So I am spending the week in Seattle attending a conference. It is funny how my daily routine completely changes when I am alone in a hotel like this. I can’t sleep at the right time; I watch TV channels I never do at home; I work at weird hours.
One of the shows I’ve watched (when I woke up at 4 am this morning for no apparent reason) was ‘Artic Dinosaurs’ and I got to tell you… it was fascinating. The work paleontologists do is amazing in so many ways; it is detective work at the Nth level where you are trying to infer how these huge animals lived 70 million years ago based on these little bones (that look like toothpicks to me) embedded in tons of rock and mud. Then you have all the other paleo-variant scientists who figure out the climate by looking at plant imprints in rock, the ones who look at little scratches in rock to figure out how birds and worms lived at the time… the most patient men in the planet. I could never do that work.
But the real interesting part to me about this show was to be reminded just how different the Earth was 70 million years ago. I mean, that is not even that long ago when you look at Earth’s history but you had continents in different places, a climate so different that makes the whole global warming debate kind of silly (the northern slope in Alaska they were filming was about 30 degrees warmer even though it was located hundreds of miles closer to the North pole compared to today!). And on top of all of that, we have no idea why the whole situation changed drastically in a mere 5 million years. Actually, we don’t know lots of even more basic things (were dinos already dying when the climate changed? were dinos cold or hot blooded? how much the big meteor hit influence all of that?)
I understand that this is nothing groundbreaking and that info has been out there for a while but watching this show still made me think… We spend so much time (at least I do) reading news about stupid politics (have you seen this funny one?), sports, work, traffic, the weather. All the little concerns that we face in your average 78.3 years of life that are almost incompatible with all these huge changes and movements that our planet goes through.
I think it was Francis Collins in the Language of God who said that you can see God when you look at very small things like our DNA or at very large things like the universe. I say you can also see God (or something like it) when you spend a week alone in a hotel room watching TV at weird hours.
Phew, I need to go home. Good Friday!