Life Science

Oliver Sacks has died

I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is…

Friday Cephalopod: Hairy & slimy

Allonautilus scrobiculatus is a rare species that can be distinguishes from the natty Nautilus pompilius by its hairy, slimy shell. That doesn’t seem like a distinction to be proud of, but I guess it takes all types to fill an ocean.

FrankenTrump

The Republican Party and its handlers, including the right wing talk radio jocks such as Rush Limbaugh, and the bought-and-paid-for media such as FOX news, did not create the Tea Party. Michele Bachmann and a few others did that.* But once the Tea Party got going, mainstream conservative Republicans, including and especially leaders in Congress,…

I am not a number

I endorse this article: 5 Ways That Science Supports Feminism – Not Gender Essentialism. It’s making the point that when you actually study the relevant sciences, you discover that they fundamentally support a more complex view of sexuality than the usual boy/girl dichotomy. Here, in brief, are the five points it makes: 1. There Are…

Macroevolution explained

If you’re reluctant to drop $80 on a copy of Zimmer/Emlen’s Evolution: Making Sense of Life, here’s a deal for you: the NCSE will let you download a chapter for free, the one on macroevolution (pdf). That’s a good choice. I run into a fair number of pro-science people who think the macroevolution/microevolution distinction is…

Global Day of Overshoot

August 13th was Earth Overshoot Day. The correct date, if calculated precisely, would come earlier and earlier each year, the current choice is just an approximation. This year, the year 2015, by sometime around August 13th, humanity had consumed as much of what we require from the lands and seas as our planet can sustainabley…

A kiss is not a kiss…

The authors of a new paper note that “one of the principal ways in which we interact using our faces is kissing.” This reminds me of an old National Lampoon joke on how the French were famous for inventing sex acts with the face. But I digress. This paper looks at neural imaging responses of…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: School’s in

Classes start Wednesday. I am not ready.

Hey, how about these article titles? Comet Impacts Really Could Have Been the Catalyst For Life on EarthComet Impacts May Have Produced The Building Blocks For Life On EarthWe Now Know For Sure How Life Began on Earth We’re getting this sudden flurry of articles touting the contribution of organic molecules from cometary sources to…

Those whales. Such jokers.

Here’s a scientist talking about the great difficulty of finding whales out on the open ocean. Wouldn’t you know it…? That’s excellent comedic timing. I hear they’re also big-hearted.