Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dinosaurs in the news

Yup ... they are in the news.  Some truly saurian.  Some metaphorical. And in a fancifully look-alike category, also dragons.

We'll cover dragons first.  Last week (in "Beyond this point (hopefully) be Dragons") I posted about the then imminent launch of the private Dragon space capsule to the ISS. After yet another postponement, the Dragon has launched ("SpaceX Launches Private Capsule on Historic Trip to Space Station.") We now await several days of precision maneuvers to convince the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the ISS that Dragon is safe to dock. Stay tuned.

Artist's conception, methinks
A line of descent from dinosaurs to birds has become well established. But how and when, exactly, did that come about? That's still up in the air (heh) but at least we now know that "T. rex relative is biggest ever feathered animal."

And speaking of which, "Nebraska man changes name to Tyrannosaurus Rex." It sounds rather birdbrained to me. Of course, as some say, birds of feather flock together.

If climate change keeps you up at night, be glad the dinos are gone. According to a recent calculation/simulation, "It's a gas: dinosaur flatulence may have warmed Earth." What gas? Methane, which is many times more potent as a greenhouse gas than the customary media villain, carbon dioxide (see Greenhouse gases).

Like dinos? Save your pennies. A fossil T. rex was recently up for sale. See "Tyrannosaur sells for $1 million -- despite legal challenge."

As much as for being big, dinosaurs are known for being extinct. So in the metaphorical-dinosaur category, we read, "Japan faces 'extinction' in 1,000 years.":
Japanese researchers ... unveiled a population clock that showed the nation's people could theoretically become extinct in 1,000 years because of declining birth rates.

Academics in the northern city of Sendai said that Japan's population of children aged up to 14, which now stands at 16.6 million, is shrinking at the rate of one every 100 seconds.

Their extrapolations pointed to a Japan with no children left within a millennium.
That seems more a case of birds of a feather forgetting how to flock together. 

The résumé: is it going extinct?
Occasionally I feel a bit like a dinosaur. It happened again when I read that "Online 'dating service' for tech jobs launched."
Online dating services such as eHarmony and Match.com employ algorithms to match the compatibility of users, and then facilitates [sic] a way for them to connect. Now, an online service for tech professionals promises the same compatibility matching with potential employers. 
Their system is:
... based on variables such as a user’s social graph, tracking their interests on Twitter and Facebook, as well as contributions and reputation on other online professional communities including Behance, Dribbble, Forrst and Github,. [sic] This is to capture a better understanding of “an applicant’s passion for professionally related topics,” the company says.  In addition, the site queries users about what they consider important in their next position: dress code, benefits and corporate culture. 
Almost as an afterthought, we read:
Of course, skills and experience also weigh in heavily as well.
"Of course," "also," and "as well" in a single sentence. In one paragraph, subject/verb disagreement. A comma followed by a period, untroubled by any intervening words. In the Brave New World of recruiting -- and journalism -- it would appear writing has become a dinosaur.

As for me, however much of a dinosaur I may have become, I did reproduce :-)   . My offspring are even successful adults (whom I won't further embarrass by identifying).

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