Archive for the Writing Category

Mysteria in Tredecim

Posted in • Wood Dickinson Sites, Book, Chapbook, On Writing, Robin Randle Stories, Where Madness Dwells, Writing with tags , , , , , on 05/03/2016 by wooddickinson
Hekate's Key

The Key to Hell

Update. My novel The Robin Randle Stories, is with an editor. So I’m kind of stuck. That’s not really true, I am trying to get a new old house ready to move into. Our current home was built in 1941 but that’s not old enough anymore. Our new old house was built in 1919. Maybe as you get older you want everything around you to get even more older. I’m just saying.

So about three weeks ago I’m trying to wake up. I’m off the news feed until there is a story worth reading or seeing, that doesn’t have the word Trump in it. So while I’m waking up an idea hits me. When I first conceived The Robin Randle Stories it felt like it would contain three books in it, not just two. I always thought the first two would be the novel but I just felt that a third book would come along to round things out a bit. I didn’t know what that third book was until I was trying to wake up and avoid the new broadcasts.

It would be a book penned by Station Cross, Robin’s partner. The novel is in first person personal point of view so Robin has to be there all the time just like we are. There are things that happen that are a mystery to Robin as events unfold both because she just doesn’t remember things right and she’s just not there when people do other things. I realized Station does a lot of stuff Robin doesn’t understand or know about. The third book was born.

I started writing it and got well into it three times (that starting over again three times) before I got the feel of it right. To pay tribute to the false starts I gave the book three different titles. Station had to work through her “naming” of the book finally arriving at the simple title, The Thirteen Mysteries or Mysteria in Tredecim.

About 13,350 words later I think I have a solid draft. Took me about three weeks to get it to near finished condition. If that ever happens. I don’t know if it belongs in the novel or not. Funny how that works. I’ll let the editor make the call. I will always have it and can publish it as a chapbook if there is any interest after the novel comes out. Can’t sneak it out early, spoilers!

It was a lot of fun writing about Robin’s story from her partners point of view. Station has such a different voice. It is deeper and harder in a way but it does surprise at times with softness. I learned that she carries a different set of worries from Robin’s but no less difficult. So now all the mysteries are explained. How plans were made, what choices brought on later hardships and how Station puzzled out a way to help Robin even when she thought it would be impossible to do so.

I took a bit of time out yesterday to create another teaser trailer for the novel. Guess its the filmmaker in me. I also got Robin’s website up which is where you can see the new teaser. The URL is Oh, the three titles,

Mysteria Eleusiniaas

Sanctissimis Antiquioribus Ordinis Mysteria Eleusiniaas

also know as

The Thirteen Mysteries

(Mysteria in Tredecim)



Station Cross

Back to It

Posted in Art, • Wood Dickinson Sites, Block Island, Blogroll, Book, Computers, Exhibition, Fine Art Photography, Photography, Robin Randle Stories, Where Madness Dwells, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 02/22/2016 by wooddickinson

sea grass 128I’m getting back to all of this social media stuff. There are days I feel like throwing the iPhone in the trash and turning off the computer like, forever! I think it’s because of the amount of static or noise that finds its way into my email, Facebook and well, everything else.

That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped paying attention just that the amount of useless information that’s pushed on us is incredible. It’s hard enough to read, learn and understand the important stuff in life that the noise has become impossible to handle. I don’t think I’m alone on this. It is a matter of filtering and getting filters in place is hard with our current technology. Current marketing practices demands you irritate everyone to get your message out. Targeting systems are getting better but the junk email just blows my mind.

I’m working on a few things. First my novel “The Robin Randle Stories” is with my editor now. Hope to see it published soon. I’m starting a new novel, “Mercy Lake – a ghost story.” I’m also working on a photography project called “A Study of Pathways.”

I will have an exhibition next summer for the Block Island Conservancy. I’m very excited about that. It’s wonderful to be involved in such an important effort. Here are some websites of mine if you are interested –

Wood Dickinson – my main portal and links to everything else

The Robin Randle Stories

A Study of Pathways

Mercy Lake 

Photographic Portfolio

I’ll be much more regular about writing. I do have a lot to say!



Posted in Apple, Computers, software, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on 06/12/2015 by wooddickinson


And no, I don’t mean train engineers. I was always taught that form follows function. Seems safe to me. Of course “safe” isn’t always fun. If “safe was all we wanted then there wouldn’t be  Macs vs PCs or better yet Windows vs OS X.

But, even while trying to make a product (design) fun, it still needs to function very well. I remember when Steve Jobs said the inside of a Mac needs to be as excellent as the outside. I agree. A real good looking car just may not be the car you need to get the job done.

Now, about the current iPhone. Who in the world thought putting the power button directly across from the volume buttons was a good idea? Did anyone (yes ANYONE) not notice that this was a bad design idea? Really, not one engineer or beta user?  No department head at Apple? Anyone for that matter notice this blunder before the product launched?

To make matters worse, to chase other companies “cool factor” Apple curved the edges of the phone making it much harder to hold. I know, hands free, I get it.

The same goes for Apples newest product, the AppleWATCH. I have to wonder, “Did the product team at Apple ever notice young people don’t wear watches?” Nope. Apple pushes ahead asking us to buy this $350 (really more like $600 to $700) watch so we can sit back and watch version 2 roll out in a year. Don’t we all have to have the newest version?

Me, I love watches. They are truly works of art. I’m talking mechanical not quartz movement watches. There are some fine quartz watches on the market and I have a few but it’s the mechanical watches that draw me. The form and function in either a MeisterSinger or an Ernst Benz shows beauty of form and function at its finest. There won’t be an “update” for these watches. No Legacy System here.


Memo – Someone at Apple, you should read The Fifth Discipline. I saw a short film Peter Senge screened several years ago. It was about Cremona, Italy. Cremona is the worlds greatest center for violin makers. Its most famous resident was Antonio Stradivari. This film detailed how experts have searched for the secrets Antonio knew that allowed him to make the finest violins the world has ever seen. In short, they failed.

Peter noted it isn’t about engineering or science but more about the soul of the violin maker.

Funny words for a MIT business professor to use.

I’m not on the AppleWATCH bandwagon and to be honest, I hate my current iPhone. I’m sick of endless product revision using the latest hardware, endless software revisions, well, you know the drill. Being a geek at heart I have a lot of what’s known as legacy systems around my house. Many of these systems truly don’t work with current software and operating systems.

Then there is my wonderful Les Paul circa 1970. It is all vintage and more valuable today than the day I bought it. To learn more about things –

Personal Mastery – The search for Stradivarius – Society for Organizational Learning

The 15 at Cafe Trio

Posted in Art, • Wood Dickinson Sites, Black and White, Color, Fine Art Photography, Photo Editing, Photography, Poetry, Sunsets, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 07/17/2014 by wooddickinson

path-2 copyThe 15 photographs I chose for an exhibition at Cafe Trio may at first appear to be a random and unrelated set of photographs but they are not. I spent lots of time developing this collection.

The creation of a fine art photograph is a focused and directed effort to capture an idea not just another shot of a sunset. At the core of my work I create ideas. A single idea was formed long before any photographs were taken. Part of the role of an artist is to see then examine and interpret all aspects of our existence. An artist examines the world, its people and their relationship with one another as well as with nature. I look at the emotions that dwell with in and drive what we do. I think about how one person’s seeing isn’t like the next persons.

Where I might see despair another sees horror and yet another may miss it all together. There’s no one interruption. I clearly remember in my Highschool days English teachers, one after another, taught us there was only one “right” meaning to any given poem. Now there’s a setup if I’ve ever seen one. In class we’d read a poem like Robert Frost’s Fire and Ice then the teacher would ask the class, “What’s the poet trying to say?” I would put up my hand with what I thought was that singular answer only to be ridiculed moments later by another classmate’s “correct” answer.

It wasn’t until years later and after writing a lot of poems myself as well as taking creative writing classes, writing workshops and the like that I realized the truth of it. The only person who knows exactly what the poem means is the poem’s author! The author isn’t 100% clear on his poem’s full meaning and depth. A poet strives to create a piece that elicits an emotional response. He knows that the life experience a reader brings to a poem impacts its meaning.

In fact, if the author doesn’t engage the reader in an interpersonal way his work fails. Same story for art. I hope that a piece I create invokes an emotional response and causes the viewer a moment of introspection.

So what’s the deal with these 15 photos you say? With each photograph I started with the basic captured image. I look at this image as the stepping off point for the story the photograph will eventually tell. This image will bare little resemblance to itself when I’m done. The process isn’t important (unless you want to learn and become an artist yourself) it’s more about what “I” see underneath. I strive to push beyond the metaphor the image represents, strip away the false representation and expose what the image is for real. That’s what artists do.

On average I spend three hours in post-production for each photograph. That translates into 45 plus hours spent on these 15 pieces. Remember I also had to take the original image too. Some of the images were captured very close to my house while others range from New York City to Block Island, Rhode Island. The where isn’t as important to me as the what. It’s about the story the photograph is telling.

While you look at the fifteen pieces there is one very important element missing. That’s you. The observer. I envision if someone came along to take the same picture they would see you standing just out of frame as the observer to my efforts in taking the shot. The Observer Effect is an idea usually seen in science. How much does the fact that I’m observing the experiment I’m performing affect the outcome of that experiment?

As you enjoy these fifteen photographs remember you are in them as the unseen observer impacting the final reality of photograph. I hope you enjoy the experience.

To extend your experience visit my online gift shop to purchase your own copy to hang on your wall.

Mass Extinctions Events

Posted in • Wood Dickinson Sites, Climate Change, Earth, Fear, Fossils, Hope, Humility, Need, Volcano, Writing with tags , , , , , , , on 05/20/2014 by wooddickinson

21323999NOTE: Don’t miss the poll question at the end of this post.




Several mass extinctions are recorded in the fossil record. Paleontologists have been able to recognize patterns within and between extinction events. Currently, there are five major extinction patterns recognized. Steven M. Stanley, has outlined them in his book entitled, Extinction – 

Extinction Processes:

1. Extinction strikes in both the land and the sea.
2. On the land, while animals suffer repeatedly, plants tend to be highly resistant to mass extinctions.
3. Preferential disappearance of tropical forms of life during mass extinctions.
4. Tendency of certain groups of animals to experience them repeatedly (for example, trilobites and ammonoids).
5. Alleged equal spacing, or periodicity in geological time (occurring about every 26 million years).

These similarities between distinct extinction occurrences aid paleontologists in determining the agents the agents that perpetuated the disappearances of species in each extinction event. Such agents are currently divided into two types:

1. Catastrophic Agents such as meteorite impacts and comet showers,
2. Earth Agents such as volcanism, glaciation, variations in sea level, global climatic changes, and changes in ocean levels of oxygen or salinity

Although these agents can explain mass extinction, the causes of mass extinction events remains relatively unknown.

Precambrian and Vendian Mass Extinctions

The Precambrian period was 4.6 billion to 523 million years ago. The Vendian period was 523-543 million years ago. Both Precambrian and Vendian periods host to at least one mass extinction each.

Geological Setting:
The Precambrian era was a period in earth history before the evolution of hard-bodied and complex organisms. Throughout the extent of both periods, dominant Precambrian and Vendian organisms were soft-bodied, simple, and entirely marine. Diversification of the hard-bodied organisms did not occur until the beginning of the Cambrian, when the first shelly fauna appeared.

Species Affected:
Extinctions are proposed to have affected even life’s earliest organisms. About 650 million years ago, seventy percent of the dominant Precambrian flora and fauna perished in the first great extinction. This extinction strongly affected stromatolites and acritarchs, and was also the predetermining factor that encouraged the diversification of the following Vendian fauna. However, this distinct fauna, resembling modern-day soft-bodied organisms such as sea pens, jellyfish, and segmented worms also perished in a second extinction event at the close of the Vendian. This event, responsible for the demise of the Vendian organisms, may have been responsible for the ensuing diversification of the Cambrian shelly fauna.

Speculated Causes of the Precambrian and Vendian Mass Extinctions:

The first extinction of the Precambrian, which largely affected stromatolites and acritarchs, has been correlated with a large glaciation event that occurred about 600 million years ago. This event was of such severity that almost all micro-organisms were completely wiped out. The Vendian extinction, occurring near the close of the Vendian period, is currently under debate as to whether an extinction event occurred or not. Many paleontologists believe that the Vendian fauna were the progenitors of the Cambrian fauna. However, others believe that the Vendian fauna have no living representatives. Under this latter hypothesis, the Vendian fauna is believed to have an undergone an extinction, after which the Cambrian fauna evolved. Until more information can be collected, details on the Vendian extinction event will remain open to debate.

Cambrian Mass Extinction

The Cambrian period ranges from 543-510 million years ago. The most important animal group of the Cambrian were the trilobites. Four mass extinctions occurred during the course of the Cambrian period.

Geological Setting:
During the Cambrian period the world was largely covered by epeiric seas, and existing organisms were entirely marine. At the beginning of the period, only small skeletonized sponges and molluscs were present, but by about the middle of the Cambrian, diversification of the shelly fauna occurred. The most important phyla present in Cambrian communities included trilobites, archaeocyathids, brachiopods, mollusks, and echinoderms.

Species Affected:
At least four major extinctions occurred during the Cambrian. The first extinction occurred at the Early Cambrian epoch boundary. During this event, the oldest group of trilobites, the olnellids, perished as well as the primary reef-building organisms, the archaeocyathids. The remaining three extinctions were irregularly distributed around the Late Cambrian epoch boundary, and as a whole, severely affected trilobites, brachiopods, and conodonts.

Speculated Causes of the Cambrian Mass Extinction:

• Glacial Cooling Hypothesis
The advancement of the theory of glaciation as the predetermining agent for the Cambrian extinctions has been developed by James F.Miller of Southwest Missouri State University. Through research undertaken by Miller, evidence of early Ordovician sediment of glacial origin has been uncovered in South America. Miller suggests in his hypothesis that this evidence of continental glaciation at the Cambrian-Ordovician boundary is responsible for a decrease in global climatic conditions. Such a decline in temperature is implied by Miller to destroy Cambrian fauna which are intolerant of cooler conditions, producing a mass extinction of mostly warm water species. He also suggests that a significant continental glaciation would bring large amounts of ocean water onto the land in the form of frozen glacial ice. This trapping of ocean water inevitably results in the decrease of sea-level and the withdrawal of shallow seas. Miller implicates that this reduction in sea-level would produce reduced habitat for marine species as continental shelves are obliterated. Ecological competition would consequently ensue, perhaps acting as a driving agent for extinction.

• Oxygen Depletion Hypothesis
The development of a hypothesis invoking the cooling and depletion of water in marine waters as a causative agent for the Cambrian extinctions has been advanced by several geologists, primarily Allison Palmer and Michael Taylor of the U.S. Geological Survey and James Stilt of the University of Missouri. The cooling and oxygen depletion would occur when cool waters from deep zones of the ocean spread up onto the continent, eliminating all organisms not able to tolerate cool conditions. The cooling would also result in stratification of the water column. Thus, species would ultimately perish due to their inability to tolerate dramatic shifts in such limiting factors as temperature and oxygen availability. Further research is required to more fully test the validity of the above outlined Cambrian extinction hypotheses.

Ordovician Mass Extinction

The Ordovician period was 510-438 million years ago. The Ordovician extinction happened 440-450 million years ago. The Ordovician extinction was second most devastating in earth history.

Geological Setting:
The Ordovician period was an era of extensive diversification and expansion of numerous marine clades. Although organisms also present in the Cambrian were numerous in the Ordovician, a variety of new types including cephalopods, corals (including rugose and tabulate forms), bryozoans, crinoids, graptolites, gastropods, and bivalves flourished. Ordovican communities typically displayed a higher ecological complexity than Cambrian communities due to the greater diversity of organisms. However, as in the Cambrian, life in the Ordovician continued to be restricted to the seas.

Species Affected:
The Ordovician extinction occurred at the end of the Ordovician period, about 440-450 million years ago. This extinction, cited as the second most devastating extinction to marine communities in earth history, caused the disappearance of one third of all brachiopod and bryozoan families, as well as numerous groups of conodonts, trilobites, and graptolites. Much of the reef-building fauna was also decimated. In total, more than one hundred families of marine invertebrates perished in this extinction.

Speculated Causes of the Ordovician Extinction:

• Glaciation and Sea-Level Lowering Hypothesis
The Ordovician mass extinction has been theorized by paleontologists to be the result of a single event; the glaciation of the continent Gondwana at the end of the period. Evidence for this glaciation event is provided by glacial deposits discovered by geologists in the Saharan Desert. By integrating rock magnetism evidence and the glacial deposit data, paleontologists have proposed a cause for this glaciation. When Gondwana passed over the north pole in the Ordovician, global climatic cooling occurred to such a degree that there was global large-scale continental resulting in widespread glaciation. This glaciation event also caused a lowering of sea level worldwide as large amounts of water became tied up in ice sheets. A combination of this lowering of sea-level, reducing ecospace on continental shelves, in conjunction with the cooling caused by the glaciation itself are likely driving agents for the Ordovician mass extinction

The Devonian Mass Extinction

The Devonian period ranged from 408-360 million years ago. A major intra-Devonian extinction occurred at the Frasnian – Famennian boundary.

Geological Setting:
Following the Ordovician mass extinction rediversification of surviving groups occurred throughout the Silurian and Devonian. In addition, the Devonian saw the first appearance of sharks, bony fish, and ammonoids. During the Devonian the world’s oceans were dominated by reef-builders such as the stromatoporoids, and corals, and some of the world’s largest reef complexes were built. Terrestrial newcomers in the Devonian included amphibians, insects, and the first true land plants, giving rise to the first forests.

Species Affected:
The Devonian mass extinction occurred during the latter part of the Devonian at the Frasnian – Famennian boundary. The crisis primarily affected the marine community, having little impact on the terrestrial flora. This same extinction pattern has been recognized in most mass extinctions throughout earth history. The most important group to be affected by this extinction event were the major reef-builders including the stromatoporoids, and the rugose, and tabulate corals. This late Devonian crisis affected these organisms so severely that reef-building was relatively uncommon until the evolution of the scleractinian (modern) corals in the Mesozoic era. Among other marine invertebrates, seventy percent of the taxa did not survive into the Carboniferous. Amongst the severely affected groups were the brachiopods, trilobites, conodonts, and acritarchs, as well as all jawless fish, and placoderms.

Speculated Causes of the Devonian Extinction:

• Glaciation
Evidence supporting the Devonian mass extinction suggests that warm water marine species were the most severely affected in this extinction event. This evidence has lead many paleontologists to attribute the Devonian extinction to an episode of global cooling, similar to the event which is thought to have cause the late Ordovician mass extinction. According to this theory,the extinction of the Devonian was triggered by another glaciation event on Gondwana, as evidenced by glacial deposits of this age in northern Brazil. Similarly to the late Ordovician crisis, agents such as global cooling and widespread lowering of sea-level may have triggered the late Devonian crisis.

• Meteorite Impact
Meteorite impacts at the Frasnian-Famennian boundary have also been suggested as possible agents for the Devonian mass extinction. Currently, the data surrounding a possible extra-terrestrial impact remains inconclusive, and the mechanisms which produced the Devonian mass extinction are still under debate.

The Permian Mass Extinction

The Permian Period was 286-248 million years ago. Terrestrial faunal diversification occurred in the Permian Period. About 90-95% of marine species became extinct in during the Permian Mass Extinction.

Geological Setting:
With the formation of the super-continent Pangea in the Permian, continental area exceeded that of oceanic area for the first time in geological history. The result of this new global configuration was the extensive development and diversification of Permian terrestrial vertebrate fauna and accompanying reduction of Permian marine communities. Among terrestrial fauna affected included insects, amphibians, reptiles (which evolved during the Carboniferous), as well as the dominant terrestrial group, the therapsids (mammal-like reptiles). The terrestrial flora was predominantly composed of gymnosperms, including the conifers. Life in the seas was similar to that found in middle Devonian communities following the late Devonian crisis. Common groups included the brachiopods, ammonoids, gastropods, crinoids, bony fish, sharks, and fusulinid foraminifera. Corals and trilobites were also present, but were exceedingly rare.

Species Affected:
The Permian mass extinction occurred about 248 million years ago and was the greatest mass extinction ever recorded in earth history; even larger than the previously discussed Ordovician and Devonian crises and the better known End Cretaceous extinction that felled the dinosaurs. Ninety to ninety-five percent of marine species were eliminated as a result of this Permian event. The primary marine and terrestrial victims included the fusulinid foraminifera, trilobites,rugose and tabulate corals, blastoids, acanthodians, placoderms, and pelycosaurs, which did not survive beyond the Permian boundary. Other groups that were substantially reduced included the bryozoans, brachiopods, ammonoids, sharks, bony fish, crinoids, eurypterids, ostracodes, and echinoderms.

Speculated Causes of the Permian Extinction:

Although the cause of the Permian mass extinction remains a debate, numerous theories have been formulated to explain the events of the extinction. One of the most current theories for the mass extinction of the Permian is an agent that has been also held responsible for the Ordovician and Devonian crises, glaciation on Gondwana. A similar glaciation event in the Permian would likely produce mass extinction in the same manner as previous, that is, by a global widespread cooling and/or worldwide lowering of sea level. 

• The Formation of Pangea
Another theory which explains the mass extinctions of the Permian is the reduction of shallow continental shelves due to the formation of the super-continent Pangea. Such a reduction in oceanic continental shelves would result in ecological competition for space, perhaps acting as an agent for extinction. However, although this is a viable theory, the formation of Pangea and the ensuing destruction of the continental shelves occurred in the early and middle Permian, and mass extinction did not occur until the late Permian.

• Glaciation
A third possible mechanism for the Permian extinction is rapid warming and severe climatic fluctuations produced by concurrent glaciation events on the north and south poles. In temperate zones, there is evidence of significant cooling and drying in the sedimentological record, shown by thick sequences of dune sands and evaporites, while in the polar zones, glaciation was prominent. This caused severe climatic fluctuations around the globe, and is found by sediment record to be representative of when the Permian mass extinction occurred.

• Volcanic Eruptions
The fourth and final suggestion that paleontologists have formulated credits the Permian mass extinction as a result of basaltic lava eruptions in Siberia. These volcanic eruptions were large and sent a quantity of sulphates into the atmosphere. Evidence in China supports that these volcanic eruptions may have been silica-rich, and thus explosive, a factor that would have produced large ash clouds around the world. The combination of sulphates in the atmosphere and the ejection of ash clouds may have lowered global climatic conditions. The age of the lava flows has also been dated to the interval in which the Permian mass extinction occurred.

The End-Cretaceous (K-T) Extinction

Numerous evolutionary radiations occurred during the Cretaceous 144-65 million years ago. A major extinction occurred at the end of the period and 85% of all species died in the End-Cretaceous (K-T) extinction

Geological Setting:
Following the Permian mass extinction, life was abundant but there was a low diversity of species. However, through the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous, major faunal radiations resulted in a large number of new species and forms. New terrestrial fauna that made their first appearance in the Triassic included the dinosaurs, mammals, pterosaurs (flying reptiles), amphibians (including frogs and turtles). In addition, the first birds appeared in the Jurassic. Among the terrestrial flora, the gymnosperms of the Permian remained dominant until the evolution of the angiosperms (flowering plants) in the Cretaceous. In the Cretaceous there was also major radiations occurring in several established groups including the the marine reptiles, rudist bivalves, ammonoids, belemnoids, and scleractinian corals. Bivalves, and brachiopods. Marine groups that were present but did not undergo major evolutionary expansion in the period included the gastropods,bryozoans, crinoids, sea urchins, and sponges.

Species Affected:
During the End-Cretaceous (K-T) extinction (65 million years ago) eighty-five percent of all species disappeared, making it the second largest mass extinction event in geological history. This mass mass extinction, extinction event has generated considerable public interest, primarily because of its role in the demise of the dinosaurs. Although dinosaurs were among the unfortunate victims to perish in the K-T extinction, several other terrestrial and marine biotic groups were also severely affected or eliminated in the crisis. Among those that perished were the pterosaurs, belemnoids, many species of plants (except amongst the ferns and seed-producing plants), ammonoids, marine reptiles, and rudist bivalves. Organisms which were severely affected included planktic foraminifera, calcareous nannoplankton, diatoms, dinoflagellates, brachiopods, molluscs, echinoids, and fish. Remarkably, most mammals, birds, turtles, crocodiles, lizards, snakes, and amphibians were primarily unaffected by the End-Cretaceous mass extinction.

Speculated Causes of the End-Cretaceous Extinction:

The End-Cretaceous mass extinction has generated considerable public interest in recent years, in response to the controversial debates in the scientific community over its cause. The more prominent of these new hypotheses invoke extra-terrestrial forces, such as meteorite impacts or comet showers as the causative extinction agent. Older hypotheses cite earthly mechanisms such as volcanism or glaciation as the primary agent behind this mass extinction. 

• The K-T Boundary
Evidence for catastrophism at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary is found in a layer of sediment which was deposited at the same time that the extinction occurred. This layer contains unusually high concentrations of Iridium, found only in the earth’s mantle, and in extra-terrestrial meteors and comets. This layer has been found in both marine and terrestrial sediments, at numerous boundary sites around the world.

• Meteorite Impact
Some paleontologists believe that the widespread distribution of this Iridium layer could have only been caused by meteorite impact. Further, these researchers cite the abundance of small droplets of basalt, called spherules, in the boundary layer as evidence that basalt from the earth’s crust that were melted and flung into the air upon impact. The presence of shocked quartz – tiny grains of quartz that show features diagnostic of the high pressure of impact – found in the boundary layer provides additional evidence of an extraterrestrial impact at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary layer. Recent research suggests that the impact site may have been in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

• Volcanic Eruptions
The high concentrations of Iridium in the boundary layer has also been attributed to another source, the mantle of the earth. It has been speculated by some scientists that the Iridium layer may be the result of a massive volcanic eruption, as evidenced by the Deccan Traps – extensive volcanic deposits laid down at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary – of India and Pakistan. These lava flows came about when India moved over a “hot spot” in the Indian Ocean, producing flows that exceeded one hundred thousand square kilometers in area and one hundred and fifty meters in thickness. Such flows would have produced enormous amounts of ash, altering global climatic conditions and changing ocean chemistry. Evidence that volcanism was a primary extinction agent at this boundary is also relatively strong. In addition, and the presence of spherules and shocked quartz worldwide in the boundary layer may also have been the result of such explosive volcanism. Thus at present, both the volcanic and meteorite impact hypotheses are both viable mechanisms for producing the Cretaceous mass extinction, although the latter is more popular.

The Holocene Mass Extinction?

The Holocene epoch is the geologically brief interval of time encompassing the last 10,000 years.

With the evolution of humans beginning in the Neogene, humans have evolved into a significant agent of extinction. For example, David Western of the New York Zoological Society, has speculated that for the destruction of every two hundred square kilometers of tropical forest and one hundred thousand square kilometers of rangeland there is a resultant loss of hundreds, if not thousands, of species. Most of these have never been (or ever will be) documented by science.

Deforestation, agricultural practices, pollution, overhunting, and numerous other human activities result in numerous species being threatened everyday. However, more information is required to see if the level of extinctions being experienced today are the harbinger of a mass extinction or merely reflect natural background levels of species replacement.

This was taken from the following web sources. Most of text was copied directly with minor editing for spelling.

The Hooper Virtual Paleontological Museum

And there we were

Posted in • Wood Dickinson Sites, Book, Cape Cod, Chicago, Church, Faith, family, God, Home, Hope, Humility, Kansas City, Love, Patti Dickinson, Poetry, Road Trip, Writing with tags , , , , on 02/02/2014 by wooddickinson

Had a wonderful weekend in Chicago with my wife Patti Shea.
Made me think of this:

“And there we were, in a kind of harmony;
and the evening was so beautiful, that it
made a pain in my heart, as when you
cannot tell whether you are happy or sad;
and I thought that if I could have a wish, it
would be that nothing would ever change,
and we could stay that way forever.”

-Margaret Atwood


Posted in Art, Buildings, Color, Fear, Fine Art Photography, Hope, Monsters, Need, Photography, TV, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on 01/22/2014 by wooddickinson

TSH Window-3Fear has been with us from the begging of our existence. Fear is a healthy response to places, people and situations that could lead to injury or an untimely death.

The funny thing about fear is the fact that in real life we shun it but in our fantasy life we embrace it. I have a lot of friends that tell me they can’t wait until the next slasher movie comes out. They read horror novels, watch television programs designed to elicit fear and terror in viewers not thinking about the true horror that runs through our daily lives.

Things like school shootings, airplanes coming close to diving off a cliff when landing not to mention the blizzards and extreme temps we have been experiencing this month. Weather can bring out the worst in people as they fight for supplies before the storm arrives.steps c copy

As an artist I’m charged with some responsibility to at least try and make some sense of this irrational conundrum. Fear is fine as long as it’s not real or it’s not me. Cross either line and all bets are off. I’m not going to delve into the psychology of this. I’m going to offer a couple of pieces I’ve done recently that, for me, pick at that boundary between the real and not so real.

Stay warm. Hope you have gas for your generator and some bread to eat.

10 past midnight

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