Look Ma! No eggs. This prehistoric reptile gave birth to live young
The Christian Science Monitor
Live birth: Most mammals do it, some lizards and snakes do it, but archosaurs – a reptilian group that includes crocodiles and birds – don’t… or so biologists thought. When a long-necked, marine archosauromorph died some 245 million years ago in what is now China, she was pregnant, according to a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. And now paleontologists are hailing this fossil as evidence that archosaurs might not have always been strict egg-layers.
…Daniel Blackburn, a biologist at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., whose own research has focused on viviparity in reptiles, is convinced. “Based on the state of development of the embryo and its position in the body of the adult, it almost certainly is a developing fetus,” he writes in an email to the Monitor. “Given the absence of any trace of an eggshell, as well as its advanced state of development, the embryo seems unlikely to be laid as an egg. Thus, the adult specimen is almost certainly a pregnant female with a developing fetus.”
“Viviparity has previously been documented in only a few groups of extinct reptiles, notably ichthyosaurs, the giant mosasauroid lizards, and plesiosaurs,” Dr. Blackburn says. “The authors’ analysis extends live-bearing habits to an entirely new reptilian group, one in which it had not previously been suspected.”…
Samuel Kassow discusses reportage in pre-World War II Poland
The Massachusetts Daily Collegian (University of Massachusetts)
Samuel Kassow, a professor of history at Trinity [College] and author of several books, spoke Thursday evening in the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies. Kassow spoke of his first-hand experiences with Jewish journalists in the Warsaw and Lodz ghettos, the subject of his most recent work.
The talk, titled “In Those Nightmarish Days: Ghetto Reportage as Witnessing,” is a segment in a series of studies conducted by the Institute on “modes of witnessing,” done by exploring methods of documenting and remembering the past.
Kassow, introduced as a “rock star historian,” spoke on the mode to which he has committed extensive study, reportage. Defined by Kassow as “artfully narrated but factually truthful,” reportage rose in post-war times in Europe in the 20th century. When documentation cannot tell an entire story, reportage allows for emotion to fill in the cracks…
Library Holds Immigration Discussion
The Simsbury Public Library addressed U.S. immigration policy and immigrant incorporation.
Abigail F. Williamson, a professor of political science and public policy and law at Trinity College in Hartford, focused on new laws and policies affecting the nation’s immigrant population.
The timely topic comes in the wake of President Donald J. Trump’s executive order that targeted seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria) he deemed hotbeds for terrorist. A legal stay was instituted by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court in a 3-0 decision.
The Trump administration will likely fight the stay or issue a revised executive order. The original order triggered chaos and large scale protest at U.S. airports. U.S. District Court judges in Boston and Seattle issued stays on the 120-day moratorium.
Williamson examined immigration policy history, current policy, today’s immigrants, and proposals for reform…
Time is such a slippery thing. It ticks away, neutrally, yet it also flies and collapses, and is more often lost than found. Days can feel eternal but a month can gallop past. So, is time ever perceived objectively? Is this experience innate or is it learned? And how long is “now”, anyway? Such questions have puzzled philosophers and scientists for over 2,000 years. They also began to haunt Alan Burdick of the New Yorker. Keen for answers, he set out “on a journey through the world of time”, a lengthy trip that spans everything from Zeno’s paradoxes to the latest neuroscience. Alas, he arrives at a somewhat dispiriting conclusion: “If scientists agree on anything, it’s that nobody knows enough about time.”
Humans are apparently poor judges of the duration of time. Minutes seem to drag when one is bored, tired or sad, yet they flit by for those who are busy, happy or socialising (particularly if alcohol or cocaine is involved). Eventful periods seem, in retrospect, to have passed slowly, whereas humdrum stretches will have sped by. Although humans (and many animals) have an internal mechanism to keep time, this turns out to be as reliable as a vintage cuckoo clock. “It’s a mystery to me that we function as well as we do,” observes Dan Lloyd, a philosopher and time scholar at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut…
A Bronx Renaissance?
The US 100: 100 Songs from the Heart of America
Having looked at the 1930s Harlem Renaissance in our third chapter, I pondered whether the cultural activity in The Bronx in the 70s and 80s could be considered as an equivalent ‘Bronx Renaissance’ – and so I put this question to Professor Davarian L. Baldwin, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
JZ: Am I onto something with this Bronx Renaissance idea?
DLB: A Bronx Renaissance huh? I have never actually thought about it in those terms. But in fact in 2006 writer Miles Marshall Lewis edited a Bronx Biannual as a nod to The Paris Review to highlight the kind of ‘street lit’ aesthetic that was heavily influenced by hip hop culture. He highlights the writings of people like Zadie Smith and Adam Mansbach, and I am sure Junot Diaz, Sapphire, and Paul Beatty and others would be included. To be sure this approach of equating ‘renaissance’ with the literary and visual art ‘influenced’ by a moment is a pretty orthodox approach…
Is Bitcoin Safe? Experts Pick Sides
…Josh R. Stillwagon, Assistant Professor of Economics at Trinity College: “Bitcoin is not safe in the sense that I would recommend those in or near retirement to put most of their savings into it. Historically, it has been subject to large price declines, at times losing up to half of its value within short periods. There is also potential default risk if a given exchange goes bankrupt as with Mt. Gox. Although it is not at all safe from capital losses, like any speculative asset or perhaps more analogously any fixed supply commodity, it is a viable option as part of a high-risk investment portfolio.
In the shorter-term, heightened geopolitical or monetary uncertainty bodes well for Bitcoin. In that sense, Bitcoin has a safe haven component, since it, at times, does well when the markets are in turmoil. We have seen that during the 2012 Cypriot crisis and China’s recent struggle to prop up their fixed exchange rate.
The medium-term trend will depend on whether the world stays in a low growth environment provoking continued quantitative easing and negative interest rates (which is good for Bitcoin), or whether central banks normalize their balance sheets. This is really the key question, in my view.
Whatever one thinks of the longer-term monetary environment, and hence longer term Bitcoin returns, it is certainly not free from the risk of sizeable price declines. Further, these declines are often sudden due to limited liquidity. Significant short-term price swings will also be associated with Bitcoin specific events like adoptions or bans by particular institutions/countries; although I think digital currencies are here to stay and will continue to proliferate in transaction use.”