An innovative NASA would be nice

NASA has put out a call for novel ideas in space exploration, which I think is an excellent way to do science. More creativity! But this feels like they’re just pandering to me (I know, they’re not): building robotic squid to explore the oceans of Europa? What’s not to love about that idea?

Oliver Sacks has died

I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is…

Friday Cephalopod: Hairy & slimy

Allonautilus scrobiculatus is a rare species that can be distinguishes from the natty Nautilus pompilius by its hairy, slimy shell. That doesn’t seem like a distinction to be proud of, but I guess it takes all types to fill an ocean.

I am not a number

I endorse this article: 5 Ways That Science Supports Feminism – Not Gender Essentialism. It’s making the point that when you actually study the relevant sciences, you discover that they fundamentally support a more complex view of sexuality than the usual boy/girl dichotomy. Here, in brief, are the five points it makes: 1. There Are…

Macroevolution explained

If you’re reluctant to drop $80 on a copy of Zimmer/Emlen’s Evolution: Making Sense of Life, here’s a deal for you: the NCSE will let you download a chapter for free, the one on macroevolution (pdf). That’s a good choice. I run into a fair number of pro-science people who think the macroevolution/microevolution distinction is…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: School’s in

Classes start Wednesday. I am not ready.

Hey, how about these article titles? Comet Impacts Really Could Have Been the Catalyst For Life on EarthComet Impacts May Have Produced The Building Blocks For Life On EarthWe Now Know For Sure How Life Began on Earth We’re getting this sudden flurry of articles touting the contribution of organic molecules from cometary sources to…

Those whales. Such jokers.

Here’s a scientist talking about the great difficulty of finding whales out on the open ocean. Wouldn’t you know it…? That’s excellent comedic timing. I hear they’re also big-hearted.

Evolution & cooperation

I’m still traveling! I’ll be heading to the airport shortly to fly back to Minnesota, so until I get back you’ll just have to listen to my talk at Gateway to Reason earlier this month.

Friday Cephalopod: When in Seattle…

One must acknowledge the Giant Pacific Octopus.