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Your Brain Learned Physics and Calculus Before You Did

Tilt your head to the right while moving to the left.  The neurons in your brain just solved Newton’s equations of motion, and performed complex vector calculus equations almost instantaneously.  That’s what four neurologists Washington University of Medicine (St. Louis, MO) essentially claimed in Nature July 29,1 describing how your brain interprets the information coming […]

Solar Systems Defy Theories

Stuart Ross Taylor (Australian National University, Canberra) feels left behind.  The astronomers have their nice, neat H-R diagrams to explain stars, but no such diagram exists for planetary scientists.  Our hodgepodge collection of planets, moons and small bodies defies classification, to say nothing of the extrasolar planets that have been discovered so far, mostly in […]

Cambrian Explosion Explained, or Explained Away?

James Valentine, an authority on early fossils, has just published a new 600-page book on the Cambrian explosion with the Darwinesque title, On the Origin of Phyla (U. of Chicago Press, 2004).  Stefan Bengtson (Swedish Museum of Natural History) reviewed it in the July 29 issue of Nature.1  He points out that “Darwin wisely called […]

Spaghetti in a Basketball: How the Cell Packs DNA for Controlled Access

The beginning sentence of an article in Current Biology1 can’t help but grab your attention: Imagine trying to stuff about 10,000 miles of spaghetti inside a basketball.  Then, if that was not difficult enough, attempt to find a unique one inch segment of pasta from the middle of this mess, or try to duplicate, untangle […]

In the Last Days There Shall Be Scoffers

Current Biology this week contains two entries either attacking creationism or exalting Charles Darwin.1,2  Nigel Williams reports on the 100th birthday of Ernst Mayr (see 07/02/2004 headline), and his “tireless campaign against creationism”: Ernst Mayr, the renowned evolutionary biologist and champion of Darwin, celebrated his 100th birthday earlier this month by leading a scathing attack […]

Modern Cosmology Goes Schizophrenic

According to Charles Seife writing in Science,1 more cosmologists are taking parallel universes seriously.  This is a consequence of the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, one possible mathematical solution to the effects of quantum “weirdness.”  If you think our headline is too harsh, read Seife’s opening in a Rod Serling voice while playing the […]

Solar System Update

What’s happening at Mars and Saturn?  In this golden age of planetary science, the extraordinary has become commonplace.  Let’s check in and see what the spacecraft have found lately. Mars.  The Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity are still going strong, well past their nominal mission.  Despite a few minor problems (and decreasing sunlight as […]

How Cells Build Hard Parts

You have rocks in your head, and it’s a good thing, or you would die of starvation and imbalance.  Living things have need of inorganic structures for various functions.  Can you name the mineral structures in your body?  The answer is: bone, dentin, enamel and otoliths.  The last three are specific to your head.  Dentin […]

Think Before You Speak

Children are capable of thoughts before they have the words to vocalize them, according to a study published in Nature July 221 (see also summary by Paul Bloom in the same issue2 and report on Science Now).  This contradicts the postmodernist view that thought is conditioned by language, and instead suggests that humans are innately […]

Evolutionists Consider Non-Darwinian Mechanisms

According to classical Darwinian evolutionary theory, variations in the germ lines produce phenotypic changes that, on rare occasions, prove beneficial to an individual, and cause an organism to outcompete its peers in the struggle for existence.  The hypothesis of Natural selection claims that the individual with a slightly beneficial variation, being more “fit,” leaves more […]

Zoo Monkey Walks Upright

For what it’s worth, there’s a story going around about a macaque in an Israeli zoo started walking on its hind legs after a near-death experience (see MSNBC News and picture).  One news source is calling it a missing link, another claiming the strange behavior is due to brain damage. This calls for a monkey […]

Old Rivers Cut Fast, Fast, Fast Through Solid Rock

A press release from University of Vermont says, “Geologists Discover Water Cuts Through Rock at Surprising Speed.”  A five-year study concluded that the Susquehanna and Potomac rivers cut through 10 to 20 meters of solid rock in 35,000 years, “a rate far more rapid than previously thought,”  especially since most of the cutting occurred during […]

Plant “Evolutionary Leftover” Now Deemed Vital

Photorespiration, “a biological process in plants, thought to be useless and even wasteful” and “just an evolutionary leftover” from an age when carbon dioxide was more prevalent, has been found to be “necessary for healthy plant growth and if impaired could inhibit plant growth,” according to a UC Davis study published in PNAS.1 (see also […]

New Book Reveals China’s Cambrian Explosion

Nature July 221 has a book review about the first volume in English of the Chengjiang biota of China, where tens of thousands of soft-bodied organisms are preserved in early Cambrian strata.  The book, The Cambrian Fossils of Chengjiang, China: The Flowering of Early Animal Life by Xian-Guang Hou et al., is praised by reviewer […]

SETI Researcher Predicts Success Within 20 Years

According to New Scientist story reported on EurekAlert, Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute predicts we will know within 20 years if there is intelligent life out there in the Milky Way.  He plugged his numbers into the Drake Equation and estimated between 10,000 and a million radio transmitters spreading messages across the galaxy.  He […]
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