January 13, 2012 | David F. Coppedge

Science Grab Bag

Here’s a random assortment of things floating around in the science news media – some fascinating, some informative, some disgusting.  We’ll let the readers decide which is which.  Since it’s Friday the 13th, a day to enjoy like any other day, we’ll give you a baker’s dozen to sample.

  1. Optical illusion:  You won’t believe your eyes at this optical illusion posted on New Scientist.
  2. The Science of Tebow:  Watch Stephanie Pappas on Live Science explain the Tim Tebow phenomenon from a naturalistic perspective.  Can Tebow pray for her?
  3. Drunken sailor in your muscles:  A walking machine in your cells does the sidestep, explains Science Daily.
  4. The Plantimal:  It’s half plant and half animal, claims New Scientist, playing “merry hell” with our classification systems.  “The division between plants and animals is collapsing completely.”
  5. Spider clothes:  This is really noteworthy.  “Eighty people collected, harnessed, and released wild spiders” in Madagascar “every day to produce enough silk” to make some clothes, reports the BBC News in a slide show worth watching.  Did you know spider silk is golden yellow?
  6. Saturnalia:  Browse through the 10 biggest discoveries from the Cassini mission to Saturn in 2011 (Jet Propulsion Laboratory).
  7. Reagan vindicated:  Remember the laughter when Ronald Reagan said trees cause acid rain?  Now read this.  PhysOrg confirms that trees cause 90% of it.
  8. Microribbit:  The world’s tiniest frog has been discovered in New Guinea (BBC News), so small a dime is a large lilypad for it.  It’s a contender for the world’s smallest vertebrate.
  9. Wonder machines of the nucleus:  Helicases drive down DNA strands covering hundreds of bases per second without falling off.  Let Live Science tell you how (100% Darwin-free).
  10. Weird dinosaur:  This otherwise fierce-looking dinosaur would never win an arm-wrestling contest (PhysOrg).
  11. Breath of life:  Evolutionists have their Genesis stories, too: this one on Live Science uses “may have” and “appeared” in classic Darwin storytelling style, alleging that a complex protein “appeared” to give life its first breath.  Invokes the mythical Great Oxygenation Event (see 1/09/2012 commentary).
  12. Babel artifactFox News showed a photo of pictorial cuneiform inscription that shows King Nebuchadnezzar II and a ziggurat, with the Babylonian king’s own words.  Readers can decide whether it (1) refers to a historical Tower of Babel, (2) inspired the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel, as the article claims, or (3) none of the above.  (Hint: If professor Todd at BiblePlaces believed it, he would have said so.)
  13. Apps for apesNew Scientist informs us that orang-utans at the Milwaukee County Zoo seem fascinated by iPads, provided they can’t take them with them into the cage.  They like to use the finger-painting apps.  Buried in the article: “If they got a hold of it, they’d take it apart… Orang-utans pee on everything.” Don’t expect an ape-designed app any time soon.

We hope you enjoyed this piñata of news nuggets.  For every post on CEH, hundreds of headline titles are scanned from science journals and science media outlets, a few dozen are noted, and one to a dozen are reported on.  This takes a lot of time and effort.  If you appreciate this service, consider donating to support it, posting comments, and promoting it on your social media any way you can.  Use the convenient buttons below to spread the word.

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