Thursday, January 20, 2005

Today the flight from reality is all mine as I avoid the Bush coronation, (or, as Dr Susan Block calls him Thanatos, Lord of Death, Destruction & Fake Texas Accents). I figure when I can no longer lose myself in prose, I’ll watch the DVD of Fight Club four or five times.

CRYPTIQUEGasoline and frozen orange juice concentrate.

Seems there some nuns out in the Indian tsunami mess who won’t feed the starving Hindus unless they first embrace Jesus. Read all about it...

The secret word is Gimmee

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Regarding last week’s post about dinosaur-eating mammals, kaymo has comments.
(And if anyone wonders what this is all about, be reminded that Doc40 as run dinosaur stuff, from Godzilla to palenotology, ever since the getgo. Partly because we like it, and partly because humanity might benefit from a contemplation of extinction.)

kaymo writes...
Oh, sure, exciting find. And evidence that mammals were really waiting in the wings for the chance to expand into any new niches that might open up...but must keep in perspective... cat and small dog sized mammals preying on psittacosaurs and lurking around the breeding sites makes good sense. But those same mammals would have drawn attention from all sorts of two legged dino/bird critters, some feathered, some not, all hungry. Life was earnest, life was hard and probably, life was brief. Maybe we're seeing tip of iceberg and a lot more of these mammal fossils will appear, or more likely, not, for simple reason they weren't that numerous.
Note: the herd animals of the time, the ones with the big biomass within the faunal assemblage, are all dinosaurs, like the various ceratopsi (horned jobs), the hadrosaurs, and the huge old apatosaur/diplocid/brachiosaur things...which, incredibly, seem to have had an unbroken run, species succeeding species, from early mid-Jurassic to the very end of the Cretaceous, virtually unchanged, the same body plan, long necks, tails, huge bodies with fermenting guts and gastroliths to grind up their chow. That's around 80 million years. That is an amazing run when you think about it.

and later adds...
The dinos lost their grip after the KT catastrophe and since then Mammals have provided the big biomass species-- the herds, basically, and the whales. But the dinos are not out of the race. There are something like 6,800 known species of Birds (and Birds are dinos) in the world and something like 4,600 species of Mammal. So the dino clade diversified into a huge variety of niches, culminating in the rise of the Passerine Birds-- who alone make up about 3,500 species (I think that's about right, but whatever, it's a big number.) All those little "sparrow" sized (Passer, right) birds from robins to finches to ad infinitum that exploit insects and seeds all over the world. Ruling the bird world are the Crows/Ravens, who are smart. Should we do ourselves in-- as we may well be doing already with the bath of chemicals produced by industrial civilization (30,000 chems in broad use, probably 1/3 carcinogens, another 1/4 teratogens) -- the birds will be only too happy to abandon energy demanding flying and take our place. Check back in say, 10 m years.

boarg writes...
NASA Science News published an article on 10/01/2005 entitled 'How theEarthquake Affected Earth'. This article details how the 26/12/2004 'megathrust' earthquake has made the Earth more round, quickened the Earth's rotation, and shifted the Earth's axis, according to calculations done byNASA scientists. These effects are small, but one wonders ...
The full story is at... which you can also access an article on the strange green Comet Machholtz that was prominent through December and makes its closest approach to Earth this week. Not only is it large and green, but it has also got two tails.

The secret word is Geophysical

CRYPTIQUEDo you bowl?

85F in LA today. I’ve not only seen the science fiction movie in which we seem to be living, but I think I’ve remembered how it ends. A few hundred randomly selected elite escape in a big fat rocketship with fins and the rest of us are left to fry to a crisp.

The secret word is Liftoff

(I have a whole rant I have to finish writing plus crucial stiff from boarg and dinosaur commentary from kaymo to post but it’s been another hard day and it’s all going to have to wait until morning again.)

Monday, January 17, 2005

Are we living in a science fiction movie or what? A probe just landed on Titan and there's a ship on it way to blow the guts out of a comet.
The secret word is Valium
Are we living in a science fiction movie or what? Last week 20 inches of rain fell here in Southern California. This week we have a Santa Anna heatwave with temps in the mid-80s(F). The cat sniffed the air and looked at me with an expression of "Say what? It's goddamned January" I have much more to say about this, but I gotta sleep.

Where the fuck are the silver spaceships? I want off this monkey planet.