Friday, January 1, 2010

Dinosaur round-up 8

Sometimes we fear that the new generations have nothing in common with the generations of old. We always think that children these days are significantly different than we were when we were children - though, this might suggest that we're no as different as you might think:

Dinosaurs top Santa's wish list
Each year, letters children write to Santa pour into schools, newspaper staff rooms, department stores, post offices and countless other establishments. A review of these letters from across the U.S. makes one thing clear: many kids hope Santa will bring them a dinosaur.

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Below are just a few examples.

From the kindergarten class at Big Spring Lake School, in Albertville, Alabama, as published by The Sand Mountain Reporter:

Dear Santa, I have been good this year. All I want for Christmas is a big dinosaur. I will leave you cookies and milk. Love, Ethan B.

Dear Santa, I have been pretty good this year. I would like you to bring me a bike, a scooter, a movie about dinosaurs, some toys, and some clothes. My twin sister Jeni would like a necklace, a bracelet, some clothes, and some dolls. We will leave you milk and cookies and a carrot for Rudolph. I love you Santa. Love, Ritchie M.

Dear Santa, I have been a good boy. I would like to have the following for Christmas. Spike the Dinosaur, D-Rex, Buzz Light Year, Screecher, Wii Sports Resort, Stunt Psycho, Mario Super Brothers, Clone Commander Helmet and gun, Indiana Jones the Adventure Continues, Razor Pocket Rocket, and Air Hogs Helicopter. Love, Drew

Sent to a Columbus, Ohio, post office:

"I want a pet dinosaur named..."

(Note: the post office redacted the name, but suggested that it was a Brontosaurus.)

(Image: Pearson Scott Foresman)

800px-Brontosaurus_(PSF)

From the Dayton Daily News:

"I would like to have Spike, the dinosaur. I want a telescope, A Wii radio, and Whoopi Doo.”

From Jolene Trappe's Third Grade Class in Frazee, Minnesota:

Dear Santa,

Were you ever late for Chrismas? How many people are in the world? How many toys do the elves have to make each year? Thank you Santa, for all the presents you gave me in the past. The present I want for Chrismas are world of zoo for ds, Dinosaur king for ds, and 100 dollars Brock R.

Sent to KPC News:

My brother wants a dinosaur car that bites. We have two stars on our tree. We will give you some cookies and milk. We don’t have a chimney. Say hi to Mrs. Clause for me.

Love,

Maddie and Tyler H.

From Adam in Attleboro, Massachusetts:

"I told Santa I want a Matchbox dinosaur set and dinosaur bones and I like candy a lot."

And Adam gets points for quick thinking too. While sitting on Santa's lap, he was asked if he's been a good boy this year.

"I told him I was trying to be good," Adam said.

Here's hoping all of your dinosaur and other wishes come true this holiday season.
See, the kids are alright. Despite what you may have feared. What else are kids up to?

Girl discovers dinosaur bone
Gabrielle Block, a 9-year-old resident of Annandale, Md., began Saturday, Nov. 21, as an accompanying member of a family gathering.

By day's end, she may have been responsible for a major paleontological discovery.

Block and her family, parents Greg and Karin, and sister Rachel, 7, went for an outing at the newly opened "Dinosaur Park," in Prince Georges County, Maryland, a recently opened 7.5-acre area opened for the purpose of discovering what prehistoric figures used to roam the area. The Block's trip coincided with the park's second weekend of being open to the public.

About an hour into a public dig, Gabrielle discovered a small bone, measuring about one-half inch in length. She presented it to park officials, who believe her finding very well could be from the skeleton of a Deinonychus, or Raptor. The finding came as a big surprise to one park official, who said discoveries of this potential magnitude are rare for any untrained explorer.

"The odds of (a finding being made by someone like Gabrielle) are very low," said Peter Kranz, who runs the programs of the park. "Even people who are well-trained have a hard time finding things."

The incident has brought a great deal of media attention to the Block family, including a story in The Washington Post. Karin Block said at first, her daughter was a bit overwhelmed by all the attention she's received, but says she's quickly gotten used to it an at this point, almost seems to be enjoying it.

The family went on to promote a business of their own instead of promoting the awesomeness of discovering a dinosaur bone. Idiots!. This is not the girls' fault, but rather her parents' fault. How dare they use their child's contribution to paleontology to promote their own business! I'm not happy.

Reconsidering the meteor impact theory
This is a lengthy post - so if you're interested in reading on, you're welcome to follow the link above.
New research challenges the idea that the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs also sparked a global firestorm.

Scientists modeled the effect that sand-sized droplets of liquefied rock from the impact had on atmospheric temperature. The asteroid is thought to have gouged out the Chicxulub crater on the Yucat√°n Peninsula in Mexico.

It was previously thought that the falling spherules, as the tiny rocks are called, heated up the atmosphere by several degrees for up to 20 minutes — hot enough and long enough to cause whole forests to spontaneously burst into flames.

As evidence for this, scientists pointed to what appears to be carbon-rich soot from burned trees discovered in the thin band of debris dating back to the impact some 65 million years ago, a shift in geologic time called the K-T boundary.

A new theory

But a new computer model, detailed in a recent issue of the journal Geology, suggests that the first barrage of falling spherules coalesced into a descending opaque cloud about 40 miles (70 km) above the Earth's surface, shielding our planet (and the dinosaurs) from the heat of spherules raining down from above.

"As more and more spherules are injected into the upper atmosphere, the cloud of settling spherules becomes thicker and denser," study team member Tamara Goldin of the University of Vienna told SPACE.com.

"So previously entered spherules help to shield the ground of some fraction of the thermal radiation from the subsequently entering spherules."

This "self-shielding" may have prevented global wildfires and limited other environmental effects from the impact, Goldin said.

The Earth's atmosphere likely did heat up, Goldin said, but the temperature increase may not have been as dramatic or as long-lasting as previously estimated.

"If you were on the ground, it would feel at the maximum like you're under a broiler in your oven," she said. "It would not be very comfortable, but it would not be instant immolation."

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