Pharyngula

Archives for July, 2012

Brains and beaks

I’m always telling people you need to understand development to understand the evolution of form, because development is what evolution modifies to create change. For example, there are two processes most people have heard of. One is paedomorphosis, the retention of juvenile traits into adulthood — a small face and large cranium are features of…

I think she’s just got one thing on her mind. The insects crawling all over it add a creepy touch, though.

Europe is getting a wedgie

I’m glad someone at the New Humanist is catching on: that little bit of performance art at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, in which the creationists got their falsified myth inserted into the National Trust’s exhibits, is exactly how they operate. Every little advantage is pursued in order to falsify the existence of legitimate…

Swimming in the Cambrian

If you ever get a chance, spend some time looking at fish muscles in a microscope. Larval zebrafish are perfect; they’re transparent and you can trace all the fibers, so you can see everything. The body musculature of fish is most elegantly organized into repeating blocks of muscle along the length of the animal, each…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Nice view

(via NatGeo.)

No. One other event I participated in was a “debate” with an ancient alien theorist. It was very peculiar, as you might guess. The way this came about was that Scotty Roberts, the alien astronaut fan, proposed a session on his wacky speculations, and the conference organizers didn’t want such lunacy to sail through without…

Have they got a Higgs boson?

Sean Carroll live-blogged a seminar discussing the latest results, which meant he wrote down a heck of a lot of cryptic jargon I couldn’t understand at all. But here’s the bottom line: Personal editorializing by me: we’ve found the Higgs, or at least a Higgs. Still can’t be sure that it’s just the vanilla Standard…

OK, so you can’t make it to Convergence in Bloomington, Minnesota this weekend, because you live in some strange foreign backwater like the United Kingdom. I guess you could go to the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition instead, if you live somewhere out that way. It’s going on right now, 3-8 July. Oh, wait: they’ve…

No more mangled wee-wees!

Mano Singham has discovered a good analysis of the claim that circumcision has health benefits. I agree with it entirely, because I looked at those same papers and came to the same conclusion a year ago! So they must be right. The analysis points out a few new things I hadn’t noticed, in addition to…

CoE 49

The latest Carnival of Evolution is online at Mousetrap.