sometimes i start thinking about ‘deep time’ and i get almost vertiginous.
not even geologic time-scales! or cosmic time-scales! just human time-scales!
but there is more time between the rise of agriculture/people in catal hoyuk and the pyramids than there is between the pyramids and now
there is more time between the domestication of the dog and catal hoyuk than there is between the founding of that settlement and now
there is more time between the first anatomically modern humans and the domestication of the wolf than there is between dogs and now
those people who lived 5000, 12,000, 40,000, 120,000 years ago (and even well before) they were people, with inner lives and hopes and fears and dreams and if you took one of them as an infant and plopped them into 2016 society they’d grow up tech-savvy and fluent in fucking internet memes because biologically/mentally they’re identical to current people
the overwhelming majority of human history- just talking about h. sapiens sapiens here for the sake of argument though pre-sapiens homonids were likely also ‘people’ in very real and significant ways -we all lived and died in small bands, told stories, cooperated, fought, muddled along
then some clever asshole(s) figured out ‘hey the place where we keep throwing those waste seeds sure is growing a whole lot of edible plants. HMMMM’ and things started changing.
and that was EIGHT THOUSAND YEARS BEFORE ANYONE EVEN THOUGHT UP CUNEIFORM
WHICH IS ALMOST SIX THOUSAND YEARS OLD
like, okay, i can wrap my head around ‘humanity is a blip on the earth’s time scale’. An even smaller blip on the cosmic scale. But to a mere mortal shmuck, humanity itself, the tiniest most insignificant blip on the cosmic radar, is vast
fucking agriculture is at best a tenth of human history. cities? More like a twentieth.
The Hidden Life of trees: What they Feel, How they Communicate
While I have long loved forests in all their forms, I had never understood them as deep a way until this book enriched me, giving me as close to an inside perspective on what life as a tree might be like as I’m likely to get. Written by a forester with over 30 years experience managing a communal forest in Germany, the first thing it taught me to do was to slow down my perspective on time, and perceive what life lived at a very different rhythm and in vastly varying constraints must be like. Unlike the events of deep geological time, trees still change on a human scale while remaining able to live for several millennia. The tree your grandfather planted remains but a youngster.
Middle school students in California (who are probably almost graduating high school today) put together a video lesson on the geology of California, asking questions of experts about the history of the Earth, plate tectonics, deep time, and what is happening beneath their feet.
Fossil Friday: NSF visits the Smithsonian to teach about fossils
NSF science assistant Alex Cohen (top) and science analyst Fatima Touma (bottom) helped children learn about the science behind fossils.
The National Park Service, NSF, and other partners sponsor annual National Fossil Day Events. National Fossil Day is a nationwide celebration meant to promote education about the science of fossils and to excite the next generation of explorers. This year over 300 people, mostly school aged children and their families, attended Washington, D.C.’s Fossil Day event at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
Humanity’s impact on the Earth is now so profound that scientists declare a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene
Nuclear tests, plastic pollution and domesticated chickens: welcome to the Anthropocene.
Thanks to striking acceleration of carbon dioxide emissions, sea level rise, the global mass extinction of species, and the transformation of land by deforestation and development, experts argue we’ve created a new slice of geological time.
Definition: The clade of the most recent common ancestor of Ceratosaurus and Carnotaurus, and all of that most recent common ancestor’s descendants.
Organisms Within: The clades Ceratosauridae and Abelisauroidea
Time Range: Given this is another node-based clade, we can only guess at when the earliest member of this group evolved. Since earliest known Abelisauroids are from the earliest portion of the Middle Jurassic, it stands to reason that the earliest Neoceratosaur had to evolve before this; the best guess at such is shown below.
Characteristics: This group contains all the more derived members of Ceratosauria, and they remained as weird and strangely diverse as their less derived relatives. The bulk of this group included the Abelisauroids, which ranged from the huge and tiny-armed Carnotaurus to the small and fast Noasaurids.
Neoceratosaurs were relatively medium-sized predators or smaller during the Jurassic; however, the later Abelisaurids that would inhabit mostly the Southern Hemisphere got very large and often were at the top of the food chain in their environments.
The beginning members of this group would probably have had some feathers, though as Abelisauroids evolved, the derived Abelisaurids primarily lost their fluffy covering. Furthermore, Ceratosaurids probably had osteoderms along their back, though this says nothing about the Noasaurid group, which were primarily small and thus probably retained their feathers.
Biogeography: It is very uncertain where Neocreatosauria originated, given that Ceratosaurs were very widespread and Neoceratosaurs were also; early members of Abelisauroidea are not helpful, either, as they are fairly widespread. As such, it is unlikely it will ever be determined where this group first evolved.
Posts about Ceratosauridae and Abelisauroidea to come soon.
I can’t decide which Star Trek headcanon I like better:
1) Every ship in Starfleet runs into just as much space trouble as the Enterprise (and other main character ships), to the point where it becomes nonchalant
“Hey Susan, how was your time on the Victory?”
“Oh, it was awful. We got sucked into an interdimensional rift for 3 weeks! Uhg, it was terrible. What about you?”
“Yeah, our ship entered a nebula, and then gravity reversed direction, so everything repelled everything else. It was so tedious, pushing buttons was hard, because you would be repelled away from your station panel. Glad that nonsense is over.”
2) Only the main character ships experience weird space anomalies.
“Hey, how was your assignment on the Constitution?”
“We charted some stellar nurseries and did some geological surveys. One time, we had a little conflict with the Romulans, but it never escalated to a fight. What about you?”
“My mission was pretty boring. But have you heard about Fred? He got assigned to the Enterprise! He was telling me about how they encountered an omniscient space cloud and that they faced “space bullshit” as he called it, every other week. He says he’s lucky to be alive.”
Like, other starships occasionally have a battle, but none of them encounter these weird space anomalies, or travel through time, or meet omniscient beings, or anything weird like that. It’s literally only the various Enterprise ships, Deep Space 9 and Voyager. That’s it. Every other ship in all of Starfleet is pretty much boring.
Some scientists think our actions merit the start of an entirely new epoch on the geological time scale, and it’s called the Anthropocene. A group of researches called the Anthropocene Working Group are trying to get the new epoch formally recognized. They argue that since the 1950s, humans have left a measurable mark on the planet through the disruption of one environmental cycle.
Stones, brown tufted grass, but no water, it is dry to the bottom. A seedy eye of orange hawkweed blinks in sunlight stupidly, a mink bumbles away, a ringnecked snake among stones lifts its head like a spark, a dead young woodcock - long dead, the mink will not touch it - sprawls in the hatchment of its soft plumage and clutches emptiness with drawn talons. This is the ravine today. But in spring it cascaded, in winter it filled with snow until it lay hidden completely. In time, geologic time, it will melt away or deepen beyond recognition, a huge gorge. These are what I remember and foresee. These are what I see here every day, not things but relationships of things, quick changes and slow. These are my sorrow, for unlike my bright admonitory friends I see relationships, I do not see things. These, such as they are, every day, every unique day, the first in time and the last, are my thoughts, the sequences of my mind. I wonder what they mean. Every day, day after day, I wonder what they mean.
Otherwise-than-place, oblivion, geologic time: to contemplate any of these is to countenance our own erasures without rage or despair […] What’s needed is, I think, a small dose of this eros of oblivion, the capacity to think backward or forward from place to its mothering wilderness. That might help impede the tendency to manic ownership and keep the relationship flowing both ways. It might help us see our stories dissolving into the infinity of details from which they are made. The inscription fades from the marble, and the marble weeps its minerals into the sea, as surely as the wind will fill those backward snowshoe tracks with snow.
[P]lace is the beginning of memory, and memory is the momentary domestication of time. We could continue that walk around the meadow, pausing at the mulberries where the cedar waxwings got drunk, the red maple beloved of the orioles […]—and at each the stories would proliferate. But each would come with that temporary, provisional quality built in. Those little walks, whether exercised in situ or in memory, exist on the hinge of translation between pace and its otherwise, with the flow going both ways, rooting [us] in place while they simultaneously open - always with that sense of danger, that pre-echo of oblivion - into wilderness.