KEN’S CORNER: Hood Scientists, Amber & Fossilized Dreams
By TLB Contributing Writer: Ken LaRive
Mr. Druitt would wear an old wrinkled light blue cotton suit, a stained and skinny black tie, and dirty white-top Keds to class. He liked to sit on his desk, which seemed a bit unconventional at the time. He broke school rules like chewing gum in class, and we were allowed too. Sometimes he accented his teaching with a cuss word. No one ever told on him, and it kept our attention from waning. He combed his hair back with grease, like the rest of us “hoods.” It was the perfect outfit for a New Orleans’s inner-city, High School science teacher. He broke the barriers between student and teacher, where learning became fun and easy …the way it should be.
He was excited about his job, and his love for science and teaching spread to the rest of us. When he would lecture, all eyes were upon him, as he had the ability to make you a part of the process. It became relevant to you and your life, and he had a following that he used as a control group. Of course I wasn’t one of the favorites, too cool for that, and though he never knew of my real interests or potential, I weighted every word he said from the sidelines. How could he have known? I didn’t.
He had the uncanny ability to talk his superiors out of experimental money. With it he created machines that road on air without friction, and manufactured static electricity with brushes hidden in polished spheres. We let loose thousands of real rubber balloons with self addressed postcards attached to make a grid of wind currents, with the furthest one returning from Meridian Mississippi. Every day we waited for another card to show up. It was fascinating, and inadvertently kept many of us off the streets.
I remember the day he withdrew a long yellow rod from a Crown Royal bag. He called it Amber, and was quite excited to tell us about it. With a scrap piece of wool he rubbed the rod briskly, and then showed that Amber could pick up things magnetically, like small bits of assorted metal filings, paper clips, pieces of hair taken from one of the girls, and other stuff I can’t now remember. His enthusiasm was also magnetic, and it pulled us into wanting to see what the big deal was.
He told us that Amber held amazing ionic chemical properties. It was a time capsule for showing us the earth’s past, and in that little yellow window there were insects and other small things like feathers, and drops of water, preserved for eons. Then, with great pomp and ceremony, he withdrew another yellow object, well polished and opaque, and passed it around the room…
As each studied the little plastic-looking rock, he explained to us that there were several fruit flies and mites inside, and that they were over 60 million years old.
Sure enough, when it was my turn to look, they were all there, swirled and frozen inside the matrix. He told us that Amber was the fossilized remains of pine resin, a fluid that oozes from an evergreen tree that had been damaged by breaking, or from a beetle or some-such critter boring a hole into the wood. This resin would seep out to protect the tree, and inadvertently capture with its stickiness whatever unlucky little creature that happened by.
A couple of strange things he told us I remember to this day. Some of these little insects were virtually unchanged from the insects we find today, others were extinct without any descendants, but all of them have the possibility that their DNA was still intact inside. Not only that, but a mosquito, tick, biting fly, gnat, or flea might have some fluid or blood inside it with the DNA of one of its hosts, a dinosaur.
This beautiful specimen comes from the Dominican Republic, where some of the best Amber is found. The creatures and such found in Amber are called “inclusions,” and there is more found there then anyplace else in the world, except perhaps Lebanon.
There are sometimes dramatic stories being told inside of Amber, like an ant carrying its lava, a scorpion carrying its babies, or a host carrying a parasite. These depict actual events, and we can learn so much from something seemingly as simple as droplet of trapped water or air. These samples can tell us what our atmospheric composition was back then, and trapped pollen swirls from flowers pushed by wind, or even the entire flower itself, can tell us what climate. All of it neatly congealed and packaged, a study in time. So long ago, it is hard to imagine anything could have lasted that long.
The science behind the ideas of the hit movie Jurassic Park are not that far fetched. There is the distinct possibility that an insect may be found with a complete DNA strand from a Dinosaur that roamed the earth long ago. Is it possible to resurrect a dinosaur? Well, humans are constantly proving that old saying, “Anything the mind of man can conceive and believe he can achieve.” Amber holds more then the past inside, it also holds a lot of dreams.
Thanks Mr. Druitt.
Picture of 58 million- year-old bees encased in Amber.
Read more from KEN’S CORNER
From the Author, Ken La Rive – We in the Liberty movement have been fighting to take back this country for less than a decade, peacefully and with the love of God and country in our hearts. Our banner has been trampled on and displaced by a multitude of distractions, further eroding our nation and the cause for Liberty. And so, as we are pulled by forces we cannot fathom, powerful entities with unlimited resources stolen from our future, unaccountable trillions printed out of thin air and put on our backs as debt, we must formulate the most pitiful of all questions any patriot might ask in the final hour: Are we going to fight for our master’s tyranny, or are we going to demand the return of our civil liberties and Constitution? Are we going to choose The Banner of Liberty, or the shackles of voluntary servitude? Will it be a war for corporate profit, or a war to regain our ability to self govern, as the blood and toil of our forefathers presented to us, their children, as a gift? I fear that decision is emanate. I fear that any decision will be a hard one, but my greatest fear of all is that the decision has already been made for us.
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