Friday, July 1, 2011


The future of the Earth will be determined by a variety of factors, including increases in the luminosity of the Sun, loss of heat energy from the Earth's core, perturbations by the other bodies in the Solar System and the biochemistry at the Earth's surface. Milankovitch theory predicts the planet will continue to undergo glaciation cycles because of eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth's orbit. As part of the ongoing supercontinent cycle, plate tectonics will probably result in a supercontinent in 250 million–350 million years. Some time in the next 1.5 billion–4.5 billion years, the axial tilt of the Earth may begin to undergo chaotic variations, with changes in the axial tilt of up to 90°.
One billion to three billion years in the future, the steady increase in solar radiation caused by the helium build-up at the core of the Sun will result in the loss of the oceans and the cessation of continental drift.Four billion years from now, the increase in the Earth's surface temperature will cause a runaway greenhouse effect. By that point, most if not all the life on the surface will be extinct.The most likely ultimate fate of the planet is absorption by the Sun in about 7.5 billion years, after the star has entered the red giant phase and expanded to cross the planet's orbit.

The biological and geological future of the Earth can be extrapolated based upon the estimated effects of several long-term influences. These include the chemistry at the Earth's surface, the rate of cooling of the planet's interior, the gravitational interactions with other objects in the Solar System, and a steady increase in the Sun's luminosity.
An uncertain factor in this extrapolation is the ongoing influence of technology introduced by humans, such as geoengineering, which could cause significant changes to the planet.The current biotic crisis is being caused by technology and the effects may last for up to five million years. In turn, technology may result in the extinction of humanity, leaving the planet to gradually return to an equilibrium state.

Lady with an Ermine is a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, from around 1489–1490. The subject of the portrait is identified as Cecilia Gallerani, and was probably painted at a time when she was the mistress of Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, and Leonardo was in the service of the Duke.
The painting is one of only four female portraits painted by Leonardo, the others being the Mona Lisa, the portrait of Ginevra de' Benci and La belle ferronnière. It is displayed by the Czartoryski Museum, Kraków, Poland and is cited in the museum's guide as the first truly modern portrait. When exhibited in The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, it was described as "signal[ling] a breakthrough in the art of psychological portraiture".

Cecilia Gallerani (1473–1536) was the favourite and most celebrated of the many mistresses of Ludovico Sforza, known as Lodovico il Moro, Duke of Milan. She was the subject of Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Lady with an Ermine (c. 1489). While posing for the painting she invited Leonardo, who at the time was working as court artist for Sforza, to meetings at which Milanese intellectuals discussed philosophy and other subjects. Cecilia herself presided over these discussions.

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