Pharyngula

Archives for April, 2010

3.5 ‘til Infinity

Couroupita guianensis There’s a reason this is also called the cannonball tree.

This is really hard to watch: it’s a young woman giving the benediction at the graduation ceremony at Midwestern State University, in Texas, and she’s so sucked up into her religious fervor that she starts shaking, I catch a hint of speaking in tongues, and finally ends up fainting on the stage. If it were…

Mississippi Misery

There are good people living in Mississippi, I just don’t know how they can bear it. At least this first story can’t be blamed on Mississippi. Fred Phelps is planning to picket Constance McMillen’s graduation. This will be very interesting … how will the town and her fellow students respond? Will they be cheering the…

This is an excellent review of a program that will be on tonight: Tonight on Frontline, “The Vaccine War” presents both sides of the controversy over whether young children should be vaccinated for diseases such as measles and polio, and in a rare display of TV-news common sense and independence, one side is shown to…

Ho hum. I’m getting lots of mail about this ridiculous story on WND and Fox claiming that Noah’s Ark has been discovered atop Mt Ararat. No, it hasn’t. This is yet another mob of incompetent evangelicals hiking all over a big hill in Turkey and credulously interpreting every rock formation and every chunk of wood…

You’re doing it wrong

In the Department of Unfortunate Analogies, here’s a Christian minister giving advice on one’s marital obligations: As I said, sometimes sex is just sex; it’s what you do when you are married. Just like cleaning the toilet is what you do to keep your house clean…and I bet you don’t have this great desire or…

Hawking’s aliens

It looks like there is a theme going around the science blogosphere, triggered by a few remarks from Stephen Hawking. Stephen Hawking says we should avoid any aliens—they’ll destroy us. Sean Carroll agrees, but think it’s highly unlikely. Phil Plait disagrees that aliens will destroy us, also thinks it is unlikely anyway, but also thinks…

Boobquake bombed

The results are in, and I’m sorry to say that women dressing provocatively caused no significant statistical difference in the frequency or magnitude of earthquakes. Geology is simply unimpressed by small localized fat concentrations on the short-lived bodies of mammals. I’m afraid, though, that the experiment didn’t test the alternative hypothesis: that there is a…

Everything old is new again

If you’ve ever invited me out to give a science talk, you know that what I generally talk about is this concept of deep homology: the discovery that features that we often consider the hallmarks of complex metazoan life often have at their core a network of genetic circuitry that was first pioneered in bacteria.…