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Eye Can See Clearly Now

The cornea has no blood vessels.  That’s weird.  But it’s a good thing, or we would be looking through a network of threadlike strands all the time.  According to EurekAlert, scientists at Scheppens Eye Institute decided to find out how the cornea stays clear.  They found that it is heavily stocked with a special protein, […]

Darwinism Confirmed!  How?  Finch Beaks Got Smaller!

Randolph E. Schmid of Associated Press (see ABC News) seems hardly able to contain his excitement.  “Finches on the Galapagos Islands that inspired Charles Darwin to develop the concept of evolution,” he wrote, “are now helping confirm it by evolving.”  This sounds like big news.  How, exactly, are they evolving?  “A medium sized species of […]

Saturn E-Ring Oxygen Bubble Blown by Enceladus

From a distance, the little moon Enceladus at Saturn looks for all the world like a leaking water balloon.  The Cassini Mission just released a new photo of Enceladus that fits that description well.  The plumes are faintly visible emanating from the south pole of the 300-mile-across moon as it orbits beyond the rings.  A […]

Why Your Knuckles Pop

Science reporter Corey Binns occasionally decorates LiveScience with articles about the human body that are informational as well as amusing.  His latest is about cracking knuckles and creaking joints.  We have four kinds of joints (pivot, ball-and-socket, sliding and hinge), which he illustrates with diagrams that look like machinery.  The pops and creaking noises, he […]

Evolutionists Find Pegasus in the Gene Epic

When you conjure with genes, you never know what might appear.  Japanese scientists, publishing in PNAS,1 tried to find evolution in mammalian retroposons and found an unexpected relationship.  New Scientist explains: “You could call it a batty idea, but bats seem to be more closely related to horses than cows are.”     “Despite the […]

Plants Use Electrical Sunscreen

Perhaps only a scientist, or a kid, would worry about how a plant doesn’t get sunburn, but it took elaborate scientific work for six months to find the answer.  EurekAlert told about research at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State that found how plants get rid of excess solar energy.  They use carotenoids, molecules responsible […]

Rubisco “Highly Tuned” for Fixing Atmospheric Carbon

Rubisco sounds like a brand of cracker or something, but it’s actually an air cleaner your life depends on.  It’s an enzyme that fixes atmospheric carbon for use by photosynthetic microbes and plants.  In doing so, it sweeps the planet of excess carbon dioxide – the greenhouse gas implicated in discussions of global warming – […]

Reach Out and Touch Some Robot

The news media were excited to report an advance in materials science last week that could pave the way for touchy-feely robots (see BBC News, News @ Nature, LiveScience and National Geographic News, for instance).  Two scientists produced a thin film with touch resolution comparable to that of a human finger, an order of magnitude […]

Foot Facts: Frogs and Flies Fulfill Feet Feats

How do frogs walk on wet leaves without slipping?  Eric Jaffe in Science News1 describes how they have dual-purpose footwear: a mucous film that holds on by wet adhesion, plus microscopic bumps that protrude above the wet layer to make dry contact.  Though a frog foot doesn’t appear as fancy as that of a gecko, […]

Can the Origin of Life Be Simplified?

Evolutionists looking for a materialistic explanation for the origin of life know that there is a huge gap between a sea of chemicals and a self-replicating cell.  Over the years since the Miller experiment (see 05/02/2003 entry), there have been several approaches trying to bridge this gap.  One has been the RNA World hypothesis, that […]

Plant Hula-Hoop Railroads Build Cell Walls

Solving a long-standing mystery about how plants build cell walls, Stanford scientists imaged molecular machines traveling along hoop-shaped rings around the inside of the cell.  Publishing in Science, Paradez, Somerville and Ehrhardt proved that cellulose synthase (CESA), a machine that manufactures cellulose composed of six subunits arranged in rosettes, rides like a rail car on […]

Beavers Achieve Environmental Reprieve

In what might be considered an unexpected convergence between geology and zoology, it has been found that beaver dams influence large tracts of land both above and below ground.  “Impact of beaver dams wider than thought” announced a headline on LiveScience summarizing studies by scientists in Rocky Mountain National Park.     The dams take […]

Protein Dressing Room Has Electronic Walls

Properly folded proteins are essential to all of life.  When a polypeptide, or chain of amino acids, emerges from the ribosome translation factory on its way to becoming a protein, it looks like a useless, shapeless piece of string.  It cannot perform its function till folded into a precise, compact shape particular for its job.  […]

Hummingbirds: Small Wonders

Do you enjoy watching the world’s smallest birds, right from your backyard?  Susan Healy and T. Andrew Hurly provided interesting tidbits about them in a Quick Guide to Hummingbirds in Current Biology this week.1     There are 330 species of these small flyers noted for their aerobatics and iridescent colors.  Typically, they weigh a […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: Handy Dandy Modus Operandi

Charles G. Gross and Asif A. Ghazanfar win the prize for this gem in Science1 from a book review of The Sensory Hand by Vernon B. Mountcastle (Harvard, 2006): In one of the first systematic attempts to describe the differences between primates and other mammals, Thomas Huxley argued that the former are distinguished by virtue […]
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