Raising a Titanic Geological Plateau

The Colorado Plateau is a huge region covering parts of four states.  It’s over a mile higher than its surroundings, but its layers are remarkably flat.  How did this region, littered with marine fossils, rise into the sky?  Three American scientists writing in Nature last week believe they have a mechanism:1 it heated from underneath […]

How Old Is This Germ?

Rip Van Microbe has awakened after 120,000 years, said Live Science without batting an eye.  That’s strange; human observation only goes back 1/12 of that time max.  The bacterium came out of its suspended animation and grew as if nothing had happened.  “Such vigor is partially due to the microbe’s small size, the scientists speculate,” […]

Evolution As Catch-All Explanation

If you were taught a precise definition of neo-Darwinism in school, it doesn’t seem to matter to many evolutionists in the media.  In practice, the word “Evolution” seems to act as a catch-all category for explaining anything and everything – whether or not random mutation and natural selection were involved.  Some purpose and design can […]

Who Gets the Blame for This Oil Spill?

Who could forget the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, that leaked 10.8 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s pristine coastal waters?  That mistake cost Exxon a billion dollars in damages for the ecological disaster it caused and sparked one of the biggest cleanup operations in history.  Imagine 80 times as much.  That’s how much […]

Weekend Round-up

Here’s a backlog of assorted news stories worth noting before moving on to the big stories for the new month of May. PhysOrg, which makes the snake the hero of the story.  It wins by saying, “or: Snakes … may well have given bipedal hominins, already equipped with a non-human primate communication system, the evolutionary […]

Animal Protein Appears in Plant

Science Daily reported a “a first-of-its-kind discovery that overturns conventional wisdom” – an animal substance produced by a plant.  The white bird of paradise tree, a large plant that resembles a palm or banana plant (see picture), has bright orange flowers with a substance previously known only in animals.     Animals produce bilirubin from […]

Evidence for Evolution Found – Or Claimed

It seems that in this Darwin Bicentennial year, some reporters are overeager to find confirming evidence for Darwin’s theory.  Here are some recent reports where it is not clear the evidence presented would convince a skeptic. Survival of the weakest:  Add a new catch-phrase to Darwin’s arsenal: survival of the weakest.  Sure enough, Science Daily […]

The Nature of Nature’s “Darwin 200”

As could be expected for yesterday’s Darwin Day February 12, Nature devoted almost its entire 2/12/09 issue to Charles Darwin with at least 20 Darwin-related articles.  The caption for the special edition states, The latest edition of Nature to celebrate Darwin’s life and work looks at the human side of evolution.  We have features on […]

Darwin’s Wrong Turn in Argentina

When the Beagle was sailing the coast of Argentina in 1834, it stopped at the mouth of the Santa Cruz River.  25-year-old Charles Darwin, who had been reading Lyell’s Principles of Geology, got out and explored the area on foot as the crew made camp on the cliffs.  Darwin was impressed by the six-mile-wide canyon […]

Science Special Issue on Darwin: Is Ignorance Evidence?

It’s fair to confess that scientists cannot be expected to know everything.  Often, though, ignorance is presented as evidence that a paradigm needs to continue.  The idea is that by following the consensus paradigm, scientists can hope to one day fill in the blanks in our knowledge.  How long should this practice continue with a […]

Sci Am Jumpstarts Darwin Day

It’s not even Christmas or 2009 yet, but the cover stories on Darwin have started to hit newsstands.  Latest to feature a whole issue to Darwin is Scientific American.  Predictable themes are all there: Darwin was a genius, he was the greatest scientist in history, evolution is the keystone of all biology, and creationists are […]

Are Religious People Weird?

Some scientists treat religious people as a class.  They put them in a test tube, so to speak, to see how they react to a stimulus, then write up the results in scientific papers.  The implication seems to be that these fellow humans of theirs are some kind of odd lot. Reactionary:  The BBC News […]

Bible Was Right: Edom Thrived in Solomon’s Time

High-precision radiocarbon dates have confirmed that Biblical Edom was active with industrial-scale metal production in the 10th and 9th centuries.  Archaeologists publishing in PNAS said,1 “The methodologies applied to the historical IA archaeology of the Levant have implications for other parts of the world where sacred and historical texts interface with the material record.”  In […]

Sea: the Light

Some of the most abundant unicellular organisms in the ocean are diatoms.  Physicists are eagerly studying the optics of their pill-box-like shells, because they can manipulate light in surprising ways.  Imitation of diatom light tricks may lead to biosynthetic devices like improved drug delivery systems and solar cells, an article on the BBC News said. […]

Leaf Assumption Challenged: Affects Climate Modeling

A reasonable-sounding assumption has been overturned, leaving climate models in upheaval.  The assumption was that leaf temperature stays in equilibrium with air temperature.  It doesn’t.  Leaves are hotter than assumed during active periods of growth, such as at midday in the growing season.  They maintain a relatively constant temperature through their own biological air conditioning, […]
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