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Letters: Earth overdue for extinction event; political cartoon deemed 'offensive'

Earth is overdue for another extinction event

We truly live on a paradise planet. Compared to the last 4.6 billion years of intermittent turmoil, the last 5,000 years have been special. Not only has mankind clawed its way up to civilization, but our Earth has been very quiescent. Coincidence? Maybe, but as we've been fortunate we've also been extremely lucky. Reason being our Earth keeps trying to extinguish the life upon it.

Paleontologists currently estimate about 40 million species of flora & fauna inhabit our globe. They project that overall, perhaps 5 to 50 billion species have existed over time. This means that only one out of every thousand species is still around. That amounts to a 99% kill ratio! The fossil record places the average species lifetime at roughly 4 million years. Earth is not exactly putting out the “welcome mat.”

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Life could have been a non-starter completely. After examining moon rocks returned from Apollo missions, a new theory emerged. Scientists postulate that a Mars-sized object struck the earth a glancing blow around 400 million years after its formation. The impact blasted out molten matter which re-condensed into our current Earth-moon system. With this new setup, life eventually took hold of this virgin world. Then our planet began its grim work.

There have been five major extinctions around the end of each period: Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Triassic and Cretaceous. Several from celestial impact, others with unknown triggers. Permian was the worst, with around 90% of all species perishing. The cause is unknown. The Earth began a volcanic frenzy around the globe, centering near today's Asian continent. Miles long fissures erupted lava for thousands of years and covering several million square miles. Accompanying the heat was an outpouring of dust and noxious gases resulting in a prolonged global Nuclear Winter.

Scientists have noticed most major and minor extinctions occur at 30 million year intervals. This corresponds to our solar system’s meander into the densest star paced region of our galaxy as it rotates around. When stars get close, gravity creates a pinball effect in the Ort Cloud surrounding our solar system. This launches comets and meteors in towards our sun — and us! We have recently exited this particular region. We haven't seen an extinction event here for 66 million years. So, when you retire at the end of each day, send up a prayer of thanks. The future is not promised to us.

William Hake

Westminster

Outraged by ‘offensive’ political cartoon in Times

I am sure you will receive many letters regarding the offensive political cartoon in the Sunday, July 7 edition of the Carroll County Times but I am so outraged I cannot hold my tongue.

I cannot believe that a cartoonist would submit an image for publication clearly depicting the middle finger and I am more stunned that this newspaper would publish it. I would expect a nice hometown newspaper would have more consideration than to subject its readers to this image.

I realize as Americans we are blessed to have Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech, but this is downright offensive and readers should not have to worry what is being delivered to their homes. I would be very upset if my child or grandchild had this image in their possession, and then find out it was from the daily newspaper. Do we now have to start putting ratings on newspapers like we do for movies or games? If so, this newspaper should be rated R.

Recently, on Feb 10, many newspapers printed a Non Sequitur cartoon that had a vulgar hidden message for the president. In that case at least it was not obvious. In this latest cartoon, it is blatantly the middle finger, a similar message but not in text.

I hope serious reprimanding action is taken on this artist Chuck Legge. I hope the Carroll County Times will be more cautious as to what images are provided by Artizans.com. In addition, I question how this could have occurred. I assume you would not allow a letter to the editor to contain vulgar words, but yet this image is boldly printed on your opinion page.

I am very disappointed that this occurred and hope that this will not recur. I would hate to cancel my subscription and resort to online news so that I can select what I am exposed to.

Marilynn Perrelly

Reisterstown

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