VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

New Planet Discovered Beyond Pluto; Another Has a Moon

A 10th planet, the biggest since Pluto was found 75 years ago, has been discovered.  Late Friday, a JPL press release announced the find made in January by Dr. Mike Brown of Caltech in research partly funded by NASA.  The planet, temporarily designated 2003 UB313 until a name is approved, is three times farther than […]

Darwin’s Complete Writings to Be Posted on Internet

Cambridge University is planning to post online tens of thousands of pages of the complete works of Charles Darwin and the people who influenced him, reported Nigel Williams in Current Biology.1  1Nigel Williams, “Darwin on the web,” Current Biology, Vol 15, R530, 26 July 2005. Bad news for the Darwin Party.  What will they do […]

Tailpipe Soot: Can It Live?

Better stay clear of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).  They come out of your tailpipe and furnace, line your chimney, and generally are products of unhealthy processes like industrial waste and cigarette smoke.  According to Environment Canada, “PAHs are a concern because some of them can cause cancers in humans and are harmful to fish and […]

Cell’s High-Fidelity Proofreading and Editing Explained

—It’s unusual to have a story win both Amazing and Dumb awards simultaneously, but the reason will become clear.–ed.) Luisa Cochella and Rachel Green (Johns Hopkins) have published a primer on “Fidelity in Protein Synthesis” in Current Biology.1  This is a good article for cell biology enthusiasts to read, to learn more about the methods […]

Brain Is Faster Than the Blink of an Eye

You blink about every 4-6 seconds, says David Burr in Current Biology,1 adding to over 17,000 blinks a day.  Each time the world goes black for 100 to 150 milliseconds, as the eyelids attenuate the light a hundredfold.   Why don’t we see the world like a flickering movie?  We generally perceive an uninterrupted stream of […]

Life on Mars – and Titan?

Life has not been found on Mars, but some scientists, according to National Geographic News, are worried that we are contaminating the planet with Earth germs that will make the search for Martians more difficult.  Speaking of Mars, a report in Science Now claims that Mars rarely got above freezing in its entire history.   […]

Do Butterflies Evolve Via Team Stripes?

A BBC News story is claiming that butterflies split into competing teams when differences in their wing patterns emerge.  Based on a paper in Nature,1 this is supposed to be an example of a rarely-observed mechanism for speciation, called reinforcement: in this case, “These wing colours apparently evolved as a sort of ‘team strip’, allowing […]

What Is Really Known About the Genetic Basis of Evolution?

Now that the genomes of a variety of plants and animals have been published, is there a clear picture of evolution emerging?  Sean Carroll (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) wrote a review in PLoS Biology,1 in which he explored the current thinking about the evolution of anatomy at the genetic level.  The thing to watch for […]

Michael Ruse Balances the Scales in Creation-Evolution Conflict

Sahotra Sarkar seems in a bit of dilemma about how to treat Michael Ruse’s new book, The Evolution-Creation Struggle (Harvard, 2005).  In his review of the book in Science,1 Sarkar knew that Ruse is an important ally in the fight against intelligent design (see 02/18/2003 entry), but he seemed a little bit put off by […]

A Day in the Life of an Evolutionary Biologist

Meet Dr. Judith X. Becerra.  She is an expert on plants of Mexico.  Her latest research strove to determine the rate of evolutionary diversification of a genus of trees with a name similar to her own surname: Bursera.  These trees inhabit a range of biomes in the tropical dry forests of Mexico and are well […]

Lung Link to Dinos and Birds Disputed

Carl Wieland at AIG has given a creationist response to the widely-publicized claim last week that dinosaurs breathed like birds (see Live Science and News@Nature). Creationists are good for evolutionists.  Otherwise, who would keep their rampant speculations in check?  If evolutionists were really interested in truth, they would welcome debate over interpretations of evidence from […]

Bone Has Built-In Shock Absorbers with Molecular Springs

Your bones have little molecular springs in them that unwind and keep the collagen fibrils “glued” together when stress threatens a fracture.  See the description, with electron micrographs and diagrams, in a press release from UC Santa Barbara.  Said co-author Daniel Morse, director of UCSB’s Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies: “It’s especially exciting for us to […]

Has Anti-Semitism Been Good for Jewish Evolution?

National Geographic News gave favorable coverage to a controversial theory by anthropologists at University of Utah that anti-semitism was a form of natural selection.  The racism against Jews in Europe, while selecting for higher intelligence, also selected for certain types of diseases.  Reporter James Owen did point out that not all anthropologists agree with the […]

Scopes 80th Anniversary Leads to Reanalysis

Alex Johnson, reporter for MSNBC News, has written a piece trying to set the record straight about the Scopes Trial of 1925.  Often portrayed as a battle of science vs religion and a group of hillbilly hicks against enlightened intellectuals (the “Inherit the Wind” stereotype), the historical trial was much different, he demonstrates.  William Jennings […]

First-Generation Star Claim Discounted

e first generation of stars, made of pure hydrogen, might have been detected, are now shown to be erroneous (this is an update on the 04/24/2003 entry).  Iwamoto et al. in Science1 have shown that the two hyper-metal-poor stars are actually second-generation stars, seeded with heavy elements by supernovae.     Timothy C. Beers (Michigan […]
All Posts by Date