Armchair Musings

The Corpus Callosum

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The Jayco Tree

Botanical names drive me nuts, sometimes.  Every plant that is worth anything has many names.  The supposed gold standard, the (Latin) Linnaean taxonomical name, gets changed every so often.  So there is no constancy.  You’d think it would be easier to research something if it has an unusual name that you can use as a…

What Is Behavior?

Natalie Angier has another interesting article in the NYT.  In the article, she discusses the meaning of the word behavior.  Apparently, this all came from the realization that even standard works on the subject did not contain a “point-by-point definition.”  The realization came to Dan Levitis, a grad student in zoology at Berkeley.  Levitis happens…

Color of the Year: Mimosa

The Pantone color of the year for 2009 happens to be: PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa.  Something about this captured my attention. I was casually sipping from the Internet firehose when I encountered this tidbit of information.  Why, I wondered, would I even notice this.  Color matters not to me.  I’d be just as happy, perhaps more…

I’ve been trying to figure this out.  I don’t think I need to include any links to the evidence, because it’s all over the place.  Some people think there is a ridiculous amount of hysteria about H1N1/2009, others think people aren’t worried enough.   It is abundantly clear that nobody can predict the future; nobody…

Malthus Was Right

Well, maybe not Malthus, but Garrett Hardin and Paul Ehrlich — the 1960’s-era neomalthusian academicians — have been right on the money.  There are hard limits to growth, and those limits are upon us.  This is the contention of Charles A. S. Hall and John W. Day, Jr., two systems ecologists who have published a…

Michelle Obama’s White House garden has attracted some attention, as noted on La Vida Locavore: Did you hear the news?  The White House is planning to have an “organic” garden on the grounds to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for the Obama’s and their guests.  While a garden is a great idea, the thought of…

Dr. Richard Friedman, professor of psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, has an article in the New York Times.  In it, he claims that reforms in medical residency training may be leaving young doctors “a little more hesitant and uncertain than you might like.”  At first I was hesitant to write about it,…

Calling It What It Is

There you go again, Mr. George Will.  In case you’ve somehow missed the fray, George Will has posted two ( 2/15/2009, 2/29/09 2/27/2009 ) columns containing misinformation about climate change.  These have been debunked and otherwise criticized on ScienceBlogs and elsewhere.  It was refreshing to see a chorus of objections arising, not only from the…

Washington D.C. to Obama: Change Back!

This is a photo of an embarrassing misattribution.  It features a quote often misattributed to Charles Darwin:  It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change.  photo by Colin Purrington One peculiar irony of the 2008 Presidential campaign is that McCain’s theme…

The Rightful Place

Today I received an email from the hivemind, saying, in part: In his first speech as President-elect last November, Barack Obama reminded us of the promise of “a world connected by our own science and imagination.”  He recently stated, “promoting science isn’t just about providing resources–it’s about protecting free and open inquiry… It’s about listening…