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Category Archive: Science

Jul 23 2014

Botanical Wednesday: Cruel bird

This bird, over many generations, has warped the poor Centropogon‘s flower into that bizarre curve.

Jul 23 2014

They don’t understand allometry!

eq

I think the engineers are just trying to wind me up, again. Joe Felsenstein tackles a paper published in an applied physics journal that redefines evolution and tries to claim that changes in aircraft design are a good model for evolution. It’s a terrible premise, but also, the execution is awful. But permit me a …

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Jul 22 2014

Those sneaky forms of academic bias…

It’s Tuesday…that must mean it’s “Let’s point out flaws in the academic system!” day. Here’s another example: some investigators did a study of the value of screening cancer patients for distress — they asked whether such screening actually contributed to patient’s feelings of well-being and willingness to follow medical recommendations, and whether it was cost-effective. …

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Jul 22 2014

Biology is a hard problem

New genetic disorders pop up all the time — each one represents a child who may face incredible challenges, or even be doomed to death. A child named Bertrand exhibited some serious symptoms — profound developmental disabilities — shortly after he was born, and no one could figure out what was wrong with him. So …

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Jul 21 2014

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Cruel flower

HHMI

This flower, over many generations, has warped the poor buff-tail sicklebilled hummingbird’s beak into that bizarre curve.

Jul 21 2014

The dose makes the poison

Princeton physicist William Happer is still getting invited on television to say stupid things. I keep hearing about the "pollutant CO2," or about "poisoning the atmosphere" with CO2, or about minimizing our "carbon footprint." This brings to mind another Orwellian pronouncement that is worth pondering: "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." …

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Jul 19 2014

I’m willing to pay good money for honest tales of beauty and despair

Chris Clarke has published a short excerpt from his upcoming Joshua tree book. It’s good. It promises great things to come. It’s also mildly sorrowful, but then, that’s what you’re going to get with good environmental journalism. There’s also a deal where you can sign up for weekly stories on the desert, in return for …

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Jul 18 2014

Shermer rides again!

Jesus. He’s written a climatological ‘Dear Muslima’ for Scientific American, defending Bjorn Lomborg. It feeds directly into a common Republican trope: ‘sure, climate change occurs, and maybe humans contribute to it, but it’s just too costly do what is necessary’. He lists a bunch of problems, and then does a “cost-benefit analysis”. The ranking is …

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Jul 18 2014

Friday Cephalopod: You don’t need knees to be mobile

I’m suddenly seeing more to admire in the beautiful octopus.

Jul 17 2014

Quote-mined by Casey Luskin!

Once again, Casey Luskin demonstrates that he’s a biological ignoramus. He is much buoyed by a science report that chloroquinone resistance in the malaria parasite requires two mutations, claims that Michael Behe has been vindicated because that’s exactly what he said, and demands an apology from all of Behe’s critics. Will Ken Miller, Jerry Coyne, …

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