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    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2015
    Don't know the guy, but he's as gay as a carrot
    Omar Sharif you don't know?
    I know his stand-in double from the 80's. Nice bloke - designs golf courses.
    • CommentAuthorloreman
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2015
    How's he feel about carrots?
    Married with children, hetero down the line.
    Posted By: AsterixStan Freberg, aged 88.

    "Who put eight great tomatoes in that little bitty can?"

    He had an act with a puppet Moonman named Orville.
    Posted By: Andrew PalfreymanOmar Sharif you don't know?
    I know his stand-in double from the 80's. Nice bloke - designs golf courses.
    Just heard back on this one. I'd forgotten, but Jeremy did the horse-riding stand-ins. Fun fact - his 93 year old mother still goes skiing.
    • CommentAuthorthehard
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2015
    President of Nintento Satoru Iwata has passed away aged 55.

    Also an indie singer in Spain you've never heard of, Javier Krahe, at age 71. It's sad for me because I met him just one month ago for the first time. We had a friend in common and cooked some food for us both and some other friends. He was a great great poet. His songs are complex and deep and funny and will live on. Some of his friends met last night, I went as well. They knew him for many years and shared many memories. I, on the other hand, had only been with him for about 3 hours, so I could almost remember my experience with him word by word. Quite a strange experience.
    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2015

    David M. Raup, Who Transformed Field of Paleontology, Dies at 82

    by Bruce Weber
    New York Times
    July 15, 2015 (July 16 print ed.)

    David M. Raup, an iconoclastic and influential paleontologist who challenged accepted tenets with data-based analyses of fossil finds, died on July 9 in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. He was 82.

    The cause was complications of surgery for a subdural hematoma sustained after a fall, said his wife, Judith T. Yamamoto.

    Dr. Raup’s work opened new avenues in the studies of extinction patterns and biodiversity.

    An audacious theorist widely viewed as among the most singular thinkers in his field — Stephen Jay Gould once referred to him as “the world’s most brilliant paleontologist” — he made his mark in the computer laboratory and in published works rather than in the literal dust of history.

    He never dug up a dinosaur and was the first president of the Paleontological Society, an international professional association founded more than a century ago, never to have formally described a new species in the scientific literature. His ideas, however, helped transform the study of the history of life on earth.

    Through the middle of the 20th century, paleontology remained largely a geological science, focused on discovering what was there to be discovered — fossils, that is — recording the discoveries and describing them. But starting in the late 1960s, Dr. Raup was among a small group of scientists who raised ambitious questions about what the fossil record tells us about how the biological world works.

    “He used to say he went into paleontology because it was a field with a lot of data that no one was analyzing,” his wife said in an interview.

    Among his contributions, Dr. Raup created a computer model to generate the possible coiling configurations in a variety of shelled animals like clams and snails, and then matched the possibilities against the ones that have actually existed. That created questions that have directed scientific research ever since: Why do we have the biological forms we have? Why don’t we have the others?

    Dr. Raup challenged the conventional view that changes in diversity within major groups of creatures were continuous and protracted, and advanced the theory that such changes can be effected by random events.

    And he questioned the accepted notion that biodiversity — that is, the number of extant species — has vastly increased over the past 500 million years, pointing out, among other things, that because newer fossils embedded in newer rock are easier to find than older fossils in older rock, it is possible that we simply have not uncovered the evidence of many older species whose existence would undermine the theory. His conclusion, that the data of the fossil record does not allow the unambiguous presumption that biodiversity has increased, has profound implications.

    “For example,” said Michael Foote, a former student of Dr. Raup’s and a paleontologist at the University of Chicago, if biodiversity has not increased, “that tells us that there are some factors that are controlling diversity, perhaps some kind of competition among species or physical perturbations to the biosphere.”

    Dr. Raup’s most famous contribution to the field may have been the revelation in 1983, after a six-year study of marine organisms he conducted with J. John Sepkoski Jr., that over the last 250 million years, extinctions of species spiked at regular intervals of about 26 million years.

    Extinction periodicity, as it is known, enlivened the study of huge volcanic eruptions and of changes in the earth’s magnetic field that may have coincided with periods of mass extinction. It has also given rise to numerous theories regarding the history of life, including that the evolution of myriad species has been interrupted by nonterrestrial agents from the solar system or the galaxy.

    One prominent hypothesis involved an undiscovered companion to the sun — it was christened Nemesis — that every so often swung close enough to the solar system that it redirected comets toward the earth.

    Extinction periodicity remains unproven — further published analyses of the Raup-Sepkoski data have been divided on their original conclusions — and Dr. Raup was open about the fact that the data could lead him only so far. (“I believe they really are periodic,” he said of mass extinctions in a 1997 interview published online, “but I can’t prove it.”) But throughout his career, it was the questions that arose because of his work that established him as among paleontology’s most creative thinkers.

    “Throughout their careers, most scientists are lucky if they can come up with one idea considered so insightful by their peers that it significantly alters the research agendas of a large number of colleagues,” Arnold I. Miller, a paleontologist at the University of Cincinnati, wrote in an email. “By rough count, Dave Raup did this at least five times in a research career spanning some 40 years.”

    David Malcolm Raup was born in Boston on April 24, 1933. His father, Hugh, was a professor of botany at Harvard who later became director of the Harvard Forest, a 3,000-acre research area in north central Massachusetts. His mother, the former Lucy Gibson, was a teacher who studied lichens.

    Mr. Raup attended Colby College in Maine, majoring in geology but also studying math and accounting. After two years he transferred to the University of Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s. He did his graduate work, culminating in a Ph.D. in geology, at Harvard. He taught at numerous places, most prominently at the University of Rochester and the University of Chicago.

    Dr. Raup’s first marriage ended in divorce. He and his wife, Ms. Yamamoto, a weaver whom he married in 1987 after they met through an ad in The Chicago Tribune, lived on Washington Island, in Lake Michigan, just north of the Door Peninsula in Wisconsin. In addition to her, he is survived by a son, Mitchell; a stepson, David Topaz; and a grandson.

    Dr. Raup was the author, with Steven M. Stanley, of the standard textbook “Principles of Paleontology,” and he wrote two explanatory books for lay readers, “The Nemesis Affair: A Story of the Death of Dinosaurs and the Ways of Science” (1986) and “Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck?” (1991), in which he pointed out that though as many as 40 million plant and animal species are now extant, between five billion and 50 billion have existed on earth at one time.

    “Much of our good feeling about planet Earth stems from a certainty that life has existed without interruption for three and a half billion years,” he wrote. “We have been taught, as well, that most changes in the natural world are slow and gradual. Species evolve in tiny steps over eons; erosion and weathering change our landscape but at an almost immeasurably slow pace.”

    He continued: “Is all this true or merely a fairy tale to comfort us? Is there more to it? I think there is. Almost all species in the past failed. If they died out gradually and quietly and if they deserved to die because of some inferiority, then our good feelings about earth can remain intact. But if they died violently and without having done anything wrong, then our planet may not be such a safe place.”

    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2015
    Thumbs up for his contribution!!!
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2015
    E. L. Doctorow, aged 84, of lung cancer.
      CommentAuthormagic moment
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd 2015 edited
    • CommentAuthortinker
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd 2015
    Let us not forget, Oliver Sachs, psychatrist and author. My favourite work -' The Man who Thought his Wife was a Hat'.
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd 2015
    Posted By: tinkerLet us not forget, Oliver Sachs, psychatrist and author. My favourite work -' The Man who Thought his Wife was a Hat'.
    Oh snap, I really enjoyed that book also!
    Posted By: tinkerMy favourite work -' The Man who Thought his Wife was a Hat'.

    Was that the one where his wife caught him cheating with a beret?
    LOL +3
    • CommentAuthortinker
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd 2015
    Posted By:KnucklesWas that the one where his wife caught him cheating with a beret?

    Not quite. It was a beaver hat
    Posted By: tinkerNot quite. It was a beaver hat

    And her name was Minge, right?
    • CommentAuthortinker
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd 2015
    Actually Onya Bakubytch.