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The Fruit Fly in the Flight Simulator

The simplest things can be the most extraordinary.  If you like finding amazing wonders in everyday things, you’ll be fascinated to read about the common fly in the cover story of Caltech’s magazine E&S (Engineering and Science).1  Michael Dickinson, a zoologist turned engineer, has described his Caltech team’s work trying to reverse-engineer the flight systems […]

Adaptive Radiation: A Darwinian Mechanism Inherits the Wind

Another Darwinian assumption needs to be re-examined.  Adaptive radiation, the belief that a species isolated on an island will diverge into many species, has been hit by a hurricane.     Calsbeek and Smith, writing in the Dec. 4 issue of Nature1, studied lizards on the Bahamas after Hurricane Floyd devastated the islands.  “Islands are […]

Crystals Envision Crusty Earth

Reuters reported that “Tiny zircon crystals dug up from ancient Australian deposits appear to have been formed right after the birth of the planet – a finding that suggests that early on, Earth had a cool crust much like today’s that could have harbored life, scientists said on Thursday.” (see MSNBC News).  This interpretation comes […]

National Geographic Calls Noah’s Ark Search a Stunt

National Geographic News has taken the announcement that McGivern’s team failed to get a permit to search Mt. Ararat (see 04/26/2004 headline) as an opportunity to question all searches and the historicity of Noah’s flood.  They questioned the character and motives of the search team and its guide, and quoted a historian who called the […]

How Did Blue Stars Get So Close to a Black Hole?

Every solution breeds new problems, Murphy’s Law suggests.  Astronomers working with the Hubble Space Telescope feel that pain.  While finding confirming evidence for a supermassive black hole at the center of the Andromeda Galaxy M31, they are perplexed to see a disk of hot blue stars orbiting it too close for comfort.  Estimated to be […]

More Details of Photosynthesis Coming to Light

Photosynthesis, the light-harvesting capability of plants, was a black box 30 years ago, but more and more details have been elucidated by advanced probing techniques.  In the March 18 issue of Nature,1, a team of Chinese scientists determined the X-ray structure of a principal component acts like a light-harvesting antenna.  The structure utilizes special molecules […]

Who Laid a Fossil Egg?

51; The news media are all excited that a pterosaur fossil has been found with an egg – a very rare association.  To the media, like the BBC News, this can only mean one thing: the pterosaur was a female, and now they can differentiate female and male pterosaur fossils.  They affectionately named the fossil, […]

Some Exoplanets May Be Exostars

A brown dwarf was measured with more precision, and was found to be more massive than expected.  Robert Roy Britt in Space.com says this may call into question some of the discoveries of bodies orbiting other stars that were assumed to be planets.  I. Neill Reid,1 writing in Nature where the measurement was announced,2 explained […]
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