VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

Another Attempt to Explain Life’s Handedness

Life uses only single-handed (homochiral) molecules for proteins and DNA.  How that came about when mixtures of life’s building blocks contain equal amounts of both hands is a puzzle that confounds origin-of-life research.  Science Daily reported on new studies at the Argonne National Laboratory that show that molecules in space on a magnetic substrate exposed […]

Ganymede Age Threatened by Magnetism

The biggest moon in the solar system is Ganymede, the third large moon out from Jupiter.  Larger than Mercury, Ganymede has a heterogeneous surface of dark and light areas (picture), grooved terrain, abrupt changes of landforms, and bright splashes where impacts have scarred its icy surface (gallery).  What goes on inside, though, is more surprising: […]

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 […]

Serving Up Life on the Rocks with a Twist

We’ve heard theories life arose in a primeval soup, around hot deep-sea vents, around volcanoes and other hot spots; why would anyone consider the origin of life in ice?  A scientist in Spain has suggested life may have started in ice.  The title to the Science Daily write-up finds this to be the ultimate divination: […]

Snails Walk on Water

Why is that scientist staring at a snail?  He’s watching a miracle: walking on water.  This is not our exaggeration: Matt Kaplan on National Geographic News entitled his article, “How Snails Walk on Water Is a Small Miracle.”  If we can figure out the trick, we might be able to make little robots do it […]

Science Cannot Validate Itself

Science is an unbiased, objective, disciplined, cooperative method for progressively uncovering truth about the natural world.  That’s the way most of us were taught to think about it in school.  Further reflection, however, produces a host of questions rarely discussed in science class.  How does science differ from other unbiased, objective, disciplined, cooperative methods of […]

SETI Could Find Design in Neutrinos

Most of the scientists involved in SETI research are very antagonistic to Intelligent Design.  Nevertheless, they find the design inference perfectly “natural” when looking for ways to comb through natural phenomena for intelligently-designed signals.     Two new methods for detecting alien messages were reported by Science News in the Oct. 11 issue.1  Both involve […]

Living Better Bioelectrically

Electric eels are inspiring a new generation of fuel cells.  Science Daily reported that a remarkable fusion of engineering and biology may lead to tiny electronic devices that run on biology’s own energy currency, ATP.  “Engineers long have known that great ideas can be lifted from Mother Nature, but a new paper by researchers at […]

Modeling Just-So Stories for Earth History

Models are only simulations of reality.  In science, they have a long history of simplifying complex physical phenomena in an attempt to understand them.  Many times, empirical evidence can correct a model.  The model then becomes a more accurate simulation, and can even provide additional insights and make predictions.  Can modeling work for the unobservable, […]

Angry Atheists Arrogate Authority in Science

Can science contribute to religious studies?  Only to destroy it, think some atheistic scientists.  “In reality, the only contribution that science can make to the ideas of religion is atheism,” announced Matthew Cobb and Jerry Coyne in a letter to Nature.1     Cobb and Coyne were taking issue with Nature’s editorial July 17 about […]

Early Magnetic Galaxies Surprise Astronomers

Astronomers reported in Nature that early galaxies have normal magnetic fields.1  That is surprising because magnetic fields were supposed to start small and strengthen over billions of years.     The team tried to be careful to distinguish intervening magnetic signatures from those in quasars.  Their measurements indicated that “organized fields of surprisingly high strengths […]

Saturn Rings: F is for Flamboyant

The Cassini spacecraft just started its extended mission on July 1.  Among its many achievements during the four-year prime mission (2004-2008) was the elucidation of complex processes occurring in Saturn’s rings.  One ring in particular, the thin outlying F-ring, attracted particular interest.  Voyager scientists from the early 1980s could hardly believe their eyes when separate […]

Cosmology at the Outer Limits

Those who think cosmology could not get any weirder than it already is (01/15/2008) may want to take note of recent pronouncements by the gurus of universal physics.  Physics teachers in particular may feel an obligation to state Bob Berman’s disclaimer (10/06/2004) before class: viz, “Warning: The following contains contemporary cosmology.  Reading it can produce […]

Hopes Die for Enceladus Longevity

Ever since Enceladus, the little 300-mile-across moon of Saturn was found in 2005 to be erupting out its south pole, scientists have tried to explain how it could be possible.  They have looked high and low for an energy source to power the geysers of the little moon dubbed “Cold Faithful” for billions of years.  […]

Divining the CMB

What do you see in this pattern?  Look very closely.  The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is a faint glow of electromagnetic radiation that pervades the universe.  What it means is a matter of intense and sometimes bizarre speculation by cosmologists.     The spectrum of the CMB matches almost perfectly that of an ideal radiator, […]
All Posts by Date