Thursday, November 12, 2020

One silver lining

 I guess one good thing about These Unprecedented Times: a lot of groups whose meetings it would be hard for me to attend (because I am 2 hours at least from every major population center) do virtual things I CAN attend.

Tonight, the Oklahoma Native Plant Society had a program called The Greening of Oklahoma - it was on paleobotany and land plants invading the land, given by someone from the Sam Noble Museum. It was really interesting - I had a paleobotany class forever ago when I was an undergraduate but I didn't remember everything about it (and for some reason, I don't know why, the geologic time scale never sticks in my head and I always have to look it up).

Lots of cool reconstructions of freaky ancient plants - and talk about the seed ferns, which are a kind of mysterious group (I guess they class them most closely to the conifers now) that went extinct before humans were on the scene. 

The speaker also mentioned the osage-oranges and how their fruits are not consumed by anything (well, squirrels will pull them apart but they don't seem to be a major source of dispersal) and the hypothesis that either mastodons or giant sloths dispersed them, but now they're extinct. 

He also mentioned a book which I went over to after the presentation and ordered - it's called Ghosts of Evolution, and is about things like that, things that don't make sense now because of past extinctions.

I really enjoyed the presentation - and I got a bit more knitted on the ongoing socks, I am almost up to the toe of the second sock.

Maybe the problem with most tv is it doesn't hold my attention any more? Maybe I need things that are a little "mentally chewier"? And so I'm thinking maybe hunting around and finding either more things like this, or some good documentaries online - or even invest in something like "The Great Courses" - so I can watch and learn and maybe even knit. (I wonder if there's anything on probability, or on Bayesian stats, both of which I am weak on). Or maybe I consider a subscription to something like Britbox and watch a lot of BBC mysteries (which I love) while I knit. It does seem of late there's been precious little on "regular" tv worth watching. And I need stuff to watch; it's too quiet here for me in the evenings, and when I'm tired, I need something diverting like that.

It would be nice to get a few of the ongoing projects finished - I went through them this weekend when I cleaned up, and I put the patterns and required notions and all together with each project, and each in a bag. I'm thinking maybe after I finish the socks I shift to the vest - or to the afghan again.


purlewe said...

this book sounds interesting! thanks for passing it along.

Roger Owen Green said...

I've developed a short attention span for tv. I can watch JEOPARDY, but most of the time it's one segment of 60 Minutes, then the news to the 1st commercial.
I think it's 2020.

Chris Laning said...

I've read Ghosts of Evolution and it's certainly interesting. I think the basic idea is probably right.

On the other hand I was not terribly impressed by the ways the author went about trying to prove her ideas.

It's true of course that we cannot conjure up a ground sloth and feed them Osage oranges. Also true that there are distinct limits to what one can do without institutional backing, a laboratory and grant money. But...

Hope you enjoy it