What Really Killed The Dinosaurs

June 18, 2011

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This story originally ran on July 24, 2009.  I’m re-running it today because I’ve always liked it.

Dramatic poetic license has been taken with this story.  The dinosaurs featured in the story would not have interacted with each other in real life.

General Al Osoris paced the corridor of his military headquarters in a bunker at the base of the canyon.  The great general had won many great victories, and the superior Allosaur race had captured vast amounts of enemy territory under his leadership.  Nearly half the land had once been controlled by the Tyrannosaurs, the archenemy of the Allosaur people.  The Tyrannosaurs were now a beaten and bloodied race, now controlling just a small fraction of their previous territory.  The Allosaurs had become the unquestioned leader of the dinosaur world.

In the east, however, trouble loomed.  It seemed that one nation was indeed questioning the leadership of the Allosaurs.  The Raptors, led by General Velo Seeraptor, were attacking Allosaur strongholds.  The fortress at Dinosova was currently under siege.  Dinosova, like many Allosaur fortresses, was defended by Apatosaur soldiers.  The Apatosaurs, with their massive bulk and lethal tails, had been the soldier of choice for many generations of Allosaur generals.

General Seeraptor had been able to threaten the fortress by weakening the Apatosaur army with attacks by Stegosaurs and Triceratops.  These mercenaries, previously aligned with the Allosaurs, had taken money from the Raptors and had switched allegiances.  They suffered significant losses during their attacks upon the Apatosaur defenders at Dinosova.  However, they greatly outnumbered the Apatosaurs, and many Apatosaurs were being killed or seriously injured by the attacks.  Dinosova was in danger of falling into enemy hands within days.

If that news was not bad enough, yesterday General Osoris had received news of light attacks against the fortresses of Jurassia, Cretalion, and Triasso.  In these locations, the Stegosaurs and Triceratops were attacking with far fewer numbers than they were using at Dinosova.  While some officers under Osoris’ command felt that General Seeraptor’s supply of mercenaries had been stretched thin because of the massive attack upon Dinosova, General Osoris felt that the Raptor leader was simply using these attacks to gauge the strength of the defense before lunching a full scale attack.

The General’s radio crackled with static.

“General Osoris,” came a voice , barely audible over the static.  “This is commander Carni at Jurassia fortress.  We are seeing a tenfold increase in the number of enemy soldiers involved in the attack upon our position.”

General Osoris unleashed a torrent of profanity and kicked a filing cabinet, leaving a massive dent in the cabinet’s metal frame.  Indeed, Seeraptor had simply been biding his time before lunching an attack.  The General’s radio operator was able to reach the fortress at Cretalion.  The fortress commander relayed a similar message – Cretalion was also under seige.  The radio operator tried in vain to reach the fortress at Triasso, but the response was dead silence.  General Osoris doubted that this was due to a technical problem with the radio equipment.  He was quite certain that Triasso had already fall to General Seeraptor’s troops.

This was a critical time in the history of the world.  The Raptor attack must be stopped now, before they were able to wrest power from the exalted Allosaur race.  The time had some to unleash the secret weapon.  The canisters were mixed and loaded, and General Osoris gave the word to scramble the Pterosaurs.

The Pterosaurs flew until they reached the Raptor settlement of Toronso.  Each Pterosaur, in turn, dived in close to the city, dropped her payload, and then quickly ascended and rejoined the squadron’s formation.  When each had completed her mission, the squadron veered sharply and headed backed toward the military base at Tulowitz.  Their arrival back at the base was cause for celebration, and they were greeted with hooting and hollering from the support staff.  They had unleashed the first chemical weapons in the long history of dinosaur war.  They were war heroes – defenders of the Allosaur nation.

Within a day, Raptors within Toronso began to succumb to the chemicals.  Within four days, only a handful of Raptors within Toronso were still alive.  General Seeraptor saw the handwriting on the wall.  The Raptors agreed to a peace settlement, and the attacks upon the Allosaur strongholds ceased.  Once again, all was right with the world.

Except that the chemicals were having a slightly differerent reaction that they had exhibited in the laboratory.  In the laboratory, the chemical mixture had limited mobility and began to break down within a few days.  In the real world, the chemicals were being carried great distances by the winds, and the chemicals were considerably more stable than they had been in the lab.  In fact, the chemical cloud had barely weakened at all.

Three weeks after the attack on Toronso, the first Allosaurs began to feel the affects of the chemicals.  Two weeks later, there was scarcely a village that was unaffected.  Ten days after that, all of the dinosaurs were dead.

Dinosaur Contest Winners

August 24, 2009

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On July 23, I launched a dinosaur book giveaway as part of a multi-part dinosaur extravaganza.

I am happy to announce the following winners:

  • The winner for “best comment” goes to Evan from 40tech.com. I’m not going to point out a specific comment, but I’ll just award it as a “monthtime achievement award”. Evan has been commenting for a while now – always with interesting comments. Now, if I can just figure out why his comments always go into my spam filter! Plenty of other folks had good comments during the month as well. Evan – I hope you enjoy Anonymous Rex – I know that I did! (Note: the rest of the winners won the DK Pockets mini reference Dinosaurs book)
  • I also picked one random winner from among everyone who commented during the timeframe of the contest. People with multiple comments received multiple entries (a maximum of one entry per day). The winner is Spivey.
  • I also picked a random winner from among people who retweeted a post from The Soap Boxers. Sate3 is the winner.
  • Kelly from The Centsible Life is the winner for mentioning The Soap Boxers. She added The Soap Boxers to her blog roll.
  • None of the RSS readers emailed me to enter. However, I still do want to give away all of the books – so I’ll give away the remaining DK Pockets Dinosaurs reference book to one commenter who expressed a desire to own it – Dana.

Winners – you should have an email from me (or, in the case of Sate3, a tweet). If you don’t see an email, drop me a lne at kosmo@observingcasually.com I hope you enjoy the book you receive, or have a family member or friend who will enjoy it. Didn’t win? Don’t despair. These books – and other dinosaur related items that were mentioned during the dinosaur articles are all available on Amazon. If you order them via the links below, I receive a small commission (and you still pay the exact same Amazon.com price ).

I have really noticed a surge in comments lately, especially in the last week. We appreciate the feedback – continue to comment on articles. Many times, the comments can spur the discussion into new directions. As a bonus to commenters who have their own blog, a link to a recent blog post will be included in your comment. Thus, commenting is a win/win situation – we get good comments on our site, and you get some exposure for your blog.

Anonymous Rex

DK Pockets – Dinosaurs

Jurassic Park – Book

Jurassic Park
DVD combo pack
All 3 movies!

Giveaway – Dinosaur Books

July 23, 2009

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Now that we have a complete writing staff on board, we’re going to make a push to increase the popularity of The Soap Boxers over the course of the next month.

To reward our loyal readers for spreading positive word of mouth, we are happy to announce a giveaway.

We will give away one copy of Eric Garcia’s Anonymous Rex (read once, nice condition) and four copies of the Pockets Full of Knowlege reference book, Dinosaurs (brand new, with a remainder mark).  Small prizes?  Yep.  Fun reads?  Certainly.  Free = good?  Oh, yeah!  Mini-reviews of the books can be found in this morning’s main article.

The giveaway winners will be announced on August 24.

How do you enter?  Here are the ways (you may enter via multiple methods, but you can only win a maximum of one book).  Staff members of The Soap Boxers are not eligible to win.

  • Two books will be awarded to people who write comments in response to articles.  As long as you enter your email address in the requested spot (note: other readers will NOT see your address) I will be able to contact you if you win.

Anonymous Rex will be awarded to the person who posts the best comment during this period.  This is purely a subjective judgment on my part.

The writer of one random comment will be chosen to receive a copy of the Pockets Dinosaurs book.  You will receive an entry for each comment you write, up to a maximum of one entry per day.

  • One random RSS subscriber will be chosen to receive a copy of the Pockets Dinosaurs book.  I don’t have a way to identify my RSS subscribers, so you’ll need to send me an email to enter.  As “proof of RSS”, copy/paste the copyright notice from the RSS feed (it is at the bottom of each feed item).  If you’re not an RSS subscriber, consider subscribing (it’s completely free, of course).
  • One random Twitter retweeter will be chosen to receive a copy of the Pockets Dinosaurs book.  If you retweet one of our tweets, send a tweet to @CasObserver to let me know.
  • Mention The Soap Boxers on your blog, and you’ll be entered into yet another drawing for a copy of the Pockets Dinosaurs book.  Send me an email to the blog post that references The Soap Boxers.

Don’t worry – I will NOT spam you if you send me an email.  I will only use your email address to let you know that you have won a prize.

Want the books, but don’t want to wait to see if you win?  Check out the Amazon widget on the right side of the screen.

Haven’t had your fix of dinosaurs yet?  Tune in tomorrow to find out what really killed the dinosaurs (fiction story).  We’ll take a break from dinosaurs after that.


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Like most kids, I was fascinated by dinosaurs when I first learned about them. Unlike most kids, I never really lost the fascination. An entire family of beasts that science could tell us very little about! This left huge gaps for my eager young imagination to fill. In hindsight, this was a foreshadowing of what would become a persistent interest in the unknown. My favorite books have always been mysteries, dating back to Encyclopedia Brown and The Boxcar Children until my modern day fanhood of Lawrence Block and John Sandford. My favorite TV shows – by a wide margin – are Monk and Pysch. My favorite type of math? Algebra – I always enjoy solving for the “unknown.”

I read nearly everything I could about dinosaurs when I was a kid. For the parents out there – if your kids have a fascination with some subject, encourage it. A desire to learn more about a specific topic can bleed over into a general desire to learn. My early fascination with sports and dinosaurs encouraged me to read. The desire to read also helped improve my reading comprehension and made me a better student.

Here are some of the more interesting dinosaur books I have read:

  • In the 1990s, I was exposed to Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. The thought that we could manufacture living, breathing dinosaurs was very appealing to me – after all, who wouldn’t love to have a pet dinosaur in their back yard? It worked out OK for The Flintstones. I have read Jurassic Park and Lost Word multiple times, and have watched all three of the movies. Interestingly, Jurassic Park was my gateway novel to the world of Michael Crichton. Over the past few years, I have read a lot of his books.
  • I nabbed a copy of Eric Garcia’s Anonymous Rex mostly because there is a dinosaur on the cover (well, a dinosaur tail, anyway). (Hint to book publishers – put a dinosaur on the cover of a book and I can guarantee that I’ll at least give it a glance). Anonymous Rex is one of those books that you will either love or hate. You will think that it is the dumbest book you have ever read, or you will find it incredibly funny. The premise is that dinosaurs never died out, and are in fact living among us. They wear disguises, of course – the finest latest human suits that money can buy. Garcia subsequently published Casual Rex (a prequel) and Hot and Sweaty Rex. I haven’t had a chance to read them yet, but I enjoyed Anonymous Rex enough that the other Rex books are definitely on my reading list.
  • A recent find was a nifty little pocket reference guide from the Pockets of Knowledge series (published by DK Pockets), aptly titled Dinosaurs. I got a good deal on these and actually snapped up all the copies the store had. The book’s dimensions are small, but it’s really a pretty handy reference guide. Some of the book’s features include: a dinosaur classification chart, a list of major discoverers, dinosaur anatomy, information about the vareity of fossils found on each continent, and much more. It’s far from a comprehensive reference guide, but it packs a lot of information for a book that actually will fit in the back pocket of your jeans.

If you’re interested in these books, there are a couple of ways to obtain them. You can, of course, BUY them. If you choose to buy them, I hope you consider using the Amazon widget on the right side of the screen. When you buy by clicking on one of those links, I receive a commission on the sale – at no additional cost to you (the commission comes out of Amazon’s profits). Psst – Jurassic Park Adventure Pack is a steal – $15 for all three movies on DVD!

What’s the other way? Watch later in the day for a giveaway that will allow you to win Anonymous Rex or the Pockets of Knowledge Dinosaur book!

Anonymous Rex

DK Pockets – Dinosaurs

Jurassic Park – Book

Jurassic Park
DVD combo pack
All 3 movies!