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Category archives for Science

Learn a little developmental biology

This is a cool video from a textbook publisher (Molecular Biology of the Cell, a very good text) illustrating how Spemann/Mangold’s famous organizer experiment was done. Also cool: those are apparently Edward De Robertis’ hands doing the experiment.

The argument from eyelid development

This is a new one for me. Earlier today I was summoned on Twitter to address an assertion by a creationist, @jarrydtrokis. I was slightly boggled. He was baffled by eyelid development. It seems he thinks it requires…intelligent design!. … Here’s one for you to ponder Eye lids in the womb… How are they formed?…

Science makes you good! (Sometimes.)

You’ve probably heard this explanation for the virtue of religion: that even if god doesn’t exist, belief in god (or some other monitoring authority) makes people behave more morally. There have been many experiments that have actually shown that people are nicer or more generous when exposed to religious concepts, such as this one by…

My students are also blogging here: My undergrad encounters Developmental Biology Miles’ Devo Blog Tavis Grorud’s Blog for Developmental Biology Thang’s Blog Heidi’s blog for Developmental Biology Chelsae blog Stacy’s Strange World of Developmental Biology Thoughts of Developmental Biology Biology~ A good portion of what I’ve been teaching so far uses Drosophila as a model…

We are the WEIRD

Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic, that is. One of the common complaints about evolutionary psychology is that it claims to be addressing evolved human universals, but when you look at the data sets, they are almost always drawn from the same tiny pool of outliers, Western undergraduate students enrolled in psychology programs, and excessively…

Philosophers are still grumbling about Lawrence Krauss, who openly dissed philosophy (word to the philosophers reading this: he recanted, so you can put down the thumbscrews and hot irons for now). This is one of those areas where I’m very much a middle-of-the-road person: I am not a philosopher, at least I’m definitely not as…

What I taught today: maternal effect genes

My students are also blogging here: My undergrad encounters Developmental Biology Miles’ Devo Blog Tavis Grorud’s Blog for Developmental Biology Thang’s Blog Heidi’s blog for Developmental Biology Chelsae blog Stacy’s Strange World of Developmental Biology Thoughts of Developmental Biology Biology~ You know I teach the 8am courses every term, right? Every semester for years I…

What I taught today: Nuffin’!

Nothing at all! I gave the students an exam instead! While I got a plane and left ice-bound Morris to fly to Fort Lauderdale, Florida! Bwahahahahahaha! Sometimes it is so good to be the professor. And if ever you wonder why my students hate me with a seething hot anger, it’s because I’m such an…

Mother’s Curse

It’s a harsh world for us men. Oh, sure, we’ve got all the political and economic power, and we’ve got most of the guns, but step into a senior citizens’ center and you’ll notice the preponderance of elderly women. Men die younger, on average. I’m also acutely aware of the growing disparity as we get…

Give that fish a hand!

I have a bit of a peeve with a common analogy for the human genome: that it is the blueprint of the body, and that we can find a mapping of genes to details of our morphological organization. It’s annoying because even respectable institutions, like the National Human Genome Research Institute, use it as a…