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Scientists Try to Read Neandertal Minds

If dead men tell no tales, living ones certainly do.  Most of us have trouble reading one another’s minds when staring face to face, but some paleoanthropologists, with nothing but skeletons and a few stone tools and burial sites to look at, have no hesitation in reading the Neandertal mind.  Bruce Bower writes in Science […]

Termites: If You Can’t Lick ’Em, Mimic ’Em

Termites, despite their bad rap, have something to teach human homebuilders.  Their mounds are self-sufficient, air-conditioned, environmentally friendly and cheap to run, according to a story in EurekAlert.  “The mounds incorporate a complicated network of tunnels and air conduits designed to channel air flow for the control of internal air quality, temperature and moisture levels.” […]

Arrow Worms Miss the Mark in Darwin’s Tree

Nature this week1 claims that “The origins of the arrow worms have long been obscure, but molecular studies are finally bringing the true evolutionary position of these beautiful marine predators into sharper focus.” (Emphasis added in all quotes.)  Arrow worms, or Chaetognatha, are “strikingly beautiful marine animals.” writes Maximilian J. Telford.  “Their transparent, slender bodies […]

Secrets of the Spliceosome Revealed

A husband and wife team from Hebrew University has revealed the structure of the spliceosome, one of the most complex molecular machines in the cell (see 09/12/2002 headline), in more detail than ever before, says EurekAlert.  The spliceosome is responsible for cutting out the introns in messenger RNA after it has transcribed DNA, and also […]

Plants Use Quantum Mechanics to Harvest Light

In a News and Views item in Nature Sept. 16,1 Graham R. Fleming (UC Berkeley) and Gregory R. Scholes (U Toronto) explain how the light-harvesting centers of plant photosynthetic organs take advantage of quantum mechanics to focus energy on their reaction centers.  Their illustration shows a chromophore diagram from a photosynthetic bacterium.  Understanding energy transfer […]

Discovery of Transfer RNA Recounted

In the Sept. 16 issue of Nature,1 Mahlon Hoagland recounts how he did the key experiment in 1957 that proved DNA used “soluble RNA” intermediates, later named transfer RNA (tRNA), on the way to protein synthesis in the ribosome, only to find that Francis Crick had predicted the existence of such intermediates. By this time […]

Peering Into Paley’s Black Box: The Gears of the Biological Clock

William Paley’s famous “watchmaker argument” for the existence of a Designer, though intuitively logical to many, has been criticized by naturalists on the grounds that one cannot compare mechanical devices to biological ones.  Biological “contrivances” might operate on totally different principles than mechanical ones made by humans we know.     Michael Behe’s 1996 book […]

Bless Your Heart: Exercise for Senior Vitality

A study from UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas confirms what we all should know but need to be reminded of frequently: that prolonged, sustained exercise can build up the heart at any age, and provide insurance against heart failure.  The summary on EurekAlert warns, “a sedentary lifestyle, in addition to aging, puts older people […]

Take Out the Garbage?  No– Feed the Worms

Every kitchen needs one, says National Geographic News: a popular new device that turns garbage into fertilizer.  What is it?  A new high-tech electronic machine?  No, something more ancient: a worm bin.  Modern homes are finding old benefits in vermiculture, the art of composting garbage into plant food via worms and bacteria.  A small bin […]

Salamander Genes Give Darwinists a Wake-Up Call

A press release from UC Berkeley says that the evolutionary family tree of salamanders, once thought secure, has been turned topsy-turvy by a study of the genes.  The opening paragraph is reminiscent of an irritating alarm clock going off in a comfy bedroom: Biologists take for granted that the limbs and branches of the tree […]

Recounting the Risks of Critiquing Darwinism

Lynn Vincent has an article in World Magazine This Week recounting the tribulations suffered by Roger DeHart when he tried to include material critical of Darwinism in his high school biology classroom in Burlington, Washington.  (His story is featured in the film Icons of Evolution.)  It tells how the NCSE pressured two schools to forbid […]

Is the Evolution of Bacterial Resistance a Just-So Story?

Evolutionists frequently point to the emergence of bacterial resistance to antibiotics as an example of Darwinian evolution occurring right under our noses.  Bruce R. Levin of Emory University, writing in the Sept. 10 issue of Science,1 is not so sure about that.  He points out that cells might just have a built-in mechanism to shut […]

Solar Particles Survive Genesis Crash

Scientists are relieved that they have been able to recover enough pieces from the crashed Genesis spacecraft to pursue the science objectives.  JPL Director Charles Elachi said they have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and are bouncing back from a hard landing.  The highest-priority science goals may still be attainable, at least partially, […]

Submarine Engineers Admire Penguins

An ocean engineer from MIT, Franz Hover, says “we never miss marveling at them,” speaking of penguins.  In the cover story of Science News,1 the submarine designer elaborates: Under the power and guidance of its versatile flippers, a penguin can move through the water faster than 10 miles per hour, turn almost instantaneously, and leap […]

Darwin’s Tree of Life Uprooted; Ring of Life Planted in its Place

Perhaps no icon of evolution has been more pervasive than Darwin’s “tree of life” (see 06/13/2003 headline).  A drawing of a branching tree was the only illustration in Darwin’s Origin of Species.  145 years later, scientists are saying the metaphor of a tree is wrong; it should be a ring, at least in the family […]
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