Breaking News: Paris Hilton escapes jail, defects to Iran. Ahmadinejad says she will be used as a human shield against American attack.
OK, I’m having one of those days where nothing leaps to mind to blog about. It’s Friday so I will try to keep it light. The cats are being good for a change, probably still sleeping off the effects of yesterday’s catnip festival. Well, SnowBee is complaining about something, do they sell muzzles for cats? A gag would be better. On the plus side we seem to be having normal weather for a change, nice warm afternoons with cool foggy evenings, nights, and mornings. I can live with that. My garden is exploding too, the corn is three feet tall, as are the tomatoes. (I point this out so that my gardening relatives in Canada can gnash their teeth in frustration and envy.)
Well, in Philadelphia they found a secret slave passageway in George Washington’s old home. This was so Washington’s slaves could get in and out of the house without offending the sensibilities of his guests, the rich and powerful didn’t want to actually see the people who did their chores for them. Fortunately that is no longer an issue. Our slaves work in factories in India and Malaya and such, there’s very little chance of stumbling across one. It is interesting times though, I went into a fast food place the other day and the people behind the counter had been replaced by video screens, and the person taking my order on the video screen had a pronounced Indian accent. Progress marches on I guess. (OK, I made that last part up.)
One of the world’s oldest murder mysteries has been solved. Oetzi, the copper age man found frozen in the Alps, definitively died from an arrow in his back. He had the blood of three other individual people on his weapons, so we know he was involved in a violent episode shortly before he died. And that’s about all we know, was he a warrior who died in battle or a murderer hunted down by a posse? Prehistoric Rambo or Hannibal Lector, take your pick.
Another even older mystery has apparently been solved, why are so many dinosaur fossils found in bizarre distorted poses? Their heads and necks and arched back in distorted unlifelike positions? There’s been a lot of guesses, but until now, nothing really convincing. Some kitchen science has shown that the poses were more than likely caused by the animal’s violent death throes as they asphyxiated or drowned. I know, most people weren’t losing sleep over this. Why is it significant? Because only warm blooded animals exhibit this sort of thing when they die, so this is further evidence that dinosaurs were warm blooded.
Since we seem to be moving from youngest to oldest today, new information on the world’s oldest known tree has been released. (Illustrated above.) Some 380 million years ago this tree stood 30 feet tall. It had no leaves, flowers, or seeds…just fronds. Basically were talking a huge tree fern. It might have had giant millipedes hiding in its dense twiggy crown though. That time machine is sounding less attractive every day, a giant millipede dropping into my coffee while I am standing under an antediluvian tree would not be a good way to start the day.
So with visions of giant bugs crawling out of my coffee, I’m off to work. I’ve been working on a World War Two Trivia Quiz just for fun, with any luck I will publish that this weekend. Assuming the news stays fairly quiet and no one in Washington, Baghdad, or Tehran does anything stupid. Well, stupider than usual. Have a good weekend everyone.
(The above drawing of a Wattieza tree is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. Credit: Frank Mannolini/New York State Museum.)