Life Science

Friday Cephalopod: It’s a montage!

The physics of dogs drinking water

I have to be honest. I have always wondered whether my dog actually got any water in his mouth. It always seemed to me that the majority of water ends up on my floor. High speed video collected and analyzed by a team of researchers from Virginia Tech (Sean Gart, Jake Socha and Sunghwan Jung)…

He keeps saying the same ol’ debunked crap over and over again, and nowadays when a paper comes out that shows he was completely wrong about something, he spins it into a triumphant vindication for his sycophantic fans, who are all, apparently, abysmally innumerate. The hobby horse he’s been riding for the past few years…

Granted this is not comparative physiology, I thought this study was really interesting. Research has shown that exposure of developing embryos to caffeine in utero can alter the expression of genes in the heart leading to changes in how the heart develops and functions in adult animals. New research from the University of Florida published in…

The fungal tea tastes vile, and not for the first time he considers dumping it on the last of the morning’s fire. It does seem to be helping the pain in his gut, though, as the medicine man said it would, so he gulps the last of it with a grimace. Around him the younger…

Temperature and sex determination

Some interesting new research. The paper is, unfortunately, behind a paywall but they made a video, so it is worth posting. Here’s the press release for the paper: Scientists know that temperature determines sex in certain reptiles—alligators, lizards, turtles, and possibly dinosaurs. In many turtles, warm temperatures during incubation create females. Cold temperatures, males. But…

She kneels on the dirt and watches the elder study the rocks she brought. Five fist-sized chunks of red stone, laboriously hacked from an outcrop. Half a day walking there and back, and half a day pounding rocks against rocks to yield this offering. The elder’s hands are stained the same red as the stone,…

Not True Enough to Be Good?

On Pharyngula, PZ Myers criticizes a stirring new short film imagining humanity’s presence on the far-flung worlds of our solar system. PZ writes, “There’s nothing in those exotic landscapes as lovely and rich as mossy and majestic cedars of the Olympic Peninsula, or the rocky sea stacks of the nearby coast.” So let’s not get…

Why, oh why, do EP’s defenders rely on throwing up armies of straw men to slaughter? It’s silly. Here’s how he starts: There are some science-friendly folk (including atheists) who simply dismiss the entire field of evolutionary psychology in humans, saying that its theoretical foundations are weak or nonexistent. I’ve always replied that that claim…