Tag Archives: featured

Last Days of the Dinosaurs

Abstract

This essay explores Earth’s climatory and atmospheric conditions during the late-Cretaceous Period (i.e., when dinosaurs still ruled the Earth), as well as the rapid changes to those conditions thought to have been brought about by the Yucatán bolide (i.e., asteroid) event.  Many of the familiar, cosmetic features of Earth’s biosphere that we take for granted today were different 65 million years ago, including: the absence of the polar ice caps; different continental and oceanic layouts; higher concentrations of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) in the atmosphere.  These prehistoric conditions created an environment that was favorable for reptilian species to thrive in, thereby relegating the various mammalian species to a subordinate role.  However, dramatic changes to the planet’s biosphere which contributed to the mass extinctions of over fifty percent of flora and fauna (due to the 9.5 km long bolide that impacted our planet), turned the tables on Earth’s dino-overlords, thus paving the way for the rise of mammals.
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Sol: Giver of Life

Page Contents:

Sol: Giver of Life

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“Sol,” which is the Latin word for Sun, isn’t the biggest or most impressive star around.  Although we cannot perceive our stalwart patron at its apex without damaging our eyes – due to its brilliantly blinding apparent visual magnitude (mv) of -26.74  – were the Earth located just ten parsecs away the star would be barely perceivable to us in the night sky, with an absolute visual magnitude (Mv) of 4.83.[1] Even so, Sol is the sole supplier of energy for our planet.

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Buying your First Home: an Investment in the Future

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There are a few important milestones that mark the significant moments in our lives — such as graduating from college, starting a career, or getting married — and buying a first home is high on that list.  But before you take the plunge on such a monumental purchase, it is paramount that you find the answers to a number of preliminary questions, or risk being overwhelmed by the ordeal.  As you might imagine, unfamiliarity with the home buying process can cause someone to make a series of poor decisions.  This, in turn, may lead a person to purchase an unsatisfactory property (that he or she is then shackled with for the foreseeable future).

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Mutual Fund Investing for Beginners

Mutual Fund Tutorial for the Working Man (by E.N.B.)
Finally — an easy mutual fund tutorial for the busy working Joe/Jane! (Photo credits are located at the end of this article.)

Mutual Fund Investing for Beginners

Tell me if this sounds familiar —

You work hard for your money!  At least eight hours a day (five days a week) you’re out there paying your dues and making a contribution to society — just trying to carve out that well deserved slice.  Even more than that: you’re responsible.  You aren’t drowning in debt, and every payday you squirrel away a percentage of your earnings.  As a result, you have a tidy sum lying around collecting dust — maybe in a separate savings account at the bank (earning abysmal returns), or maybe even stuffed inside your mattress (earning zero returns).

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Bias in Journalism

'The New York Times Building' by Michal Osmenda
‘The New York Times’ building, in New York City, NY. (Photo by Michal Osmenda – Complete photo credits are located at the end of this article)

Bias in Journalism

Do you have a preferred news source that you follow almost exclusively?

This editorial takes an in-depth look at bias in journalism, as it exists in our country, following a brief synopsis of human endeavor from pre-history to the Information Age. Your author would argue that in order to truly understand the nature of bias, it is first necessary to take a step back from our present understanding of the concept (as it exists in news reporting), and study the development of journalism in a broader sense, as related to the social science of History.

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Lincoln Incarnate: The Speech

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC (Photo by 'Raul654')
The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Complete photo credits are located at the bottom of this page.)

Prologue

It is a dark time in these United States of America. Crony capitalism has infected the legislative process, and the gap between blue and white collar citizens continues to widen as a result. The treasury has been emptied by ongoing war in the Middle East, and America’s leaders turn to shady foreign lenders in desperation, choosing to overlook their unscrupulous methods in exchange for vital economic relief. The American people, battered by ongoing recession and discouraged by rampant political corruption, turn to the heavens in despair, crying:

“Who will come to deliver us, in this, our hour of need? Who will save us from the sickness of greed, that twists hearts, even as it has turned our nation into a den of thieves?”

High above, the forces of eternity hear their lament, and are merciful. For, in a blazing splendor of light, The Great Savior of The Republic is reborn, to rally his flock in their darkest hour, and to lead them against the wolves, as he has done before…

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Through a Prism Darkly

Through a Prism Darkly

PRISM Logo
Logo for the NSA’s PRISM data mining program that operates out of Camp Williams National Guard Base, in Bluffdale, UT (Complete Photo Credits are located at the end of this article)

At Camp W.G. Williams National Guard base in Bluffdale, UT, the most comprehensive data mining and storage facility in American history has been brought online. Though it has satirically been dubbed Bumblehive (a wordplay on Utah’s nickname, “The Beehive State”), the NSA‘s new spying complex is quite real. Located about thirty miles south of Salt Lake City and spanning approximately 1.5 million square feet, the officially designated Utah Data Center (UDC) houses a nexus of super computers that are said to be capable of storing a yottabyte — that’s one trillion terabytes — of information.

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Steve Brill’s TIME Cover Story “Bitter Pill” Under Fire

"Skyline of the Texas Medical Center, outside Houston" by David Daniel Turner
The sprawling Texas Medical Center just outside Houston — Steven Brill’s source of inspiration for the TIME cover story, “Bitter Pill”. (Complete photo credits are located at the end of this article.)
Have you read Steven Brill's TIME magazine cover story, "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us"?

On February 20, 2013, TIME magazine published Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Usa scathing 36-page exposé by Steven Brill about the skyrocketing cost of healthcare in the U.S.1  In the piece, Brill gives us a disturbing glimpse at the culture of unchecked profiteerism that has infected our national Healthcare marketplace, perpetuated by health services institutions and pharmaceutical companies alike.  He then suggests some sensible regulatory measures that would go a long way towards repairing this rigged system.  But, as is often the case where vast sums of money are concerned, those who would stand to lose push back against the currents of change, damming up the possibility of reform by employing all of the tools that are typically favored by those with vast resources — e.g., misinformation, intimidation, quid pro quo lobbying of policymakers — in the hopes of stemming the tide for as long as possible.

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