Life Science

Until now I thought I had come up with enough reasons to dislike mosquitoes, those tiny little blood sucking vectors of disease. With reports of the debilitating mosquito-borne virus chikungunya in the Americas (Carribean), I was ecstatic hear that researchers are working hard to find ways to control mosquito populations. As mentioned in a previous…

Penguins: The Ultimate Guide

There is a new book out on Penguins: Penguins: The Ultimate Guide written and edited by Tui De Roy, Mark Jones, and Julie Cornthwaite. It is a beautiful coffee table style book full of information. All of the world’s species are covered (amazingly there are only 18 of them) and there are more than 400…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Thrippy

You’ve just got to love the word “thrip”.

It turns out that coffee is special

But you knew that already. The Coffea canephora Genome has been sequenced. This is probably more important than the Human Genome project because humans are completely useless first thing in the morning, but coffee is very important first thing in the morning. Some important plant evolution involves wholesale duplication of large parts of the genome.…

Titanic Fearless Dinosaur Unearthed

I’m sure you’ve heard. The most complete skeleton of a titanosaur, a newly named species, Dreadnoughtus schrani, is being reported from Argentina. It is not a bird. I mention that because we’ve been talking about how birds are dinosaurs lately (see:”Honey, I shrunk the dinosaurs” and “Flying Dinosaurs: A new book on the dinosaur bird…

That’s my hypothesis, and I’m sticking to it. My obnoxious, curmudgeonly ways must be an adaptation, selected by evolution over many generations to optimize my mating opportunities by forcing stupid people to flee from my presence.

With the help of advice from a manicurist, Dr. Kate Mansfeld (University of Central Florida) has come up with a way to track hatchling sea turtles for the first time. After hatching, the turtles head straight for the ocean where they grow for about 10 years or so before returning to the same beach where…

JBS Haldane is said to have responded to a question about how evolution could be disproved by saying, “A Precambrian rabbit”. What was meant by this, of course, is any substantial discovery that greatly disrupted the evidence for the chronological pattern of descent observed in Earth’s life. That pattern of descent is one of the…

“Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.” -Thomas Jefferson If you could magically make the world a better place, what is it that you’d get rid of? The list is long, and the path there is uncertain. Yet if we…