Pharyngula

PZ Myers

Locusts

Everyone I know is raving about this short, speculative video about the future of space exploration. Wanderers – a short film by Erik Wernquist from Erik Wernquist on Vimeo. I’m not so enthused; I even find the words of Carl Sagan troubling. It’s lovely and all, but…

The Lancet done screwed up

Chelsea Polis and Kathryn Curtis wrote a paper that asked whether hormonal contraceptives affected your likelihood of being infected with HIV, Use of hormonal contraceptives and HIV acquisition in women: a systematic review of the epidemiological evidence. Here’s the abstract: Whether or not the use of hormonal contraception affects risk of HIV acquisition is an…

Have you called her lately? Look at this mother octopus, clinging to a deep-sea cliff, hanging over the abyss, guarding her clutch of eggs.

The two faces of JE Brandenburg

Brandenburg is a physicist who submitted a paper to the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference a few years ago. It’s way outside my area of expertise, but it postulated an interesting scenario from the ratios of rare isotopes in the atmosphere of Mars: that there was evidence of a natural nuclear reactor, like Oklo…

May they rise to glory again!

Every university is broken

But the University of Hawaii at Mānoa looks to be more broken than others. Christie Wilcox writes about the budget cuts there: the place is being gouged to the bone — the College of Natural Sciences has a cohort of graduate students to whom they are failing to live up to their responsibilities (the university…

A specular conundrum

Every year in my intro biology course, I try to do one discussion of bioethics. One lecture is not much, but this is a course where we try to introduce students to the history and philosophy of science, and I think it’s an important issue, so I try to squeeze in a little bit. So…

When did insects evolve?

Just consult the chart. Be sure to click on the image to see it at a better resolution! This is from a paper that looked at the molecular phylogenies, and worked out estimated branch times. I like it. I want it on my wall. Insects are the most speciose group of animals, but the phylogenetic…

Quackery in my back yard!

Oh, great. Orac just has to tell me that the University of Minnesota is going to host an anti-vaccine conference on 24 January. First, let me say this, though: they get to do that. Presumably they’ve rented out (or possibly obtained student or faculty sponsorship) Cowles Auditorium at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and…