Category Archives: History of Life

Broke Down in Bishop

Kyle, my son in law, missed out on circumnavigating Mt. Whitney last October. Unsure if it would work out we latched onto the latest available permit for the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek last Christmas and listed our means … Continue reading

Posted in Geography, Geology, History of Life, Mount Whitney, Paleogeography, Sierra View | Tagged , | 3 Comments

The Dinosaurs Died for our Sins

The original sin, secondary, tertiary, quaternary sins. Hurricanes, tornadoes are upon us. Quick! Find a witch to burn. Well, at least he saved the weed eater. Not to minimize the tragedies, just the sensationalism. Nobody wants their house trashed and … Continue reading

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Follow the Granite

Granite is the currency in the construction of continents. Here we will time step through the existing surface expression of granites and related igneous and metamorphic rock in the Western US from the Archean to the present. Sediments are boring. … Continue reading

Posted in Geography, Geological Evolution of the Western United States, Geology, History of Life, Paleogeography | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

YGBFkiddinme, Low Emissions Grass?

From Nature Magazine this pearl of pulchritude: “The solution, says Michael Peters, an agronomist at CIAT and leader of the team that has developed the low-emissions grass, is to encourage ammonium to persist in the soil for longer, by suppressing microbial … Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Carbon Cycle, Climate, Climate Change, History of Life, Microbial Dark Matter, Paleoclimate, Salvation from Cows, What's going on here? | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Alpine Zone and the Colonization of Land, or Plants Make Dirt

There have been several concepts that have no predictive value in an era of reductive science, but nonetheless contain poetic truth. One of these is the notion that the atom is a microcosm of the solar system, the galaxy, and … Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Geography, Geology, History of Life, Metaphor, Wilderness | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) and the Apple of Eden

We were camping in Eastern Oregon the night before a raft trip near the put in for Hells Canyon. It was a popular campsite and I noticed a young man with a striking tendency to put his hand to his … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Biology, History of Life, Metaphor, PDA and the Apple of Eden, River | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Die?

A very good question, and one that will be added to the “Great Mysteries of Nature Nobody Seems to be Thinking About” post. The oldest living things we know of are the gnarly bristlecones that have a couple three millennia … Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Economics, History of Life | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Manual Prayer

We pray with our hands. Not only clasped in church or other supplication, but in the everyday actions of our lives. Cooking and gardening are prayerful acts as is building or repairing things we need. Music, art…. Hands are primate things. Perhaps our simian … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Biology, History of Life, Manual Prayer, Metaphor | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Wine, Volcanoes, and the Dioxides

Making wine teaches important lessons about the wee beastie soup we live in, call it the dim sum. It also holds lessons about Carbon and Sulfur. Carbon and Sulfur were instrumental in the evolution of life on this planet, and … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Biology, History, History of Life, Metaphor, Ocean Acidification | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here’s the Beef, Or the World Economy Explained by a Billion Cows

Grasses coevolved with ungulates (we can call them cows). About 30 million years ago due to declining temperature, humidity, and atmospheric Carbon dioxide a bunch of plants including grasses evolved a more efficient form of photosynthesis called C4. This allowed them … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Climate, Climate Change, Economics, Geography, History, History of Life, Paleoclimate, Salvation from Cows | Tagged , , | 1 Comment