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Walk the Ediacara Two-Step

Controversy is swirling around claims that footprints have been found in rock 30 million years earlier than the Cambrian explosion.  The press release on Ohio State shows a picture of parallel rows of dots that a team from Ohio State claims look like footprints of a worm-like or millipede-like animal.  The rocks are said to […]

Dark Energy May Be an Optical Illusion

Cosmologists can get rid of the burden of their worst imponderable substance, dark energy, if they are willing to jettison the Copernican Principle.  Science Daily reported thinking by a team of Oxford physicists who make the apparent acceleration of the universe an artifact of our viewing position.  When distant galaxies are viewed without the assumption […]

Living Better Bioelectrically

Electric eels are inspiring a new generation of fuel cells.  Science Daily reported that a remarkable fusion of engineering and biology may lead to tiny electronic devices that run on biology’s own energy currency, ATP.  “Engineers long have known that great ideas can be lifted from Mother Nature, but a new paper by researchers at […]

Bangin’ Around to Get Something New Under the Sun

You’ve heard of the Big Bang, and the Cambrian Explosion.  Now, to get the solar system started, astronomers have added a Little Bang to move things along in the naturalistic path from nothing to everything.  Science Daily, Space.com and PhysOrg all reprinted a press release from the Carnegie Institution claiming that a nearby supernova led […]

Reducing Human Behavior to Natural Laws

Can human behavior be reduced to natural laws that science can study in a morally neutral way?  Darwin sought to incorporate all aspects of the living world, including behavior, in natural laws that were amenable to scientific explanation.  Evolutionary biologists and neuroscientists continue in that tradition today.  Consider two recent examples in the literature that […]

Brain Candy as Tiger Milk

Observation: the human brain appears able to use lactate as fuel instead of glucose during strenuous exercise (see Science Daily).  Deduction: From an evolutionary perspective, the result of this study is a no-brainer.  Imagine what could have or did happen to all of the organisms that lost their wits along with their glucose when running […]

How the Evolution Story Became Like Jellyfish

“How the [blank] got its [blank]” is the template for story titles imitating Rudyard Kipling’s Just-So Stories: i.e., How the Camel Got His Hump and How the Leopard Got His Spots.  Kipling wrote these as silly stories to entertain children, not to be taken seriously by scientists.  Knowing that creationists often criticize Darwinian explanations as […]

Did This Dino Have Bird Breath?

Birds are the only vertebrates with a unique one-way, flow-through breathing system that includes hollow bones.  Their unique respiratory system is part of the set of features that allows flying with its need for rapid metabolism.  Science news outlets are clucking wildly about another putative missing link between dinosaurs and birds: “Meat-eating dinosaur from Argentina […]

Darwinists Root for Obama

Ministers in churches are not allowed to promote political candidates, even though they do not take government money.1  Scientists, who often do take federal money in the form of grants, openly take positions on the presidential candidates they feel will further their interests.  Is this proper?     Both Nature and Science this week did […]

Fastest Squirt Gun in the Fungi

A paper on PLoS One described the highest-speed flights in all nature: the spore discharge mechanisms in certain fungi.  A dozen scientists in Ohio worked to capture the action on ultra-high-speed cameras.  It took 250,000 frames per second to reveal how fast the projectiles accelerate.  The answer: from 20,000 to 180,000 g (where g = […]

Trees Communicate with Aspirin

Trees talk to each other in a chemical language (02/21/2006), but till now, no one realized they sound an alarm with aspirin.  Trees emit a vaporous form of aspirin when under stress, reported Science Daily, that talks on the ecological network.  This was an unexpected finding.     Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric […]

Designed for Health

Recent science reports on physiology and health contain suggestions of intelligent design as well as challenges to evolutionary theory. “Amazingly elegant, amazingly precise and very complicated” kidneys:  Scientists studying the effects of hypertension on kidneys have found that ATP acts not only as an energy source but an extracellular messenger.  It’s involved in helping arterioles […]

Making Earths the Natural Way

Creating a solar system is as easy as spinning a dust cloud around a star.  Before long, rocky orbs will emerge from the dust as platforms on which life can evolve.  Is it that simple?  We know now that planets surround a number of other stars – perhaps most of them.  Textbooks and artwork make […]

End of the Neanderthal Myth?

A grim Neanderthal face stares out from the cover of the October 2008 National Geographic Magazine.  Coinciding with the cover story is a TV special, Neanderthal Code, about the Neanderthal genome.  Both are replete with artwork from the magazine’s army of illustrators charged with putting flesh on bones and bringing lost prehistories to life.  The […]

Leaves Don’t Fall; They’re Pushed

Rocks may fall (thus the need for warning signs on highways), but leaves are pushed off of trees by a genetic program.  The process, called abscission, has been mysterious for a long time.  A team from the University of Missouri has mapped out, for the first time, the abscission pathway in one plant.  Being this […]
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