Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mets blank Braves

As we hunker down for Irene, I savor one of the few bits of good news to come from the Mets lately. My only regret is that it was at Citi, not Turner Field, the latter having bugaboo status in Mets lore. It was good to see Chris Capuano, the veteran acquired from Milwaukee in the off-season, having a creditable outing to join some others in his career so far with the Mets, despite a 10-11 record and 4.43 ERA. It was also encouraging to see good hitting by the likes of Lucas Duda and Justin Turner, who appeared in only 29 and four games, respectively, for the Mets in 2010. Hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oldest fossils?

David Wacey/New York Times
This seems to be a year for superlatives in paleontology--well, maybe, if you consider smallest dinosaur to be a superlative. Anyway, Nicholas Wade reports in yesterday's New York Times that "[a] team of Australian and British geologists have discovered fossilized, single-cell organisms that are 3.4 billion years old and that the scientists say are the oldest known fossils on earth." If these are indeed fossils of living organisms, they show that life evolved very early in the earth's history, at a time when, as Wade notes, the atmosphere was rich in methane, and only a few islands rose above the surface of an ocean that was the temperature of a hot bath. The Australian sandstone formation in which these structures (see photo above by David Wacey of the University of Western Australia who, along with Martin D. Brasier of the University of Oxford, discovered them) were found was, 3.4 billion years ago, a beach on one of those islands.