Sunday, September 30, 2007

Scientists push back origins of Earth's oxygen (Reuters)

I just read an article about scientists pushing back origins of Earth's oxygen.

Did the oxygen actually begin to rise about 2.5 billion years ago? The scientists are finding some evidence from some rocks that the activity occured 50 to 100 million years before the Oxygen Catastrophe (known as the Great Oxidation Event).

For about the first half of the planet's existence, the environment had nearly no oxygen. I am curious to know how the planet acquire the oxygen after the atmosphere started to become thicker. Did part of oxygen get trapped inside the planet during its birth?

Like living things, oxygen and other gases have evolved for billions of years.

I'm currently reading a book called Lucy : The Beginnings of Humankind. I visited The Leakey Foundation's web site and saw this book in the bookstore. I am always interested in human evolution and I have to admit that australopithecus afro is one of my favorite species. Even though the book was published more than 20 years, I am ambitious in reading this book. When I started to read the book, I can tell that some information are outdated. But, I still feel that ti's worth reading. I am intrigued by the discovery of Lucy and I wanted to learn more about the history of Lucy. It seems that the author did a tremendous job by describing the difference of each species, from apes to humans and how to identify each skull.

The New York Times published an incredible article last year about new hints unveiled by studying Lucy's bones. I'm going to post the link below. This article was printed on September 21, 2006.

Little Girl, 3 Million Years Old, Offers New Hints on Evolution

Saturday, September 29, 2007

NYT : At Climate Meeting, Bush Does Not Specify Goals

As you may know, global warming is not on Bush's top agenda. Recently, he has address the issue of global warming and how real it has become. I am theorizing that he is doing to give a boost to his party. However, he has failed to elaborate his party's goal to combat against global warming. He is more concerned about our country's economy rather than our planet's needs. This is a huge obstacle. Regardless of what party he is, I feel that he should act more on global warming and other issues that should not be neglected.

The New York Times has an article about Bush failing to specify goals. If you wish to read the article, click on the link below.

At Climate Meeting, Bush Does Not Specify Goals just posted an article about mammoth hair yielding DNA. We will probably find out what has caused mammoth's extinction. It's matter of time until the researchers find more clues. For years, scientists have tried to obtain DNA from the frozen remains but have been unsuccessful. Mammoth's hair may be the answer but it may take years until we actually know whether the mission has been accomplished.

At one point, the hard covering of hair could protect the DNA. If you wish to keep reading, click on the link below.

Mammoth hair yields DNA, may solve extinction mystery

The image above is from the Rocks and Minerals website.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

October 4, 1957

Almost 50 years ago, something has changed the world dramatically. The launching of Sputnik has stunned many people, especially the Americans who have witnessed or listened to the event. It did make the difference.

Homer H. Hickam, author of "Rocket Boys", has become more famous after the movie "October Sky" was played in theaters. He was awed when he witnessed the orbit of Sputnik floating around Earth.

The space race has started instantly. Even though Russians were first in many things, the United States managed to be the first to send men to the Moon.

What has been done was a great achievement. Hickman and other people have played significant roles in helping our country to become involved with the space program.

I am attaching the link to the New York Times article. Keep reading...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The terrifying velociratpor with feathers...

Here's the story. I saw a post in Yahoo News. The scientists are saying that velociraptor had feathers. That didn't surprise me because an idea was mentioned in other articles. The acceptance of the idea has been gaining the ground but we still have a long way to go.

Having features don't necessarily mean that all dinosaurs evolved to birds. However, I do believe that a tiny fraction group of dinosaurs has successfully evolved to birds and have escaped the massive extinction 65 million years ago.

Why did they need feathers? We can say that they need feathers to guard nests, for temperature control, or to help it maneuver while running.

The velociratpor was about three feet tall and weighed about 30 pounds. According to the researchers, it would not have been able to fly, even though it had feathers.

I have always thought that it's really difficult to evolve from one species to another species.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

NYT : Lost in a Million-Year Gap, Solid Clues to Human Origins

Today, I was exuberant when the New York Times printed an article about human origins. The human evolution tree is still far from perfect. However, there are several good theories. Unfortunately, there are not enough fossils discovered and some may be waiting to be discovered.

When I read the publication last month about the new idea of Homo erectus and Homo habilis living together even though they became isolated from each other for many thousand years. I am really curious whether Homo erectus actually left Africa or stayed at another part of Africa before meeting their distant cousins.

Did Homo splitted off from australopithecus? In my own opinion, I would say yes. But, I can't be one hundred percent sure. Recently, I acquired a copy of book called Lucy. I plan on reading this to learn more about australopithecus.

As scientists and paleoanthropologists try to revamp the human evolution map, I can still ponder about some theories they have on the table. This is one of the most exciting fields.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An amazing parrot is at peace

Alex, a 31-year old Africian gray brainy parrot, passed away last week at age 31. I was intrigued when I read an article in the New York Times about brain parrot's achievements that went beyond my expectation. Alex knew more than 100 words and could count and recognize colors and shapes. One last thing that amazed me was that he said to Dr Pepperberg on his final night before his death, "You'll be in tomorrow."

For further reading, click on the link below.

Brainy Parrot Dies, Emotive to the End

Saturday, September 8, 2007

NYT : Warming Is Seen as Wiping Out Most Polar Bears

There is an article in the New York Times about global warming is seen as wiping out most Polar Bears. This is very unfortunate. The esimate of current population is 22,000. I have read an article a couple months ago about Polar Bear as the most prized animals for hunters and they are not about to slow down.

At one point, the Polar Bears will have to adapt the new change and try to survive by looking for different kinds of food and atmosphere. I think that they are in gravely dangerous of becoming extinct someday if not much is done to protect them. Global warming is unstoppable but will the Polar Bears adapt to the new lifestyle?

For further reading, click on the link below.

Warming Is Seen as Wiping Out Most Polar Bears

NYT : When the Moon Was a Matter of Pride

The New York Times' Science Section has an article about the documentary film called "In the Shadow of the Moon." In that film, you will find the history of the journey to the Moon. Unfortunately, Neil Armstrong wasn't included in the film. It's due to the fact that he is a very private man.

The amazing thing is that Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, & Mike Collins made an excursion that no human being has done. Even though Mike stayed in the orbit, this was a special event. They were not just representing the United Sates, they were representing the world. Of course, there were several other manned flights to the Moon after Apollo 11's achievement.

I have read the book called First Man, an authorized biography of Neil Armstrong and I enjoyed the book. I would probably enjoy the documentary film despite to Neil Armstrong's absence.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Distant space collision meant doom for dinosaurs

I just read an article about the distant space collision meant doom for dinosaurs. I sat back and thought about it for a moment. I seem to like this notion that this kind of collision played the role. I'm keeping my mind open on other hypotheses and theories. It's worth reading.

On other note, I do believe that the asteroid has caused the catastrophe about 65 million years ago. The crash was powerful enough to put Earth in dark for a period of time. My biggest question is how did mammals survive? Did a fraction of plants survive without the sunlight ray? I have thought about the continuous activities of volcanoes that may have allowed the small group of plants at unaffected area to survive.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Zero-G Stresses Immune Organs

I just read an article posted in Yahoo News. The researchers have discovered that Zero-G can stress immune organs. If true, it can be a significant concern, especially when sending humans to Mars. This research could be vital to the decsion making and this research should continue further. There are so many things that we don't fully understand about the space and we are aware of various risks.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Book : The World Without Us

I just bumped into an article in The New York Times. There is a Book Review about a book called 'The World Without Us'. I find this review very interesting. I have thought about it numerous of time. The author's explanation seems very logical. I know that some of you would disagree with me on many areas but I'm going to post my own opinion as I see something plausible.

Life would eventually change after the mankind is nearly or completely wiped out. The destruction of civilization will certainly happen but nobody knows when and how it will happen.

What would happen to Manhattan after the catastrophe? For sure, it would look wholly different. Two days after the incident, the subway tunnels become flooded with water because nobody would be able to regulate the pump system. The skyscrapers would collapse because nobody would do any repair work. The river would occupy Manhattan.

This is not a pleasant thought. However, this book can be a valuable tool for us so that we can try to deal with issues such as the sudden global warming, nuclear crisis, and other areas.

If the mass extinction does happen, everything will start all over again. Our planet would recover with some things left behind by us. The species would become wild again. The carbon dioxide level would become normal again 100,000 years later. If a fraction of Homo sapiens survive, it would be challenging for them to rebuild the civilization but they would struggle for a long time. As the article said, life will go on with or without us. The species will keep evolving gradually based on survival, weather, and competition.