Greg Laden's Blog

Archives for February, 2008

Creationism, Stupidity, Linked

According to a poll this week, approximately 31 percent of surveyed Americans believe Roger Clemens is telling the truth about never taking performance-enhancing drugs. This is about the same percentage of Americans who believe in creationism, and still insist George Bush is doing a good job. And here’s my theory: These are all the same…

That is the title of the First Place science fair project from a baptist science fair. The description of the project: Cassidy Turnbull (grade five) presented her uncle, Steve. She also showed photographs of monkeys and invited fairgoers to note the differences between her uncle and the monkeys. She tried to feed her uncle bananas,…

The Origin of the Chicken

Where and when were chickens domesticated? From whence the humble chicken? Gallus gallus is a domesticated chicken-like bird (thus, the name “chicken”) that originates in southeast Asia. Ever since Darwin we’ve known that the chicken originated in southeast Asia, although the exact details of which one or more of several possible jungle fowls is the…

Two Cell Level Animations

are here: HIV infection at Wissen schafft Kommunikatioin Other cellular stuff (an oldie but a goodie) at WeiterGen!

Ricin

At this moment, there is a guy laid up in the hospital in Vegas with ricin poisoning. A stash of ricin has been found in his hotel room/apartment. His dog is dead (not sure why but probably due to lack of water and food) and a couple of other pets are either dead or not…

When the Maya sang the blues …

… it was time to skip town. I’m going to Mayaland in a few weeks. I know nothing about Mayan archaeology, even though I attended graduate school at one of the world’s premier locals for the study of Mesoamerican archaeology. Since I was working towards a double PhD (in Biological Anthropology and Archaeology) I was…

Historical records indicate that 130 years ago, the white-tailed jack rabbit was abundant in the Yellowstone vicinity. The last confirmed sighting was in 1991. What happened? This apparently remains a mystery, according to Rabbit Expert Joel Berger.

SARS comes from bats

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is caused by a coronavirus that is now believed to have originated in bats. In 2004, thousands of palm civets (a cat like carnivore) were killed off in China because it was believed that they were the main reservoir of this disease. Ooops.

Are emerging diseases emerging more?

Or is it just that they are more often recognized. Or more sensationally reported. A recent study suggests that “emerging” diseases such as HIV, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), West Nile virus and Ebola are more common.

Why are the bats dying?

Thousands of sick and dying bats are being found in caves in New York, Vermont and Massachusetts. These are mostly Myotis lucifungus (the fairly common little brown bat) but at least three other species, including the endangered Myotis sodalis (Indiana bat) are affected as well. But why?