. Do you have any snow yet?


  2. Amen, just use google! I’ve been forced to drop into IE a few times (netflix instant viewing requires windows and IE)), and have been tricked into using the search box for MSN. After scanning the results and grunting in disgust, I head over to google.

    Microsoft can do some things pretty well, but search seems to be one of the many things it fails at.

  3. Well, even I will have to admit that Microsoft makes pretty good mice and keyboards. I’d give them credit for RDP working pretty well, too, except A)it’s not theirs, they bought it from Citrix, and B)Using it just gives you a Microsoft Windows session…

    Oddly enough, over the last few days there’s been an explosion of “Google Image Search” hits, to the point where that’s now the majority on a daily basis – lots of people looking for microbiology images, it appears.

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