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About goingtothedo

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  • Birthday 11/11/1961

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  • Location
    North of England
  • Interests
    Reading, Walking, Science, Writing, My Dogs
  • College Major/Degree
    BSc Hons Engineering Metallurgy University of Salford
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Evolution and Astrobiology
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  1. Yes, I love science poetry and particularly what you term "astro-poetry", but it is kinda hard to find the good ones. I prefer the hard science approach to such things, but am not averse to taking a very emotional and intuitve approach either. I've added below another one I did a few years ago when I went to watch a full lunar eclipse on Pendle Hill. Doubtless you don't know Pendle Hill, but it is famous in this country as the site of witch trials in the 17th century. There was even a book written "Mist over Pendle". Very spooky being there at night. Even in the day, its so high and desolate, but very open. You can see the sea thirty miles away on a clear day. Pendle Hill has serious "Spirit of Place". So I include the below as part of the "astro-poetry" thing, but I wouldn't like anyone to read into it that I believe in witches or demons..... Eclipse over Pendle The Dark lays still o’er Pendle Hill, Full moon shining, frost lays starkly Vapour rises, Magics’ guises, The soul of the mountain whispers darkly. Shimmer moon shine down, Night’s the beauty, yours the glory, Glimmer moon shine down, Retell once more the ancient story. The silence speaks of demon sleep And long dead warlock, mage or druid Waking tonight. Sorcerous unlight, And ancient glamours now unguarded Shimmer moon. Shine down The circle marred, Shadow encroaching Glimmer moon. Shine down, Ware the spell, darkness approaching Luna’s disc gleams through the mist, Her maiden’s face the sky caresses Her age old eyes have seen the signs Of Albion, Wicca and Lyonesse Blaze stars and shine Umbric darkness in the gaining Brazen stars and I Watch lunatic shadow in the making The Dark lays still on Pendle Hill It’s perfection bids my silence The darkness reigns, as foreordained Wordless sentience gathers presence Cold, Dark. And I, Benumbed await occult conclusion Old stars and I, tranced Await moonstruck possession Returned to day, the Spirit lays, The presence drops once more to slumber, The hills and plains, Pendle’s demesne, In sunshine. Night now ill-remembered Shine sun, shine down, O’er hill and valley, field and deeping Shine sun shine down, On Colossus, only sleeping
  2. Am female. The icon is of me about two years ago.
  3. Was "nous" intentional? Think I prefer "nous" to "noun", but it works either way.... A poetic goat......... Mmmmmmmm.....
  4. It has been my understanding that whilst it was once accepted from the fossil record that the dinosaurs had a long slow demise, based on reducing numbers of fossils approaching the KT boundary, that this is no longer accepted. I have read, in several places, that this is now taken to be a statistical artifact, based on the fact that if looking for a specific species, the odds are very high that you will never find "the last one". This produces a tail-off in the fossil record that looks like a gradual dying out of species but is actually what would be statistically expected to be seen for an actual sudden/catastrophic killing off of species
  5. Is that right? I've got Darwin's Dangerous Idea on my bookshelf in the "not yet read section". must get around to it.
  6. Yes I'm taking the bird/dinosaur thing as read. The problem with this sort of thing is that scientific language and poetic language do not necessarily overlap. So for example, I've tried a couple of times to do a pice on evolution; but you just try to find a graceful rhyme for "prokaryotic"....
  7. Thankyou. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm currently working on a "Dies Irae" The death of the dinosaurs, but it's uphill work to pull it all together......
  8. There's no point bombarding me with examples. You have it wrong. Get your head around the fact that natural selection is NOT random. READ what has been posted, otherwise I am wasting my time on this thread.
  9. You are missing the point. There are two parts to the process. 1) Variation is random 2) The selection process is highly non-random. Natural selection is NOT random
  10. And take part in forums like this one. Whatever your level of knowledge or ignorance, there is always someone around who can discuss things of interest at your level, or preferably, just a bit above your level. If you stretch yourself a bit and go around topics which interest you, you will soak up knowledge like a sponge.
  11. Thanks folks. I rather thought these would be the kind of responses it would bring. Can anyone tell me a bit more about the potassium-argon dating method? Is it a radoactive dating technique?
  12. A bit of speculation of my own. If anyone can contribute with evidence or relevant information I'd love to hear it. Many now accept that the great extinction at the KT boundary was probably caused by an asteroid hit. One of the puzzles regarding that extinction is the selection of animal species, specifically dinosaur species surviving the catastrophe. We still have the birds with us, but in different forms to the archaic birds, and the non-avian dinosaurs are gone. Has anyone suggested the following? Or, can you suggest a book or other reading? Birds now largely have one of two mechanisms for attracting a mate; either gaudy plumage which they may display in some kind of dance, or singing. Not many use both. Off-hand I can only think of lyre birds. By extension, it seems reasonable to think that the dinosaurs may have had similar behaviours and we know now that feathers were common among the dinosaurs. We also know that the feathers came in degrees; from a few plumaceous wisps to a full body covering. The lucky survivors of the KT strike also needed to be lucky reproducers for their line make it through to the present. Could these lucky few have been the ones with a combination of (a) A full set of feathers (b) The habit of attracting a mate by singing? A full set of feathers would be an aid to survival simply in the sense of being “body armour”. And even feathers badly damaged in the strike and its immediate aftermath (heat, blast, atmospheric fallout, sulphuric acid rain etc) will regrow at the next moult if their owner has not been too badly damaged. Feathers as insulators would also be hugely useful is the medium term as an aid to survival against the cold darkness of the “nuclear winter” following the strike. However, in the darkness, which was deep enough to kill most of the plant life, a bird who tried to attract his mate with a plumage display would have severe problems. His prospective partners would not be able to see (and presumably admire) his plumage. A bird who sang on the other hand, would be able to find his mate even in the darkness. So, could the deciding factor in who survived the extinction lottery of the KT strike be (1) A full set of feathers that would aid immediate survival And (2) Singing as the mate attracting mechanism This has probably been suggested elsewhere, but I would like to read more developed explanations if anyone can tell me where to look.
  13. A point that I forgot to include in my last post. One of the common dirving mechanisms in evolution is what has been described as the "arms race". e.g. the antelope develops longer legs and so becomes faster, therefore the lion that hunts it must become faster, therefore the gazelle must become faster, therefore the lion........ Such developments are widespread and hard/impossible to escape for the organisms and lineages involved in them. The consequences are varied. Such arms races produce anything from the breathtaking speed of the cheetah to the teeth of the sabre tooth cat. I mention predators particularly because the effect is very obvious and easy to explain in these cases. However, it means that the individuals concerned are trapped in a one way race to specialisation. For the example of the sabre tooth cat; there have been a number of species of them, all extinct. In each case this specialisation arose, became more and more extreme and finally drove their possessors into extinction. The relevance of this to the thread is that this kind of event occurs through a mechanism that any engineer (myslef for example) would recognize as positive feedback. Nothing mysterious and quantum mechanical about it. Positive feedback is, almost without exception in engineering, a bad thing. And I only say "almost" because I'm sure that somewhere out there, there's got to be a good example of it, but I'm blowed if I can think what it is. The point is that positive feedback drives a reaction out of control, and whether in engineering, physics, economics or biology, it can result in tears before bedtime. Sexual selection is the other biological arena where it makes itself felt. If the only way for a male to have a female is have the biggest horns, the greatest prowess in battle, the gaudiest colours, the most gorgeously elaborate song, then the successful males with pass on these characterists and become more and more extreme in their behaviour/physique. We end up with the peacock's tail (weighing down its owner), the fighting bull seal (killing their own pups in their zeal to attack their opponents), the antlers of the elk (fatally locking in battle with the opponent and dooming both). So.... no need for quantum mechanics. Think simple.
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