A long afternoon at the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Worcester, Massachusetts. No one wants to be there. And there is nothing you can do to hurry the process … nor anywhere else you can go to get your business done, now that they have closed many of the smaller RMV offices including all the express offices in the local malls.
On the evening of March 3, 2013, a young paleontologist named Nizar Ibrahim was sitting in a street-front café in Erfoud, Morocco, watching the daylight fade and feeling his hopes fade with it. Along with two colleagues, Ibrahim had come to Erfoud three days earlier to track down a man who could solve a mystery that had obsessed Ibrahim since he was a child. The man Ibrahim was looking for was a fouilleur — a local fossil hunter who sells his wares to shops and dealers.
Among the most valued of the finds are dinosaur bones from the Kem Kem beds, a 150-mile-long escarpment harboring deposits dating from the middle of the Cretaceous period, 100 to 94 million years ago.
After searching for days among the excavation sites near the village of El Begaa, the three scientists had resorted to wandering the streets of the town in hopes of running into the man. Finally, weary and depressed, they had retired to a café to drink mint tea and commiserate. “Everything I’d dreamed of seemed to be draining away,” Ibrahim remembers.
Ibrahim’s dreams were inextricably entangled with those of another paleontologist who had ventured into the desert a century earlier. Between 1910 and 1914 Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbach, a Bavarian aristocrat, and his team made several lengthy expeditions into the Egyptian Sahara, at the eastern edge of the ancient riverine system of which the Kem Kem forms the western boundary.
Despite illness, desert hardships, and the gathering upheaval of World War I, Stromer found some 45 different taxa of dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles, and fish. Among his finds were two partial skeletons of a remarkable new dinosaur, a gigantic predator with yard-long jaws bristling with interlocking conical teeth. Its most extraordinary feature, however, was the six-foot sail-like structure that it sported on its back, supported by distinctive struts, or spines. Stromer named the animal Spinosaurus aegyptiacus.
Stromer’s discoveries, prominently displayed in the Bavarian State Collection for Paleontology and Geology in central Munich, made him famous. During World War II he tried desperately to have his collection removed from Munich, out of range of Allied bombers.
But the museum director, an ardent Nazi who disliked Stromer for his outspoken criticism of the Nazi regime, refused. In April 1944 the museum and nearly all of Stromer’s fossils were destroyed in an Allied air raid. All that was left of Spinosaurus were field notes, drawings, and sepia-toned photographs. Stromer’s name gradually faded from the academic literature.
Read more! Source: ngm.nationalgeographic.com
I’ve always been fascinated by dinosaurs. This is a fantastic find. I thought maybe you would find it fascinating too.
Ready, Set, Done – Today, write about anything — but you must write for exactly ten minutes, no more, no less.
Garry and I have been watching the Ken Burns mini-series on The Roosevelts on PBS every night. Not surprisingly, my mother is much on my mind.
She was born in 1910 and died in 1982. Not an exceptionally long life — and I would have liked to have her around much longer — but what a time to be alive! Born into a world of horse and carriage, she died after seeing men walk on the moon.
My mother often talked about the days — the early, exciting days — immediately after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s election as President. It was the depth of the Great Depression and the country was in terrible shape, the people depressed and frightened. When the National Recovery Act (NRA) passed into law she, along with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers held a spontaneous parade. They literally danced in the streets.
She said: “Roosevelt didn’t end the depression. The depression hung around until finally it was ended by the war (World War II) … but he gave us hope. He made us feel that we could beat this thing. You have to understand,” she would say. “It was awful. People were hungry, not just out of money. Out of food, coal, hope. He gave us hope and at that time, in that place, hope was everything.”
When I watch something about that time in history, I always think of my mother. Young. Marching in the streets and celebrating because FDR was going to save America. Whatever else I learn in the course of studying the man and the times, my mother’s stories of living in those times trumps them. Hers is the voice I hear because she was the people.
Every which way, the road and the walkways go. Straight, crooked, up, down. Through woods and cities, fields, and parks.
List three pet peeves.
Voice mail with so many selections I can’t remember the beginning of the list by the time I get to the middle.
Customer service voice mail robots designed to prevent you from ever speaking with a live human being.
Live customer service representatives who know less than I do about their product.
Junk mail faxes and texts.
People who make pronouncements when they know nothing about the subject under discussion.
Have I listed too many? Oops.
What makes you unique?
We are all unique. I’m no more unique than anyone else. Except, of course, those of you who are one of a pair (or more) of identical siblings. I suppose that would reduce your uniqueness. Otherwise? To be human is (usually) to be unique.
Would be your ideal birthday present, and why?
A surprise vacation to someplace I’ve always wanted to go. Prepaid with all the arrangements taken care of. I mean all arrangements. Nothing left for me to do but enjoy! Okay, I’ll settle for dinner out at a really great restaurant. Maybe with some good friends. I’m easy. I just want to do something fun in which I get to be the guest — not the organizer, cleanup crew, schedule manager, or any role beyond that of pampered guest.
Which way does the toilet paper roll go? Over or under?
Over. Absolutely over. And out.
Happy Radars – Are you a good judge of other people’s happiness? Tell us about a time you were spot on despite external hints to the contrary (or, alternatively, about a time you were dead wrong).
This is one of Those Prompts which I could answer it in one word. Or I could write book. I’m inclined to be one-word-ish on this. I think I’m an excellent judge of what is really going on if:
- I know the people intimately
- Spend more than a few minutes with them
- I have my radar turned on.
I’m not a particularly astute judge of strangers unless I have some urgent reason to be. Moreover, I prefer to avoid intruding on friends’ personal business unless I feel I’ve been invited in. Even then, I tread softly. Other people’s private lives are a minefield. You can get blown to pieces if you don’t watch out.
So mostly, I don’t intrude. Most especially, I don’t judge and I don’t take sides.
Taking sides is how you lose friends and body parts.
Buildings. Architecture. One of my favorite subjects. From the old barns all around the valley, to Victorian Painted Ladies, there is so much to see and admire.