why we need global warning now! step TWO
Time is nothing more than a convenient convention that humans have adopted so that everyone can keep track of stuff. It really makes no difference at all what method one uses to keep an eye on things, so long as everyone agrees. Andrew Dickson White, in his book A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896) improves on the work started by James Ussher in the seventeenth century. White comments on John Lightfoot’s use of the James Ussher’s chronology by informing a waiting world that “in the seventeenth century, in his great work, Dr. John Lightfoot, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and one of the most eminent Hebrew scholars of his time, declared, as the result of his most profound and exhaustive study of the Scriptures, that "heaven and earth, centre and circumference, were created all together, in the same instant, and clouds full of water," and that "this work took place and man was created by the Trinity on October 23, 4004 B.C., at nine of the clock in the morning.[i]” How remarkable that God finished His creation just in time for a bit of breakfast[ii]. Now you can go about your day with confidence that God is in his Heaven and all is right with the world. Sorta, kinda.Dinosaurs roamed the earth for a long time, from the Triassic Period to the Cretaceous. They were a successful bunch of critters; they were around for almost 200 million years so I guess it would be appropriate to say that they roamed the earth for a very, very, very long time. The reasons for their rather abrupt departure to take up residence in museums[iii] around the planet are subject to a lot of debate. Some say that an enormous object hit the planet in the Yucatan peninsula (That has to hurt!), changing the earth’s climate; others say that the dinosaurs simply ate themselves out of their homes. Whatever the reason or reasons for their disappearance, you have to admit that they had a decent run. Humans on the other hand first appeared maybe 200,000 years ago. It appears that humans will have to wait a while before contacting the editors at Guinness World Records so that the human name could be included in their book. That assumes, of course, that we do not kill ourselves off in the not-too-distant future.[i] Lightfoot took liberties with Ussher’s work however. Ussher’s cosmology had the same date, but nowhere did he specify 9 a.m.[ii] In a statement that must have infuriated some Creationists, Edward P. Tryon, of Columbia University, said of its creation that, “I offer the modest proposal that our Universe is simply one of those things that happen from time to time.”[iii] The man credited with changing the primary role of a museum from a purely academic one to a recreational one to which ordinary people would be allowed access is Englishman Richard Owen. Owen achieved this distinction by virtue of the fact that he was given the job of directing London’s Natural History Museum. What makes Owen unique is that he got this position in spite of his extremely well documented, career-long fondness for stealing other people’s work. In 1846, the Royal Society gave Owen a medal. It was for a paper that he had presented on an extinct mollusk. Granted, it was a brilliant paper. Nevertheless, Channing Pierce had presented the same paper to the same society in 1840.
posted by Dean Perchik 8:18 AM 0 comments
Saturday, May 31, 2008
The first step
An ivestigation into why global warming is a good thing.Apparently, when sheets of ice the size of Brazil start dropping of the Antarctic ice shelves, it is easy to accept the idea of global warming. Having done so, we also see that things in our unceasing war against the environment are starting to heat up rapidly. We have seen the event horizon yet we still consider ourselves as being just a drop of water in an endless sea. If you think you can buy yourself out of this mess, think again because all our money will not another minute buy.[i]It is inevitable that the earth will become interstellar wreckage. Research has not yet determined if that will be in a billion years or next summer. It could be caused by a natural event such as a rogue planet (yes, there are such things[ii]) slamming into us. On the other hand, it could be the result of a human-caused global cataclysm, in which the only survivors will be Keith Richards and bugs. Respecting the latter cause, and in light of recent reports on the effects of global warming, deforestation, and research into a whole lot of other things that make me feel uncomfortable and inconvenienced, I find myself becoming less certain about the bugs.If you look at the condition of societies around the world, it is far too easy to conclude that we are only one rider away from the Apocalypse. Of the four, I am putting my money on the pale horse. Many people believe that every word in the Bible is the literal truth and use it to guide their lives accordingly. Take the book of Genesis for example. The creationists believe that people should use this as proof of Divine intervention in the creation of our home planet and its wonders. I am not so sure about that but then again I don’t even think that Phil Collins is a particularly good drummer.Exhaustive, and apparently exhausting, research has proven that our planet’s climate is changing, and that change is not for the better. Unless you happen to be particularly cantankerous, it is beyond dispute that global warming is a fact. The elusive Northwest Passage, which the search for fueled the early Voyages of Discovery, is open and will soon be navigable. If you make long-term investments in real estate, Kansas City will eventually be offering oceanfront lots for sale. Eventually, tropical predators will descend on Manhattan, if they are not already there. With New York, things like that are hard to tell. Some are of the opinion that this is a bad thing. However, I am not one of those who feel that way. Global warming? An end to life as we know it? I hope so because it is about time! In the interests of fair play, I think that we should be gracious and step aside so that another species can have a shot at this planet.Calendrical eccentricities are one of the more unpleasant facts of life when anyone concerns themselves with dates. I will be using dates a great deal, in what you are reading. Many times, these dates will be approximations, such as 200 million years ago. Other times, the dates will be very specific. For the specific dates, I am relying on the calendar currently in wide use around the world, the Gregorian calendar. I will not use the Julian day calendar unless it is unavoidable. I don’t know what Joseph Scaliger had running through his head when he chose to name his hideous day calendar after his father, Julian. Personally, I think that whatever his reasons were it was a terrible thing for him to have burdened his father with and I’m just not intrigued enough to want to find out. Many people want to repay their fathers for a variety of reasons but I doubt if his dad was very happy to have an awkward and difficult to mange calendar named after him. Similarly, using the Maya Long Count calendar is out of the question and the Mayans know why. [i] Bits and pieces shamelessly stolen from the band Kansas’s song Dust in the Wind.[ii] A rogue planet is a large interstellar object, having a mass, gravity, size and, possibly, an atmosphere that meets the criteria for a planet but has escaped capture by a star’s gravitational field and as a result wanders through the universe.