Ancient Seafaring — Neanderthals Sailing The Mediterranean 100,000 Years Ago; Prehistoric Travel & Cross-Continent Exchange; & The Reality Of Archaeological Evidence As Compared To Pop Culture Assumptions

November 25, 2016 in Humans

Ocean open waters

The subject of prehistoric seafaring, and the technology of ocean-worthy ships, is a highly contested one. Conventional knowledge says that the ability to travel long distances across oceans is a uniquely human ability, and a modern one at that. But actual archaeological evidence shows something else entirely — a situation whereby seaworthy ships have been around very possibly for longer than “homo sapiens” have.

One where Neanderthals, and likely Denisovans as well (as well as other various “archaic” hominids around at the time, many of which have likely left some of their genetics behind in modern humans, just as the aforementioned two did), had been making use of the technology far back into prehistory.
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Antarctica & Climate Change, What Would A Greened Antarctica Look Like? – Plants Of Prehistoric Antarctica, Meyer Desert Formation Biota, & Speculation On The Future

November 24, 2016 in Geology & Climate, Plants

Antarctica is an alien world in some ways. While many of the animals that visit its shores, or live on them, are recognizable, as are the plants, lichens, and algae there as well, the sheer intemperate quality of the place leads to blunt rearrangement of “ordinary” circumstance — with the place seeming familiar in many ways, but with a sense of strangeness and chance to it that isn’t found in many other parts of the world at this point.

A place where it’s too cold and dry for much to grow other than organisms that could possibly do well even if they were left on a literally alien world — extremophile microbes, various though types of lichen, fungi, pink algae, etc.

The continent hasn’t always been this way though. Even as recently as 3-4 million years ago there were patches of forest remaining in isolated areas, before eventually being subsumed completely by the ice sheets. Leaving the desert-like place that the interior of Antarctica now is.

Anthropogenic climate change will be changing this over the coming centuries and millennia though, though to what degree is up for debate — with the melting of West Antarctica seemingly being inevitable at this point, and the melting of large tracts (or all) of East Antarctica seemingly now a real possibility.

Presuming a ‘business as usual’ path is followed, as far as cumulative emissions go, to the close of the century, it should take an estimated ~400,000 years for all of the carbon dioxide that will be released into the atmosphere as a result of industrial human activity to be removed, and for the weather and climate to settle back into their own patterns. (This estimate incorporates what’s known about various feedback loops, such as permafrost melting and methane release, as well as the way the carbon cycle has responded in prehistory to various associated factors.)
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Climate Change & Antarctica, The Future Return Of Antarctic Flora, & New Arrivals (Part 2)

November 24, 2016 in Animals & Insects, Geology & Climate, Plants

(This article had to be split in two so that it wouldn’t crash, the preface and a discussion of the plants of prehistoric Antarctica can be found here: Antarctica & Climate Change, What Would A Greened Antarctica Look Like? – Plants Of Prehistoric Antarctica, Meyer Desert Formation Biota, & Speculation On The Future).

The Future Of Antarctic Flora — Plants That Are Likely To Colonize Antarctica And/Or To Possibly Do Well If Introduced

As the “soil” will be quite poor initially, what will be likely is that plants that do well in poor and rapidly draining soils, and also in wet soils, where water stagnates or only flows slowly, rather than draining well, will be among those that have the easiest time spreading in Antarctica. In other words, the sorts of plants that do well in Arctic tundra, particularly in the very poor soils of most of Canada, and much of Siberia. With that in mind, I’ll kick this off with sedges. (For poor, rapidly draining soils, see the section on cushion plants below.)
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Death’s Messengers — Folk Story, & Background On The Gigantes Of Greek Mythology (Giants)

November 24, 2016 in Stories

On the roads of an old day, a giant* was once wandering along a highway when, out of nowhere, a stranger appeared, and shouted “You’ll have to stop here. Not a step further.”

“What?” said the giant. “Why would I stop here? Who are you to speak so boldly?”

“I am Death,” answered the stranger. “Everyone obeys my orders, one way or another, you know.”
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Tezcatlipoca — Jaguars, The Night Sky, Obsidian, Divination, The Night’s Winds, The Smoking/Erupting Mirror, & The Days

November 24, 2016 in Stories

Jaguar Tepeyollotl

Tezcatlipoca was of the night’s sky, and made with it his divination, and his jaguars. And a smoking/erupting mirror, that made an enemy of both sides, and of the near and the nigh, as a lord is an enemy even as possessor of the earth and the sky.
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