Saturday, May 12, 2012

Rock On

Quartz rocks. You may have seen them, up on the hillsides and below your shoes, during your walkabouts in and around the area you call home. But what is quartz, really? I mean, if it looks like a rock, acts like a rock, and rocks when you bump it with your toe, it stands to reason that what you have discovered is likely to be a rock, and not—as your inscrutable neighbor would have you believe—a source of Great Power during times of economic uncertainty.

Having spent considerable time and effort investigating similar phenomena, I found it excruciatingly easy to make the leap to quartz, and thence to other types of rock that refused to support my weight no matter how much I sniffed and dabbed at my eye. If there's one thing I learned from sandstone, it's that.

Another thing I learned is that common household appliances can be pressed into service for all manner of scientific experimentation, but that doesn't necessarily mean the manufacturer will honor the warranty. What it does mean is that the 2.4 GHz frequency your microwave oven uses to warm leftovers is the same frequency used by your wireless router to contact the suspicious object hovering above your cottage. Cheese, too, can be converted to its liquid form using either of these microwave sources, but quartz is not cheese, at least in the dietary sense. Unlike cheese, quartz oscillates in the presence of electromagnetic frequencies—which often results in humanlike speech—hence my particular interest in kitchen appliances.

As you might expect, this brings up the same question I asked in the third sentence, namely, what is quartz, really? I don't know, but I think it may be some sort of rock. Putting a chunk of it in the microwave didn't tell me anything, but that may have more to do with the extreme temperature of the fragment I held up to my ear after the explosion.

On the other hand, incommunicado quartz is mysterious quartz. Dumb as a rock? I wonder.

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