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Have Darwinian Anthropologists Learnt Their Lessons?

Chris Stringer, writing for the BBC News, talked about “Piltdown’s lessons for modern science.”  After telling the history of the famous “missing link” fraud, he discussed four “lessons learnt” by one of the most notorious hoaxes in science history.  For one, “we mustn’t let preconceived ideas run away with us.”  For another, “specimens have to […]

Self-cleaning Surfaces Take the Lotus Position

Photovoltaic cells and microelectromechanical systems have a problem: they collect dirt.  What to do?  Look to the lotus, says a EurekAlert article about research at Georgia Institute of Technology.  Dr. C. P. Wong and team took inspiration from the self-cleaning surfaces of lotus leaves.  “Despite growing in muddy conditions, the leaves and flowers remain clean […]

Active SETI: If the Mountain Will Not Come to MyHomeET

SETI researchers must be getting bored sitting around waiting for a message.  To bide the time, some have come up with a game called “Active SETI” – sending our messages to the aliens.  It’s not that this game hasn’t been played before.  The Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft each carried messages from earthlings, and the Arecibo […]

Glory Be Behind Saturn

Don’t look at this picture till you’re ready.  Switch off the phone, turn off the radio, rub your eyes, and sit down.  Ready?  Click Here.     This is a view of Saturn we could never see from Earth.  It’s the backside of the planet, with the sun shining through the rings.  According to a […]

Early Hunters Evolved Into Marathoners

Why are humans so good at endurance running?  According to Dan Lieberman of Harvard, “our body shape evolved to allow our ancestors to run long distances, and reach animal carcasses before other scavengers.”  He figured that “chasing animals until they collapse from exhaustion yields more meat per hunt than hunting with spears or a bow […]

Archer Fish Shoot Efficiently

Archer fish, the sharpshooters of the underwater world, have another trick in their blowguns: energy efficiency.  Three German scientists were curious how they knew how hard to shoot at targets of differing mass.  Publishing in Current Biology,1 the team first determined that the prey’s ability to cling to its leaf or stem is proportional to […]

Biological Nanomachines Inspire Nanotechnology

Nano, nano; we’re hearing that morkish prefix a lot these days.  It means 10-9 of something: most often, of meters (see powers of ten).  A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.  This gets down into the range of protein molecules and small cellular components.  A DNA molecule, for instance, is about 20 nanometers across; […]

More Reasons Why DNA Is Perfect for Coding

Scientists at Vanderbilt University may have been trying to explain chemical evolution, but hit on another reason DNA is the ideal molecule for carrying genetic information (see also Science Daily).  They tweaked the sugar molecule on the DNA backbone and got an unwieldy, haphazard, writhing ribbon of a molecule, unsuitable for bonding genetic code or […]

Japanese Man Sets Memory Record

Item: a Japanese man, Akira Haraguchi (age 60), quoted pi to 100,000 decimal places, reported Live Science.  It took 16 hours to say the digits from memory.  This broke his personal best of 83,431 set in 1995, and the Guinness record of 42,195, also set in 1995. Incredible feats like this hint at the innate […]

Whiskers Inspire Technology

The latest gadget on robots or Mars rovers could be whiskers.  These tactile sensors provide ways to see in 3D, says a report on National Geographic News.  Information about latitude, longitude and elevation can be gleaned from whiskers.  Rodents continually rotate their whiskers to gather information, but seals and sea lions let the ocean currents […]

Why Are Kids Hyper?  Blame Evolution

Jon Hamilton on National Public Radio was curious why his 7-year-old kid always had more energy than he did and didn’t need coffee to get him going.  So he asked an evolutionary biologist at UC Irvine and got the following explanation: “It’s fairly clear that human evolution has been strongly shaped by very powerful selection […]

Tarantula Spins Silk from Feet

Surprise: a Costa Rican tarantula can spin silk from the tips of its feet.  A team of German and American scientists writing in Nature1 coaxed one of these heavy, hairy spiders to walk vertically up glass, and was astonished to find it ejecting silky threads that arrested its slipping and enabled it to cling.  They […]

Atheist Dilemma: Fight or Smooth-Talk Religion?

The unpopularity of evolutionism and the persistence of religious faith has scientific materialists confounded and dumbfounded over how to respond.  Some want to fight, some want to shrug it off, and some want to dialog with religious believers, in hopes of convincing some of them that evolution is not the bogeyman they think.  Richard Dawkins […]

Genetic Toolkit Manages Dangerous Tools with Safety Switch and Lockbox

Laymen appreciate scientists who can express complex concepts in everyday terms.  Here’s a good example from the Wistar Institute: Around the home, regularly used tools are generally kept close at hand: a can opener in a kitchen drawer, a broom in the hall closet.  Less frequently used tools are more likely to be stored in […]

What’s Inside a Spore?  Nanotechnology

The spores that are emitted from fungi and ferns are so tiny, the appear like dust in the wind.  Who would have ever thought such specks could exhibit nano-technological wonders like scientists have found recently: Evapo-Motors:  Scientists at U of Michigan were intrigued by how ferns turn the power of evaporation into launching pads.  The […]
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