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New Autobiography of Darwin Published

“The Darwin industry as busy as ever with the recent completion of a major biography and renewed scrutiny of his substantial correspondence,” writes Nigel Williams in the Jan. 6 issue of Current Biology.  “But a new edition of his autobiography compiled by his son is a welcome addition.”  The work seems to talk about his […]

How Long Can DNA Survive?

An international team of scientists takes issue with recent claims that ancient DNA has been found in ice, amber, salt or rock many millions of years old (see 05/23/2002 entry, for instance).  They think such cases are due to contamination and have not been independently replicated.  They gathered samples in Siberian and Antarctic permafrost under […]

Discussions Increase About Science and Religion

Cary McMullen, writing for the Lakeland Ledger (Florida), has listed some recent developments indicating that more and more scientists and theologians are becoming interested in the relationship between science and religion.  His list spans a spectrum from atheistic opinions of Stephen Weinberg to neo-orthodox views of Fuller Seminary, with a variety of voices and views […]

Mars Rover Lands

From the scene of news at Jet Propulsion Laboratory At 8:35 p.m. Pacific Time Saturday, January 3, signal was lost as a large set of air bags bounced on the surface of Mars.  After several nail-biting minutes, signal was reacquired by two Earth stations, indicating that the Mars Exploration Rover “Spirit” had survived the heat […]

Stardust Mission Successfully Flies Through Comet Cloud

In the first of what is hoped will be a series of spectacular space missions in 2004, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory flew the Stardust spacecraft today on a wild ride right into the dusty coma of comet Wild-2 (pronounced Vilt-2).  Though the dust storm would have killed an astronaut at that range, the craft emerged […]

Instant Galaxies?

The Hubble Space Telescope, with its Advanced Camera for Surveys, has taken a peek at the most distant galaxy clusters ever seen.  The astronomers found “embryonic” galaxies in a “proto-cluster” of galaxies, named TN J1338-1942, that they estimate formed a mere 1.5 billion years after the Big Bang.  This find has been reported in the […]

Chinese Puzzle: New Primate Fossil Raises Eyebrows

A new fossil primate skull from China, alleged to be 55 million years old, provides “much-needed substantial evidence of early primates in Asia,” says Robert Martin (Field Museum, Chicago), reporting in the Jan. 1 issue of Nature.1  But “interpretation of the creature’s eye size and activity pattern,” he says, “will spark debate.”  (This is code […]

Globular Cluster Origins: Where Do We Go From Here?

The simple explanation of globular clusters as bundles of ancient stars seems to be in a state of crisis, though the authors of a paper in the Jan. 1 issue of Nature1 try to keep a stiff upper lip.  They begin, “Nearly a century after the true nature of galaxies as distant ‘island universes’ was […]

Your Accelerated Eyes

When a beam of light hits your eye, a chain of events is set off that is really quite amazing.  Kendall J. Blumer (Washington University School of Medicine) describes a little of it in the Jan. 1 issue of Nature.1  You don’t have to understand the following description; just be glad you don’t have to […]

In the Beginning Was the Bit

Is intelligent design theory making an inroad into secular science?  One might think so, based on a book review published in the Jan. 1 issue of Nature,1 entitled, “The bits that make up the Universe.”  Michael A. Nielsen reviews a new book by Hans Christian van Baeyer, Information: The New Language of Science (Weidenfeld & […]

Must Life Drink Water?

Star Trek used to portray aliens made up of different stuff than the carbon and water chemistry which comprises Earth-based life.  For years, most scientists who considered the possibility of life in space, including Carl Sagan and Stanley Miller, admitted, somewhat reluctantly, that the periodic table of the elements admits no practical alternatives to water […]

Line Between Neanderthals and Modern Humans Blurs

There seems to have been an intergradation between big-boned Neanderthals and modern humans, according to the BBC News.  “Newly identified remains from Vindija in Croatia, which date to between 42,000 and 28,000 years ago, are more delicate than ‘classic’ Neanderthals,” writes Paul Rincon.  Not only that, stone tools found nearby look like those of modern […]

Life Runs on Waterwheels

The cells of every living thing are filled with molecular machines, and one of the most fascinating is a rotary motor called ATP synthase (see April 2002 back issue, opening paragraph).  This is a true mechanical/electrical motor, found in every living thing from bacteria to elephants and palm trees.  It is really two motors in […]

How Darwinism Produces Job Security

One thing Darwinism has going for it: it provides endless opportunities to research stories that are nearly impossible to prove.     A case in point was provided in the Dec. 18 issue of Nature.1  John R. Hutchinson (Royal Veterinary College, UK), in a News and Views article on bird evolution, reviewed the new angle […]

Art Evolution Is Backwards

Early art has again been shown to be the work of advanced intellect and culture (see Apr. 22 headline and embedded links).  Carved animal figurines found in Germany1 estimated to be 30,000 to 33,000 years old, display a level of craftsmanship not expected among primitive humans.  In the Dec. 18 issue of Nature2, Anthony Sinclair […]
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