This newsletter has always stood up for the little guy, and in the world of geology there is no littler guy than the pebble. So we heroically declare that modern civilization, from morality to mathematics, wouldn't be possible without these humble little stones. For example, in antiquity, a scruple was a sharp pebble kept in one's sandal as a constant reminder to do the right thing. Back then, an unscrupulous man was literally a man without pebbles, and such a man could never be trusted. Secondly, in Latin, a calculus was a counting pebble. The ancient Romans would do basic arithmetic by counting pebbles, a process they called calculating. These puny stones were so essential to encouraging early number-crunching that the advanced branch of mathematics used to guide the Apollo missions was named calculus in their honor. Thus no pebbles, no moon men. So sure, boulders may be bolder, and rocks may have music genres and Hollywood action stars supporting them, but a truly solid foundation can only be built with pebbles.
Pebble Beach, California (on the left) hosted this year's U.S. Open Golf Championship.Boulder Beach, Maine (on the right) has never even hosted a putt-putt tournament.
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