Life Science

“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…

Flying Dinosaurs: How Fearsome Reptiles Became Birds by science writer John Pickrell is coming out in December. As you know I’ve written a lot about the bird-dinosaur thing (most recently, this: “Honey I Shrunk the Dinosaurs“) so of course this sounded very interesting to me. In a way, Pickrell’s book is a missing link, in…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Spongy

Researchers in Peru have discovered four new species of tiny so-called “glass frogs” (family: Centrolenidae). Centrolene charapita: with the yellow splotches on its back, this species was aptly named after little yellow chili peppers. Their hindlegs also had fleshy little zigzag-like protuberances whose purpose is unknown. Cochranella guayasamini: This species is mostly green with yellow encircling its…

Homosexuality and evolution

I made the mistake of reading some of the comments on those last youtube videos. There were some good ones, but they were also laced with the usual grunting assholes complaining about gays and “trannies” and quoting the Bible and making racist remarks about Africans. Let us pass over those contemptible arguments; there’s no dealing…

Paleogeneticist Dr. Johannes Krause (University of Tübingen, Germany) and colleagues were interested in the origin of tuberculosis (TB) in the Americas. Since strains of TB found in the Americas are related to strains found in Europe, prior theories held that Spaniards may have introduced it to the Americas while colonizing South America.  The problem with…

Saturday Morning Mushrooms

Mushroom picking again this morning, this time in the area between Lakelets Skinnmossen and Knipträsket. Found more velvet and birch boletes than we cared to pick. King bolete, Stensopp/Karl Johan, Boletus edulis Orange birch bolete, Tegelsopp, Leccinum versepelle Velvet bolete, Sandsopp, Suillus variegatus Chanterelle, Kantarell, Cantharellus cibarius Gypsy mushroom, Rynkad tofsskivling, Rozites caperata False saffron…

What an awful name for such a graceful animal.

Oh, dear

The context of this graph isn’t entirely clear, but it’s from Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra of UC Davis, and it’s from a poll of 800 first year students, so I presume it’s the results of a survey of their incoming class? Maybe one of the things we need to do as part of popularizing science to the…

The naked mole rat is the longest lived rodent species (>31 years). Unlike most mammals, they seem resistant to many age-associated ailments until much later in life, making them an exciting model of healthy aging. They are also resistant to the development of cancer as mentioned in this prior post. According to the CDC, cardiovascular…