Much as I love dinosaurs, the Jurassic Park franchise, while fun, was horribly inaccurate. Apple TV’s recent Prehistoric Planet is vastly better, as is the somewhat-short-on-dinosaurs-but-still-good Netflix series Life on Our Planet.
But setting aside our own dinosaurs for the moment, a group of observers looking for biosignatures in nearby star systems make a good point; on our own planet, during the Mesozoic (dinosaur time) the Earth cast a much high biosignature than it does now.
Planets far away from Earth could be harboring species that resemble Earth’s dinosaurs and humans may currently have the ability to find them, according to a new study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal.
“Modern Earth’s light fingerprint has been our template for identifying potentially habitable planets, but there was a time when this fingerprint was even more pronounced — better at showing signs of life,” study author Lisa Kaltenegger said in a statement to The Sun.
According to the study, researchers on Earth could detect such life by searching for compounds that are not currently present on our planet but were during the age of the dinosaurs. That’s because the Earth had higher levels of oxygen, about 30%, during the time of the dinosaurs, allowing the complex creatures to grow. Today, Earth’s oxygen levels have leveled off to 21%.
Those high oxygen levels could be a clue to the kind of life that exists on a faraway planet, the researchers argue, noting that special telescopes can be used to detect similar conditions to what dinosaurs confronted millions of years ago.
They are, of course, correct about the oxygen levels; that’s another little tidbit that the Jurassic Park movies and other, similar flicks never address, namely that the huge beasts that wandered the Cretaceous would be awfully short of breath on our Earth today. Of course, if that were the biggest scientific shortfall on those movies, that would be another story.
Tangentially, this ties in with a bone I’ve had to pick with the environmental movement and the climate change screechers for some time now; the Earth is now not at all typical of what it has been like through most of the planet’s 4.55 billion year history. It’s been hotter, it’s been colder, oxygen levels have been higher and lower, and so on.
There’s another problem, this one in the linked article’s conclusion:
“Hopefully we’ll find some planets that happen to have more oxygen than Earth right now because that will make the search for life just a little bit easier,” Kaltenegger said. “And, who knows, maybe there are other dinosaurs waiting to be found.”
Hyperbole much? No, on no other planet will we find dinosaurs. There’s no reason to suspect that multi-celled life on another planet would resemble life on Earth in any way. It may not even be bilateral. Its blood chemistry and genetic coding may be completely different. To have an ecology, the planet would have to have producers and consumers, but that’s really the only hard and fast rule. Producers wouldn’t have to be plants as we know them, and consumers wouldn’t have to be animals or fungi. We probably lack the imagination to know all the roads biology might take in another solar system.
And finally, I’ll make my usual comment on dinosaurs being extinct; dinosaurs are most assuredly not extinct. There are more species of the Therapoda alive today than there are mammals. We call them birds.
Happy Thanksgiving, True Believers! No news or deep thoughts today, just a quick serving of autumnal totty (because who doesn’t love big pumpkins?) and our best wishes! Rule Five Friday and the Saturday Gingermageddon will come as usual tomorrow and Saturday, then we have toothsome totty placeholders next week while I do the whole family patriarch bit over our expanding brood. Regular posts resume on Dec 4th – see you all then!
No extra notes this morning. A red-eye to Denver and then an early flight to Des Moines beckons, and I’ve other work to get to before heading to the airport. So stand ready! Here comes the Wednesday usual.
Yes, you read that correctly. A Democrat (of course) Congressional candidate from Oregon (of course) is looking to “embrace her past” after being outed as a $500/hour dominatrix.
An Oregon Democratic congressional candidate is embracing her past and looking to “reclaim her sexuality” after a clip of her working at a Manhattan BDSM dungeon was leaked online earlier this year.
Prior to being exposed for her past work in her 20s and 30s, Courtney Casgraux, a 41-year-old self-described international businesswoman who is seeking to represent Oregon’s 1st Congressional District in the House, worked as a dominatrix and charged clients an estimated $500 per hour.
In an interview with the New York Post, Casgraux discussed how she felt when the video was released and how she’s using the incident to empower her campaign for Congress.
“[I was] just panicking. . . . Then I was like, ‘Who did this?’ and I just started calling every single person that I pretty much knew from my past. . . . I was like hyperventilating, crying,” Casgraux, the single mother of a teenage son, recalled of how she felt when she found out about the video.
I don’t get the whole “dominatrix” thing. I just don’t see the appeal. At one point in my life, of course, were I into being mocked and belittled by a woman, I could have just spoken with my first wife’s mother; I guess the $500 an hour is for getting humiliated by a woman who is, well, attractive.
And Courtney Casgraux, no matter her personal nutballery, isn’t hard on the eyes.
I guess, well, this is Oregon, and her background in the lunatic asylum that is Oregon’s 1st Congressional District, which encompasses the Portland metro area, may actually help her chances. They certainly can’t hurt.
And if she wins, I would only offer this caution: Honey, it’s great that you want to reclaim your sexuality, whatever that means, but please, do it on your own time. The House is messed up enough as it is.
Now then; Free Press’s Oliver Wiseman has an interesting piece on what a shambling mess the 2024 POTUS election is becoming, and it’s worth the read.
Suddenly the general election field is starting to look a bit crowded. In addition to whomever is nominated by the major parties, there’s dissident Democrat RFK Jr., who currently scoops up about a fifth of voters in many polls. Add to that the twin challenge from the far left: Jill Stein and Cornel West. Then there’s the possibility of a No Labels “unity” ticket, involving Manchin or some Manchinesque moderate.
And who can say if that’s where it stops? When I spoke to polling guru Nate Silver last week, he postulated it was possible other credible third-party candidates could enter the race. “I don’t want to mention any particular names and speculate,” he said, “but if you’re a rich centrist, or a rich actor with an interest in politics, you might be saying to yourself, ‘Look, RFK Jr. is at 22 percent. If I can get to 32 percent then I’m tied for the lead.’ It wouldn’t shock me if you have other people who at least feel out running.”
It says a lot about the electorate that a “rich actor with an interest in politics” is even being considered a possibility; but then, we are in a time where more people can tell you which Kardassian is screwing who this week, than can name either of their state’s Senators.
And those other people? Hoo boy.
Meanwhile, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a megastar moderate who has been talked about as a potential celebrity presidential candidate, popped up on Capitol Hill yesterday. He did not give reporters a straight answer when asked if he was running for president.
Just imagine: The Rock vs. RFK vs. Cornel. . . with Matthew McConaughey vying for the VP pick.
Just imagine the kakistrocacy replaced by… a worse kakistocracy.