Pharyngula

Archives for May, 2006

One of the most evocative creatures of the Cambrian is Anomalocaris, an arthropod with a pair of prominent, articulated appendages at the front of its head. Those things are called great appendages, and they were thought to be unique to certain groups of arthropods that are now extinct. A while back, I reported on a…

I’m going to introduce you to either a fascinating question or a throbbing headache in evolution, depending on how interested you are in peculiar details of arthropod anatomy (Mrs Tilton may have just perked up, but the rest of you may resume napping). The issue is tagmosis.

Alienated duck

This is an X-ray of a sick duck with something unusual in its gut. Aaaaah! It’s an alien! Or a demon! Or a run-of-the-mill instance of apophenia. The bird rescue center that discovered it is playing it up as an alien for PR purposes (hey, it’s California), but we know better, right?

Ask me a question!

The new “Ask a Science Blogger” question of the week is… “Since they’re funded by taxpayer dollars (through the NIH, NSF, and so on), should scientists have to justify their research agendas to the public, rather than just grant-making bodies? NO. No way. The public has no context in which to understand most research programs…

Friday Cephalopod: Mating swarm!

Octopus kaurna Figure from Cephalopods: A World Guide (amzn/b&n/abe/pwll), by Mark Norman.

Great stuff from Majikthise, Pandagon, and Shakespeare’s Sister on this fairly obvious paper (pdf) that argues that the rhythm method kills more embryos than contraceptives. It’s straightforward: by avoiding sex during the prime time for ovulation and fertilization, there’s a greater likelihood of fertilization occurring when the egg is past its sell-by date…it’s increasing the…

OK, Canadians, ‘fess up. I know you guys are so danged nice and polite…this is just an attempt to make your Southern neighbor feel less uniquely stupid, isn’t it? You put up some obliging Québécois Inuit Pentecostals to pretend to be as dumb as a Kansas preacher, didn’t you? “If the town complains and says…

Carnivalia, and an open thread

Read and discuss: I and the Bird #24 (illustrated!) Skeptics’ Circle #35 (hosted by a pseudo-Skeptico…or is it a pseudo-pseudo-Skeptico?) Carnival of the Liberals #13 Or talk about anything you want. The pope’s presence annihilates ice cream and tampons. Bill Frist really needs to take a shower before working in the Senate. What kind of…

Who?

Some guy has been nattering on for three years without delivering either the promised puppies or stories, and he thinks he deserves a roast? Notice how I am pointedly ignoring him.

Heaven is…

…the complete Calvin and Hobbes online. Hell is the fact that this looks like a violation of copyright and probably won’t be up for long. (via unfogged)