Friday, September 2, 2016

NDIC's Daily Activity Reports For September, 2016, Are Not Available -- September 2, 2016

The NDIC site went down Thursday, September 1, 2016, about noon. It appears much of the site came back up Friday morning, September 2, 2016, with at least one major exception: the Daily Activity Report Index for the month of September, 2016.

The list of wells on the confidential list is up and running and one well will come off the confidential list on Saturday. That will be reported Monday.

Why I Love To Blog

I posted this story some weeks ago. It's now being reported by The Los Angeles Times: Cornell University welcomes 12-year-old college freshman -- the school's youngest student ever. 
When he was 2, Jeremy Shuler was reading books in English and Korean. At 6, he was studying calculus. Now, at an age when most kids are attending middle school, the exuberant 12-year-old is a freshman at Cornell University, the youngest the Ivy League school has on record.
"It's risky to extrapolate, but if you look at his trajectory and he stays on course, one day he'll solve some problem we haven't even conceived of," said Cornell Engineering Dean Lance Collins. "That's pretty exciting."
Jeremy is the home-schooled child of two aerospace engineers who were living in Grand Prairie, Texas, when he applied to Cornell.
While Jeremy's elite-level SAT and Advanced Placement test scores in math and science at age 10 showed he was intellectually ready for college, Collins said what sealed the deal was his parents' willingness to move to Ithaca. Jeremy's father, Andy Shuler, transferred from Lockheed Martin in Texas to its location in upstate New York.
Grand Prairie sits about 30 minutes southeast of us, smack dab between Ft Worth and Dallas.

Hell Creek Fossil Beds
General Editor: Stever Parker
c. 2015 

At the end of the Cretaceous Period, which also marked the end of the Mesozoic Era, the era of dinosaurs, this is the description of eastern Montana and the western Dakotas.

The western Dakotas and eastern Montana would have been a huge coastal floodplain.

To the east was a huge, huge inland waterway, the Western Interior Seaway.

To the west: flat plains that extended as far as the dinosaurs could see, and if they could see that far, to the growing Rocky Mountains.

The floodplains, topographically, might have looked a lot like Florida swamps, Louisiana deltas, Minnesota's 10,000 lakes, Dakota marshlands, and the farther west one got, the Montana prairies. The climate might have been a lot like Hawaii's climate:
  • deltas
  • rivers
  • creeks
  • lakes
  • swamps
  • dry bushland with clusters of small trees
The plants would have been quite diverse, depending where you were:
  • mosses
  • ferns
  • evergreens, including cycads, ginkgoes, and conifers
  • flowering plants and trees, such as palms, magnolias, sycamores, laurels and beeches
In fact, except for the animals it might have looked a lot like central Montana does now, with a bit more tropical flair.
The animals:
  • T rex and Triceratops would have been the big game animals, had Hemingway been around
  • he would have been bothered by insects but could have enjoyed clams with his mojio
  • he would have had plenty of big game fish to bring in: sharks, paddlefish, bowfins, and sturgeons
  • he would have seen frogs and salamanders in the marshes, as well as turtles, snakes, and lizards
  • most interesting, perhaps, aside from T rex and Triceratops would have been the giant flying azhdarchid pterosaurs (reptiles, but not dinosaurs); on the ground these azhdarchids would have looked like giraffes, or even better, crude oil jack pumps, especially at night, in silhouette (there is some irony there)
My hunch is that big game hunters would not have survived Cretaceous Dakota, except possibly in boats in the rivers and marshes.

The mammals were small and would have been a nocturnal nuisance for anyone daring to sleep in a tent (again, T rex would have had a feast). The mammals would have been small rat-like creatures, probably not the cuddly looking rabbits many eventually became. Hemingway might have seen his distant ancestor, Purgatorius, the earliest example of a primate or proto-primate. It would have looked nothing like any of Hemingway's four wives, although the word "shrew" does come to mind.

Interestingly, Parker's Evolution does not discuss grasses, and the word "grass" is not in the index. So, from another site.

The Cretaceous Dakota flora would have been dominated by mosses, ferns, and conifers, although flowering plants were on the rise. I have difficulty imagining "plains" without grasses. I've been to Hawaii, but I don't recall to what extent grasses cover the islands. Looking at this site of Hawaiian fauna reveals flowering plants with only one grass; maybe this is the type of flowering plants Triceratops would have seen across the fruited plains. But without grasses, Cretaceous Montana approaching the Rocky Mountains would have looked much different than it does now.

By 95 million years ago, angiosperms (flowering plants) were out-competing the conifers and other gymnosperms in many areas and were well on their way to becoming the dominant form of plant life.

From the linked site:
At the [time grasses began to evolve] there was a notable change in the structure of the fruit.
All the ancestors of the grasses had ovaries formed of three fused carpels, each carpel forming one locule with one ovule. In many of the close relatives, and we presume in the grass ancestors, two of those ovules abort and only one develops. In the grasses, only one locule and one ovule ever form. As the ovule develops the outer integument fuses with the inner ovary wall to form the distinctive fruit of the grasses, known as the grain or caryopsis. This structure is unique among the flowering plants.
The dinosaurs never saw grass. Non-avian dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago and the earliest fossil record of grasses is between 60 and 55 million ago. Triceratops just missed grass by 5 to 10 million years.

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