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Introducing the Maple-Copter

Plants are not as stationary as one might think.  Parts of them, like seeds, can travel for miles.  One good example is the maple seed.  Its little helicopter seeds can catch an updraft and fly a long distance from the tree.  Now, engineers at University of Maryland have imitated its physics and designed a radio-controlled […]

Darwin Debate Strategy: Declare Victory

The easiest way to win a debate is to simply disallow your opponent, and then declare victory by forfeit.  Is that what supporters of Darwin are doing to their critics? The winner is: Darwin:  PhysOrg reported favorably on a book by Mano Singham (Case Western Reserve University) that declares victory against creationism and intelligent design: […]

Chemistry Nobel Celebrates Cell Complexity

A discovery rivalling the elucidation of the genetic code is the structure of the ribosome – the “molecular machine” that translates the DNA code into proteins.  Untangling the complexity of this multi-part system won three scientists the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (see BBC News).  The winners are Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas Steitz and Ada Yonath.   […]

How to Copy a Butterfly Wing

Here’s what you have to do to copy a butterfly wing without destroying it: create compounds using Germanium, Selenium and Stibium.  Combine thermal evaporation and substrate rotation in a low pressure chamber.  Immerse in an aqueous orthophosphoric acid solution to dissolve the chitin.  If you are lucky, you can copy the delicate nanostructure of a […]

Darwinists Party Hardy, But Crash ID Events

As the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species approaches in November, institutions are promoting Darwin in some bizarre ways.  When other events are held critical of Darwin’s ideas, though, the sponsors know to expect trouble and media distortion.     Last night, the new film Darwin’s Dilemma (review) was shown in the […]

Outer Limits Not Lively

One of the “cosmic coincidences” cited in the intelligent-design treatise The Privileged Planet1 is the “galactic habitable zone” – a fairly narrow region of the galaxy where planets can form and exist safely.  The outer regions of the galaxy were described as lacking the heavy elements necessary for planet formation.     Score one for […]

Nature’s Designs Are Engineers’ Finds

Nature is a treasure trove of technology.  Though engineers have garnered inspiration from nature since the Wright brothers and before, it seems that in recent years there has been a gold rush to follow nature’s lead. Wet glue:  Worms may not be very inspiring to most people, but Science News reported that scientists at the […]

Intelligent Design Found in DNA

Readers of this headline may say it is not news to say that intelligent design has been found in DNA.  Others may be ready for a fight on that issue.  But in this case, the design has been verified beyond any shadow of doubt.  The designers are not who you may be suspecting.  They are […]

Trio of Darwin Films Released

This month finds us two thirds of the way between Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of his Origin of Species.  Taking advantage of the extra attention Darwin is getting this year (as if he needed more), three films on his life and ideas are being released from three different companies. The Voyage that […]

I.D. Defeated by Triumphant Press Release

As if having withstood a terrorist attack, “Evolution [is] still scientifically stable,” announced a Monash university press release.  After a threat from a non-Darwinian explanation, “An international team of researchers, including Monash University biochemists, has discovered evidence at the molecular level in support of one of the key tenets of Darwin’s theory of evolution.”   […]

Earth Size Gives Life Edge

The earth seems to be holding onto its status as a privileged planet.  New Scientist reported that a rocky planet’s size is linked to its ability to sustain a magnetic field and plate tectonics.  This means that some of the “super-earths” found around other stars (5-10 times the size of earth) may not be habitable.  […]

Molecular Machines on Parade

Scientific papers continue to exhibit the exquisite mechanisms in the cell for handling all kinds of situations, through the operation of molecular machines.  Here are a few recent examples from this week’s issue of Nature (Sept 3, 2009). Molecular sieve:  What happens when a cell gets bloated?  Too much water entering a cell can increase […]

Your Throat Has Tasteful Antennae

Our airways are lined with cells that have beating oars called motile cilia.  Like galley slaves on a Roman ship, they beat in coordinated waves, setting up currents that propel dust and foreign matter out toward the mouth.  Scientists just found out another amazing capability of these motile cilia: they can “taste” toxic chemicals and […]

DNA Translator More Complicated Than Thought

One of the most remarkable molecular machines in your body, the ribosome, is coming to light, nanometer by nanometer, as scientists find new ways to peer into the inner workings of the “black box.”     Science Daily reported on work at Berkeley that has given the clearest imagery yet.  “Ribosomes, which number in the […]

Evolution 2.0: What’s in the Upgrade?

Consider Evolution 1.0.  That was the old biological, Darwinian stuff.  Now, there’s Evolution 2.0 – the evolution of technology.  W. Brian Arthur explained the upgrade package for New Scientist: “On the origin of technologies.”     Arthur is not the first to try to define a law of nature for the origin of technology.  He […]
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