030917: Science in America 2017

The know-nothings have won… for now. The soon to be neutered (or dissolved) EPA now no longer refers to “science” on its website. Rather than refer to “science based” standards they now refer to “economically and technologically achievable standards” for their actions. (The new head of EPA, Scott Pruitt, darling of frackers, just today stated that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming!)

The know-nothings have also set their sights on NASA, an agency that has “played a leading role in researching climate change and educating the public about it.” The plan is to cut funding for “Earth Science” and anything related to “global warming.”

An then there’s Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State and former head of Exxon, and friend of Vladimir Putin. If they are able to get sanctions lifted on Russia the Exxon-Rosfeft joint venture will proceed – a 500 billion dollar deal for oil exploration in the Arctic.

 

The list goes on and on. Whether it is the National Park Service or NOAA or many other government agencies, it is clear that the Trump Administration is at war with science and knowledge. Call your members of Congress and let them know your concerns. They need your vote to keep their jobs. Let them know that.

Today’s images are some random fossil images I couldn’t resist taking as I transported my collection to my new soon-to-be-completed studio. The transition is moving slowly but steadily and I look forward to returning to my work without interruption.

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I finish today with a couple of images unrelated to the fossils – one an odd outdoor vignette from a neighbor’s property and the other from my endless supply of props (soon to be packed).

Thanks for the visit.

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0320: Trilobites

img_5543_01_lr_10Two recent media items brought this post on. It’s seldom for one to ever hear the word “trilobite” – unless your work (or play) bumps up against some parallel lines of interest. I knew nothing about them until I began finding fossil parts of trilobites and photographing them. The lead image today is that of a trilobite pygidium (the hind of three parts) that Cindy found one summer while we were exploring near Ithaca.

MurphyArt3The New York Times ran a terrific story recently all about trilobites. Brief enough but a great introduction to a strange and fascinating world – this one over three hundred million years ago. The article, When Trilobites Ruled the World, is accompanied by a chart that shows some of the wide variations of this marine invertebrate species (some 20,000).

Devonian New York 3881In the second episode of Cosmos, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson takes time to explain the trilobite and its role in the evolution of life. He referred, in particular, to the eyes – trilobites were some of the earliest creatures to have developed eyes. It meant, among many other things, that they no longer needed to bump into their food to survive. Now they could see it! It may sound a bit silly to dwell on but that’s about as basic as it gets and pretty fascinating as well. The picture above shows one of the first trilobite eyes I ever found – cracked open a large piece of coarse sandstone and there it was. And I must admit it made my day.

img_5686_01_lr_10So, with trilobites on my mind, I picked through my libraries and came up with a variety of my trilobite images. The ones I found are all the above images – rough and fresh out of the ground. These remaining images are from several collections.

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From the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

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From The Paleontological Research Institution

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From The Paris Museum of Comparative Anatomy

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Last, I wanted to remind my friends that my work remains hanging at the BAU Gallery in Beacon, NY for two more weeks. We had a fine opening and the gallery looks great.  IMG_2676_01_LR_10

In Gallery One we have a members group show Tasty. Seen along with my flamingo and my ice cream cone are sculpture by Tom Holmes (left), Erica Leigh Caginalp (center) and Herman Roggeman (right).

IMG_2662_01_LR_10Sculptor David Link and I are also in Gallery 2 this month. As the two new members we were allowed this introduction. The shows run through April 8.

And today is the first day of Spring!!!

The Forces of Ignorance

I make certain assumptions about the readers of this blog. I know that many of you have a sense of or at least a curiosity about science and the world around us. So, perhaps I am simply preaching to the choir with this week’s missive. I’m not interested in going off on the state of politics in this country at this moment in time (although I could quite handily). Rather, here is just a brief note to consider when determining the value of one’s vote.

In a world dominated by technological advances (so fast that it can be dizzying) it would seem that we would want the best and brightest minds working overtime keeping us on the cutting edge. Consider for a moment please the House Science Committee. Officially known as the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Its jurisdiction covers everything from energy research and development to NASA and the National Science Foundation (and everything in between).

Here are a few of its members:

Paul Broun, R-Ga. – Rep. Broun, who happens also to be an MD, said last week that evolution and the big bang theory are “lies from the pit of Hell.” He went on to say that the Earth is 9,000 years old and it was literally created in six days.

Todd Akin, R-Mo. –  Yeah – the “legitimate rape” guy with the Third Grade understanding of reproduction. He might yet become the next Senator from Missouri.

James Sensenbrenner, R-Wi. – He regards the climate crisis as “scientific fascism.”

The list goes on. How smart do you want your kids to be? How smart do you want your country to be? Please tell all your friends to vote this year. It is that important.

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Enough about that. I hope I didn’t chase you away. This past week I played hookey from fossils. The best days of Autumn are here and Cindy and I made a trip down to Storm King. For those unfamiliar, Storm King is regarded as one of the world’s leading sculpture Parks set in the lower Hudson Valley. It displays more than 100 sculptures beautifully laid out over 500 acres. We had a spectacular time on a beautiful day. Here are some images from that trip.

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Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

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