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Monthly Archive: February 2008

Feb 28 2008

The Doomsday Vault

In the news this week, the “Doomsday Seed Vault” opened in a Norwegian island north of the Arctic Circle. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, deep within the permafrost inside a frozen mountain. It is far from any substantial human activity, cold enough to keep seeds frozen even if the power goes out, high enough to …

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Feb 26 2008

Ethics, morals, religion, and swarms of breeding squid.

Ok, not much time today–tests to make, papers to grade, that sort of thing. So I am simply putting a comment from last week on Pharyngula into some context. A recent Pew report on religion in the US was one of the lead stories on all the networks last night. On CBS, they spoke of …

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Feb 23 2008

The singularity can’t come soon enough

The New York Times reports on a journal article in Analytical Chemistry, by researchers at the NestlĂ© Research Center in Switzerland, about a machine designed to answer the question: “Can a machine taste coffee?” Here’s where it gets brilliant. Sure, machines can detect the volatile compounds in coffee; this is how we know that there …

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Feb 22 2008

Apple Of My Eye…

From Pharyngula, more of the fruit fetish argument from design (or is that argument from ignorance?). First the banana, then the orange, now the apple. Is no fruit safe? Women, hide your melons! Men, protect your kiwis! There are men out there (and it always seems to be men, doesn’t it) with designs on your …

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Feb 20 2008

Wonderful News! A Potential Cure For Diabetes!

A news release from Novocell todayReports a major step to find a cureFor diabetes. They have found a way,From embryonic stem cells, to make pureAnd uncontaminated strains, in mice,Of insulin-producing pancreas cells.For human diabetics, this is niceOf course, because this news potentially spellsThe end to constant testing and injections,Daily hassles, both the large and small,Relief …

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Feb 18 2008

Stop The Presses!

Randall tells me, as does “The Loom” over on science blogs, that there is a wonderful article about me in the New York Times! Ok, it’s not about me. It is, however, about some other cuttlefish–some at the Woods Hole lab, some in Australia, but all wonderful cuttlefish, the most remarkable quick-change artists in the …

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Feb 18 2008

A Global Monopoly!

I can’t believe it has been most of a month, and I only just found out about this! Monopoly–the board game–is going global, and is looking for your help to choose properties! Not streets this time, but cities. Just go here, and choose from 68 cities around the world, or nominate your own city if …

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Feb 17 2008

Science… through a New-Age filter

PZ Myers writes, in response to a cretinist who cannot wrap his cortex around the fact that we and oranges share a common ancestor, a post reviewing some of the evidence that shows just that. Of course, we do have to go back a bit to get to that common ancestor… 1.6 billion years or …

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Feb 13 2008

The Evolutionary Biology Valentine’s Day Poem

I suppose it is inevitable, on Valentine’s Day, that we will see scores of stories of “what love is”, citing one branch of science or another, or forgoing the science to bring out the poets. It always bothers me, though, to see some neurotransmitter named as the “cause” of this or that sensation, because it …

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Feb 13 2008

A Keane Observation

As reported on Pharyngula, the Danish cartoonists are once again the target of Muslim ire. Danish papers have reprinted the offending caricature in a show of solidarity with the cartoonists and an affirmation of freedom of speech. Why now? It seems a plot was uncovered to kill one of the cartoonists. That’s right–use your ink, …

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