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Photo by Markus Spiske (Pexels)

Nature and environment seemed to get a bit of a reprieve from lockdowns during this pandemic. Images and stories of wild animals and birds visiting more areas because of low human activity abounded. We all thought that perhaps the Earth would heal a bit because humans were unable to continue their destructive activities.

Two researches say otherwise. New data from EU satellites shows that 2020 is close to 2016 as the warmest year on record, and was 1.24 dedgrees Celsius above average from the pre-industrial period (1850–1900) according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service. Europe was 0.4 degrees warmer than 2019 — a new record. …


Painting of Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie 1797
Painting of Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie 1797
Painting of Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie 1797 (Public Domain)

We have all heard of Frankenstein, a novel that can be considered the first true science fiction story, written by Mary Shelley in 1818. Perhaps not many of us will know of Mary Shelley’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, an English writer, philosopher and most importantly, an advocate for women’s rights, regarded as one of the founding feminist thinkers.

Born on April 27, 1759, she was the second of seven children and her father was a farmer. Although, her family had a comfortable income, her father squandered it all and their financial situation became unstable. He was also abusive to her mother and to Mary as well. …


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First image: Pluto in true color. Second Image: Pluto in false color. Credit: NASA/JHAPL/SwRi/ New Horizons (Public Domain)

It used to be a planet and then it wasn’t. Pluto’s demotion to a dwarf planet has been a bone of contention amongst many. This fight has overshadowed a milestone in human space travel. We have actually sent a spacecraft that has flown by Pluto, has made scientific observations and sent back images that have changed our understanding of this solar system object.

How was it discovered? In the 1840s, astronomers noticed that the orbit of Uranus was being disturbed by something other than Neptune and the hunt for a ninth planet was started. The job of locating this Planet X was given to a 23-year-old astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. He had to systematically image the night sky in pairs of photographs and then examine them to see if any objects had moved. After nearly a year of this, Tombaugh noticed an object that seemed to have moved on photographs taken on January 23 and 29, 1930. …


History of Life on Earth Geological Time Spiral
History of Life on Earth Geological Time Spiral
History of Life on Earth Geological Time Spiral USGS (Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

Our planet is currently going through an environmental and climate disaster, to the extent that many scientists now believe that Earth is experiencing a sixth mass extinction event, caused by human activity — what we call anthropogenic impacts. A mass extinction event is one where there is a widespread and rapid decrease in biodiversity.

If this is the sixth mass extinction, when were the previous five? That’s what we are going to talk about.

We have to go very far into Earth’s history to start, when a lot was happening on the planet, with plate tectonics, volcanoes and asteroid strikes. For the first three billion years of life unicellular microorganisms — something like bacteria or archaea ruled it. There were no insects, or birds or mammals. The earliest direct fossil evidence of this is from around 3.4 billion years ago in Australia. There is also evidence suggesting that life may have begun 4.2 billion years ago, soon after the formation of our planet, when oceans had just started forming, because oceans are where everything lived then, as far as we know. These early lifeforms were not using oxygen to make food however; there wasn’t enough of it then. They were using methane or carbon dioxide and their waste product — oxygen — starting filling up in the atmosphere leading to oxygen-using organisms. …


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Ligo Caltech (Public Domain)

In 2016, two scientists at the California Institute of Technology, Mike Brown and Konstantin Baytgin, hypothesized the existence of a ninth planet in our solar system. With mass ten times greater than that of Earth, this planet could explain the weird orbits of some objects far beyond the planet Neptune. Since then they — and other scientists — have been looking for Planet 9 to no avail. …


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Our feature this week is on Mother Goddesses throughout the ages and across the globe.

https://medium.com/360-on-history/mother-goddess-when-women-were-worshiped-81ba106f7d4b

The obligatory blog on Covid19 and the Conspiracy Theorists

https://medium.com/@triggerfishwriting/covid-19-and-the-conspiracy-theorists-1dabb5d95d4d

Also check out the blog on the difference between Comets, Asteroids and Meteors

https://medium.com/360-on-history/comets-asteroids-and-meteors-whats-the-difference-bf68b3915190

And finally, here is a post on the medieval witchtrials across Europe and Salem, Massachusetts.

https://medium.com/360-on-history/burn-the-witch-a-brief-history-of-paranoia-2a8b51da9c7c


  • Mother Goddess— When Women were Worshiped
Figurine known as Venus of Hohle Fels with large breasts and exaggerated anatomy.
Figurine known as Venus of Hohle Fels with large breasts and exaggerated anatomy.
Venus of Hohle Fels (Public Domain)

In September of 2008, a team of archaeologists working in the Hohle Fels cave in Germany uncovered a remarkable find: a figurine made of mammoth ivory dated to between 40,000 and 35,000 years ago. Now known as the Venus of Hohle Fels, this figurine is the oldest known representation of the human form. The exaggerated anatomy and massive breasts are a powerful depiction of being female — symbolizing the fertility goddess’ characteristics of sex and reproduction.


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Markus Winkler Unsplash

Christopher Hitchens described conspiracy theory as the “exhaust fumes of democracy: the unavoidable result of a large amount of information circulating among a large number of people”.

The current pandemic has brought out conspiracy theorists in droves and their theories are as outlandish as ever. Our disassociation with science, and fascination with celebrity means that at times like these, people will risk their lives but will still not believe scientific fact. …


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Composite of Images from NASA and ESA

Comet Neowise recently visited us and just last week the annual Perseid meteor shower graced our skies. Although, I was not able to see either of them because of clouds! Plus, an asteroid passed by close to Earth.

About

Triggerfish Writing

I write on science, history, nature, climate change, feminism, religion, politics & digital marketing. Check out my blog 360onhistory.co.uk

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