Saturday, January 9, 2010

Earthquake offshore Eureka

Chile earthquake/tsunami:

New Update: Feb 4

The Jan 9th quake caused our Muni building to be red tagged, forcing us to move to another building in downtown Eureka. This morning at our meeting, I mentioned being grateful that we didn't have more quakes lately. Half an hour later, we had another earthquake! A small one offshore, 5.9 on Richter scale although it felt like a 4.0 locally. Now we have a bad windstorm blowing outside, the big trees blown sideways... what a day!

Update: Jan 10

shake & quake

A strong earthquake occurred at 4:27:38 PM (PST) on Saturday, January 9, 2010.
The magnitude 6.5 event occurred 43 km (27 miles) W of Ferndale, CA.
The hypocentral depth is 22 km (14 miles).

Magnitude 6.5 - regional moment magnitude (Mw)
Time Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 4:27:38 PM (PST)
Distance from Ferndale, CA - 43 km (27 miles) W (280 degrees)
Humboldt Hill, Eureka, CA - 48 km (30 miles) W (259 degrees)

- Jan 9

We had a quake about 5pm, more roller than rocker, either a 6 or 6.5, I had estimated a 5.5 - 6.0 on Richter scale. Haven't heard of any tsunamis.

Rockers are worst, when 2 waves collide at an angle, very jolting.
Rollers are single directional, so unless very large they just move like a normal surf wave.

I happened to be outside near the garden, so no problem except possible electric wires breaking (they were whipsnapping a lot). No external cracks in the Muni bldg [except a crack in the ramp], a window fell out, lots of plaster fell from the ceiling, books and art fell, etc. no injuries here. Lights back on by 11pm. [Part of the building shifted up a bit.]

After working so hard on the new wood floor and painting the galleries... alas.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tetrapods: 400ma coral lagoon ancestors

Tetrapod tracks
"Another key surprise from the research is the recognition that these tetrapods lived in a marine environment, perhaps a coral lagoon. The favoured origin before now for the emergence of tetrapods had been marshy environments, such as deltas or lakes where freshwater dominated. The team behind the latest research said the new explanation made sense because it would have allowed marine ancestors of tetrapods gradually to acquire terrestrial competence while accessing a new and essentially untouched resource of food washed up with the tides.

"In the intertidal setting, you've got a smorgasbord laid out twice a day," said Dr Ahlberg. "Every time the tide goes out, it leaves behind this drift-line of dead and moribund animals. All this was just left there for vertebrates - our ancestors - to emerge on to land and pick them off."
Cape clawless otter vs cape clawed toad?
Definition of Toads versus Frogs from the " Encyclopedia of Animals A complete Visual Guide"
Univ of Cal Press ISBN 0-520-24406-0
Toads family ( Bufonidae) have short legs for hopping, dry warty skin and are terrestrial. Frogs( Family Ranidae) have long, slender legs for leaping great distances, moist skin, and are aquatic. The use of the term "Toad" depends on the region of the world you are in. in Africa, the smooth and moist- skinned aquatic Cape clawed frog ( Xenopus gilli) is called a clawed Toad."

Sea otter: note similarity to human backfloating with arms behind head
sea otter

Swimming sloths: aqua-arboreal sloths

Size of eyes, Snake eyes
"The habits of Snakes can be seen in their eyes: small degenerate eyes suggest burrowers, vertical elliptical pupils are nocturnal/[crepuscular] species, large round eyes are active diurnal/[crepuscular?] predators that chase down their prey"
Posted by: Bob Michaels at Tet zoo

Neandertal eyes vs sapien eyes

Neandertal orbits were larger than modern human orbits, is this due to more nocturnal activity, as parallel in new world tarsier-like nocturnal owl monkeys vs other new world monkeys? Did neandertals specialize in crepuscular (early morning/late evening) ambushes at waterside? Was dark adaptation an aquatic feature, as seen in seals and sea lions with large orbits? See page 15 of this pdf:
them and us article

Perhaps erectines were more shellfish gatherers (dive partners at tropical lagoons) and only opportunistic hunters/scavengers, neandertals were more waterside ambushers (groups with jabbing spears in cooler climates) and sapiens were high-tech fishermen and trappers (including herding into traps/canyons).

Did neandertals have slit pupil eyes, like cats and some nocturnal primates (galagos, owl monkey)? The large orbit and occipital bun might indicate that. Note that aquatic animals do not have slit eyes, despite their dark hunting environment, since the refractive value of light in water differs from air.

Did neandertals retain a fur coat, growing longer in winter and shedding in spring, as in other paleoarctic fauna? Did only erectines lose this fur, due to basking on tropical shorelines? Did sapiens develop clothes and animal furs only as they moved away from the tropics, or in addition/substitution to body paints/perfumes for insect repellants?

Convergent evolution of echolocation in bats and whales
high freq hearing

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Shellfish saved humans but not AAT!!??

Humans: Mammals of the Seashores

Shellfish fed human ancestors

map & photo of Buia & Djibouti bays
(Note similarity and nearness to Djibouti harbor just south along coast, with islands offshore rich in coral reefs and mangroves. During a slightly wetter period, paradise, but now desert isles.)

1ma beef at Buia, Eritrea: Surf & Turf at tropical lagoons
Surf & Turf @ coast

Dahlak archipelago settled 2ka, speak Dahalik dialect of Tigrinya, pastoral/fishing/pearl diving


Epic of Gilgamesh/Noah's ark was round

similar to the marsh Arab barns or coracles?

Finkel's research throws light on the familiar Mesopotamian story, which became the account in Genesis, in the Old Testament, of Noah and the ark that saved his menagerie from the waters which drowned every other living thing on earth.

In his translation, the god who has decided to spare one just man speaks to Atram-Hasis, a Sumerian king who lived before the flood and who is the Noah figure in earlier versions of the ark story. "Wall, wall! Reed wall, reed wall! Atram-Hasis, pay heed to my advice, that you may live forever! Destroy your house, build a boat; despise possessions And save life! Draw out the boat that you will built with a circular design; Let its length and breadth be the same."

The tablet goes on to command the use of plaited palm fibre, waterproofed with bitumen, before the construction of cabins for the people and wild animals.

50,000 year old pigments in shells for body paint
paint or mosquito repellant?
Scientists unearthed the shells at two archaeological sites in the Murcia province of southern Spain. Professor Joao Zilhao, the archaeologist from Bristol University in the UK, who led the study, said that he and his team had examined shells that were used as containers to mix and store pigments. Black sticks of the pigment manganese, which may have been used as body paint by Neanderthals, have previously been discovered in Africa. "[But] this is the first secure evidence for their use of cosmetics," he told BBC News. "The use of these complex recipes is new. It's more than body painting." The scientists found lumps of a yellow pigment, that they say was possibly used as a foundation. They also found red powder mixed up with flecks of a reflective brilliant black mineral. The shells were coated with residues of mixed pigments
Some of the sculpted, brightly coloured shells may also have been worn by Neanderthals as jewellery. [I think this was H sapiens, not neandertals.]

My dear sir, in this world it is not so easy to settle these plain things. I have ever found your plain things the knottiest of all.

- Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

'We are coming now rather into the region of guesswork', said Dr Mortimer.
'Say, rather, into the region where we balance probabilities and choose the most likely. It is the scientific use of the imagination, but we have always some material basis on which to start our speculation', [replied Holmes].

- The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and
thus clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series
of hobglobins, all of them imaginary." -- H.L. Mencken

Some years ago — it was February, 1955, late in the southern summer — I was introduced by Professor Raymond A. Dart to a room filled with fossil bones in the basement of Johannesburg's Medical School. In that room I met more than bones, for I encountered a variety of things that I had never heard of. I had never heard of man's origin on the continent of Africa. I had never heard of our probable ancestors, the australopithecines, a zoological group of small-brained erect-running creatures, hesitating between the roles of ape and man, who haunted the high African savannahs a million or two years ago.

Authors, being shameless, tend to rush into print. So fathomless was my ignorance, however, and so oceanic were the dimensions of scientific accomplishment while my back had been turned, that the rush consumed six years of my life, and even then I learned only to float. For it was not just a matter of Australopithecus and the predatory transition; there were alpha fish and pecking orders, gene pools and displacement activities, exploratory behavior and ritualized aggression, and all had bearing on the human condition. Above all, there was territory.

Robert Ardrey - The Territoreal Imperative

Babble from Bab-El, syllabic phonetic language roots in Hebrew/Arabic/Phoenician/Venetian

SS Earth

Spaceship earth: The idea that the earth is a spaceship, with the sun as our energy supplier.
General systems theory: The idea of the earth is as a mechanical vehicle that requires maintenance, and that if you do not keep it in good order it will cease to function.
Synergy: Likens humanity to a chick that has just broken out of its shell and is now ready to enter the next phase of its existence. Suggests "How big can we think?"
Integral functions: Where the whole of a system is greater than the sum of its parts. "Ergo, only complete world desovereignization can permit the realization of an all humanity high standard support."
Regenerative landscape: Wealth is expanded by the development of tools which go beyond what was integral to man. States that the highest priority need of world society is a realistic accounting system, instead of one where a top toolmaker in India gets paid in a month what he would make in a day in Detroit. Defines tools as either craft tools that can be invented by one man such as bows and arrows and industrial tools that can not be produced by one man such as the S.S. Queen Mary. Finds language to be the first industrial tool. States that craft tools were used to create industrial tools. States that to take advantage of potential wealth we must give life fellowships to each person who is or becomes unemployed, and states that for every 100,000 fellowships given out one person will come up with something so valuable that it will pay for the remaining 99,999 fellowships. Predicts that soon the great office buildings will be turned into residences and that all the work that had been done in them will be done in the basements of a few buildings. States that we "must operate exclusively on our vast daily energy income from the powers of wind, tide, water, and the direct Sun radiation energy".

This quotation, referring to fossil fuels, reflects his approach:

"...can make all of humanity successful through science's world-engulfing industrial evolution provided that we are not so foolish as to continue to exhaust in a split second of astronomical history the orderly energy savings of billions of years' energy conservation aboard our Spaceship Earth. These energy savings have been put into our Spaceship's life-regeneration-guaranteeing bank account for use only in self-starter functions."

"Spaceship earth" may have been derived from a passage in Henry George's best known work, Progress and Poverty[1] (1879). From book IV, chapter 2:

It is a well-provisioned ship, this on which we sail through space. If the bread and beef above decks seem to grow scarce, we but open a hatch and there is a new supply, of which before we never dreamed. And very great command over the services of others comes to those who as the hatches are opened are permitted to say, "This is mine!"
Darwin's Origin of Species, David Winters @ Atavism blog:

Biological speciation vs Social specialization.
species: separate full-time from parent group type due to divergent geo/bio-niche
specialists: separate part-time from parent group type

"You can see where my number came from once you consider that only about 4% of the genome is functional DNA - 150 mutations in your genome will lead to about 6 mutations in functional regions."

5 digits primitive, others derived from ancestral form

fish & tetrapods (article missing)

Pentadactyly (from Greek pente- = "five" plus δακτυλος = "finger") is the condition of having five digits on each limb. It is believed that all living tetrapods are descended from an ancestor with a pentadactyl limb, although many species have now lost or transformed some or all of their digits by the process of evolution

"Major branching events in vertebrate evolution occurred long ago. Sharks branched off the human lineage at least 430 million years ago.

The ray-finned fishes, technically known as Actinopterygians, branched off 420 million years ago.
"Teleosts, the largest subgroup of Actinopterygians, include the vast majority of fishes today," Coates said.

Acanthostega looked like "a large, grotesque salamander," Coates said. It had legs and digits, with rudimentary ankles and wrists, but also internal gills and a large tail fin. Acanthostega, along with new work by Coates and Clack on other previously discovered early tetrapods, contradicted long-held paleontological beliefs that early tetrapods all had five digits on each limb. But, Acanthostega had eight, while other creatures of the same period had seven and six digits."

[DD: Ancanthostega derived 8 from 5 primary digits for better swimming (just as the ray finned fish did), it probably lacked interdigital skin webbing (unlike todays' frogs and salamanders, think sturgeon) so more digits were selected, with multiple extra digits, some becoming mere t
hin needle-like bones in teleosts. Tiktaalik had 5 digits, and was ancestral to tetrapods.]

Interesting note:

Didactyly (from Greek di-="two" plus δακτυλος = "finger") or bidactyly is the condition of having two digits on each limb, as in the Hypertragulidae and Two-toed Sloth, Choloepus didactylus. In humans this name is used for an abnormality in which the middle digits are missing, leaving only the thumb and fifth finger, or big and little toes.