Respectful Insolence

Archives for April, 2007

I’m confused again about what appear to be mutually conflicting statements. The Discovery Institute’s favorite creationist neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Egnor two months ago on Pharyngula: Perhaps a fable (not a just-so story!) will illustrate. Imagine that you, P.Z., were a student in 1925. You would study Darwinism fairly intensively as a high school student, undergrad,…

Cyborg Pigeon Makes Debut in China

Chinese scientists have made a remote controlled pigeon. By planting micro electrodes in the pigeon’s brain, the scientists can make the bird fly up, down, left or right.“I’m looking for a boy named John Conner. Have you seen him?” Chief scientist Su Xuecheng explains, “”The implants stimulated different areas of the pigeon’s brain according to…

Pity poor Nikola Tesla. A sure sign of the most potent woo is when the woo-meister responsible claims to base it on the work of a great scientists, particularly a great scientist who’s been dead well over 60 years. Like Nikola Tesla. The deader the scientist is and the longer he or she’s been dead,…

Only in New Jersey

Remember Jim McGreevey, the former Governor of New Jersey, who resigned nearly three years ago in disgrace because of an adulterous homosexual affair, as well as his having tried to give his boy toy, Golan Cipel, a high-ranking state job for which he was utterly unqualified, namely Homeland Security Advisor? What do you think would…

Bear with us on this one…it might get a little complicated: Wasps from the genus Copidosoma lay two eggs into a host egg (for example a moth or butterfly egg). One of these two eggs is male and one is female. The male and female larvae then begin multiplying–much like single celled organisms–into a thousand…

Richard Dawkins will be interviewed by Bill O’Reilly on the O’Reilly Factor on Monday, April 23. Talk about walking into the lion’s den! I’m not sure this is such a good idea on Richard Dawkins’ part. The problem, of course, is that Bill O’Reilly blusters and yells and doesn’t let guests that he doesn’t like…

Time for a Change of Shift!

The latest Change of Shift, the blog carnival for nursing, has been posted at Blissful Entropy (cool blog name). Check it out!

A most disturbing video

Earlier this month, a “mercury mom” named Christine Heeren posted a most disturbing video to YouTube. Not long after, Kevin Leitch became aware of it and wrote about it, shortly after which the video was made a “private video” that only those given permission could view. Fortunately, Kevin had also downloaded the video and has…

A small pod of narwhals, Monodon MonocerosFor centuries, humans have speculated on narwhals’ bizarre horns, believing them to be everything from supernatural appendages to spear fishing weapons to tools for poking around on the ocean floor. In 2005 a team from Harvard and the National Institute of Standards and Technology put a horn under an…

Better late than never: Grand Rounds

The latest Grand Rounds was posted yesterday at Fat Doctor. Lots of great stuff, as usual.

I remain confused. Yes, I know that people who don’t like me very much or at least don’t like the message that I lay down here day in, day out, week in, week out probably aren’t surprised at this startling admission, but I don’t mean it in a general fashion (although no doubt those aforementioned…

The horror that consumed Virginia Tech on Monday produced an unexpected hero: Professor Liviu Librescu, who gave his life to save some of his students: In Monday morning’s lecture on solid mechanics, all was quiet except for the sound of Professor Liviu Librescu’s voice. Then came the gunshots — in the classroom next door. In…

Spider Monkeys Use Cologne

Researchers in Mexico have documented wild spider monkeys rubbing themselves with fragrant, chewed up leaves. Though the exact purpose of this behavior is yet to be proven, it appears as if the scents “may play a role int he context of social communication, possibly for signaling of social status or to increase sexual attractiveness,” according…

From fellow ScienceBlogger Abel, I’m made aware of an excellent post on the Health Care Renewal Blog about the financial reality of being an academic physician in a modern U.S. medical school. It’s an excellent overview of how medical schools view clinical faculty as, in essence, cash cows that have to bring in the cash…

PZ Myers has identified contemptible ghoul #1, Debbie Schlussel, who has decided that it must have been a Muslim terrorist who carried out the horrific school shooting today at Virginia Tech (and is now backing off as more information comes out, as she claims that students should have been allowed to have guns on campus).…

Crab spider preparing for take off, Misumenoides formosipes Humans have known for quite a while that some spiders engage in a kind of flying called “ballooning.” To balloon, spiders release a parachute-like web into the air (with themselves attached) and allow the wind to pick them up and deposit them in greener pastures. What humans…

…because he’s sure as heck doing his best to cause it damage with his latest antievolution “broadsides,” even to the point where it needs the loving ministrations of a neurosurgeon! His latest screeds produce in me a nearly irresistible urge to pound my head against the nearest hard surface to make the psychic pain stop.…

Granted, it is the print media, rather than the bubble-headed TV doctors that I railed against a couple of days ago, but even so I had a hard time believing this article in the Washington Post when it was forwarded to me. Compare: Washington Post article Part 1 and Part 2 of Early Detection of…

Heh. Although it’s apparently been making the rounds over the Internet, I had never seen this list before until Andrew over at Flavor Country posted A Dictionary for the 9/11 “Truth” Movement, which, if you’ve ever read the comment thread (223 comments!) after my one major foray into discussing the true idiocy that is the…

The age of unreason?

Prometheus makes the case that our current age of unreason can be largely attributed to the Baby Boomers. As someone who can be viewed either as a very young Baby Boomer or a very old GenX-er, I nonetheless heartily agree with his clarion call near the end of his analysis: Our society is growing more…

They sold their souls for rock and roll

It’s been a long time since I saw something like this. I remember back in the 1980′s, I saw an utterly hysterically funny series on a religious cable outlet about the evils of rock ‘n’ roll, complete with dire warnings about how rock ‘n’ roll was a one-way ticket straight to hell. Well, it turns…

Chimps Sharpen, Use Spears to Hunt

In February of this year Jill Pruetz, an anthropologist with Iowa State University, witnessed Kenyan chimpanzees break off branches from trees, sharpen them using their teeth, and then use these spears to hunt lesser bush babies, a kind of small primate. The bush babies sleep in the hollows of trees, and the chimps were repeatedly…

Having done a lot of trauma coverage in my time (although the last time I covered trauma call was nearly eight years ago), I have to admit that, when I first heard of the motor vehicle collision (I never call such crashes “accidents” because they rarely are) in which New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine was…

…and how! Who knew our intrepid mascot liked hockey so much? I wonder if he’s Canadian. Maybe so.

Believe it or not, it’s been almost nine months since, almost on a whim, I first started this little indulgence of mine known as Your Friday Dose of Woo, with some truly fine woo known as quantum homeopathy. Before you know it, we’ll be celebrating a full year of woo. (Yes, I know that woo…