As I said, I don't have a problem with the government performing surveillance, per se, so long as they can't do it whenever they want. Our position should be "You the government have no right or reason to look at what I am doing. If you have reasonable suspicion that I am doing something wrong, prove it before a (presumably unbiased) judge, and they then will give you permission to look at only those things that you think I am doing wrong." We must always be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
But the branch of the that readers might find most interesting led to humans. Humans are in the phylum, and the last common ancestor that founded the Chordata phylum is still a mystery and understandably a source of controversy. Was our ancestor a ? A ? Peter Ward made the case, as have others for a long time, that it was the sea squirt, also called a tunicate, which in its larval stage resembles a fish. The nerve cord in most bilaterally symmetric animals runs below the belly, not above it, and a sea squirt that never grew up may have been our direct ancestor. Adult tunicates are also highly adapted to extracting oxygen from water, even too much so, with only about 10% of today’s available oxygen extracted in tunicate respiration. It may mean that tunicates adapted to low oxygen conditions early on. Ward’s respiration hypothesis, which makes the case that adapting to low oxygen conditions was an evolutionary spur for animals, will repeatedly reappear in this essay, as will . Ward’s hypothesis may be proven wrong or will not have the key influence that he attributes to it, but it also has plenty going for it. The idea that fluctuating oxygen levels impacted animal evolution has been gaining support in recent years, particularly in light of recent reconstructions of oxygen levels in the eon of complex life, called and , which have yielded broadly similar results, but their variances mean that much more work needs to be performed before on the can be done, if it ever can be. Ward’s basic hypotheses is that when oxygen levels are high, ecosystems are diverse and life is an easy proposition; when oxygen levels are low, animals adapted to high oxygen levels go extinct and the survivors are adapted to low oxygen with body plan changes, and their adaptations helped them dominate after the extinctions. The has a pretty wide range of potential error, particularly in the early years, and it also tracked atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The challenges to the validity of a model based on data with such a wide range of error are understandable. But some broad trends are unmistakable, as it is with other models, some of which are generally declining carbon dioxide levels, some huge oxygen spikes, and the generally relationship between oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, which a geochemist would expect. The high carbon dioxide level during the Cambrian, of at least 4,000 PPM (the "RCO2" in the below graphic is a ratio of the calculated CO2 levels to today's levels), is what scientists think made the times so hot. (Permission: Peter Ward, June 2014)
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Manny, what you suggest is absolute nonsense. First of all, privacy is much more than the attempt to keep crimes secret. You seem to feel you do no wrong, so why don't you see what it feels like to have somebody watching over your shoulder every moment of the day. Sure you won't commit sins or crimes, but you will lose your personality completely because you will be aware that there is someone constantly judging every one of your actions. Privacy is about feeling for at least some of the day that you are not burdened with - or a burden on - anyone's else's conscience. If you've worked a job before you know that the best part is when you can finally go home and just enjoy a moment of quiet when there is no demand on you. Imagine if you got home and someone said "You can have your moment of relaxation now. I'll watch you as you sit in the backyard (Mind you don't sit in the shadows or behind a tree where no one can see you). Also, I had a negative thought today. I know it was wrong and I told myself to be a better person, but I just thought you should be warned that I may be a potential monstrous criminal, even though it is completely normal to have strange thoughts every once in a while. Enjoy your moment of supervised relaxation!"