Geogeek on History Channel

I am always impressed when I can sound like a true geogeek, or in this case geodweeb. Last Thursday night was the premier showing of the History Channel show, What’s The Earth Worth. The show attempts to put a dollar value on our fair planet. I won’t spoil the ending but will let you know that’s it not a number that you probably use very often. It is also a number that sounds sort of odd when you, or at least when the narrator on the show, said it. But I digress.

What I want to address is my performance on the show. I think the highlight was when I said in reference to granite “it’s also very sturdy.” Truly a brilliant insight that most people probably didn’t realize about granite. I was with the film crew for about three hours filming in downtown Seattle last March and this is the best I could utter. I like to think I said something more intelligent but perhaps not.

After my astounding statement, the narrator helpfully comes on to clarify why I am a talking head. “David Williams doesn’t scale mountains to explore geology, he explores the buildings of downtown Seattle.” Of course you would trust the opinions of such a man! But they do kindly make a plug for my book “Stories in Stone,” by then listing my name and the title of the book when I next appear on the screen.

While the narrator is elucidating my authority on the subject, I am seen walking across a street, looking very serious, very sartorial, and quite pensive, as if I am trying to come up with another bon mot. And here it is. “This building uses granite in really the classic way, using it as a way to show grandiosity, to show the status of this building. Using these big columns that really draw people into the building but also shows strength. This building is held up by rock. What more could you want?” Now you know why we writers like editors.

Indeed, I ask again, what more could you want? Well apparently the show’s producers didn’t want anything more from me, as I disappear from the show at this point, never to reappear again. For those who are counting, I said a total of 70 words. And for those who know me, that’s probably the least verbose I have ever been.

I have to say though that I did have fun helping out on the show and was quite tickled that I was asked to do it. I didn’t expect that I was going to be a central part of the show or to be on the screen for more than a minute or so, so I have no complaints.


One final point. The show is filled with tons of pretty crazy graphics (link to a Yahoo News video promoting the show). Who ever did them must have had a great time. And of all them the coolest/craziest is the one on granite. It’s about what one could do with the 500 billion tons of granite left on earth. The narrator asks how many Empire State buildings could be built with all of that granite. The answer “A whopping 11 million.” The graphic then shows a 13-mile-wide column of granite ESBs surging across America to the Pacific Ocean…and beyond.

So if you have a chance to check it out, it is thought provoking.



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