The history of life on Earth is still a mystery: Bacteria have been around for about 3 billion years, but for most of this time they had had the Earth to themselves. Seaweed, jellyfish-like creatures, sponges and worms arrived a few million years before the Cambrian period began, over 500 million years ago.

But 200 million years ago, higher forms of life suddenly arrived: arthropods, brachiopods, coelenterates, echinoderms, mollusks and even chordates, the animal group from which vertebrates like us developed. Each of these evolutionary changes can be coordinated with a period in which the amount of oxygen in the ocean rose. Each of these oxidation events corresponds with an increase in the size, complexity and diversity of life, both plant and animal.
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In Las Vegas, Atlantic City and on Indian Reservations, people throw dice and take their chances. Researchers have spotted something predictable in the seemingly random throw of the dice. By applying chaos theory and some high school level mechanics, they determined that by knowing the initial conditions–such as the viscosity of the air, the acceleration of gravity, and the friction of the table–it should be possible to predict the outcome when rolling the dice.

While it’s doubtful that a gambler will be able to take these types of measurements around the dice table before starting to play, it’s still interesting information. read more

We all misbehave at times, but we think of monks as being above all that, since they are supposedly more ascetic than the ordinary man. However, secret video footage shows monks from a Buddhist temple in South Korea drinking, smoking and playing high-stakes poker at luxury lakeside hotel, where they had gathered for a fellow monk’s memorial service, days before the holiest day of the religion’s calendar.

The order has 10 million followers (about a fifth of the Korean population). Seongho, one of the senior monks, got the video clip from a camera that had been hidden in the hotel (but he won’t say who hid it).
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