Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quoteworthy and Excerptilicious

"The death penalty ... says that to kill in certain circumstances is acceptable, and encourages the doctrine of revenge.

"If we are to break these cycles, we must remove government-sanctioned violence."

-- Desmond Tutu, writing in The Guardian ahead of a vote on a draft resolution at the United Nations General Assembly calling for a moratorium on executions

The Age of Dinosaurs ended roughly 65 million years ago with the K-T or Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, which killed off all dinosaurs save those that became birds, as well as roughly half of all species on the planet, including pterosaurs. The prime suspect in this ancient murder mystery is an asteroid or comet impact, which left a vast crater at Chicxulub on the coast of Mexico.

Another leading culprit is a series of colossal volcanic eruptions that occurred between 63 million to 67 million years ago. These created the gigantic Deccan Traps lava beds in India, whose original extent may have covered as much as 580,000 square miles (1.5 million square kilometers), or more than twice the area of Texas.

Arguments over which disaster killed the dinosaurs often revolve around when each happened and whether extinctions followed. Previous work had only narrowed the timing of the Deccan eruptions to within 300,000 to 500,000 years of the extinction event.

Now research suggests the mass extinction happened at or just after the biggest phase of the Deccan eruptions, which spewed 80 percent of the lava found at the Deccan Traps.

-- "Double Trouble: What Really Killed the Dinosaurs"

Baseball's free-agent supermarket opens for business today, and Astros general manager Ed Wade apparently will be making offers to closer Francisco Cordero, second baseman Luis Castillo, pitcher Randy Wolf and several others.

Wade won't say how much money he has to spend. He'll just say that he has enough to do the things he needs to do.

Hearing this, I wanted to ask if Drayton McLane still owned the Astros. But Wade is new in town, and with us still being on speaking terms and all, I asked if he'd had the special at Irma's.

Besides, they say people can change, and maybe McLane has decided he likes spending money. Or maybe he has decided he doesn't like the way Minute Maid Park looks when it's empty in October.

--Richard Justice, in the Chronic

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