A recent article in The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Siege of Miami,” details disturbing consequences of sea level rise in Florida. The future will bring higher seas, but we normally think of climate change consequences happening nearer to the year 2100, an arbitrary target used by many climate models.
When writing up the Fossil Friday post last week, I was tempted to give a clue, but then thought better of it. You guys don’t need clues, right? Plus the clue I wanted to
From flooding in Florida to digging into the evolution of dogs, this week’s reading contains plenty of big issues, so you may not really need the magnifying glass—although the glass of beer (or is it cola?) may still be welcome!
Ooh, have I got a good one for you this week! A personal favorite, actually, and no, it’s not a sloth (sorry, Steve). The first person to guess it gets all the bragging rights!
Have you ever wondered how to address climate change, or even just fossil fuels and energy, with young students? A complex and potentially heated topic, many people have argued that elementary school is too early to talk about these issues. Some teachers might even try to avoid the potential controversy by skipping over energy altogether, which is a lost opportunity for their students.
Chapter 5 of Hell and the High Schools (1923), T. T. (the initials are for Thomas Theodore) Martin’s unforgettably titled indictment of the teaching of evolution, is “Evolution Repudiated by Great Scientists and Scholars.” It contains, as is usual in creationist books of the Scopes era, a bunch of misquoted, misattributed, and misinterpreted passages, relieved only by the occasional expression of editorial opinion. Catching my eye, in part because it was underlined in the copy I have been reading, was the name of “Sir Roredick Murchison”—a typographical error, obviously, for Sir Roderick Murchison (right; 1792–1871), the Scottish geologist who established the Silurian geologic period, now dated to 443 to 419 million years ago, in his book The Silurian System (1839). According to Martin, Murchison wrote, “I know as much of nature in her geologic ages as any living man, and I fearlessly say that our geologic record does not afford one syllable of evidence in support of Darwin’s theory.”
I have so much to do, readers, with work up to my eyeballs. I need to stay on task and to keep focused! And I was attempting to do just that when an e-mail popped into my inbox with the subject “Worst example of evolution misconception.” It was sent by Ralph Bouquet, with whom I worked on the NOVA evolution lab and blogs about evolution misconceptions, so I figured I shouldn’t ignore it. I opened it. And in it was a link—a link to a virtual nightmare.
Last week I gave you nothing but a shadow (and an epoch) and asked you to identify the casting fossil. Not at all to my astonishment, many of you got it. What exactly was it? A brachiopod, of course! When my paleo-memory was failing me, I had to describe it to curator Jessica as “one of those things that looks like the Batman symbol.” Miraculously, she understood me.
David Bowie told Vanity Fair in 1998 that his idea of perfect happiness was reading, and he certainly looks happy in the iconic poster from the American Library Association. Go, and do thou likewise.