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Dover, PA Administrators Will Read ID Statement

In a compromise aimed at relieving recalcitrant teachers, the Dover, Pennsylvania school board decided that administrators will read a four-paragraph statement about evolution and intelligent design (ID) to high school students for any teachers that want to “opt out” of the new policy (see 11/04/2004 headline).  The decision, according to the York Daily Record, was […]

Iapetus Cracked Like a Nut

Saturn has a moon named for the two-faced Roman god Janus, but the real two-faced moon is the larger Iapetus.  Since Jean Dominique Cassini discovered the moon in 1671 and noticed its varying brightness, scientists have been mystified by its two hemispheres, one as black as coal, the other white as snow.  Investigators were sure […]

Astrobiology: Follow the Money

To date, astrobiology remains, as George Gaylord Simpson once quipped, “an area of study without a known subject.”  Yet it is one of the hottest research areas within NASA.  A renowned origin-of-life researcher from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Dr. Jeffrey Bada, found out why when he read the new book The Living Universe: NASA and […]

Why You Breathe Deep to Sniff a Flower

It may sound like a 747 when your uncle blows his nose, but scientists at Imperial College found nose airflow to be more complicated than the aerodynamics of a jumbo jet’s wing, according to a press release by the reporting the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council .  They made a 3D model of the […]

ID Blog Opens

The Discovery Institute, an Intelligent Design think-tank in Seattle, has initiated a new blog, Evolution News & Views, that analyzes how evolution is presented in the media (see mission statement).  One of the first entries concerns how a PBS station in New Mexico censored the showing of the film Unlocking the Mystery of Life after […]

Bird Studies Overthrow Evolutionary Assumptions About Population Genetics

The assumption was that gene flow homogenized a population, and selection diversified it.  But now, two studies in Nature1,2 of an English songbird called the great tit, Parus major, carried on for decades, has shown that differences between closely-associated populations can persist in spite of homogenizing gene flow.  Garant et al. explain the significance of […]

Media and Journals Conflict Over Mars Life

Timed for the one-year anniversary of the Mars Exploration Rovers, PBS aired a NOVA program last night about Spirit and Opportunity, and the teams that landed them and operated them on Mars.  As is common for popular programs about Mars exploration, NOVA suggested that evidence for past water found (especially by Opportunity at Meridiani Planum) […]

SETI Has News

…no, not a discovery of an alien civilization, just better hardware.  Seth Shostak listed for Space.com some of the improvements in technology and search strategies that should speed up and narrow down the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence by orders of magnitude.  “Of course, it would be nice to say, ‘well, we detected three Type II […]

Gecko Has Self-Cleaning Feet

Imagine self-cleaning, reusable tape.  No matter where you stick it, you can remove it and stick it on another surface, no matter how dirty, and it always acts like new.  The tokay gecko has achieved such a feat on its feet, according to a physicist and a biologist from Lewis and Clark College, Oregon, publishing […]

Theologians Wrestle with God’s Role in Disasters

As international rescue efforts accelerate in the aftermath of last week’s tsunamis in Asia (see Caltech for the geological story, and Nature News for the earthquake’s affect on Earth’s rotation), commentators and theologians are beginning to ask the “why?” questions.  The liberal Archbishop of Canterbury is doubting the existence of God, according to the UK […]

Anthropologist Claims Humans, Neanderthals, Australopithecines All Variations on One Species

According to a news story in the UK News Telegraph, all fossil hominids, including modern humans, Australopithecines, Neanderthals and the recent Indonesian “hobbit man,” belong to the same species: Homo sapiens.  Reporter Robert Matthews wrote about Maciej Henneberg (U of Adelaide) and his argument, based on skull sizes and body weights for 200 fossil specimens, […]

Cellular UPS Gets Right Packages to Chloroplasts

If all your packages were sent correctly over the holidays, consider the job a plant cell has getting 3000 proteins into a chloroplast.  Mistakes are not just inconvenient.  They can be deadly, or at least bring photosynthesis to a halt.  To guarantee proper delivery of components, plant cells have a remarkable shipping system, described in […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week

The authors of the second paper in the previous story compared endosymbiosis to mergers of companies, apparently unaware they were comparing undirected natural processes with intelligently planned decisions by human minds: Imagine you are running a successful small business converting carbon dioxide into sugar.  Suddenly, you are taken over by a bigger company.  They commandeer […]
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