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SETI’s Monsters Under the Head

No one has ever proven the existence of life beyond the earth, but some people have the earth’s international response all worked out.  They know how we should react whether the aliens are friendly or hostile.  Mike Wall at Space.com published the idea that if we are not alone, we should fear the aliens.  But […]

Left-Handed Amino Acids Explained Naturally?

The problem of left-handed amino acids in life’s proteins has remained an evolutionary conundrum for decades (see online book and earlier entries).  Another team has tried to tackle it, and boasted great things for their small returns.  Science Daily said, What is the origin of such asymmetry in biological material?  There are two competing hypotheses.  […]

Insect Wings Are Rainbows of Color

Scientists in Sweden have found that a feature of transparent insect wings – their shimmering colors – may have a purpose.  They are not just accidental patterns like the rainbow colors of oil on water, but are stable structures genetically determined for insect recognition and mating.  They call them “wing interference patterns” (WIP) but their […]

Lice and Licentiousness in Paleoanthropology

A paleoanthropologist believes our ancestors ran nudist colonies for 830,000 years before inventing clothes, and can prove it from lice genes.  The story is on Science Daily.     By comparing head lice and clothes lice genomes, David Reed at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida came up with a […]

Astrobiologists Explain Cambrian Explosion Using Invisible Data

According to PhysOrg and Astrobio.net, the skeletons to the Cambrian Explosion1 are hidden in the Precambrian closet, out of sight, even though the closet is open for inspection.  We mustn’t be fooled into thinking there was a Creation event, because evolution was doing its work in secret, like magic: The first instance of biomineralization – […]

“Primitive” Humans Were Sailors

Greek archaeologists have found stone tools on Crete thought to be between 130,000 and 700,000 years old, reported PhysOrg.  If so, the makers had to sail to get there.  “Crete has been separated from the mainland for about five million years, so whoever made the tools must have traveled there by sea (a distance of […]

Never Say Die: Researchers Spend 37 Years Looking for Evolution in Darwin’s Finches

The Grants are still at it.  Peter and Rosemary Grant have been studying Darwin’s finches since the 1970s, looking for evidence to support Darwin’s theory of natural selection.  Their latest paper in PNAS produced results that were tentative at best.1     Up front, they had to admit that you can’t see the birds evolving.  […]

Beavers: Natural Engineers Do It Better

A curious case of biomimetics was reported by Science Daily: engineers imitating beavers.  River restoration is a big project in many states that would like to return their rivers to the way the colonists first found them.  “When engineers restore rivers,” the article began, “one Kansas State University professor hopes they’ll keep a smaller engineer […]

Evolution by Gene Duplication Falsified

A common hypothesis in evolutionary circles is evolution by gene duplication.  It posits that duplicated genes are free to evolve new functions without affecting the primary gene.  This idea has been dealt a serious blow by a paper published in Complexity on Dec. 22.1     Joseph Esfandiar Hannon Bozorgmehr first dealt a falsifying blow […]

Embryonic Stem Cell Advocates Push Against Evidence and Ethics

An old preacher said, “It’s never right to do wrong to get a chance to do right.”  That sums up in simple terms the ethical problems of using embryonic stem cells to cure human diseases, apparent in this quote from PhysOrg: The potent but hotly debated cells can transform into nearly any cell in the […]

Cell Division Involves “Vast Array of Molecules and Processes”

Scientists continue to probe the roles of individual proteins in the symphony of molecules involved in cell division.  An article on Science Daily discussed work at Rockefeller University to understand one such protein named PRC1 that acts as a kind of molecular foreman for spindle orientation.  The opening paragraph is the notable part: Just before […]

Year-End Closeout

The sun is rising on 2011, but we need to clear the deck from 2010.  Here are ten 2010 headlines to acknowledge as the ball drops in Times Square, to avoid dropping the ball completely before moving on to 2011. Cells:  Many cancer cells have an “eat me” tag, said Science Daily. Early Man:  “Rodents […]

Plants Outsmart Darwin

There are wonders in plants that continue to be uncovered with the tools of science.  Two recent papers in PNAS lend support to the feeling that plants are smarter than assumed. Trash collection:  Humans usually only employ one trash collection service, but plants have two.  Four Chinese investigators found redundant pathways in plant cells for […]

Adam Found?

Evidence of modern humans older than any ever discovered has been found in Israel – thus the teasing headline.  The skeleton’s evolutionary discoverers would certainly discount any Biblical tie-in.  Not that Adam was an Israelite, but like some later Biblical prophet, the find seems to be pronouncing doom on modern idolaters from the grave – […]

Christmas Stocking

Christmas is upon us, and then the new year.  Many interesting news stories have come prancing from the roof with too little time to unwrap them.  We leave them hanging on the mantle, with our astute readers able to pick the fresh oranges from the fruitcakes, the hot picks from the lumps of coal. Morality:  […]
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