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Posts Tagged ‘History’

For those of you who are curious as to how and when we (and by we, I mean anatomically modern humans) got to where we are.

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This is a map that sets out the migration pattern of modern humans out of east Africa and across the world.

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Should We Bring Extinct Animals Back to Life?

Wouldn’t it be cool (or would it?) if we could bring wooly mammoths back and have them live in Greenland, Siberia or the Canadian tundra?

mammoth

Even a single herd of wooly rhinos roaming around in some secluded part of the world?

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With cloning, we probably could. But should we?

When I saw these photos… when I asked myself this question… I was immediately reminded of the famous scene in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 movie, Jurassic Park

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Gee, the lack of humility before nature that’s being displayed here, uh… staggers me.

Donald Gennaro: Well thank you, Dr. Malcolm, but I think things are a little bit different than you and I had feared…

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, I know. They’re a lot worse.

Donald Gennaro: Now, wait a second now, we haven’t even seen the park…

John Hammond: No, no, Donald, Donald, Donald… let him talk. There’s no reason… I want to hear every viewpoint, I really do.

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Don’t you see the danger, John, inherent in what you’re doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun.

Donald Gennaro: It’s hardly appropriate to start hurling generalizations…

Dr. Ian Malcolm: If I may… Um, I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now

[bangs on the table]

Dr. Ian Malcolm: you’re selling it, you wanna sell it. Well…

John Hammond: I don’t think you’re giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before…

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

John Hammond: Condors. Condors are on the verge of extinction…

Dr. Ian Malcolm: [shaking his head] No…

John Hammond: If I was to create a flock of condors on this island, you wouldn’t have anything to say.

Dr. Ian Malcolm: No, hold on. This isn’t some species that was obliterated by deforestation, or the building of a dam. Dinosaurs had their shot, and nature selected them for extinction.

John Hammond: I simply don’t understand this Luddite attitude, especially from a scientist. I mean, how can we stand in the light of discovery, and not act?

Dr. Ian Malcolm: What’s so great about discovery? It’s a violent, penetrative act that scars what it explores. What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world.

Dr. Ellie Sattler: Well, the question is, how can you know anything about an extinct ecosystem? And therefore, how could you ever assume that you can control it? I mean, you have plants in this building that are poisonous, you picked them because they look good, but these are aggressive living things that have no idea what century they’re in, and they’ll defend themselves, violently if necessary.

John Hammond: Dr. Grant, if there’s one person here who could appreciate what I’m trying to do…

Dr. Alan Grant: The world has just changed so radically, and we’re all running to catch up. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but look… Dinosaurs and man, two species separated by 65 million years of evolution have just been suddenly thrown back into the mix together. How can we possibly have the slightest idea what to expect?

John Hammond: [laughing] I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it! You’re meant to come down here and defend me against these characters, and the only one I’ve got on my side is the blood-sucking lawyer!

Donald Gennaro: Thank you.

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As is probably known to many, Canada has about 20% of the world’s fresh water.

The subject matter of this article is, however, somewhat less than ‘fresh.’

According to a finding published in the journal Nature, a U.K.-Canadian team of scientists has discovered billion-year-old water deep underground from a mine that is 2.4 kilometers beneath Ontario. This water could be the oldest on the planet, and leads to the possibility of similar life being discovered on Mars.

billion-year-old-water-mine_67585_600x450(Water filters out of the floor of a Canadian mine)

These ancient pockets of water were analyzed by researchers from the Universities of Toronto, Lancaster, Manchester and McMaster. The researchers believe that this isolated deep underground water may contain chemicals that are known to support life.

Believed to be one of the oldest water samples ever found, the rocks that hold this water are similar to those found on Mars, raising hopes that similar life-sustaining water could be discovered in the depths of Martian polar ice caps.

billion-year-old-water-found-in-canada-holds-clues-about-ancient-life(Martian surface – not the wettest place around)

Pockets of water trapped in rocks from a Canadian mine are over a billion years old, and the water could contain life forms that can survive independently from the sun, scientists said this week.

The ancient water was collected from boreholes at Timmins Mine beneath Ontario, Canada, at a depth of about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers).

Cheers!

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I have to hand it once again to the intrepid geeks and nerdlings over at ScienceDaily.com!

Actor Johnny Depp Immortalized in Name of Fossilized Creature With ‘Scissor Hand’ Claws

The article begins, “A scientist has discovered an ancient extinct creature with ‘scissor hand-like’ claws in fossil records and has named it in honour of his favourite movie star.”

The 505-million-year-old fossil called Kooteninchela deppi (pronounced Koo-ten-ee-che-la depp-eye), which is a distant ancestor of lobsters and scorpions, was named after the actor Johnny Depp for his starring role as Edward Scissorhands — a movie about an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished creation, who has scissors for hands.

Kooteninchela-deppi-4(What a cutie. Just like its namesake!)

Kooteninchela deppi is helping researchers to piece together more information about life on Earth during the Cambrian period when nearly all modern animal types emerged.

David Legg, who carried out the research as part of his PhD in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, says:

“When I first saw the pair of isolated claws in the fossil records of this species I could not help but think of Edward Scissorhands. Even the genus name, Kootenichela, includes the reference to this film as ‘chela’ is Latin for claws or scissors. In truth, I am also a bit of a Depp fan and so what better way to honour the man than to immortalise him as an ancient creature that once roamed the sea?”

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It lived in shallow seas off the coast of what is now British Columbia, Canada, although in those days, the area was closer to the equator.

It was approximately four centimetres long with a trunk for a body and millipede-like legs and large eyes which it used to search for food along the sea floor, according to research published in the Journal of Palaeontology.

The researcher believes that Kooteninchela deppi would have been a hunter or scavenger. Its large Edward Scissorhands-like claws with their elongated spines may have been used to capture prey, or they could have helped it to probe the sea floor looking for sea creatures hiding in sediment.

lobster(Kooteninchela deppi – a distant relative of lobsters & scorpions)

It also had large eyes composed of many lenses like the compound eyes of a fly. They were positioned on top of movable stalks called peduncles to help it more easily search for food and look out for predators.

The researchers discovered that Kooteninchela deppi belongs to a group known as the ‘great-appendage’ arthropods, which includes spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, insects and crabs.

Mr Legg said: ‘Just imagine it – the prawns covered in mayonnaise in your sandwich, the spider climbing up your wall and even the fly that has been banging into your window and annoyingly flying into your face are all descendants of Kooteninchela deppi.’

‘Current estimates indicate that there are more than one million known insects and potentially 10 million more yet to be categorised, which potentially means that Kooteninchela deppi has a huge family tree.’

Legg now wants to study the fossils from the Ordovician period, when species diversity increased.

The research was published in the Journal of Palaeontology 2 May 2013.

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Journal Reference:

  1. David Legg. Multi-Segmented Arthropods from the Middle Cambrian of British Columbia (Canada)Journal of Paleontology, 2013; 87 (3): 493 DOI: 10.1666/12-112.1

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On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly recommended the adoption and implementation of the partition plan of  Mandatory Palestine.

israel-born-headline

On 14 May 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel,” a state independent upon the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine, 15 May 1948.

May the Almighty continue to bless and protect Israel.

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I’m a bit of a sword nut.

So is my son, really.

My apartment has been described as ‘bristling with weaponry!’

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Judge my delight, then, when I ran across this little chart.

Love it. Had to share it!

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I visited Israel this year for the first time from February 11th to the 25th. It was a mind-blowing experience.

One of the top, if not THE top, “must see” sights is the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

This is the view most people have in mind when they think of the Western Wall.

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What most people fail to realize is that section of the Western Wall is only about the top 55 feet or so. It continues down underground for another 100 feet! This is because the section of the Western Wall Plaza you see above was built on a series of arches extending up from true ground level.

In order to more fully appreciate all of the Western Wall, you really need to take what is known as the Tunnel Tour.

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Once you get underground, you can see how the Plaza above rests on top of huge arches leading up to the Wall.

The first thing you encounter when you reach the Wall is what is known as the Western Stone.

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It’s big. REALLY big. The stone is 13.6 meters (44.6 feet) long and 3 metres (9.8 feet) high and has an estimated width of 3.3 meters (10.8 feet).

This single stone is about the size of a modern day bus. It is one of the largest building stones in the world. It weighs 570 tons!!

last 032(Right section of the Stone)

It starts here at the right…

last 033(Centre section of the stone)

… continues on… and on… for almost 45 feet..

last 034(Left section of the Stone)

And ends at the left of this frame.

last 053(Me obstructing the view of the Western Stone)

No one knows how the Jews were able to place a block this big in this spot!

There is not a crane in modern day Israel today that is capable of lifting this stone.

me-wall-01s(Me at the Western Wall)

So if you are ever looking at The Wall from the Plaza, think of the depth (in all senses of the word) of that structure.

May the Temple be rebuilt, speedily and in our time.

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All photos taken by Daniel Ventresca using a Canon PowerShot A2400 IS digital camera. Last image taken by Tomer Aharon.

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