Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Neat Stuff

Still a kick-ass book

So it seems that the late Cretaceous mass extinction that finished off the dinosaurs did not produce a rapid diversification of mammals to fill all of the newly-opened ecological niches. That's pretty fascinating, and goes against conventional wisdom in paleontology. I think it's great news. However, I do wonder how long it will be before the IDiots and assorted other Creationists point to this study as an example of how "scientists can't agree about evolution."

Why did I put up a picture of the cover of The Dinosaur Heresies? Three reasons--first, it's still, as the caption contends, a kick-ass book. Second, the cover art is also kick-ass. Third, Bakker made a good case for why dinosaurs must have been homeotherms, and included the argument that, if they had all lain around in states of torpor, little mammals would have been nibbling away at them. There's a really cute illustration in the book of some proto-rodents munching on a sauropod's long tail while the dinosaur slumbers. If you haven't read this book, you really should.

Now, from millions of years in the past to millions of miles away--there's more neat shit from Cassini.

And you thought your town had crazy weather.

This hexagon exists at Saturn's north pole. It's bigger than Jupiter's Great Red Spot, and it's been around for at least 26 years--the Voyager probes snapped some photos of it back in the 1980's. There's another strange atmospheric phenomenon at Saturn's south pole.

Does anyone have any good explanations for these atmospheric oddities? No. But they're working on it.

Maybe I'll have more later about the fucked-up misuse of the DOJ, but it's a busy week for me. So, for now, enjoy the mammals and hexagons.

Labels: ,