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twinlark
Member since Nov-17-05
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My wrap of our Chessgames Challenge: The World vs A Nickel, 2006 against ICCF Grandmaster Arno Nickel is at User: World Team Tribute.

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>> Click here to see twinlark's game collections.

Chessgames.com Full Member

   twinlark has kibitzed 17021 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Mar-29-15 twinlark chessforum
 
twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor> <I speculate it occurred in the more distant past, before the Cambrian. Such an impact would have wiped out most of the multicellular eukaryote lifeforms of the Earth, I suspect, and it would show up in the fossil record as a massive extinction event. ...
 
   Mar-23-15 Kenneth Rogoff (replies)
 
twinlark: <al wazir> The important fact was that no Western leader contradicted Yats' take on WWII. As for the rest of my post being tripe, put your money were you mouth is and point out where it's wrong, and stop being so damned precious.
 
   Mar-08-15 Evgeny Najer (replies)
 
twinlark: Congratulations to Najer winning (outright!) one of the toughest and most competitive events on the calendar. Extremely well done. Hope he fares better in the World Cup than the last time.
 
   Mar-06-15 Abdel Irada chessforum (replies)
 
...
 
   Mar-04-15 Ilia Iljiushenok (replies)
 
twinlark: Iljiushenok is, as of round 8, within the qualifying group of 23. It's interesting to note his playing history. He went from 2112-2426 in a couple of years ending 2009 without gaining an IM (or any other) title, and has basically remained in the low 2400s ever since. ...
 
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

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Mar-20-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <For someone as well known as Kasparov to be assaulted, the order would have to come from a high place. Whether that was Putin himself is just my guess.>

There isn't any proof that someone specifically ordered an assault on Kasparov. Not sure if you have participated in demonstrations, but it can get pretty violent on the ground level. Some individual policemen just get carried away. It's not necessarily due to some order from the top.

The same thing happens in the US, so you might be familiar with it. You don't blame President Obama for every such incident.

<Although you make good arguments in favor of Putin sainthood> Putin is far from being a saint, and has evinced no traditional quality of a saint in his entire career. What he is is a professional intelligence officer and a competent politician, who also happens to be a genuine Russian patriot. I also believe he is one of the rare men around which revolves a nexus of history. Meaning he will have an unusually significant historical impact in the future of humanity.

<I don't know what MSM is but that's not relevant.> MSM means mainstream media. It is very very relevant. If you are in the US, that means CNN, New York Times, Fox etc..

If you read or watch them, they all consistently paint Putin as some kind of dictatorial thug. Again and again you read this everyday. That's why it's so easy to entertain the idea that Putin murdered Nemtsov. MSM has psychologically prepared our minds to such a notion, since thugs do murder people.

Yet you should consider the possibility that MSM is propagandizing, practicing slanted journalism.

What happens if you read alternative mass media, especially Russian ones? It's the opposite. Putin isn't a thug at all. He is well respected and admired. (Except for some elements of the Russian media associated with the opposition. And not even all of them depict Putin as a thug.)

How do you analyze from these two viewpoints? You just get the verifiable facts, the most basic ones that both sides usually confirm to be true.

Here is what is verifiablly true. Most Russians like Putin. They say so in their blogs, and they voted him in. Even MSM has reports that the Russians voted him as their President (but note that MSM often also implies that Putin has duped or scared them into voting for him).

For me, that clearly indicates that they approve of what Putin is doing and definitely don't consider him a thug. No one will vote for what he thinks is a thug to be the President of his country.

I believe that in Putin's particular case, you have been lied to by the MSM. You might not believe that, but you have to consider the fact that the mass media does lie if that is the order from their owners.

<I prefer to side with Kasparov on this issue.>

If you mean you support Kasparov's party line, that's also fine. For myself, I have tried looking at the political agenda of his United Civil Front. It lacks any detailed socio-politico-economic programs. I don't know what it really wants, aside from being an opposition movement to Putin.

<We will have to wait until some semblance of free press appears in Russia before we know anything for sure.>

If you watched the video, the pro-Putin speaker was actually discussing Russian TV outlets that were critical of Putin or supportive of Nemtsov. That tells me that is some degree of free press in Russia. At least some private opposition mass media are allowed to continue broadcasting.

MSM regularly feeds us propaganda that there is zero press freedom in Russia. My critique: 1. That's not what I see. There are some news outlets inside Russia that broadcast anti-Putin messages. 2. MSM should first and foremost criticize itself. It would broadcast anything that its owners mandates, not necessarily the truth. I have posted on this above. The so-called free press of the west is not so free as we would like to believe, or as they claim they are.

Mar-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Boomie: <visayanbraindoctor>

The assault of Kasparov occurred at a courtroom at the Pussy Riot trial, not at a protest.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garry_...

<<I prefer to side with Kasparov on this issue.>

If you mean you support Kasparov's party line...>

The issue we have been discussing is Putin. I don't know what connection Kasparov's party line has here. His opinion of Putin is what I support.

Notice that when Kasparov was trying to run for president, he came up against the rule that a gathering of at least 500 had to support his candidacy. But he was prevented from renting a hall large enough.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garry_...

Perhaps you think it was just a coincidence that no large hall could be found in a city of 12 million. It seems clear to me that the government put pressure to thwart Kasparov's candidacy. There is no sense of democracy or fair play in Putin. He's just another oppressive dictator who will bend or break the rules to maintain his power.

Mar-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Boomie>

<He's just another oppressive dictator who will bend or break the rules to maintain his power.>

FoxNews thinks so too so it must be true. I'd be prepared to argue, but I really haven't seen much evidence that you're prepared to solidly back your arguments with shared information, research, or to back up your arguments with anything substantive or to generally depart from the US MSM party line.

You've ignored most of <visayanbraindoctor>'s main points, brushing them aside with your somewhat peremptory opinion. He is one of the more thoughtful posters on this site, and I fear you are doing him an injustice. Check out his forum, see what he does for a crust, ask yourself why he's on this site at all and why he is passionate about minority rights (yes - more than anyone I know), and get a sense of who he is before you give him the bum's rush.

I'd prefer you not peddle the standard recycled hash of Putin being "mad, bad and Hitler." The Rogoff page is available for that level of discourse.

The politics of what is happening in the Russian world is as complex as any you will encounter in the world, byzantine politics at its most complex.

I know you are a more thoughtful interlocutor than what you have displayed so far in this discussion and as such would expect you to have shown better knowledge of what is happening in that region than you've shown so far.

Mar-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  heuristic: <putin>
from my limited perspective, he has a strong belief/vision of Russian history and it's destiny. the first hits of a search with "russia putin history destiny" will provide examples.

<msm>
free press means freedom from _government_ censorship. that's an important nuance overlooked in your closing denunciation. (which was a weak sidebar to an otherwise thoughtful presentation)

although chess is, discourse shouldn't be a zero sum game!

Mar-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  heuristic: <putin & Russia>
here's stuff that underscores my observation:

Russian people:
https://inmoscowsshadows.wordpress....

putin:
http://blog.oup.com/2014/04/putin-h... http://www.politifact.com/punditfac...

I'm not endorsing the articles, just note the historical & psychological comments.

Mar-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark:

<The Moscow Times> is a significant media outlet that is pro-West and extremely critical of Russia and Putin: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/

What would be the US equivalent, matched in both size and content?

Mar-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Boomie: <twinlark: FoxNews thinks so too so it must be true.>

So you think that Kasparov's opinions are ruled by the media? I posted that I agree with Kasparov's opinion of Putin. He understands Russian politics better than us.

VBD and I have chatted with each other before although not on divisive issues like politics. We seem to enjoy our little chats and will probably continue to do so. I have every confidence in VBD's ability to speak for himself. If he feels offended by my posts, he will let me know.

Mar-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Boomie>

<So you think that Kasparov's opinions are ruled by the media?>

Not at all. He does however play to the media and to the Western press in particular. I also have no doubt that his "fear" of being in Russia is largely due to an inflated sense of his own importance.

The transition he's made from playing chess to playing politics seems to be a transition from being a legend in his own time to being a legend in his own mind.

His efforts at promoting chess in schools and elsewhere are far more productive than his political drivel. He couldn't even outmaneuver Kirsan, and that within the governing body of the sport in which he was so pre-eminent.

<I posted that I agree with Kasparov's opinion of Putin. He understands Russian politics better than us.>

So does the CIA, although I'm not sure I would endorse their opinions or strategies.

Best to do your own research and make up your own mind. Kasparov is almost irrelevant in Russian politics.

<I have every confidence in VBD's ability to speak for himself.>

As do I. He may not be feeling offended, but I feel your responses to his long and thoughtful posts was peremptory at best.

<If he feels offended by my posts, he will let me know.>

Of that I have no doubt.

Mar-23-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <If he feels offended by my posts, he will let me know.> Not at all <boomie>. I enjoy discussing even politics with you. I know there's nothing personal about it, and we are both outsiders to Russian politics (I am presuming that you are American).

<The issue we have been discussing is Putin. I don't know what connection Kasparov's party line has here. His opinion of Putin is what I support.>

In real politics and political campaigns, opposing sides almost always smear each other, or at least try their best to make things difficult for their opponents. Kasparov and any Russian opposition leader will naturally be expected to play up to any bad accusation against Putin. Since MSM outlets are doing so nearly daily, then it's not surprising if GKK would play up to MSM. Politics goes to the personal level.

More important to me is the party line. What does the political party want? Politics goes to the state level.

Another way of putting it is:

I would support a party whose party line I agree with strongly even if I personally do not like some of the people or their personal habits in that party. I may like a person on a personal level, but I would not support him if his party line from my perspective is bad.

Here is a hypothetical example. I have an imaginary childhood friend of upright morals and an outstandingly productive life. He enters into politics joining a party that advocates fining elementary school students if ever they use a language other than the one deemed by the central government as the only official one. I would not hesitate to denounce such a policy, I definitely would not vote for my own friend, and I would tell others not to vote for him.

Mar-23-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Now if you look at Putin's political line, it's pretty consistent. He has always advocated a stronger Russia. Moreover, in the pursuit of this vision, he doesn't seem to be for sale. He could have just cooperated with the Yeltsin clique that pushed him into power, and the oligarchs that exerted power in post-cold War Russia, and Putin would have guaranteed himself a safe source of wealth from the kickbacks he would have received, and still remained President with the support of such groups. A wealthy but willing puppet. Instead, he took what I see as a calculated risk and fought to kick them out from power; and from his words and behavior it seems that his main motivation is that they were doing harm to the Russian economy and people. Doing harm to the Russian people seems to be a Putin red line, if he perceives anything like that, he acts against it. Very consistent all throughout his career.

I have even predicted to myself correctly at just how Putin will act at times, just based on this hypothetical red line. I thought for instance that Putin will start assassinating Caucasus Wahhabis, who he obviously thinks are a danger to Russia, and he did. I predict he will continue doing so.

In the case of the Syrian conflict, Putin (and the Chinese leadership) has repeatedly vetoed any resolution by the UN Security council that might justify an invasion of Syria ala Libya. I though he would do so and continue to do so. Recently Russia (and China) vetoed another resolution against Syria. Russia has a naval base in Syria, it's only military presence in the Mediterranean, aside from historic friendly ties to Syria dating more than a hundred years. (I have read for example that only Syria among Arab countries accepted Russian Orthodox missionaries way back in the Ottoman era. If true, the ties between Russia and Syria are older than the Cold war.)

I predicted to myself that he might openly strengthen the Russian military in response and warning to NATO encroachment to Russia's borders. I have recently read that Putin is upgrading Russia's military equipment by 2020, and quadrupling her airborne military service. MSM will expectedly slant this to accuse Putin of expansionist aims, while completely ignoring NATO expansion right to the borders of Russia (typical example of slanted journalism).

I thought that Putin might facilitate Crimea's reunification with Russia (something that MSM slants as annexation implying that it was forced and illegal), and he did. A hostile Kiev that would allow NATO to potentially take over Russia's ancient Black Sea Fleet naval base for Putin is a clear and present danger; and a person such as he would be expected to stop such a potential from ever happening. He did.

Putin on the other hand does not see Ukraine per se as danger. It's the Kiev leadership that is. He seems to regard ordinary Ukrainians as fraternal Slavs. That's precisely why he has not accepted Donsbass' overtures for reunification. For Putin a neutral or friendly Ukraine is far more beneficial to Russia than a permanently hostile one. If Russian friendly Donbass remains intact with Ukraine, it acts as a balance to a hostile Kiev administration. There is still hope for an over-all neutral or friendly Ukraine. I have posted on this above.

This could still change. The assumption is that Donbass as a society is intact. If Kiev tries a massive ethnic cleansing, Donbass society ceases to be intact. Putin will see forces hostile to Russia push further east. A danger. He will also see the slaughter of tens of thousands of Russian ethnic people in Ukraine, something that to a man of Putin's mentality is psychologically intolerable. I predict he will 'accept' the Donbass application for reunification, and enforce it with Russian troops.

Putin is quite a predictable fellow. Look at any big political-economic issue presented to Russia. Look at the possible solutions. Putin will invariably choose the one that is most beneficial to Russia.

Mar-23-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <heuristic: <msm> free press means freedom from _government_ censorship. that's an important nuance overlooked in your closing denunciation. (which was a weak sidebar to an otherwise thoughtful presentation)>

I thought that press freedom is not only confined to freedom from government censorship.

In any case, let us assume the press freedom means only freedom from government censorship.

Suppose the government via its intel agencies secretly pays off the owners of an MSM company. That MSM company then prints only whatever the government approves.

I would opine that it's still government censorship, notwithstanding its indirect reinforcement.

Mar-23-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Boomie: The assault of Kasparov occurred at a courtroom at the Pussy Riot trial, not at a protest.>

He seemed to have been with a group of people protesting the trial. I thought it was a protest demonstration of sorts. As I have mentioned, protesters run the risk of getting manhandled or beaten by the police in such activities. It happens here and it happens in the USA. It's not as if Putin personally ordered it. Likewise Obama or one of his high officials don't; personally order such police violence in the US. Perhaps the police had orders to break up any conglomerating group outside the courthouse. The simplest explanation is that the police just get carried away. Happens here and in the US, and anywhere all the time.

Mar-23-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Perhaps you think it was just a coincidence that no large hall could be found in a city of 12 million. It seems clear to me that the government put pressure to thwart Kasparov's candidacy.>

<On 12 December 2007, Kasparov announced that he had to withdraw his presidential candidacy due to inability to rent a meeting hall where at least 500 of his supporters could assemble to endorse his candidacy, as is legally required. With the deadline expiring on that date, he explained it was impossible for him to run. Kasparov's spokeswoman accused the government of using pressure to deter anyone from renting a hall for the gathering and said that the electoral commission had rejected a proposal that separate smaller gatherings be held at the same time instead of one large gathering at a meeting hall>

This Wikipedia article is based on Kasparov's own words. No other alternative perspective is presented. This makes it biased.

Some apparent facts (that can be gleaned from GKK's own words): It seems that in Russia one must rent a meeting hall that can house more than 500 people in order to run for Presidential Candidacy. Kasparov either did not or could not. He claims he could not because the government electoral commission effectively by omission (declining to enforce their own legal requirement of a 500 man meeting hall) barred him.

My thoughts: If I were in the electoral commission, I would uphold the old guidelines. You just can't change legal guidelines in the middle of an election campaign without incurring political repercussions. Other candidates will begin wondering, or worse complaining, why the sudden change?

Further thoughts: The simplest explanation is that Kasparov for any number of reasons chose not to rent such a meeting hall, as stipulated by the electoral commission. Then in a typical politician's move, he blames the electoral commission not himself. I do not know what his reasons are, but I can hypothesize. One, he may simply have lacked money to rent a 500 man meeting hall. Two, he may have had trouble looking for at least 500 hundred people who would certainly attend. Three, he knew he could not win the election anyway, and sought a reason justifiable to his supporters to quit.

Mar-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

Thanks for your considered responses.

I guess that my interventions may irk you to some extent, as I know you are more than capable of defending your own ideas, and always with impeccable manners and grace. But I'm becoming somewhat crabby in my old age, and I felt the need remind an otherwise excellent interlocutor that intellectual laziness wasn't going to go unnoticed.

I'm limiting my time here at CG.com, as RL issues are becoming increasing intrusive and my own participation increasingly irrelevant. I'm a crap chess player and find that I'm having less desire to argue matters not related to chess, which no longer leaves me much I want to say.

I will however be leaving my forum open as long as I renew my premium membership, and will check in regularly. I'll always answer any posts you address to me.

Mar-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <I guess that my interventions may irk you to some extent>

Not at all!

In fact I am always looking forward to you joining in discussions.

<my own participation increasingly irrelevant>

I completely disagree.

I do hope you continue actively writing.

Mar-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_c...

What are your thoughts on the <Toba catastrophe>?

There are two main aspects to this theory.

One. The present Homo sapiens world population went through a population bottleneck in the past.

Two. The Toba catastrophe is the cause of this bottleneck.

Mar-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: If you are wondering why I don't join in the Roggof page discussions, it's because I lack the time and focus to do so. I will end up leaving my discussions incomplete all the time. There's just too many people and too many discussion threads going on all the time. I can't keep track of them all. However please feel free to quote me, or invite people to discuss thing here in your forum with me. (If you feel this is constructive.)
Mar-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Boomie: <visayanbraindoctor: In real politics and political campaigns, opposing sides almost always smear each other...>

Another reason everybody hates politics. There doesn't appear to be any provable resources for Putin. We have plausible theories but that's just about it.

<Now if you look at Putin's political line, it's pretty consistent. He has always advocated a stronger Russia.>

This does seem to a reasonable explanation of his behavior.

<I thought that Putin might facilitate Crimea's reunification with Russia (something that MSM slants as annexation implying that it was forced and illegal), and he did.>

The Crimea has been a part of the Ukraine officially since 1954 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_t...).

The annexation of the Crimea was in violation of the Budapest Memorandum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budape...), which Russia signed. The Russian military played a major role in the takeover. The occupation of the Crimea makes Russia stronger. But it has to concern the other former Soviet republics. How long before the Russians grab some of their territory?

<visayanbraindoctor: <Boomie: The assault of Kasparov occurred at a courtroom at the Pussy Riot trial, not at a protest.>

He seemed to have been with a group of people protesting the trial.>

The story is Kasparov was outside the courtroom being interviewed by a radio station when he was arrested for...what? Yes, chaos can create appalling behavior by the police. But the arrest of a celebrity is not a random act. Kasparov was targeted. Surely you don't think this decision was taken by some beat cop?

Mar-24-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <The story is Kasparov was outside the courtroom being interviewed by a radio station when he was arrested for...what?>

The topic was the manhandling of Kasparov which you thought was an order that came from Putin. I replied no, Putin probably was not involved, the police got carried away. There is no evidence at all that Putin or one of his high official personally ordered GKK to be manhandled.

<chaos can create appalling behavior by the police>

If you are indicating that you can see no evidence that Putin issued orders to manhandle GKK, and you see my point that in general police manhandling protesters all the time all over the world is a common phenomenon not necessarily the doing of the chief executive or another high official of a country. That's good. We can leave this issue behind, and go to others. Such as why Kasparov was arrested and temporarily detained. You introduced this topic with:

<the arrest of a celebrity is not a random act. Kasparov was targeted. Surely you don't think this decision was taken by some beat cop?>

There is no evidence for Kasparov being specifically targeted. The simplest explanation for the arrest and temporary detention of GKK is that the Russian police had general orders to clear the front of the courthouse of public protesters. GKK happened to be in this group of people.

But you are now saying GKK was not protesting? I disagree. AFAIK he was protesting the way the government was handling Pussy Riot. In front of the courthouse and reporters, accompanied by like-minded fellows. It's not as if he went there to talk about the weather. His intention was to protest.

I am assuming that there was an order. Police don't just go to a certain place and remove people spontaneously from the street. The question is who issued the order? I don't know. Maybe you have sources that do. Perhaps it was the court itself or the local city government. Probably not the Federal government, but it's still a possibility.

Did whoever send the police there specifically target GKK? IMO no. The police would have forcibly removed anyone there, not just GKK. It's not as if his celebrity status makes him immune to police action.

Another question. Was the police action legal? My answer would be: whatever governmental body was that ordered the police action obviously thought it was a legal order.

<The Crimea has been a part of the Ukraine officially since 1954...

The annexation of the Crimea was in violation of the Budapest Memorandum which Russia signed.>

Before we go into this sticky topic, I would request you to read all the messages <twinlark> and I have posted above on Ukraine and Crimea and Russia, and think through them. You have made two statements from one perspective. I am assuming you know little of the other side.

Additional info. You might be interested to know that half of the world's countries may have begun as secessionist movements. Including your own if you are American. Secession and Independence are two faces of the same coin. What history books calls a movement depends on how the coin landed. This is the general rule: If the movement fails, the coin has effectively landed tails up, and books record it as a failed secessionist movement. If the movement succeeds, the coin has effectively landed heads up, and books record it as an Independence movement.

This is a very sticky matter if you are going into this discussion. I would not discuss this with you if you haven't read the said posts of <twinlark> and I above, because I could end up wasting a lot of my time rehashing the contents of those posts. Unfortunately, I don't have much leisure time.

Mar-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  heuristic: <my own participation increasingly irrelevant> if you find an outlet/forum when you write down your observations; please identify it. your writing is quite serious and is worth reading.
Mar-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Boomie: <visayanbraindoctor: Before we go into this sticky topic, I would request you to read all the messages <twinlark> and I have posted above on Ukraine and Crimea and Russia, and think through them.>

I guess I'm not interested enough in this topic to go fishing through posts. There doesn't appear to be any definitive sources so anything we say here is speculation. And I'm not really that interested in politics. So I will wait for another topic before jumping in again.

Thanks for the discussion.

Mar-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<What are your thoughts on the <Toba catastrophe>?>

It's interesting. I hadn't actually heard about it before, although I was aware of the genetic pinches (better word that "bottlenecks" IMO) experienced by humans and cheetahs, hence the relative homogenity of their respective genomes. I hadn't thought they were connected by a single event.

At first blush, it seems plausible, although I notice there are some significant objections and uncertainties in the data. One aspect of this that interests me is that if the Toba catastrophe caused genetic pinches of the nature described in the wiki article, did it also cause a minor extinction event?

It would seem to follow that that was possible, although the survival of the apex predators does suggest that the lower and more prolific part of the food chain was less affected, at least in terms of a possible genetic pinch.

I'll get back to you in a few days once I've learned more. I might even get out to the National Library on this one. In any case, I can see whence the modern fetish with super-volcanos originated.

As an afternote, the term "Toba Catastrophe" had me thinking about the number of pivotal catastrophes that have affected the history of the Earth and the solar system, not the least being the Chixculub Event 65my ago.

Australian geologists from my home town have discovered a huge double impact crater in central Australia of an asteroid that broke into two pieces before impact. It'll probably be labeled the Warburton Impact/Event, as it was discovered in the Warburton Basin: http://www.sci-news.com/geology/sci..., although they can't seem to work out with any precision when it actually occurred (450my ago 150my). It seems it's the largest impact zone yet found on the planet.

Fred Hoyle sneeringly labeled the Big Bang, and the name stuck. I thought retaining the name - which sucks and is misleading - was more than a little disrespectful of the great scientist, and it's not like the BBT is a water tight theory.

Maybe a better name might have been the Original Catastrophe, or the Origin Catastrophe, or even stuff like the First Event. The destruction of the Void was a big deal, or to put tongue firmly in cheek:

"In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded."

Mar-25-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <heuristic>

Thanks, but anything I write will most likely be here. If that changes I'll let you know.

Mar-26-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <A 400 km-wide (250 mile-wide) impact basin>

That's stunning!

<There are two huge deep domes in the crust, formed by the Earth’s crust rebounding after the huge impacts, and bringing up rock from the mantle below>

The impact must have broken open the Earth's crust temporarily.

I speculate it occurred in the more distant past, before the Cambrian. Such an impact would have wiped out most of the multicellular eukaryote lifeforms of the Earth, I suspect, and it would show up in the fossil record as a massive extinction event.

If it occurred during pre-Cambrian times, it would have affected fewer multicellular Eukaryota.

One celled lifeforms in terms of extinction would not be much affected though. Bacteria would not even notice it much, except those in the immediate vicinity.

Going back to the hypothetical human genetic pinch, I was under the impression at first that human races evolved a long long time ago, given the obvious morphological differences. Not skin color because that can change in just a few generations, but in the bony structure. It's pretty much clear to any one with eyes that east Asians have a more 'petite' slender skeleton than Indo Europeans or Africans.

An interesting anecdote from my old master. He was trained in the US in Neurosurgery, and had operated on African Americans there. While we were perforating a thick portion of the skull of a patient in the OR, he remarked that negro American skulls were very thick. He said this in two other occasions at least. (In the Philippines, we usually use the Spanish word <negro> for sub-Saharan Africans and their descendants in general.)

If the population pinch theory is correct, then it indicates that evolution can work much faster than I thought on Homo sapiens. In just about 60,000 years, noticeable differences in the skeletal structure have evolved in populations in the East.

Mar-29-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <visayanbraindoctor>

<I speculate it occurred in the more distant past, before the Cambrian. Such an impact would have wiped out most of the multicellular eukaryote lifeforms of the Earth, I suspect, and it would show up in the fossil record as a massive extinction event.

If it occurred during pre-Cambrian times, it would have affected fewer multicellular Eukaryota.>

Yes, something that size would have had a profound impact on the animals that evolved during the Cambrian explosion, so it seems to be a reasonable supposition that the impact would have been before 550 million years ago. Underscoring this is that Wiki's list of major extinction events shows nothing before the Cambrian apart from the Great Oxygenation Event a few billion years ago. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extin...

Events such as asteroid impacts were commonplace during the first 500 million years of Earth's existence (aka the Great Bombardment), and even if there was a sudden abatement around 4 billion years ago due to the reconfiguration of the orbital resonance between Jupiter and Saturn, there would still be enough residue flying around the inner solar system for significant events to occur for a very long time afterwards.

Many would have still happened after unicellular life formed, some after multi-celled eukaryotes evolved and a few after the Cambrian explosion. As you say the fossil record would probably be silent on pre-Cambrian events vis a vis the effect on life during the pre-Cambrian.

<If the population pinch theory is correct, then it indicates that evolution can work much faster than I thought on Homo sapiens. In just about 60,000 years, noticeable differences in the skeletal structure have evolved in populations in the East.>

It makes sense. Mitochondrial DNA analysis indicates that Aborigines separated from the rest of the human population between 60,000 and 75,000 years ago, which in conjunction with archaeological evidence, is a reasonable era in which to place the migration of Aborigines' ancestors to the Australian continent (which broadly coincides with the Toba Catastrophe; I wonder if mtDNA can show whether the genetic pinch occurred to Aborigines?, or whether they arrived safely before that event?)

That has been a sufficiently long period for the relatively distinct morphology of Aborigines to develop. Not only that, but the morphological differences between New Guineans and Australians has also become pronounced since the land bridge between the two islands was submerged about 10,000 years ago.

These are relatively minor changes. The ones noted by your mentor are probably less minor, but are still morphological changes that require no more than a few genes to activate. The internal body plans of earth's organisms doesn't seem to have changed in half a billion years.

As one biologist stated, internal body plans are governed by hundreds of genes and can't exist in intermediate stages like external shapes. Hence it's an either/or situation for such changes: they are not gradual. The analogy is that the probability of a 1000 dice coming up all sixes is about a quintillion to one, whereas the chances of sixes up with say a dozen or two dice is far greater and in fact likely in due course.

As you've indicated, physical evolution in humans is likely to be slower than in faster breeding animals, so I assume your surprise at your mentor's findings are based around that. I would surmise that thicker skulls would be a relatively simple change, although what the selection pressure would have been is interesting to surmise.

I believe Innuit have only inhabited the far north for a millennium or so, yet they have had time to evolve more blood vessels in their hands to cope with the cold, although in this case the selection pressure is seemingly obvious.

Perhaps the answer lies in epigenetics, which supposes that <physiological trait variations are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence; epigenetics describes the study of dynamic alterations in the transcriptional potential of a cell.>

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epige...

The active interaction between the organism and the environment can actually speed up evolution and allow adaptation at a faster rate than random selection allows. Darwinism tinged with Lamarckism.

Just a thought.

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