Earth entering new and more exciting extinction phase


The BBC just announced that mankind is about to become extinct. I wonder if they realize how much that will cut into their viewership!

The Earth has entered a new period of extinction, a study by three US universities has concluded, and humans could be among the first casualties.

Oh no! Can't we make the pit bulls or the rottweilers go first?

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The report, led by the universities of Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley, said vertebrates were disappearing at a rate 114 times faster than normal. The findings echo those in a report published by Duke University last year.

Wow. Stanford, Princeton, Berkeley, and Duke! (What were Yale and Harvard doing?) It's hard to contradict such prominent sources! And 114 times faster than normal! I think I could deal with it if extinction were occurring only 80 or 90 times faster than normal, but anything over 110 times faster than normal is really a subject of tremendous concern. But wait, it may be even faster than that!

Last year, a report by Stuart Pimm, a biologist and extinction expert at Duke University in North Carolina, also warned mankind was entering a sixth mass extinction event.

But Mr Pimm's report said the current rate of extinction was more than 1,000 times faster than in the past, not 114, as the new report claims.

Wow, that's really fast! But that's only the velocity of extinction. What's the acceleration of extinction? I mean, if extinction is going 1000 times faster than normal this year, and 1000 time faster last year, than acceleration is constant (zero). But if extinction was, say, only 20 times faster last year and is 1000 times faster this year, that makes for a hugely impressive rate of acceleration and makes the alarming even more alarming!

Now, you may wonder, how exactly do they know the speed of extinction? Well, it's all very scientific. They look for fossils from different periods. And if they don't find fossils for a particular animal in a particular period, they know that's when it became extinct. With a land mass of only 57,000,000 square miles, scientists can be sure that if they look for fossils in two or three areas and don't find them for a particular animal, that there is no where else to find them. Sometimes if they want to be really sure they will look in a fourth location as well, and that will usually account for the other 56,998,998 miles they didn't check for fossils.

At that speed, animals can disappear in the blink of an eye. For small animals, like foxes and rodents, they can disappear in a split instant while you look at them. For larger animals, like elephants, they can fade away and disappear in 3-6 seconds. In the first phase, they start to fade. If you are close enough to stick your finger into a disappearing elephant, it will feel like it has the consistency of chocolate pudding. But in two more seconds it will become transparent and you can put your hands right through its neck, like strangling the ghost of Dumbo! And then in two more seconds it will be gone!

Mass extinctions do have an upside, however.


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Global Warming causing hot dogs to slip out of buns


We know that global warming is a big threat. Oh, it may help us with our Mummy problem, and be a boon for great tits, but it causes more problems than it solves, everything from shrinking horses, causing seals to be oversexed, poison ivy to become even itchier, making trees less colorful, making trees more colorful, making reptiles walk uphill, destroying opium in Afghanistan, and is even predicted to increase cannibalism to unacceptable levels, with that last prediction courtesy of former CNN founder and exotic diner Ted Turner.
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I read with great interest about the Pope's focus on imaginary global warming. I admire the way he is able to tune out small distractions, like the tens of thousands of people, many of them Christians, being slaughtered by radical Muslims in the Middle East, to focus on the truly big issues affecting our planet. And then the New York Times today published an article talking about how protestant Christians are also concerned with the speed in which imaginary global warming is destroying our planet.
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