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Bees Make Beeline to the Headlines

The science journals and media were abuzz with honeybee stories this week.  We counted 18 press releases and half a dozen research papers related to aspects of honeybees, including the publication of the honeybee genome.  Many research labs seem to have gotten into the act of figuring out what makes bees tick.  The major stories […]

Big Bad Bird: Ten-Foot “Terror Bird” Found

What would a “terror bird” look like?  Imagine a ten-footer, able to disembowel you with a single kick and crush your skull in its jaws.  That’s what scientists from the Dinosaur Institute of the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History described in Nature1 after finding the largest-ever skull of a flightless phorusrhacid (‘terror bird’) in […]

Fossil Lamprey Changed Little in 360 Million Years

Lampreys, fish that consist of little more than a mouth with a tube-like body and fin, don’t usually fossilize well because they lack bones and hard cartilage.  A small two-inch fossil lamprey has been found in South Africa and reported in Nature1 (see also National Geographic, Live Science and EurekAlert based on a press release […]

Key Reference Rock Formed Five Times Faster than Thought

Strata in the Niagara Gorge, used as a reference for Silurian dating, formed much quicker than previously believed – in just 1/5 the time, according to a press release from Ohio State.  Bradley Cramer and his advisor Matthew Saltzmann used high-resolution carbon isotope stratigraphy to re-examine the rocks in the Niagara Gorge.  “Rocks that were […]

Dinos Not Killed Off by Meteor, but by Worms

Confident speculations that a big meteor hitting southern Mexico caused the mass extinction of the dinosaurs appear to be unraveling.  Gerta Keller [Princeton, 09/25/2003], a doubter of the story that has been a leading contender for years with its smoking-gun crater called Chicxulub in the Yucatan, has been getting a receptive hearing among geologists with […]

Quote: Chuck Norris Joke

Alleged Chuck Norris Fact: “There is no theory of evolution.  Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.”  What does Chuck Norris himself think of this? It’s funny.  It’s cute.  But here’s what I really think about the theory of evolution: It’s not real.  It is not the way we got here.  […]

Baby Lucy Makes National Geographic Evolution Cover

No regime change is evident at National Geographic since Bill Allen left (see 02/15/2005).  The Nov. 2006 is vintage NG with alleged primitive human ancestors on the cover, this time “Baby Lucy” (see 09/20/2006, 10/02/2006).  Despite many passionate letters to the editor after their in-your-face Darwinist two years ago (see “Was Darwin Wrong?” 10/24/2004), this […]

Darwin Goes Online

A website featuring the complete published works of Charles Darwin went public today at Darwin-Online.org.  This adds to an earlier site featuring all of Darwin’s correspondence, at Cambridge.  Access is free to the public.  Students and researchers will be able to search, compare and cross-check different versions of The Origin of Species and other things.  […]

Have Darwinian Anthropologists Learnt Their Lessons?

Chris Stringer, writing for the BBC News, talked about “Piltdown’s lessons for modern science.”  After telling the history of the famous “missing link” fraud, he discussed four “lessons learnt” by one of the most notorious hoaxes in science history.  For one, “we mustn’t let preconceived ideas run away with us.”  For another, “specimens have to […]

The Role of God in Science and Life

Big science today may seem to be controlled by atheists, but that’s clearly not the case for many involved in science.  Here are two unrelated stories from unexpected quarters expressing support for belief in God: No God, No Scientific Laws:  Noted philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright has a new paper coming out that argues that […]

Wanted Dead or Alive: New Mammals

Do we know all our fellow mammals?  Further research has uncovered new furry creatures, fur sure.  Furthermore, some are dead and some are alive and well: Weird Tooth:  An “ancient mammal that defies classification” has been given a name, at least.  EurekAlert reported that Horolodectes sunae, found 30 years ago in Alberta, remains a mystery: […]

New Titan Ethane Theory Proposed

They wonder where the ethane went (see 09/14/2006 and its links).  The case of the missing ethane on Titan has only gotten more puzzling since the Huygens Probe landed last year and found almost none, when oceans a mile deep were anticipated.  In Nature last week,1 D. M. Hunten (U of Arizona) posited a new […]

Oxygen YoYos and Wings

Molecular oxygen: you can’t live with it, and you can’t live without it.  We breathe it in constantly or else we would turn blue and die within minutes.  Yet we take antioxidants because of the harm that oxygen radicals can wreak in our cells.  Like fire, it is a useful substance, but only when tightly […]

Self-cleaning Surfaces Take the Lotus Position

Photovoltaic cells and microelectromechanical systems have a problem: they collect dirt.  What to do?  Look to the lotus, says a EurekAlert article about research at Georgia Institute of Technology.  Dr. C. P. Wong and team took inspiration from the self-cleaning surfaces of lotus leaves.  “Despite growing in muddy conditions, the leaves and flowers remain clean […]

Precambrian Cell Division Imaged

Embryos frozen in stone in the act of cell division were reported in Science.1  According to a press release from Virginia Tech, there are millions of fossilized embryos in the Doushantuo formation in south China, estimated to be 551 million years old, but “later stages of these animals are rare.”  The EurekAlert version of this […]
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