Pharyngula

Archives for October, 2015

Did they have to make it so pretty?

The NY Times has put together a lovely illustrated story about data collection on Greenland. The story is prettily terrifying, though. The ice is melting, and forming lakes of liquid water on the surface of the ice cap, which then drains away in fast-running rivers that cut deeper into the ice and then drain into…

TONMOCON VI (#tcon6) is on youtube

The whole dang conference is available in one giant 8 hour video, and here it is. That’s kind of indigestibly huge, so I’ve been going at it in small pieces. I started with Gabrielle Winters at about 5 hours in, with Cephalopod Neurogenomics: Insights into the Evolution of Complex Brains, just because that’s what I’m…

What is Intelligent Design Creationism?

Larry Moran discusses some apologetics from Jonathan McLatchie, in which McLatchie briefly argues for intelligent design. I think the fact that it’s in the context of Christian apologetics already gives away the store, but at least he gives a succinct definition of intelligent design: The study of patterns in nature which bear the hallmarks of…

There’s an interesting conversation in the New York Times: a neuroscientist, Kenneth D. Miller, argues that brain uploading ain’t gonna happen. I agree with him, only in part because of the argument from complexity he gives. Much of the current hope of reconstructing a functioning brain rests on connectomics: the ambition to construct a complete…

Another children’s science book

We need more of these, and here’s another: Great Adaptations: A Fantastical Collection of Science Poems. It contains short rhyming summaries of scientists’ work on adaptations, all nicely illustrated. Here’s one from Sarah Hrdy’s work on empathy and cooperation. Doesn’t that make you want to run out and buy it right now? How much would…

Friday Cephalopod: Octopus in disguise

Also, what’s Brian Switek doing, writing about cephalopods? He’s supposed to be writing about dinosaurs ! But first impressions can be deceiving. In truth, as I later learned from Klug, the paper nautilus is not a close relative of today’s pearly nautilus, nor is it an echo of the long-lost ammonoids. The creature that had…

A Marxist perspective on cancer

Sadly, a young man in England has been diagnosed with stage IV cancer — and he really is an atheist in a metaphorical foxhole, and it hasn’t changed his opinion of religion. Between now and last Wednesday I’ve worried about various things, but one thought that stands out is religion. Before I go into more…