Got 3 Minutes? Here’s a Crash Course in the History of Life on Earth
The director of the National Museum of Natural History offers an under-three-minute joyride through the history of life on earth.
The tale of life on earth is a long story, but Kirk Johnson, director of Washington D.C’s Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, can spin the yarn with impressive speed. The short introduction starts at 4.567 billion years ago, and is dispensed with in a blink of the eye. 3.5 billion years later, the main narrative gets underway with the arrival of bacterial mounds. As the story nears us in our present day, its chapters get smaller and smaller, but boy, look at Johnson go.
As director of the Museum of Natural History, Johnson is overseeing the creation of its Deep Time Hall in what used to be the National Fossil Hall. The new exhibit’s goal is to “explore the complexity of interconnections and evolution of life, learn about fascinating prehistoric plants and animals, and begin to understand our place in Earth’s history,” according to the museum’s blog. It’s a massive undertaking — no matter how quickly Johnson can motor through the story himself — and is expected to open in 2019.
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In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
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