Thursday, June 6, 2013

The stuff you learn on TV / Three kinds of rocks

Yesterday evening, BBC news carried an item on a fossil image published by the some Chinese scientists.  It supposedly is the fossil of a monkey, or maybe a pre-monkey (?) which is so and so many million years old.  This image of a fossil apparently illustrates one of our direct ancestors.  The TV announcer even stood up to explain on a screenwide display how this fits directly and unequivocally into the branching of the evolutionary tree.  It was all so plain and simple.  Here are a few bones, here is your ancestor.

A week ago or so a huge asteroid with a moon passed the earth at a million kilometers away or so.  Now, I trust this news a little bit more. You would think they can measure, calculate and photograph this. What struck me as very strange was the way this news was delivered.  The newscaster and the science reporter giggled and laughed themselves through this news report, as if they were reporting some comical event rather than a cosmic event.  It makes me think that this was a much more dangerous situation than they were making this out to be, even though it was a million kilometers away.  (What is a million kilometers if Vancouver is 1300 km way?) -- Not long ago we had a large meteor hit in Russia with spectacular and damaging results.  Somewhere I've heard we are headed into a veritable shower of these kinds of rocks.  Why laugh?

The other thing I've been wondering, if the descent of man was so slow and long and into the millions, or whatever, years, why did cuneiform tablets only arise with the Sumerians about several thousand years ago?  What happened in the millions of years in between?  Nobody came up with cuneiform clay tablets?

So much.


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