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Evolution Is Like the Matrix Revolutions

Matthew L. Albert enjoyed the Matrix movies.  In his review in the Feb. 20 issue of Science,1 he thought the movies were parallels of evolutionary biology.  The machines keeping the rebels alive are like retroviruses, he thinks: “These retroviruses are responsible in part for our evolution, while other retroviruses are attacking us.  So, who is […]

Seniors, Pay Attention: Stay Active

Cardiovascular activity is good for everyone.  Seniors can benefit from taking walks, too.  A new study shows it can help the elderly keep their attentiveness and improve mental performance.  Science News1 reporter Bruce Bower writes: Seniors interested in pumping up their brains and maintaining an attentive edge might consider taking this inexpensive prescription: Go for […]

Beagle 2 Still Lost, But Beagle 1 Found

Explorers have found partial remains of Darwin’s lost ship, the HMS Beagle, in a swamp near Kent, reports BBC News (see also Science Now).  The ill-fated Beagle 2 on Mars, however, may take another 168 years to find.  And it has no water to float in; results from the twin Mars Exploration Rovers are inconclusive […]

Antarctic Dinosaurs Found

Penguinosaurus?  Not exactly, but two previously unknown species of dinosaurs were found in different parts of Antarctica recently, according to EurekAlert.  Bones of a theropod and a sauropod were found by separate teams.  Judd Case, one of the discoverers of the theropod (of which T. Rex and velociraptor are examples), was perplexed by the find: […]

Learn to Speak: Toss a Spear

Human language evolved after our ancestors learned to throw a spear, according to William H. Calvin, in his new book A Brief History of the Mind: From Apes to Intellect and Beyond (Oxford, 2003).  Robin Dunbar is not too sure about this, in a book review in the Feb. 26 issue of Nature.1  Although he […]

How Darwinians Approach the Golden Rule

Is nothing sacred?  Gretchen Vogel has written a piece on “The Evolution of the Golden Rule” in the Feb. 20 issue of Science.1     Jesus Christ and most religious teachers have taught the Golden Rule as a moral principle and a sacred duty, but to Darwinians, it must have evolved like everything else.  Yet […]

How to Get a Genetic Code by Chance

The Feb. 17 issue of Current Biology1 has a Q&A magazine feature on the genetic code.  After dismissing some myths about it being universal, consisting of only 20 amino acids and obligated to only three codons (there are some minor exceptions to these mostly-true principles: see 04/30/2003), the authors tackle the big question: where did […]

Early Man Studies: Start Over

Anthropologist Leslea J. Hlusko (U. of Illinois) had some stern advice for her paleoanthropologist colleagues in PNAS1 recently.  Noting that “Competing interpretations of human origins and evolution have recently proliferated despite the accelerated pace of fossil discovery,” she thinks an approach is needed that integrates genetics and development with the search for bones.  She takes […]

Respect the Conch Shell

Engineers and materials scientists seem to never run out of examples in nature that should fill us with awe.  In the Feb. 19 issue of Nature,1 Rosamund Daw brings our attention to the construction ability of the conch shell: Giant conches are seldom treated with the respect they deserve.  Their impressive shells are prized as […]

Irreducible Complexity: Can It Be Explained Away?

When Sharon Begley, writing in the Wall Street Journal Feb. 13, criticized the intelligent design movement (see reprint on Access Research Network), Michael Behe answered with a pointed reply five days later.  Begley particularly singled out the concept of “irreducible complexity.”  Behe’s reply, defending the validity of irreducible complexity (a term he coined in his […]

Birds Are Memory Champs

We humans lose our keys and often can’t remember the location of half a dozen identical items.  “Maybe it takes a bird brain to find the car keys,” teases Susan Milius in the cover story of the Feb. 14 issue of Science News.1  Ornithologists have been intrigued with how birds remember where they stash their […]

DNA Is a Code Operated by Another Code

The discovery in the 1950s that DNA stored a coded language was amazing, but recently a new level of complexity has come to the awareness of biochemists.  Apparently, another code determines which DNA genes will be opened for expression and which should be suppressed.     The Feb. 14 issue of Science News1 describes the […]

Scientists Probe Differences Between Living and Nonliving Chemicals

“All life forms are composed of molecules that are not themselves alive.  But in what ways do living and nonliving matter differ?  How could a primitive life form arise from a collection of nonliving molecules?”  Any article beginning with questions like that is bound to be interesting.  That’s how Rasmussen et al. tantalized readers of […]

New Website Aids Slow Process of Dethroning Darwin

A new website, Darwin and Design.com, based on the book co-authored by Stephen Meyer and John Angus Campbell, has been announced by Discovery Institute.  Meanwhile, Ohio anticreationists are trying to caricature a proposed lesson plan on critical analysis of evolution by identifying it with intelligent design theory.  �Intelligent design isn�t even covered in this lesson,� […]

Your Internal Motors Can Run Nanotech

In each cell in your body, and in that of every living thing, there exists a tiny motor named ATP synthase that Science News1 calls “the ultimate molecular machine.”  It converts electrical to chemical energy, writes Alexandra Goho, “with amazing efficiency.”  Now, Japanese have harnessed some of these motors (only 12 millionths of a millimeter […]
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