Welcome to Medary.com Tuesday, April 16 2024 @ 11:29 PM CST

Are We There Yet?

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The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Berkeley scientists have discovered a regular 62 million year cycle of mass extinctions.

Richard Muller and his graduate student, Robert Rohde, are publishing a report on their exhaustive study in the journal Nature today, and in interviews this week, the two men said they have been working on the surprising evidence for about four years.

"We've tried everything we can think of to find an explanation for these weird cycles of biodiversity and extinction," Muller said, "and so far, we've failed."

The idea that mass extinctions happen on a regular cycle isn't exactly new. Most theories such as the Alvarez meteor/comet theory described a 26 to 30 million year cycle. Interestingly, Mueller worked with Alvarez at Berkeley.

Muller's favorite explanation, he said informally, is that the solar system passes through an exceptionally massive arm of our own spiral Milky Way galaxy every 62 million years, and that that increase in galactic gravity might set off a hugely destructive comet shower that would drive cycles of mass extinction on Earth.

Rohde, however, prefers periodic surges of volcanism on Earth as the least implausible explanation for the cycles, he said -- although it's only a tentative one, he conceded.

Of course, according to the Chronicle article, the last major extinction happened 65 million years ago, so we're obviously doomed. "More study is necessary" of course, so keep sending those tax dollars to UC Berkeley, folks.

Big Dance (W) Update

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Eastern Kentucky (23-7), Ohio Valley
Western Carolina (18-13), Southern
Canisus (21-9), MAAC
Santa Clara (17-13), West Coast
TCU (23-9), Conference USA
Tennessee (26-4), SEC
Temple (27-3), Atlantic 10
Michigan State (28-3), Big 10
North Carolina (27-3), ACC
Wisconsin-Green Bay (27-3), Horizon
Stanford (29-2), Pac 10
Middle Tennessee State (23-8), Sun Belt
Oral Roberts (22-8), Mid-Con
Connecticut (23-7), Big East
Holy Cross (20-10), Patriot

Big Dance (M) Update

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Our automatic bids so far:

Pennsylvania (18-8), Ivy League
Eastern Kentucky (22-8), Ohio Valley
UCF (24-8), Atlantic Sun
Winthrop (27-5), Big South
Chattanooga (20-10), Southern
Gonzaga (25-5), West Coast
Old Dominion (28-5), Colonial
Creighton (23-10), Missouri Valley
Niagara (20-9), MAAC
Oakland (12-18), Mid-Con
Louisiana-Lafayette (20-10), Sun Belt
Wisconsin-Milwaukee (24-5), Horizon
Fairleigh Dickenson (20-12), Northeast
Montana (18-12), Big Sky

The Big Dance: Who's In

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Automatic bids awarded so far:
Pennsylvania (18-8), Ivy League
Eastern Kentucky (22-8), Ohio Valley
UCF (24-8), Atlantic Sun
Winthrop (27-5), Big South
Chattanooga (20-10), Southern
Gonzaga (25-5), West Coast
Old Dominion (28-5), Colonial
Creighton (23-10), Missouri Valley
Niagara (20-9), MAAC

Low on Snow in the North Plains

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Oh-oh. Sioux Falls is low on snow. I can hear the tears from here in K.C. /sarcasm. There's still hope though:

While no significant snow is forecast in the next several days in Sioux Falls, there are still about 50 potential snow days left, Weisser said.

Wal-Mart Go Home!

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The Kansas City Coalition for Worker Justice opposes replacing the dilapidated Blue Ridge Mall in Kansas City with a new shopping center anchored by Wal-Mart.

Hey, Worker Justice guys, how can we properly blog you if you don't have a web site? Kansas City Star links can only get you so far. You have nothing to lose but your chains, you know.

John Bolton at the UN

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Early positive reviews from the conservative side on John Bolton. WSJ opinion page approves:
So we can only assume that Mr. Annan was sincere yesterday when he welcomed President Bush's decision to nominate John Bolton to succeed John Danforth as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. As the media wasted no time in explaining, Mr. Bolton is a "hard-liner," guilty of such violations of diplomatic protocol as calling North Korea "a hellish nightmare" ruled by a "tyrannical dictator." More such violations will be required if Mr. Bolton's mission is to succeed.

The Freepers are happy (a bit giddy, actually, going off onto an Office Space tangent).

The reactionary liberal side is not quite so happy--Council for a Livable World, Counterpunch, and the little-known Center for American Progress.

Morning Whip 3/7/05

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The Whip Morning, all.

Let's see . . . college basketball is the lead here at Medary:

Tennessee Lady Vols beat #1 LSU to win the SEC championship.

Missouri beats Kansas. Mizzou salvages a .500 regular season.

Illinois gets beat by Ohio State, so it looks like South Dakota State's rumored opener next year against the Illini won't feature a returning undefeated national champion vs. a first-year D-I RPI counter.

Current affairs:

The Sgrena Incident (the Italian Communist journalist wounded in a U.S. attack in Iran). Something is odd about this whole thing, and not just Sgrena's paranoid thought that she was deliberately targeted.

It wasn't just me: I admit I was wondering what was up with all of the really photogenic Lebanese women showing up in photos of the demonstrations against Syria. Megablogger Instapundit (Glenn Reynolds) notices, too. (Yes, I know it's a cynical mechanism to grab attention, ya think I was born yesterday?)