C is for Clade

Dinosaur clade with timeframe, graphic from Fossil Wiki.

It’s all about the family trees. Today’s dinosaur-themed post is about how the dinosaur world is organized.

I know some of you are thinking, geez, don’t you know the names of any dinosaurs? Why isn’t A to Z going to be about Ankylosaurus to Zupaysaurus? I will have a few posts dedicated to specific dinosaurs, especially my favorites. But you can look up tons of dinosaur lists A to Z. There are kid’s alphabet books that do that. I promised to give you “all about dinosaurs,” not all about 26 dinosaurs. We need to round out this paleontological survey a bit more in order to achieve that goal.

How paleontologists organize the dinosaurs is quite important because it helps us understand how dinosaurs did what they did. As I mentioned in post “A,” the ankle bone structures differing from those of crocodiles urged scientists to think about why, and why was because dinosaurs stood upright. Hip-bone differentiation helped identify the two big groups — wait until letter “H”! And then… the birds. But we’ll get to that.

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Stop The Relaxing, Start The Flowing

Csikszentmihalyi view of Flow: the goal is the upper right.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi * passed away this week, with far too little notice, considering he had unlocked the secret to happiness.

Csikszentmihalyi, a sociologist, wanted to study statistically what brought people their own, self-defined “optimal experience.” Like many philosophers, writers, and sociologists, he had noticed a couple of societal paradoxes. First, while lack of resources created unhappiness, merely gaining those resources didn’t lead to happiness. How can that be? Yet, we all know it’s true. Having money, food, or even love doesn’t guarantee perpetual happiness.

There was an offspring paradox, too. When they’re working, most people yearn to relax. But relaxing brings only brief enjoyment and rarely creates an “optimal experience.”

The paradox of happiness, discovered by Csikszentmihalyi. Graphic from Melinda Walker at Pinterest.
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X is for XBRL

I didn’t know anything at all about XBRL last week, but it’s making my Excel Ninja fingers twitch. For every blogger handling the “A to Z Challenge,” this is the one that really gives us nightmares–X. (They’re out there…Xena, Xolotl…) I briefly considered “X-axis,” but that’s not really accounting-related, or “eXpense,” but that’s not really an “X.” I came across this newfangled thing: XBRL. Y’all, it’s the bees knees!

XBRL: Waddizzit?

You know how financial reporting produces paper? Lots of paper? Lots and lots? The computer revolution gave companies the ability to do all their financial data collection and reporting online. Spreadsheets–primarily Excel, but also initially Lotus 1-2-3 and recently Google Sheets–revolutionized the way companies can keep track of and analyze everything.

Financial statements, thanks to GAAP (see Letters E, and G) are also fairly standardized. Assets are on the what? (See Letter “D”–left!) Even the account names on the balance sheet and income statement are pretty standardized–Current Assets, Fixed Assets, Accounts Payable, and so on. It makes it easy for accountants to find and read other people’s statements.

Yet the devil is in the details.

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