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.
Well, maybe recent history. There certainly have been important elections in the past, and some of those really only became apparent in hindsight. Just off the top of my head, I can think of two Presidential elections that, had they gone the other way, would have led the nation down a distinctly different path, those being the elections of 1860 and 1864.
But, yeah, 2024 is going to be an interesting one. In The Claremont Review of Books, scribe Jeffrey H. Anderson has some thoughts on the matter that I found interesting.
So far, this has been the “briar patch” election. Democrats, desperate to run against Donald Trump because he’s the one candidate they think Joe Biden can beat, have cheered on Democratic prosecutors who have issued myriad indictments against the former president. They are effectively saying, “Please, Republicans, whatever you do, please don’t nominate Donald Trump!” Republican voters, angered by these politically motivated indictments, are responding, “We’ll show you, Democrats. We’ll nominate Donald Trump!”
Disclaimer: I can find someone’s remarks interesting without necessarily agreeing with them. I’m not convinced, at this early stage of the game (and I remind you all, not one primary vote has yet been cast) that Donald Trump is the sure loser the Left makes him out to be, especially after some recently-released swing state polls. And Mr. Anderson throws in a cautionary note on that score as well:
The result, however, might not work out as well for the Democrats as Br’er Rabbit’s trickery did against Br’er Fox. Biden is such a weak candidate—with a vice president who’s even weaker—that Trump just might win. Then again, maybe the Democrats are secretly fine with that result, too. Rather than giving voters four more years to sour on Biden as he moves into his mid-80s, they might figure that a Trump win would bring them a more satisfying victory in the long run—four more years to stoke and cultivate the faculty-lounge Left, while still remaining confident that independents’ inevitable backlash against Trump would yield a big Democratic victory in 2028.
Remember what I said only moments ago? About not one primary vote having yet been cast? It’s not impossible that the whole applecart may yet be upset, and that upset might just begin on November 30th.
On November 30, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and California Governor Gavin Newsom are scheduled to compete in a nationally televised, 90-minute, one-on-one Fox News debate moderated by Sean Hannity. This debate—between the governors of two of the nation’s three largest states, one a presidential candidate, the other supposedly not—is itself a sign of the campaign’s peculiarity. The very fact that it is slated to occur represents a serious anomaly. Yet it has the potential to alter the race. Featuring two men in their prime (DeSantis is 45, Newsom 56), the showdown will contrast DeSantis’s pro-Main Street, “we’re open for business” governance in the Sunshine State with Newsom’s fondness for authoritarian lockdowns and mandates in the Golden State. If either (or both) of their performances generates a great deal of buzz—a sense of “I wish these two guys (or one of them) would be on the ballot in November”—then it could help reshuffle the race on the Republican side or, on the Democratic side, focus the pressure on Biden to exit the stage.
There will be a sharp contrast here, not only between Republican DeSantis, who oversees one of the brightest economies in the nation and Gavin Newsom, who ruined San Francisco before going on to ruin California; no, the real contrast will be between these two younger men vs. a befuddled, confused, dementia-addled octogenarian President and a former President who, while still active and pretty sharp, is nevertheless in his late seventies.
That’s a pretty interesting contrast, and the news and punditry cycles in the days following that debate should be interesting.
And, of course, we can add President Trump’s legal problems into the mix. The Constitution lays out the qualifications for President, and there’s nothing in there about legal charges pending or convicted; he could, arguably, be elected while sitting in a jail cell, then pardon himself after his inauguration, although the Supreme Court may have to rule on that last part; there is sure as hell no precedent.
Mr. Anderson concludes:
So, if this presidential campaign hasn’t been interesting enough for you thus far, stay tuned—a lot of twists and turns could well be ahead. While this race may prove to be dismaying for the republic, the last thing it should be is boring.