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Morphogenesis: Evolution of Form Solved?

The body plans of organisms are hard to account for in linear strands of DNA.  How do you get a backbone, vertebrae, and ribs out of a chain of nucleotides?  Recognizing the mystery of morphogenesis (the origin of form), the director of the Synthetic Life Lab in New York, Stuart Pivar, has published an “Innovative […]

Mere Biochemistry: Cell Division Involves Thousands of Complex, Interacting Parts

In biochemistry, the stem -mere means “part” (as in centromere, telomere) and -some means “body” (as in chromosome, ribosome).  Biochemists are learning that these cell organelles are not -mere bit parts, but -some fit bodies. Telomeres and chromosomes:  PhysOrg reported that the chemical “caps” on the end of chromosomes, called telomeres, have a special code […]

Piston Engine Joins Rotary Engine in Cells

The rotary engine ATP synthase has been discussed frequently in these pages (e.g., 12/22/2003, 08/10/2004, 08/04/2010) as an exquisite “molecular machine” that produces the cell’s energy pellets (ATP) with a rotary, turbine-like mechanism.  Now, a piston-driven engine has been found at work in every cell’s energy factory.     ATP synthase operates at the end […]

World’s Top Chemists Can’t Match a Plant

There’s a race on: a race to get cheap energy from the sun.  “The design and improvement of solar cells is one of the most vibrant areas of science,” said the BBC News, “in part because sunlight is far and away the planet’s most abundant renewable energy source.”  Two recent articles show that top labs […]

Flying Fish Tested in Wind Tunnel: Match Bird Flight

Sometimes engineers investigate things biologists take for granted.  Flying fish have been observed by countless sailors and cruise passengers, and have been described by life scientists.  It took an engineer, however, to investigate these “unexpected fliers” in a wind tunnel.  Surprisingly, though many have speculated about these creatures, “detailed measurement of wing performance associated with […]

Clever Animals Amaze and Inspire

The living world is an endless source of wonder and inspiration.  There’s an octopus that does a convincing imitation of a flatfish (Science Daily, Live Science), and a red crab species that emerges from its lethargic life around Christmas and migrates miles to the sea by the millions (PhysOrg).  There’s a tiny frog that can […]

Intelligent Design as Entertainment

It’s been around a few months now, but OK Go’s music video of their song “This Too Shall Pass” featured an elaborate Rube Goldberg set.  What many viewers may not know about the backstory of the production is that several JPL rocket scientists helped design and operate the contraptions that filled a good-size warehouse.   […]

Specialized Molecules Make Cells Work

Reports continue to show that vital cell processes depend on finely-tuned proteins and RNA molecules.  Most of the papers that discuss these specialized molecules fail to mention how they might have evolved, as shown in three papers in the recent issue of Science. Walker with muscle:  A paper by Kaya and Higuchi from the University […]

God Forbid: Public School Field Trips to a Creation Zoo?

Is it legal?  Can a public school take kids to a creation zoo?  Environment reporter Michael Marshall at New Scientist just about had a fit when he heard that “A UK zoo that pushes a creationist message has been approved as a destination for school trips by the government.”  That could never happen in America, […]

Fine-Tuning Found in Life’s Rotary Engine

The universal energy currency in living things is ATP.  To produce the vast quantities of this molecule required by life 24 x 7, cells employ banks of rotary engines called ATP Synthase, which we have reported on previously in these pages many times.  ATP synthase has become somewhat of a mascot of intelligent design, because […]

Best Face-on-Mars Photo Looks Dead

Conspiracy theorists will probably have little to say now that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken the clearest photo yet of the alleged “Face on Mars” in Cydonia.  For the before and after photos, see PhysOrg.  The new photo is clearly an eroded, rocky mesa – that’s all, folks. Use this as a teachable moment.  […]

Nature’s Designs Excite Inventors

The imitation of nature – biomimetics – is one of the hottest areas in science these days.  Recent reports tell about research teams racing to move natural designs to market, and there’s no end in sight. Pack it green:  Got parcels?  Don’t use styrofoam peanuts and bubble wraps; that’s so 2009.  Why manufacture plastic and […]

Electricity Forms Your Heart

Did you know your heart is an electrical appliance?  That’s right.  Currents of electrical ions are vital to its function as a contractile organ.  Now, researchers at the University of California have found another thing electricity does for your heart: it guides the developing heart into the proper shape.  This is a key study showing […]

Spinning Webs of Belief: Accounting for George Price

It’s instructive to take a story and compare how evolutionists and creationists report it.  A recent example can be found in the story of George Price: an ex-atheist scientist who, as a creationist, contributed original ideas to evolutionary theory.  How did reviewers from both sides of the origins aisle characterize his creationist beliefs?     […]

Darwin Caught Out of Bounds

What business does Darwin have in quantum mechanics or engineering?  Wasn’t his a theory on the origin of species – that is, plants, animals and living things?  Some scientists seem intent on extrapolating his views to all of reality, including areas commonly thought to be in the domain of intelligent design.  Let’s get physical:  An […]
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