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Bobble-Head Birds See Straight

Anyone who has fed pigeons in the park has probably wondered why they bob their heads forward and back when they walk.  It not only looks comical to us, it seems like it would give them a very confused sense of sight.  Leave it to scientists to go find out why birds bob their heads.  […]

Whose Side Is Unenlightened?

Here’s an opportunity for readers to compare arguments on both sides of the debate about origins and the nature of science.  Donald Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief of Science, wrote an editorial last week that claims the sunrise of the intelligent design movement threatens “twilight for the Enlightenment.”1  He wrote that the “retrogression to the pre-Darwinian zoologist William […]

Astrobiology: Much Ado About Nothing So Far

The mood at a NASA Astrobiology Institute conference is very upbeat, according to Leonard David at Space.com, reporting from the meetings in Boulder, Colorado.  The participants have set their goals high: Consider it nothing short of the cosmic quest for all time: Understanding the origin, evolution, distribution, and fate of life on Earth and in […]

Variable Constants Dept.

Is nothing sacred?  EurekAlert reported that the fine structure constant alpha may have changed from its once-thought invariable value, based on new observations from the Keck telescope.  “Sacred constant might be changing,” it says.     Another study, by contrast, shows no change in the fine structure constant, according to a press release from UC […]

Titan May Have Erupted Ice Recently

Large features on Titan resemble volcanic calderas.  The fact that no impact craters appear on the flows indicate that they are young.  But these are no ordinary volcanoes.  If the findings are confirmed, they erupted ice.     Richard Kerr reported the scuttlebutt from last week’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas.  Titan may […]

Active Adolescents Are Leaner, Fitter

The intuitively obvious sometimes holds up to experimentation.  Researchers at Medical College of Georgia found that, indeed, young people who are physically active are less likely to be obese.  Most adolescents need to double their physical activity, the researchers said, preferably an hour or more a day – and it needs to be vigorous.  In […]

No Excuses: Nazi-Era German Scientists Had Bloody Hands

A six-year, $5 million (US$) project in Germany to investigate the extent of scientific involvement with the Nazi regime completed its final report last month, reports Nature,1 with “uncomfortable truths.”  It can no longer be claimed that (1) there were only a few rotten apples involved, (2) the work was pseudoscientific, low-quality work with meaningless […]

Late Stars Found Early On

A press release from the Spitzer Space Telescope team reports that the oldest, most distant galaxies ever seen already had well-developed stars.  It claims that the light has taken 13 billion years to reach us. “It seems that in a couple of cases these early galaxies are nearly as massive as galaxies we see around […]

Darwinians Looking for Forgiveness – in Apes

Forgiveness, a seemingly distinctive human trait, must have its roots in ape social behavior, believe some evolutionary biologists.  According to MSNBC News, the state of Iowa got a lot of money for researching this topic: Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, lead scientist, said the four-month project studying bonobos [pygmy chimps] will be funded by a $125,000 grant […]

Flagellum Described in High-Performance Lingo

The bacterial flagellum, a virtual icon of the intelligent design movement, has been studied by many researchers, notably Howard Berg of Harvard, an expert on chemotaxis (the attraction of bacteria to chemical stimuli).  Berg was interviewed in Current Biology1 and talked like a race car mechanic when discussing this molecular machine, though he is not […]

Panel Majority Agrees: Our Solar System Is Special

All five observational and theoretical planetary scientists on a panel last week agreed that our solar system is a special place, reports Space.Com.  At the 5th annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Panel Debate, held at the American Museum of Natural History, the topic was “whether our solar system is special, why it looks the way it […]

Gentle Darwin and the Evolution of Joy

You may not be able to really enjoy a good laugh any more, because the evolutionists are now claiming that joy and humor are just evolutionary artifacts of gene mutations in our animal past.  Jaak Panksepp (Bowling Green U) opens an article in Science Now by twisting the opening words of the Apostle John into […]

Do Neurologists Understand Brain Evolution?

Jane Bradbury wrote a feature piece for PLOS Biology recently,1 entitled, “Molecular Insights into Human Brain Evolution.”  Help us find the insights.  First, she marvels on how “humans sit on top of the pile when it comes to relative brain size.”  Then she marvels at how quickly the human brain apparently evolved compared to apes.  […]

You Can Help Find Life on Mars

Astronomy Picture of the Day pulled a fast one for April Fool’s Day, humorously suggesting viewers might help scientists find water on Mars.  (The Mars in the picture was the candy kind.) The joke was on them, because they got baloney all over their faces with this line: “Finding water on different regions on Mars […]

More Convergent Evolution Claimed for Dino-Era Mammal

A chipmunk-size mammal with Popeye-like forearms and beaver-like teeth resembling an armadillo?  That’s how the discoverers are describing the fossil they named Fruitafossor, a small mammal found near Fruita, Colorado and reported in Science.1  They think it dug burrows and ate termites.  Of special interest were the open-root teeth like those of the beaver.  Lead […]
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