The Giants’ Shoulders # 8

“The Giants’ Shoulders” is a monthly science blogging event, in which authors are invited to submit posts on “classic” scientific papers. Information about the carnival can be found here.

The last Giants’ was hosted at The Questionable Authority, here. The next issue will be hosted at The Evilutionary Biologist: All Science, All The Time, which resided here.


Since this is Darwin Month in Darwin Year and almost, indeed, Darwin Day, we start with … Paleontology. We’ll get to Darwin at the end.

i-699049e2eb1f3d4be1a0e906782ecae3-protopterus.jpgEarly palaentologists and the Giant killer lungfish from Hell as well as the Revenge of the Giant Killer Lungfish from Hell, at Laelaps, serve as instructive historical arguments worth a read by any paleontologist, fishy or otherwise.

i-5a4982863bdc79e77874d3a2fa11c96f-422px-mary_somerville.jpgToday, “spooky” in physics means stuff that happens at the smallest scales with photons and other subatomic bits and pieces. But back in the 18th and 19th centuries, simple electricity and magnetism was sufficiently spooky to keep everyone busy. Skullsinthestars writes about the complex history of discovery of the connection between the two, revealing a complex plot involving Faraday, Morichini, Somerville and the rest of them: A physics history-mystery: magnetism from light? Also from Skulls we have “Do optics like Darwin’s Dad!” The same author also has an historical look at the role of Evolution in pulp fiction, here.

We’re coming up on the golden anniversary of some very important experiments that were milestones in confirming relativity and were enabled by a breakthrough in nuclear physics, the Mossbauer effect. Mossbauer’s discovery (published in 1958) of the Mossbauer effect … Read about this in Testing Einstein at Swans on Tea.

The Aetosaur Paper That Changed Everything
is very interesting foray into nineteenth century (and later) palaeontology, implicating everyone from Agassiz to Cope to B.J. Small, posted at Chinleana.

i-cd2a0ba74e7b9c1b48a0d02354a2ed6d-cropped-wednesday-one.jpgNinja Cats are a recent phenomenon, but the question of the moon’s influence on human behavior has a long history. PodBlack Cat explores this literature: Ninja Kittens Don’t Steal The Moon – Crime Rates And Lunar Phase Research

An excellent post on how the heck alloys work, which in turn is based on models developed during the pre-WWII days, is posted at Materialia Indica: Classics in Materials Science: The Bragg-Williams model of order-disorder transformations.

John J. McKay has produced a tour de force series of blog posts on the history of everything, tied together with the theme of a mysterious specter haunting Europe and Asia from the late seventeenth century onward. “Some said it was a monster that lived underground; others said it lived in the water. No one had seen it alive. It was said to die on exposure to sunlight or air. All, however, agreed that it was an enormous beast–bigger than anything known–and that it had teeth (or horns) longer than a man. The natives called it ….” Click here to find out. And here, here, here, and here. Oh, and here. This is really great stuff. It should be a book!

It seems that almost every important thread of biological research eventually runs through the world of birds at some point or another. Grrrrrrrrrrrl Scientist speaks to this in particular with regards to species radiations in her post: Meet the Great Speciators: The White-Eyes

A book review for you: Tides of History by Michael S. Reidy at The Dispersal of Darwin Blog. … “I received this book from the publisher last year, so I am now finally able to put up my review. But I also had to read it for my current graduate class on historical writing, taught by Michael Reidy (my advisor and the author of the book!).” What luck!

i-7c75b079e52f4f1eafeeb093889cbdd0-Francis_Bacon.jpgEverybody hates Francis Bacon. Srsly. Chris Mooney covers this, so far, in Part I and Part II of a post of the same name.

Ah, now on to Darwin. We start with Larry Moran, who claims to not really be a Darwinist, Re-reading the Origin of Species. Then we move on to yours truly, re-reading the Voyage of the Beagle.

Then we have Mike Dunford, on Darwin, Experimentalist.

A Primate of Modern Aspect blog discusses Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Human Evolution

This just in from SciCurious: Friday Weird Science: Of Testicles and Cocks

Comments

  1. #1 Science Avenger
    February 15, 2009

    Egads, typo from hell:

    “The last Giants’ was hosed at The questionable Authority”

    Just the imagery I needed this morning.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    February 15, 2009

    got it already…

  3. #3 Epicanis
    February 15, 2009

    That link to the carnival says today’s post is going up tomorrow!

    (Which is why my post isn’t up yet – I’m still writing it.)

  4. #4 scicurious
    February 16, 2009

    That’s for including it, Greg! I’m sorry I was so late to the party!

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    February 16, 2009

    Epicanis: My understanding is that SOG goes up on the 15th of each month … anyway, send me your link when it is ready and I’ll put it in there. Especially if it is on beer.