Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ok Maybe Not

In the last post I mentioned trace fossils. I looked back to link to the post on trace fossils versus body fossils only to find there isn't one. So: Body fossils are the kinds of fossils that most people think of when the think of a fossil. The remains of the organism. Trace fossils are the remains of the ACTIVITY of an organism. So this footprint. Trace fossil

The dinosaur bone. Body fossil.

Trace fossils are very useful. Every organism (with the sort of exception of things that molt) have the potential to leave exactly one complete body fossil. And usually you find scattered stuff like the bone above. But an organism could leave thousands of trace fossils, so they are very common. Trace fossils are given generic and specific names but do not form higher order linean groups (families, kingdoms etc...). The foot print above belongs to the ichnogenus (ichno- is a prefix for trace fossil) Acrocanthosaurus.

The Occasional fossil

This is not one fossil but a whole bunch. Back when this rock was sediment there were all sorts of organisms living in it. As they burrowed through the sediment they made tunnels which, themselves, filled with sediment. When the sediment turned to rock the fluid carry the cementing agent was able to penetrate the relatively un packed filled in tunnel better than the surrounding sediment so as the rock weathers and erodes the tunnels "stick out". Remember from an earlier post these are trace fossils.

Pompous Gasbag Alert

Psychology Professor David Barash writing for the Chronicle of Higher Ed says about spectator sports.

Not that I would try to stop anyone from root, root, rooting to his or her heart's content. It's just that such things are normally done by pigs, in the mud, or by seedlings, lacking a firm grip on reality — fine for them, but I am not at all sure this is something that human beings should do. In desperation, if threatened with starvation, I suppose that I would root — for dinner. But for the home team? Never.

And it just goes on from there .. and on .. and on .. and on.. Look I get it, and having attended two big football school, I will admit to being way past miffed when the entire campus gives itself over to football in the fall. But rather than conceding that it's not for him Barash goes on to make a (weak) case that enjoyment of spectator sports is a reflection on everything from one's intelligence to one's mother's parentage (ok the last bit is sarcasm but you get the idea).

I don't have the time or desire to take the whole thing apart but let me just make a couple points.

  • Athletes are talented people doing dramatic things . I enjoy watching talented people doing dramatic things
  • What else would you have us do? I enjoy participating in and talking science, music, literature and philosophy as much as (probably more than) the next guy but sometimes it's fun to just go watch some sports. I like to think of that as balance. Not that people who don't do spectator sports aren't balanced it's just my balance. But apparenly the good DrBarash disapproves
ok now for disclosure
Footbal: yes sometimes
Baseball: not so much
Basketball: a little but not so much since Larry Bird retired
Golf: naw
NASCAR: used to but then realized that it really is just a bunch or rednecks turning left. And they don't run in the rain??? wimps
Tennis: Archaeogrrrl is a huge fan so so am I
Hockey: Not even a little
Cycling: oh HELL yes.

ps Archaeogrrrl has some theories about locker room trauma early in Dr Barashs's life but we won't go there.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Crafting it forward

Via profgrrrl.
I really doubt I'll get 5 comments (that would be a record for this blog) but in the spirit of getting things rolling:
The first 5 people to comment will get something made by me or my wife. I'm not all that crafty but she is. I like profgrrrl's restrictions so here they are.
  • you may or may not like what we make you
  • it might take a few months
  • exactly what we make will be a surprise
It could be food or craft or any number of things that I or archaeogrrrl make.
Usually in order to participate in these things you need to have a blog of your own to carry this on. That might me asking a bit much here so I'm gonna throw it open to anyone.

Happy Vernal Equinox

I suppose I could blog once every three months but that does seem to sort of defeat the purpose.