Weekend Grab Bag
Here are links to recent science findings and claims sure to stimulate thinking and further research.
What’s the use of elephant hair? A paper in PLoS ONE finds that elephant hair dissipates heat. PhysOrg and Live Science summarized it, saying this is the opposite of what some evolutionists predicted why hair evolved: i.e., to warm the body.
Epigenetic stress: Nature commented on 11 Oct 2012 that stress makes an epigenetic mark on individual’s DNA, but that individuals handle stress differently.
Beastiaries and philosophy of science: Caspar Henderson at New Scientist examined 13th-century”beastiaries” with their allegories and symbols, only to conclude that human fascination with bizarre animals hasn’t changed much. Hume and Darwin supposedly dispensed with allegorical views of the world, but Henderson believes we are returning to it. “Much of life is governed or at least heavily influenced by what we imagine, what we value or fail to value,” he said, claiming that we are animals who dream and seek meaning, but preaching that we should act responsibly with humility.
Flood facts: Live Science composed a list of flood types along with information on some historic floods.
Embryo to body: Science 12 Oct had a special issue on how a zygote develops into a body.
Brain signal machinery: Nature 11 Oct published a paper about “Molecular machines governing exocytosis of synaptic vesicles.”
Investigating Vesta: Science 12 Oct also published 3 papers on the DAWN spacecraft’s findings at the asteroid Vesta.
Neanderthal brethren: National Geographic summarized the recent paradigm-breaking findings about Neanderthals that are making them seem more and more just like us. Svante Pääbo said that any two living humans differ more from each other genetically than Neanderthals differ from the average modern human.
Carbon resonance: PhysOrg reported on recent work that elaborates on the resonance that allows stars to make abundant carbon-12, “life’s most crucial isotope.”
Simulated reality: Matrix fans might like to watch on PhysOrg how some cosmologists try to determine whether or not our universe is a simulation.
Fly eye: Did you know fruit flies have the fastest visual response known in the animal kingdom, five times faster than ours? PhysOrg explains how the photoreceptors work. More detail in the paper on Science 12 Oct 2012.
Nazca predecessor: Space.com showed an aerial photograph of an elk-shaped geoglyph discovered in Russia that is thought to predate the Nazca lines by thousands of years. It’s not just an etching; the structure contains walls and passageways.
Stem cell retraction: Science Now reported that a high-profile claim in Japan of 6 patients with heart disease cured by adult stem cells has been called into question. The Stem Cell Research Facts website, though, tells the true story of a fitness instructor with heart disease who was treated with adult stem cells and got strong enough to run a half marathon (video clip included).
Stem cell politics: The scientists trying to block human embryonic stem cell research (2/13/2011) are awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court, Science Now reported; but if Romney wins, the case may be moot, because he could block it with executive order.
Nice testosterone: The hormone blamed for male aggression may actually make men more honest, Science Daily reported.
Political balance: In a rare show of fair reporting, Science Insider interviewed a scientist in Iowa who supports Romney, without criticizing her views.
These are just a few examples of the variety of subjects that fly by the editor’s desk at Creation-Evolution Headlines. We wish we could report and comment on more of them, but time constraints force us to be selective and cover only a fraction of them in detail, fascinating as some are. Maybe you can grab a ball and run with it.