Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Pageant of Earth's Evolution (in 24hr) part two

Since my introduction was so long I posted it separately.

FourCornersFreePress, December 2019

In the first half of this look at Earth’s 4.6 billion year old pageant of Evolution, scaled down to 24 hours, Earth’s first enduring Life took about 4 hours to claw together an existence within very tiny, very simple, very protective sacks, against an extremely harsh environment.

After that, Evolution progressed very slowly.  Why?  Because Earth’s hostile environment provided limited means, this stifled further development.  Which brings us to a key early scientific breakthrough in perspective, namely that an organism cannot be understood without also understanding the environment it lives within.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Pageant of Earth Evolution (in 24hr) part one

A nice thing about having my own blog is that I get to do what I want and since I've finally completed the big project I assigned myself this past summer - I'm going to repost the first half of my Pageant of Evolution in 24 hours before sharing the finale in the next post.  

In last month’s celebration of Earth’s Pageant of Evolution I touched on the interplay of tectonics, geochemistry and archaic life. The intimate love-making of Earth's geology and biology - to put it poetically rather than scientifically. 

Getting back to the science, scientists have learned about the why and how of various ocean bottom structures that provide the catalyst between geochemistry and biochemistry, by helping bind basic molecules into complex organic building blocks of life.

This month to convey the immensity of Deep Time I’m scaling down Earth’s 4.6 billion years to 24 hours. A billion years take 5 hours plus change, 3.2 million years tick by every minute. Our human story fits into Earth’s past 4-5 seconds. Imagine that. 

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Introduction to "Cc's Pageant of Evolution"

They say a true test of how well you've learned about something is how well you can explain it to others and in its essence this months long Pageant of Earth’s Evolution project has been that sort of a self-evaluation for me.  Both to see how well I understand it and to see if I could convey the story in a way that might resonate with people.  

Why is that important to me?  Because I believe clearly appreciating Earth and her story is one of human society’s greatest failures - and greatest challenge for enabling any sort of future functional human society, since our avarice has pretty well condemned this globally connected modern society we depend on.  

I keep struggling with; How could intelligent people allow such self-destructive disregard to the need of the life support system that sustains your society?  I mean seriously, never accepting that our long term economy depends on a healthy biosphere no matter how much we’ve learned about it?  

Proudly proclaiming that endless growth was our economic priority and that Greed was Good and Too Much Was Never Enough.  From my perspective it’s always been nothing less than sociopathic self-interest and faith-induced-blindness.  Along with being absolutely self-destructive.  As those who dare to open their eye and minds can see when surveying the growing carnage covering our planet.  But I digress.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

House Intelligence Committee December 3, 2019, Impeachment Draft Report

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., 
holds a news conference after his committee released their impeachment report.
Streamed live December 3, 2019  |  NBC News

The Rachel Maddow Show 12/03/19 

House Intelligence Committee Releases Draft Report As Part of Impeachment Inquiry
Report To Be Voted on This Evening
Washington, December 3, 2019

Washington, DC – Today, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the draft report – “The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report” – to all Members and the public.

Monday, December 2, 2019

C-SPAN's Trump Impeachment Inquiry Collection - November 2019

Here's a collection of C-SPAN videos covering November's House Impeachment Inquiry Hearings.  I'm also including the time signature notes Make-Make has been posting as comments.  I think Make-Make has done a wonderful service worth sharing.  These notes can be helpful when trying to navigate the hours worth of questions, answers and GOP's rhetorical fancy dancing and diversions, (not to mention their god-awful normalization of out and out criminality and even treasonous behavior).  But I digress, this is about creating my own record of what was actually said. As a personal bonus, it would be cool if some others can find it helpful.  Feel free to copy and share.
For Impeachment Hearing Transcripts link to: 


Streamed live on Nov 13, 2019, by C-SPAN

House Impeachment Inquiry, Hearing Day 1 - Taylor and Kent Testimony

Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent testify on Impeach Inquiry before House Intelligence Committee. Go to 34:02 for gavel start of hearing. 

also notes from Matthew Caplan and Make-Make

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Matt Kiser - Impeachment Watch -

I'm always amazed at how the days and weeks speed by, between having to spend time getting caught up on pre-winter and now early-winter chores (we do live in the country and our little cabin is heated by wood) so there's work that needs to be done.   Plus the 500 mile trip down to spend a week with family and our young grandson.  Too much going on.  Enough time to get caught up on news, vent by starting yet more potential projects, while not enough to concentrate on getting any of them finished.  Now it's time to get back to it.

The following is a collection of links to resources provided by Matt and friends over at the blog, What The Fuck Just Happened Today, which has been tracking and compiling Trump news since day one, so that We The People have a record to learn from, to use and retain for future reference.  And me?, it simply seems like a patriotic duty to share and hopefully help spread this information.


Impeachment Watch: Day 4.0 (and Day 3.0)

WTF Community Leader

1/ The U.S. ambassador to the European Union testified that he and senior administration officials “followed the president’s orders” to work with Rudy Giuliani to pressure Ukraine into announcing investigations into Joe Biden and the discredited conspiracy theory that the country helped Democrats in the 2016 election. Gordon Sondland testified that he, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and special envoy Kurt Volker coordinated with Giuliani at the “at the express direction of the president of the United States” to pressure Ukraine into launching investigations. 
Sondland said he directly communicated the “quid pro quo” arrangement to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Sondland also provided House impeachment investigators with emails and texts showing that acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Perry, and others were all aware that Trump conditioned a White House meeting for Zelensky on his willingness to launch investigations. “They knew what we were doing and why,” Sondland said. “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.” 
2/ Sondland testified that he told Pence before his Sept. 1 meeting with Zelensky that he “had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations.”

Friday, November 22, 2019

How Trump 'Hijacked' American Politics With Delusions (and plain nastiness).

They meme’d Trump into the White House.  How was that possible?  How did We The People of the United States allow such a recognized lowlife self-serving deadbeat and showman to be handed the Presidency of this nation?
Well, it started with allowing the US House of Representative to be packed with a bunch of angry scared Tea-partiers with their open contempt for our American government.  They have had one thing in mind, that is to weaken our government to the point that it's easy pickings for the oligarch wannabes such as the Kochs and Murdochs and Ailes (who masterminded the past decades of descent into an alternate reality that dismisses physical reality with a self-certain arrogant contempt that beats all.)

A healthy democracy depends on an informed and engaged citizenry.  Here I share a series of stories that look at one of the reasons we got here.  This threat needs to be recognized and understood  - if we are to try and seriously confront it.  Confront it with what?  With a renewed demand that honesty, truth, ethics do matter to a civil society and our future.  I include excerpts from:

          Greg Epstein,         
          Interview with Terry Gross, Fresh Air
          Kara Swisher Book Review, New York Times
          Brian Feldman, New York Magazine
          Kathrine Schwab,  FastCompany
          Strand Book Store  |  YouTube Video
          J Oliver Conroy, The
The Book:

          Annie Karni, Kevin Roose and Katie Rogers, New York Times
          Drew Harwell, Tony Romm, Washington Post
          Allyson Chiu, Washington Post
          Yuliya Talmazan and Monica Alba, NBC News

          Charlie Warzel, New York Times

Friday, November 15, 2019

Trump Impeachment Hearings (Day2) - Marie Yovanovitch

During today's Impeachment Hearing, Day Two, it was nuts listening to Jordan and Stefanik's dialogue, what's with all that melodramatic dripping contempt for our democratic government and it's rules?  

So now the GOP tells us it's a "performance" to expect the rule of law to be respected and obeyed?  It's "performance" that we're appalled at witnessing our President playing political extortion with an ally's self-defense needs.  What is going on here?  Actually, I do know, the GOP questioners are playing to their bubble and steadfastly ignoring the reality of the facts. 

What about simple FAIR PLAY.  What about Honest Constructive Debate?  Where both sides are bound by an expectation to be truthful?

Doesn't a sane government require a standard of honesty that applies to all sides?  But all I hear from the GOP is malicious slanderous innuendo, fabricated conspiracy theories, misdirection, and wasting time with ridiculous side stories, oh an the bullying - all justified because of their most grotesque partisan blindspots.

I wish someone would ask the GOP what they think of the other half of this country who believe in science and constructive debates, debates where honesty is expected from all sides?  Where learning and improving is the goal.  What about us?  Where do we go from here?

Watch: Day 2 of public Trump impeachment hearings
Washington Post  |  November 15, 2019

The Roger Stone Collection - November 15, 2019

I’ve been watching that amoral Roger Stone damage American politics all my life.  With his love of dirty tricks and hurting people, his prideful contempt for humanity and civility, ethics, dignity, honor, respect, empathy and then the self-worship and his own gluttony - he epitomizes the "Ugly American" as much as Trump does.  Winning is all that mattered.
Future of humanity?
Stone's response, Who the fuk cares!?  I got mine and fuk you and yours!  Too much is never going to be enough for me and it doesn't matter how much carnage I leave in my wake. 
He had a hell of run.  Roger Stone was tough enough, bullying enough, that Democrats wilted  time after time,  time after time,  and today in many ways our political mess is Roger Stone's legacy as much as anyone’s.

The Republican’s selective acceptance and their normalization of such criminality makes me more fearful for our short term future than ever before.  I think Democrats in general simply have no conception of the 'war footing' going on in their god-fearing minds.  But, I digress, here I wanted to share a selection of articles to introduce the uninitiated to why Roger Stone is a big deal.
Roger Stone found guilty on all 7 counts | ABC News


Roger Stone’s New York intrigues

By Zach Williams November 15, 2019

The ‘malevolent Forrest Gump’ has never strayed far from his home state.

1960 – Fake news in school
1972 – Nixon’s reelection campaign
1980 – John Anderson campaign … 
1999 – Trump’s aborted Reform Party campaign
2000 – The Florida Recount
2002 – Billionaire Tom Golisano gubernatorial run
2004 – Al Sharpton campaign
2007 – The New York state Senate
2010 – The Kristin Davis for governor campaign
2015 – Trump campaign

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Trump Impeachment Hearings (day 1) Bill Taylor, George Kent

Full video of Trump Impeachment Hearings (Day 1) | NBC News

The House Intelligence Committee holds its first public hearing in President Trump's impeachment inquiry. Witnesses include Bill Taylor, Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.

I graduated high school in 1973.  By then I’d already had enough science classes to understand the fundamental facts of Anthropogenic Global Warming.  Not that it’s tough to do, since though the details get impossibly complex, the fundamentals are quite straightforward and accessible to any intelligent person engaged in a good-faith learning effort.  
In the decades since observed changes on Earth have proven the scientists correct in their concerns and their science.  (I’m happy to debate that point, if anyone wants to question it.)
In these decades I have watched Republican leaders get ever more unhinged from physical realities, facts and well understood scientific truths - as they strayed further and further into self-certain self-delusion.  Today we see where that has lead our GOP leaders.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Diary, 11/5/19 - Small Victories, USA's newest Library District

I'll keep this short.  We had two local rural libraries facing closure because of shrinking County financial support, so local citizens took the matter in hand.  Long story short, we gained 400 signatures to qualify for a special tax district ballot measure #6D.  The County Clerk has now declared it a victory.  Truth be told the victory margin of 4% is rather disappointing, but not near as disappointing as losing, so I'll take it.

Long live Fort Lewis Mesa Library and Sunnyside Library and the Southwest LaPlata Library District, the nation's youngest, that will operate them.  Now we simply need to do better job of engaging and winning over our entire rural community.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Religious Thinking v. Scientific Thinking

When looking up Cambrian Period information you'll get flooded with Creationist Intelligent Design propaganda.  Stuff that freely misrepresents the facts and their "opponents," instead coming up with disconnected just so stories in complete disregard of the full spectrum of available understanding - so beware. 
That is why I'm sharing this comment that I originally penned for a discussion over at Center For Inquiry's ForumIt belongs here since a better understanding of the difference between religious thinking and serious scientific thinking is worth trying to push into the public consciousness!   (edited 9/19/19 evening)   

The challenge is clarifying the key difference between Religious Thinking and Scientific Thinking.  Both of which are products of our Human Mindscape.

It starts with acknowledging that all we see and experience, is through our senses and then processed by our brains to the best of our individual learning and abilities. 

The "Mindscape" is just that, our mind, the product of our body, nerves, brain and all we sense along with our emotions and thoughts.

Religions are all about our “Mindscape" itself, with it's constant dialogue and self-story telling and fears, emotions and needs.  Its freedom to poetically tie together whatever it wants.  It is the realm of the metaphysical thoughts and daydreaming and story telling. 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Diary 9/1/2019 - Life happens.

I've been neglecting this blog too much and decided to step it up with little reflection upon my summer, followed by an excursion into Earth's Pageant of Evolution.

Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans.  This summer my blogging effort wound up being focused on trying to convey the pageant of Earth’s Evolution and offering a glimpse into the folds within folds of accumulating harmonic complexity flowing down the stream of time that is the evolutionary process.

July 1990

Personally it’s also been a summer of five solo road trips down to Phoenix via a route I hadn’t been on since the ‘80s.  Driving out of Cortez, Colorado on Hwy 160 past the Four Corners Monument, then south on Hwy 191 along the western edge of the Defiance Uplift, including visits to Canyon DeChelly, then on to I-40 and scooting over to Hwy 87, which rises into the wonderfully surprising Coconino National Forest and then down the ancient Mogollon Rim.

The Mogollon Rim is the edge of the Colorado Plateau and its a two thousand foot drop into what’s called the “Transition Zone” with it’s jumble of one time islands caught between the ultimate rock and a hard place.  Then out into the “Valley of the Sun” and the “Basin and Range” geologic province.  Geologically it’s a fascinating drive and going solo allowed me a slower pace than our usual rush to reach our destination.

Though the drive south tended to be a bit more rushed than the drive home.  You see, I had dates to keep with my infant grandson.  Unlike with my first two grandkids who’s stay at home mother also had plenty of extended family around, this little guy’s parents have full-time professional careers.  Being an old hand with babies I was drawn into helping out with the child care.

Then when it was discovered how well the little guy and I get along, I kept getting invited back when the unexpected forced mom, then dad, to take a couple trips and my no longer carpentering left me available.

If you know how much Life and Earth’s story fascinate me, you can imagine what interacting with and watching an infant evolving impacts my thoughts.  Meaning my mind has become increasingly distracted and cluttered from the blogging task at hand.  

August 2019

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

. . . .

Under construction - right now merely parking place for images related to a writing project I'm working on and some discussion at CFI.

{click on images for better viewing}
The Fossil Tree of Life

The MicroRNA Tree of Life

MDIBL Science Café - Cambrian Explosion: Animals or Fossils?
Kevin J. Peterson is a professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth College.
Published on Aug 21, 2013

The fossil record shows animals suddenly exploding upon the geologic scene around 530 million years ago, forever altering Earth. However, new research suggests that the origin of animals pre-dates the "Cambrian explosion" by almost 200 million years. Kevin Peterson will examine the issues surrounding the origin and rise of animals and address the "missing" Precambrian fossil record, culling data primarily from the molecular record of animal life.

Kevin J. Peterson is a professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth College. He received his undergraduate training in biology at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, and earned his Ph.D. in geological science from the University of California, Los Angeles. His work centers on using molecular tools to address the origin and early evolution of animals


Flaws emerge in RNA method to build tree of life

Study finds problems with alluringly simple way to tease out evolutionary relationships through microRNA.
Tiny molecules that seemed to provide a powerful way to construct the tree of life may not have such a strong capability after all. A team of scientists has exposed1 flaws in a previously celebrated method that uses molecules called microRNAs to deduce evolutionary relationships between animals.
Growing pains
Thomson and his co-authors also applied an alternative method of analysing trees, which accommodated nuances in microRNA evolution, instead of using a method that assumes microRNA conservation through the generations. Three of the five resulting trees, including the reptile tree, more closely matched those produced by other methods.
Peterson could not be reached by Nature for comment, but Erik Sperling, a palaeobiologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, who was Peterson's co-author on some of the microRNA analyses2, 5, agrees with Thomson's conclusion that microRNAs cannot alone unveil species relationships. "MicroRNAs are not the panacea we perhaps originally hoped,” he says. …

But that doesn't mean they're a bust!  Solid lessons were learned and study continues.


Woodbury Fire from Mesa, June 15, 2019

Woodbury Fire from Mesa, June 18, 2019

Woodbury Fire outside Phoenix metro area June 19, 2019
With hot spot blowing up, if you look closely, above post and distant farm buildings.