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Researchers estimate the lake existed more than 3 billion years ago. It covered as much as 80 square miles and was up to 1,500 feet deep– roughly the equivalent of Lake Champlain bordering the United States and Canada, said Gaetano Di Achille, who led the study out of the University of Colorado at Boulder. The shoreline evidence, found along a broad delta, included a series of alternating ridges and troughs thought to be surviving remnants of beach deposits. “This is the first unambiguous evidence of shorelines on the surface of Mars,” Di Achille said. “The identification of the shorelines and accompanying geological evidence allows us to calculate the size and volume of the lake, which appears to have formed about 3.4 billion years ago.” –“Evidence Found for Ancient Mars Lake,” Space.com
A number of recent discoveries have cast serious doubt on the Gaia hypotheses. Two lines of research are especially damning: one comes from deep time– the study of ancient rocks– and the other from models of the future. Both overturn key Gaian predictions and suggest that life on Earth has repeatedly endured “Medean” events– drastic drops in biodiversity and abundance driven by life itself– and will do so again in the future…. Perhaps the worst Medean event of all was precipitated by the same biological innovation that led to the first snowball Earth: the evolution of photosynthesis and the concomitant rise of atmospheric oxygen. Until that time, living things could not tolerate oxygen– it was a deadly poison to the microbes that constituted life before 2.5 billion years ago. With the evolution of photosynthesis a weapon of mass destruction was unleashed, creating the first, and perhaps the most extreme, of all mass extinctions. Life was devastated. All that survived were photosynthesisers and microbes that evolved rapidly to tolerate oxygen. –“Gaia’s Evil Twin: Is life its own worst enemy?” by Peter Ward, New Scientist
The cost of daily living, from buying food to getting medical care, will become difficult for all but a few as the dollar plunges. States and cities will see their pension funds drained and finally shut down. The government will be forced to sell off infrastructure, including roads and transport, to private corporations. We will be increasingly charged by privatized utilities—think Enron—for what was once regulated and subsidized. Commercial and private real estate will be worth less than half its current value. The negative equity that already plagues 25 percent of American homes will expand to include nearly all property owners. It will be difficult to borrow and impossible to sell real estate unless we accept massive losses. There will be block after block of empty stores and boarded-up houses. Foreclosures will be epidemic. There will be long lines at soup kitchens and many, many homeless. Our corporate-controlled media, already banal and trivial, will work overtime to anesthetize us with useless gossip, spectacles, sex, gratuitous violence, fear and tawdry junk politics. America will be composed of a large dispossessed underclass and a tiny empowered oligarchy that will run a ruthless and brutal system of neo-feudalism from secure compounds. Those who resist will be silenced, many by force. We will pay a terrible price, and we will pay this price soon, for the gross malfeasance of our power elite. –“The American Empire Is Bankrupt,” Chris Hedges, Truthdig.com
Number of free condoms handed out by the Brazilian government in advance of Carnival this year:
The best way to measure happiness is simply to ask people how happy they are.
Following three weeks of clashes between protesters and government forces that killed at least 17 people, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro announced a two-day extension of Carnival. “Happiness will conquer the embittered,” he said during an appearance at a recreation center.
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”