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Your Eye Works a Precision Jigsaw Puzzle

You have twin 125 megapixel video cameras in your eyeballs.  Each pixel, a rod or cone connected to a neuron, sees only a small bit of the total image.  How do these bits, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, fit together?  Scientists at the Salk Institute have found that they are finely tuned to fit […]

Can Evolution Be Programmed?

Some researchers are employing “evolutionary computing” as an algorithm to solve problems.  But is it really evolution? Evolved machines:  A company called Evolved Machines in Palo Alto announced a 40-teraflop machine that will be used for the “artificial evolution of neural circuitry” (see press release on United Business Media).  “It is self-evident that in biological […]

Ye Are the Salt of the Evolution

Salt is good, the good book says (Mark 9:50).  Another good thing it may do for you, according to Science Daily, is act as “Nature’s Antidepressant.”  Presumably it’s hard to have a good mood about a steak with no salt on it.  In the midst of this article about the mood-enhancing effects of salt, an […]

Assassins Roam Our Highways

Slinking surreptitiously through our blood streams, the assassins prowl about, looking for their targets.  These are not terrorists or vigilantes.  They have a license to kill.  Be glad they are there; they have saved your life many times.  They are called natural killer cells.     PhysOrg reported on work going on at Howard Hughes […]

Language Is Not a Simple Genetic Matter

It sounds so simple.  The title on an article in PhysOrg announced, in Kipling Just-So Story Format, “How gorilla gestures point to evolution of human language.”  Because gorillas have an extensive repertoire of over 100 gestures, human conversation was only a matter of evolutionary time.  Is this mere storytelling, or do such explanations have scientific […]

Biology Now Includes Fluid Dynamic Construction

There’s an old legend that Tibetan monks built a wall by levitating heavy stones with sound by beating their drums and gongs.  Something not quite so fantastic but still amazing is done by cells in the embryo.  Scientists have filmed zebrafish embryos using beating cilia to build little stone structures that they use for balance. […]

Your Brain Decides Best Unconsciously

A report on Science Daily claims your subconscious brain makes the best decisions possible.  This is based on work by cognitive neuroscientists at the University of Rochester.  Alex Pouget believes the brain is hard-wired to make optimal decisions – when we are not consciously thinking about them. Pouget has been demonstrating for years that certain […]

Cilium Likened to GPS

A story on Science Daily says that the primary cilium, a protrusion on most human cells that looks like an antenna, acts like a GPS system.  They “orient cells to move in the right direction and at the speed needed to heal wounds, much like a Global Positioning System helps ships navigate to their destinations.” […]

That Spring in Your Step Is Semi-Automatic

Cross-country runners know the challenge of running on uneven terrain.  What they may not know is that they are executing one of the most difficult operations for robot designers: how to make an upright, walking machine make rapid decisions on irregular surfaces without falling.     Monica Daley of the Royal Veterinary College wrote about […]

How Floppy Feet Produced Marathoners

A picture of a muscle-bound furry gibbon adorns a story on Science Daily that claims, “Floppy-footed Gibbons Help Us Understand How Early Humans May Have Walked.”  The story describes how two European researchers photographed the footwork of wild gibbons to find connections to human evolution.  It turned out that gibbon footfalls are very different from […]

Far-Out Science

The following list of bizarre stories coming from science news outlets is jarring on two fronts: it shows how little scientists understand, and calls into question what counts as science these days.  Some stories illustrate one or the other; some both. Roar of the aurora aura:  Both Saturn and Mars turned up auroras that are […]

Defining Nature Produces a Dilemma

The evolution wars often revolve around the word “nature.”  Evolutionists insist that science must use natural instead of supernatural explanations.  It seems obvious that before arguing such issues, one must first define nature.  That is not easily done, wrote a scientist at the University of Bergen in a letter to Nature.1     Fern Wickson’s […]

Proving the Obvious

The well-known IgNobel Prizes are awarded each year for silly, useless research projects (see Improbable Research).  There seem to be a lot of contenders that may never win the prize, but get reported anyway.  One can only wonder why the reporters aren’t putting these on the funny pages: Well duh:  Science Daily reported that serial […]

Body’s Junk Is Useful Stuff

What’s the difference between junk and stuff?  The jokester replies that stuff is the junk you throw away, and junk is the stuff you keep.  When it comes to stuff in your body that scientists have called junk, you had better keep all of it, because your life may depend on it. Junk DNA:  The […]

Biological Complexity Continues to Astound

There’s more going on in your thinking apparatus than you think.  New scientific discoveries continue to unfold new layers of complexity and control.  Here are a few examples: Meta-code:  Your body has codes directing codes.  Geneticists were initially dismayed to find only 20,000 to 30,000 genes in the human genome.  “We were expecting that something […]
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