Thursday, February 16, 2006

While I am waiting...

I am waiting for two phone calls. The first one is to figure out when Avrora's one year appointment is with her pediatrician because that was not set up correctly. Gr. HMOs. Only a small gr. They mostly have their shit together. Second one is from IBM. ARGH! Tear out my eyes, rip off my ears, and beat me with a SCSI cable. These guys have so little clue about keeping us happy it hurts. "Sorry that's out of warranty..." Oh yeah? Get me my IBM rep...

First off, blogger looks sick. Not a good day for blogger to get sick. It's not repbulishing indeces....grrr. It also seems to have lost my reply comment to Carlos' reply about the Permian atmospheric chem and photosythenesis. A book that Carlos might want to read is Palaeoecology : Ecosystems, environments and evolution. It looks to be related to the previous book that has spawned so much interest in me recently.

In the mean time, since oh-so-much of the ecosystem got wiped out by the PT Event, it might be like Carlos stated that there was a different photosynthesis involved. That process did survive past the PTE. That's interesting...very interesting. It might even be testable as a hypothesis. Would it secure different isotopes from O2 et al?

As for whether or not the so-called Gaia feedback system has evolved since the Paleozoic we could see if the extinction events other than the current one underway might get less and less of an impact or the recoveries faster. The suggested methodology might be to run stats on the number of species prior and after and plot it against time. If the recoveries are better or the events more mild, we might have an answer. Then again, maybe not. There are problems about relying on the fossil record for a true cross section of critters: it only records those that live in the right areas for fossilization, are lucky enough to ahve it happen, and are present in large enough numbers. so, hrm.

Ok, just had one of the calls happen. One more to go and back to alien planet exploration, ahem, paleoclimatology.


1 comment:

Carlos said...

Yeah, I've read that one too. I get a little obsessive.

I'm not conjecturing the photosynthesis of the Permian was _wildly_ different from the current kind -- it would still be recognizable as a relative of the same kind of photosynthesis as in spinach -- but with different important biochemical details, in the same way that we have C3, C4, and CAM plants today. (CAM -- Crassulacean Acid Metabolism -- has evolved separately over twenty different times. When it's time to railroad...)

I believe there have been isotope effect studies in coal, but all they show is the carbon-fixing step, and we've already learned from genetic studies that Rubisco is an old enzyme that hasn't changed much in its active site for hundreds of millions of years. So those isotope effects would be indistinguishable from a modern C3 plant's 'footprint'.

Let me recommend Lovelock's autobiography. While some of the fringe have gone overboard with the Gaia hypothesis, Lovelock is one of those level-headed Brits who has mastered his field by the DIFBY method.