The Loom

Archives for January, 2004

No SARS in Georgia

Charles Darwin had no great hope of witnessing natural selection at work in his own time. He assumed that it would operate as slowly and imperceptibly as the water that eroded cliffs and canyons. He would have been delighted to discover that he was actually wrong on this count. By the mid-1900s, scientists were running…

Midtown and Downtown

If you’re in New York, you’ve got two chances on Tuesday January 27 to hear me talk about Soul Made Flesh. At 5:30 I’ll be giving a talk in the "Mind Over Body" lecture series at New York Public Library’s Science and Industry Branch at 188 Madison Ave. I’ll then be heading to the East…

Beyond the Cycle

Last week I wrote a post about some new research that suggests that global warming could trigger large-scale extinctions in the next few decades. In particular, I dissected some of the objections that were leveled at the study, pointing out how irrelevant they are to the actual science at hand. Some people who posted comments…

Advances in Deception

If you’d like an example of the latest rhetorical tricks being used by antievolutionists, you can’t do better than this press release issued today from the Discovery Institute. The Minnesota legistlature has to choose between two drafts of state science standards written by a committee. A minority of the committee wrote the second draft, which…

Sometimes when you take a look at life on Earth, it seems like evolution might be able to produce anything you could ever imagine. Can a mammal become so adapted to swimming in the ocean that it never comes back on dry land? Check. Can a squid evolve eyes as big as dinner plates? Check.…

Today’s Lunch Special

At noon today in New York I’ll be at the Makor Center of the 92nd St. Y at 35 W. 67 St. to talk about Soul Made Flesh.

The Howler Test

If you’ve ever been to a Central American forest, you’ve probably heard the hoots and wails of a howler monkey. But these creatures deserve our attention for more than their howls. They turn out to tell us a lot about the evolution of our own senses. We and some of our close primate relatives are…

Orchid Hacks

The emotions that other species summon up in the human brain are perplexing. A lion inspires awe and respect. It is the king of the jungle, a great name for a football team, a noble guardian of the entrance to the New York Public Library. A tapeworm, on the other hand, summons disgust mixed with…

A Notice to Subscribers

Based on some feedback from subscribers and my own nosing around, I’ve decided to switch the subscription system to Bloglet. While this requires you to create a user name over at bloglet.com, the result of this minor chore seems better to me. The main attraction is that links and such don’t turn into ugly, unreadable…

Never Mind That Boiling Kettle…

Last week I briefly mentioned some stark estimates about the potential extinctions that could be triggered by global warming. Since then, some global warming skeptics have tried to pour cold water on these results by making some dubious claims about natural selection and extinctions. While I have reported about global warming from time to time,…