Sunday, November 10, 2019

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

I've got this lit it up like a Christmas tree with hotlinks to a variety of relevant articles, videos and such.  All of it accessible to any interested person without much previous understanding, while offering some great information to the initiated as well. For a look at part one link here.

In the first part 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 4 hours to claw together an existence within very tiny, very simple, very protective sacks, against an extremely hostile environment.  

It took another 17 hours worth of Earth’s geology and biology combining forces to process and tame Earth’s raw materials to the point that descendants of those simple cells, which had been evolving new skills all along, had an environment with the proper conditions (ocean, atmosphere, chemistry, nutrients, climatic conditions, tectonics), to enable spectacular expansion and innovations.

Before continuing please reflect on a truth first recognized when studying the most primitive of life forms on Earth.  Spelled out by Nobel Laureate Peter Mitchell in 1957 it reads, “(We) cannot consider the organism without its environment - from a formal point of view the two may be regarded as equivalent phases between which dynamic contact is maintained by the membranes that separate and link them.”

That’s because the cell’s barrier skin is tailored to protect its innards from its particular environment, while allowing specific nutrients to flow in and waste to flow out. Life got more complex but these basic challenges remained. 

Life learned to repurpose its genetic heritage, body parts were re-proportioned, modifications made, animals radiated, survivors learned to thrive in their brave new worlds. The increasing interaction of plants, animals, predators, pray, sensing, grasping, protecting, hiding, thinking - the stuff of competition. All of it worked together giving birth to ecology and the outlines of today’s world.

Tuesday, November 5, 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.

Monday, November 4, 2019

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

I finished my second half to this a couple weeks back, and needed a little break.  Now that November has rolled around it's time to return to my telling of The Pageant of Earth's Evolution (in 24 hours).  I hope you don't me reposting part one, before sharing the second half.

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.