Life Science

Quran apologists are ridiculous

Yet again, another defender of Islam hangs the truth of his holy book on the scientific accuracy of the text. It’s amazing how defensive these fundies get over the possibility that the author was merely transmitting the guesswork of the time, and like any scientific hypothesis, stands a risk of being shown to be wrong…

Puppy Bowl XI

I am pretty excited about Puppy Bowl XI tomorrow afternoon on Animal Planet! So cute! (3pm) Team Ruff vs Team Fluff http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/puppy-bowl/about-this-show/about-puppy-bowl/

Cephalopod meeting!

Unfortunately, this event is not on my calendar: the Cephalopod International Advisory Council (CIAC) is meeting 8-14 November in Hakodate, Japan, to discuss recent advances in cephalopod science (pdf). It looks delightful. I’ve always wanted to visit Japan. But alas, all I can do is tell you you should go.

How would you feel if NOAA sent a camera to snoop around your most intimate moments, huh?

Bio Databases 2015

Something interesting happened in 2014. The total number of databases that Nucleic Acids Research (NAR) tracks dropped by three databases! What happened?  Did people quit making databases?  No.  This year, the “dead” databases (links no longer valid) outnumber the new ones. To celebrate Digital World Biology’s release of Molecule World I’ll discuss some of the new structure databases…

We’re hiring! If you have skill in teaching, and want to hone those skills at a school with a reputation for excellence in teaching, apply! Full-Time One-Year Position in Biology University of Minnesota, Morris The University of Minnesota, Morris seeks an individual committed to excellence in undergraduate education, to fill a full-time, one-year, possibly renewable,…

Dan Graur has suggested some changes to the classification of DNA. It’s one more pile of terminology to keep straight, but the distinctions are conceptually useful — I particularly appreciate literal vs. indifferent DNA as subdivisions of functional DNA. The pronouncements of the ENCODE Project Consortium regarding “junk DNA” exposed the need for an evolutionary…

A new early human fossil has been reported, recovered from the seabed near Taiwan. We are calling it Penghu 1. Simply put, it is the lower right jaw of a hominid (hominine) that most resembles either a form of Homo erectus or Archaic Homo sapiens (kin to, but not, Neanderthal). Teeth are fairly useful for…

An unexpected find and very exciting moment for researchers exploring what lies beneath 740 meters of ice in Antarctica…fish! An amazing find given the perpetual darkness and cold. In an expedition sponsored by the National Science Foundation, scientists and ice drillers bored a hole through the Ross Ice Shelf near the coast of Antarctica, 850…