Category Archive: evolution

Mar 16 2014

That’s not a Tree of Life–THIS is a tree of life.


Neil deGrasse Tyson, on Cosmos, brings up the “Tree of Life” metaphor. I like mine better. Artist: Mike McRae

Feb 12 2014

Happy Darwin Day!

I am A) exhausted from a long day, and B) sick as a dog. Or maybe two dogs. I can’t breathe, I can’t think, I can’t … something. But it’s Darwin Day today, to I get to link to two earlier bits, both of which deserve it. One is a song addressed to Darwin himself, …

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Feb 07 2014

Genesis II (Or III, or IV, or…)

A puddle full of chemicals Was baking in the sun When some combined a different way And new life was begun It replicated, once or twice Till now there were a bunch— They chanced on an amoeba, though, Which ate them all for lunch. Some inorganic molecules Embedded in some clay Began a new reaction, …

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Jan 05 2014

Because. Just Because.

The American Dialect Society, which does this sort of thing, has voted that the 2013 Word of the Year is “Because”. Because reasons: Presiding at the Jan. 3 voting session were ADS Executive Secretary Allan Metcalf of MacMurray College, and Ben Zimmer, chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society and executive …

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Sep 16 2013

Resistant Strains

The nasty microscopic bugs We try to fight with special drugs Consider penicillin just a problem to be solved We dose ourselves at every cough And kill a large percentage off Forgetting that survivors mean the critters have evolved And now, the CDC explains, We’re dealing with resistant strains And every day that passes brings …

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May 24 2013

Poisoned Baits Drive Cockroach Evolution

Evolution is cleverer than you are. Orgel’s Second Rule A little bit of tempting treat That smells and tastes so glucose-sweet Is what a cockroach loves to eat And so it will, perhaps. But human beings, as of late, Present the bugs a different fate By sweetening the poisoned bait They’re using in their traps …

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Apr 13 2013

A Thousand Words: Pensive


Reading Taslima’s recent posts, here and here, I was taken aback, just a bit. I mean, I really don’t think we need to look to our closest relatives to see common ancestry. I took this picture a few years ago, and I can’t look at it without thinking he or she is my cousin. (Mind …

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Feb 12 2013

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin!

In honor of his birthday today (sorry, Abe Lincoln, I don’t have one for you): On the newsstand at the stationThere it was, a publicationWith a bold prevaricationWhere it asked “Was Darwin Wrong?”Darwin stands among the giantsOf our modern view of scienceSo, in answer and defianceI’m replying in this song: Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin, take …

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Oct 19 2011

20/20 Hindsight (or, The Basis Of Objective Morality)

Cos it’s coming up on that time of the semester. Another one for my students. The non-religious viewpoint—that a moral sense evolves— Raises up some thorny questions, while some others it resolves The thing about selection that can give a fellow blindsight Is that all success and failure is revealed to us in hindsight. Predicting …

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Sep 26 2011

The Most Amazing Thing

If you take a look around while you’re out walking Just to catalog the things you chance to see From the beetle at your footstep to the pigeon overhead To the bracket fungus high up in a tree You will notice the abundances of nature It’s astonishing, of course, because it’s true And the most …

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