Thursday, April 24, 2008

Case closed: birds and theropods were relatives

Remember that miraculously preserved marrow collagen that was recovered from a tyrannosaurus rex thighbone a while back? Protein analyses of it have re-proved that the beastie was closely related to modern birds, especially chickens and ostriches.

Amazing... Just think: T-rex might be more closely related to the finches outside my window, bickering over the last good seat on the birdfeeder I keep forgetting to refill, than it was to the ceratopsians on which it preyed.

And where did the similarities stop? Could T-rex have been taught to speak, like parrots? Imagine Jurassic Park with the star attraction pursuing the heroes down the jeep path, squawking "I'M A PRETTY BOY!!"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Oh, let Obama eat his waffle!

True story: I was once involved with the national charity that Jimmy Carter is the spokes-celebrity for. He attended a work camp, and mingled with admiring volunteers all day. A friend of mine was seated across from Carter at supper. He knew that Carter had been having his ear bent all day, so he just said hello and ate his supper, and Carter ate his. At the end, Carter rose and told him, thank you. Moral: not being able to eat in peace may be the price of entry into the halls of fame and/or power, but it still extracts a price from your composure.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The world turns...

Here's irony for you: Vietnam just had its first communication satellite launched--it was manufactured by Lockheed Martin. Ironic, because Lockheed manufactured the AC-130, which provided close ground support during the Vietnam War. Always nice to see concrete evidences of reconciliation between old enemies. It's still too bad that they are a communist nation, though.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

Random Rock Bloggage

How's this for a bombshell: The Rolling Stones are old and past it and over the hill and really should retire. I guess we've only been hearing that since, oh, the release of Goat's Head Soup. Is it unseemly for these senior citizens to caper around the world, singing songs of overheated pubescent lust? Yes, of course. Unseemliness was one of the points behind rock and roll. And they still connect with a vast audience on any number of levels:

Keith Richards said he sees original Stones fans bringing their grandchildren to performances – a testament to the band's continuing draw.

“I don't know quite what it is,” he said. “But it must be something to do with the music.”

Richards added: “I'll do it in my wheelchair.”