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I'd like to be a fossil treeThis week's episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, "Lost Worlds of Planet Earth," is about time travel -- the path of all the life that clings to the thin habitable crust of our planet, and the forces that have shaped both. Neil deGrasse Tyson starts us off with a visit to the Carboniferous period, roughly 350 million years ago, at the point where trees began to cover the planet, the result of a newfangled plant molecule, lignin, which allowed trees to grow higher -- and so, with nothing getting in their way, they did. With all that photosynthesis going on, there was more oxygen than at any time in the planet's history, arthropods were huge, and virtually all the planet's land mas was a supercontinent, Pangea. All those trees ended up getting buried without decaying much, since bacteria and fungi hadn't yet evolved a means of digesting lignin. And so eons of forests were buried, their carbon eventually becoming coal. This got messy eventually -- twice.


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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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