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Grandma Gets Sexy Idea for Origin of Life

Helen Hansma likes being a grandmother and studying the origin of life, according to a video on PhysOrg.  To show she’s not over the hill, though, she came up with a sexy new hypothesis for how we got here: life emerged “between the sheets” – of mica.     Her video clip explains three parts […]

God Forbid: Public School Field Trips to a Creation Zoo?

Is it legal?  Can a public school take kids to a creation zoo?  Environment reporter Michael Marshall at New Scientist just about had a fit when he heard that “A UK zoo that pushes a creationist message has been approved as a destination for school trips by the government.”  That could never happen in America, […]

Stem Cell News: Adults Still Lead

Stem cells are still hot.  Most of the significant findings are coming from adult stem cells (AS) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) rather than embryonic stem cells (ES).  For example, a PhysOrg article described progress at the University of Michigan in predicting what cell types stem cells will become.  Nothing was said in the […]

Explosion of the Blob

Some scientists are looking into the folds of a sponge for clues about the Cambrian Explosion – the sudden emergence of all the major body plans in the geological blink of an eye.  What they are finding is more complexity than a first glance at the simple creatures would expect.     A draft genome […]

Fine-Tuning Found in Life’s Rotary Engine

The universal energy currency in living things is ATP.  To produce the vast quantities of this molecule required by life 24 x 7, cells employ banks of rotary engines called ATP Synthase, which we have reported on previously in these pages many times.  ATP synthase has become somewhat of a mascot of intelligent design, because […]

Best Face-on-Mars Photo Looks Dead

Conspiracy theorists will probably have little to say now that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken the clearest photo yet of the alleged “Face on Mars” in Cydonia.  For the before and after photos, see PhysOrg.  The new photo is clearly an eroded, rocky mesa – that’s all, folks. Use this as a teachable moment.  […]

Cell Regulation Doesn’t Just Happen

Scientists are finding that it’s not just having the right parts that makes a body go; it’s having those parts controlled by the right regulators.  Recent stories make the case with their headlines: “‘Guardian of the Genome’: Protein Helps Prevent Damaged DNA in Yeast,” announced Science Daily.  “Scientists find gas pedal – and brake – […]

Nature’s Designs Excite Inventors

The imitation of nature – biomimetics – is one of the hottest areas in science these days.  Recent reports tell about research teams racing to move natural designs to market, and there’s no end in sight. Pack it green:  Got parcels?  Don’t use styrofoam peanuts and bubble wraps; that’s so 2009.  Why manufacture plastic and […]

Electricity Forms Your Heart

Did you know your heart is an electrical appliance?  That’s right.  Currents of electrical ions are vital to its function as a contractile organ.  Now, researchers at the University of California have found another thing electricity does for your heart: it guides the developing heart into the proper shape.  This is a key study showing […]

Getting Animals from Here to There

The world is a big place, and most animals are small.  Yet many animals are found far from where their presumed ancestors lived.  Most birds, naturally, can fly long distances, and some sea creatures can cross the oceans with the help of currents.  That cannot explain all the cases, however.  Here are some attempts by […]

Things in Space that Shouldn’t Be

A history of astronomy and a history of surprise discoveries in space would track pretty well.  Recent stories show that the trend continues even today. Wet moon:  The moon was thought to be depleted of volatiles – until now.  According to PhysOrg, “Researchers discover water on the moon is widespread, similar to Earth’s.”  Shouldn’t all […]

Evolution of Segmentation Leads to Playing God

Most animals come in segments – body plans that are divided into more-or-less similar parts.  Arthropods, worms and vertebrates are examples (including humans, with their vertebral segments and rough division into head, thorax and abdomen).  Where did the idea of segmentation come from?  Some French evolutionists think it just appeared by chance and changed the […]

Is Our World Natural?

At first glance, the headline sounds absurd: is our world natural?  Of course the world is natural.  Nature is natural, isn’t it?  Often, though, we picture what humans do as unnatural – oil spills, landfills, pollution, nuclear waste, crime, war.  But if humans are a part of nature, then whatever they do is natural.  Some […]

Recapitulation Theory Gets Recap

The long-discounted “recapitulation theory” of Ernst Haeckel, the idea that the development of an embryo replays its evolutionary history, pops up every once in awhile in evolutionary explanations.  Evolutionary biologists (most notably the late Stephen Jay Gould) have long since disparaged the idea that evolutionary history would be preserved in embryos.  In addition, photos of […]

Dating of Impacts and Impacts of Dating

Earth and Neptune were both on stage this week with stories of impacts.  How do scientists know when they occurred? Neptune:  A comet struck Neptune 200 years ago.  That’s what planetary scientists are claiming, according to National Geographic.  The data only “suggests” this explanation, according to Space.com.  Since nobody witnessed the impact in 1810 (Neptune […]
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