How long do things take to decompose?

In a moment of idle curiosity, I wondered what would happen if for some reason, human beings suddenly became extinct. Not a cheery thought but I was curious about how long it would be before all traces of our existence disappeared so that a new future intelligent species or maybe extra-terrestrial visitors to Earth would see no trace that intelligent life had ever existed because all the artifacts we created had simply decomposed away. It seems hard to imagine since humans have covered the Earth with our creations but surely all things must pass at some time?
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Stephen Colbert Feels the Bern

Bernie Sanders made an extended appearance on Colbert’s show last night. The crowd gave Sanders a rousing reception. It is really strange how Sanders has become the ‘cool’ candidate. I think that it is because of the authenticity that he emanates and that he speaks truths that others don’t. The ‘why’ questions he asks and his conviction that things could and should be much better than they are now is inspiring.
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A review of the New Hampshire primary

A team of reporters for CNN had a recap of the New Hampshire primary and how it came to be that the two outsiders won. It explains why Chris Christie zeroed in on Marco Rubio in the last debate and savaged him, rather than aiming for the frontrunner Donald Trump. It is true that Christie was competing to win the ‘establishment ‘ candidate slot that Rubio seemed to be holding on to but there was apparently more to it than that, that it was also motivated by a desire for revenge.
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Presidential pensions

Currently a US president gets a pension of $200,000 per year as well as funding for office space and custodial staff. Zaid Jilani writes about the origin of presidential pensions. He said that there had always been some concern about needing to enable former presidents to live in dignity and engage in acts that benefit the country without having to sell themselves to earn money.
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The people who can’t sleep

I had a distant uncle who said that he suffered from chronic insomnia. When I asked him once what he did all night, he said that he just lay in bed and let his thoughts wander and dozed off from time to time for very short periods. But this did not seem to cause him to be irritable or absent-minded or show any of the symptoms that the rest of us may display on those occasions when we have not slept well. He was as fully functional as anyone else.
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