Thursday, July 16, 2015

[links] A Poodle Velociraptor and Other Cool Stuff

Lori Duron, who writes the blog Raising My Rainbow, offers 8 Books That Teach Kids About the
Fluidity of Gender and the Importance of Acceptance.  She says:

My husband and I have been committed to showing our son positive examples of differently gendered people in literature. We’ve read the following books countless times and always encourage an open dialogue about what it means to be a boy, a girl, a human. More importantly, we use these books to teach about love, acceptance, equality, empathy, and the beauty of diversity. Read these books to your child to help them better understand their gender identity and be a better friend to the boy who has long hair and wears a skirt or the girl with the short spiked hair who only wears pants.

An ancestor of Velociraptor had feathers, and most likely so did the Jurassic World terror.

Velociraptor would have been a feisty little feathered poodle from hell, not a drab scaly reptilian monster like in the Jurassic Park films,” added Brusatte, who is a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences. He co-authored the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, with paleontologist Junchang L√ľof of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences. The scientists came to their conclusions after studying the near-complete and exceptionally well-preserved skeleton for Z. suni, which lived around 125 million years ago in what is now the Liaoning Province of northeastern China. Like Velociraptor, it was adromaeosaurid -- fast-running, feathered, sickled-clawed dinosaurs that were close relatives of birds. Z. suni weighed around 25 pounds and, most strikingly, had short, 14-inch-long arms covered with long feathers that looked like quill pens. Today’s eagles and vultures sport a similar type of feather.

Images of Pluto from New Horizons are in the news, but we're continuing to discover new things about Mars, including that its crust may contain silica-rich rock typical of continents.

With the help of a rock-zapping laser, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has detected Red Planet rocks similar to Earth's oldest continental crust, researchers say.
This discovery suggests that ancient Mars may have been more similar to ancient Earth than previously thought, scientists added.

Mostly, I try to keep this blog a politics-free zone (with a few exceptions that touch on my personally, like the death penalty). But occasionally a bit of news tickles my fancy so much, I need to share it:

The Board of Supervisors in Santa Cruz County, California, have taken a bold step. The County has decided that they will not do business, including investment services or bond issuances, with five major banks that the Justice Department found to be associated with felonious acts in May of this year. 

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