Life Science

In case you’re wondering how anything could be this gaudy and survive, it couples the color to a nasty toxin saturating its flesh. “Eat me and die,” it’s saying.

Here’s another twist on the problematic trend to hire more temporary/part-time/adjunct faculty at universities. It’s a disgraceful abuse of skilled academics and good teachers — would you believe that some schools hire adjuncts to teach four courses a semester (a brutal load, let me tell you) and pay them $16,000 per year? Who would be…

Snails to the rescue!

Here I thought snails were just cute little creatures that liked to dine in my vegetable garden. You can imagine my surprise to learn there are also carnivorous snails….with venom. New research shows that conotoxin, isolated from cone snail venom, can numb pain. Conotoxin is also reportedly 100 times more potent than morphine at treating…

Tracking Arctic Sea Ice

A few days ago I made a prediction for this year’s minimum Arctic Sea Ice extent. That’s still valid. Or not. Either way, it’s still my prediction. But looking at the ice over the last few days, we see that for the first time in a while the extent of ice estimated by the NSICD…

I told you that the Discovery Institute really hates Cosmos. On Sunday night, Jay Richards, Master of Divinity, Master of Theology, Ph.D. in philosophy and theology, former instructor in apoletics at Biola, Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute, watched the show and occasionally curled his lip in disdain on Twitter. It was very amusing, and…

Coyne and Moran On Teaching ID

Jerry Coyne liked yesterday’s post about teaching ID. I do just want to clarify one point, though. Coyne writes: Jason has a good point. And that point is that although it’s illegal (as well as dereliction of duty) to teach intelligent design creationism in public schools and universities, it is okay to criticize it, for…

All the biologists out there know about the heath hen: it’s probably the number one most common example of a recent extinction discussed in considerable detail, because it illustrates so well that extinction is a product of so many factors, from habitat loss to inbreeding to predation to competition to climate shifts to you name…

Cosmos Reboot, Episode 2

This week’s Cosmos was all about the evolution of life, and was viewed by millions of people outside of Oklahoma, where they presumably got an hour-long local news promo, or analysis of the Oklahoma State’s chances in the NCAA Tournament. As such, it was a bit outside my area of expertise, but that never stopped…

Only mammals express RAGE

RAGE stands for “receptor for advanced glycation end-products”, also known as “AGER”, and new research shows that it first appeared in mammals (Sessa et al., 2014). Despite the name, the receptor also binds other signaling molecules such as HMGB1, S100 proteins, beta-amyloid, phosphatidylserine, among others (Xie et al., 2013). RAGE is reportedly involved in diabetes,…

This adorable baby gorilla was born through emergency c-section at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a procedure that is not commonly performed in animals. She weighed in at 4.6 pounds. Her mother went into labor Wednesday morning but showed no progress by evening, necessitating the c-section. The baby gorilla remains in intensive care after…