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Archives for January, 2010

Gotta Make ‘Em All!

Charmanders and Squirtles are fascinating creatures–but being fictional, they place pretty low on the relevancy scale. Still, kids of all ages are obsessed with Pokémon, and David Ng on The World’s Fair wants to turn that admiration toward real creatures so that we might better learn and care about the lifeforms on our planet. The…

Disaster in Haiti

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti yesterday, and while the devastation is readily apparent, the human toll is not yet known. Chris Rowan details the tectonics on the event on Highly Allochtonous, explaining that the epicenter’s proximity to Port-au-Prince means the capital “endured the maximum possible shaking intensity from an earthquake of this size.” Rowan…

Anything But Social Darwinism

On The Primate Diaries, Eric Michael Johnson deconstructs “social Darwinism” in order to “raise some questions about the usefulness of [the term] and the way it has been applied.” The concept has little to do with Charles Darwin, but it has often been misapplied to his idea of natural selection. Instead, social Darwinism springs from…

Resolutions are one thing, but change doesn’t happen overnight. If you find yourself not living up to your goals, don’t put them off for another year; regardless of the date on the calendar, every day is a chance to get something right. There is a growing buzz here on ScienceBlogs about health and fitness, and…

High in the Sky

It’s Friday, time to kick back and let ScienceBlogs do your homework for you. On Cognitive Daily, Dave Munger wonders how outfielders are so good at running to the right spot to catch a fly ball—are they calculating trajectories in their heads, or making optical deductions? To answer this question, researchers put virtual reality helmets…

Playing Nice on the ‘Net

ScienceOnline 2010 will take place January 15-17, and ScienceBloggers Janet Stemwedel and Dr. Isis will co-lead a session on “online civility.” Janet sparks the discussion on Adventures in Ethics and Science, asking if civility online entails something different than it does in real life. On Bioephemera, Jessica Palmer responds that an “us/them mentality” already fosters…

Assessing Avatar

ScienceBloggers liked Avatar, but that hasn’t stopped them from picking the science apart from the science fiction. On The Scientific Indian, Selva wonders how communication between the humans and their avatars could take place inside the “vortex,” when all other kinds of transmission are disrupted. PZ Myers on Pharyngula lauds the detailed flora and fauna…

On the first day of Christmas, one might gift his or her true love with a certain bird in a certain fruit tree…unless one’s true love is geology. On Highly Allocthonous, Chris Rowan runs down a seasonal list of twelve geologic features, forms, and phenomena that interest him more than drummers drumming or lords a-leaping,…

Here We Go Again!

With the new year hot out of the gates, ScienceBlogs wishes everyone a wonderful 2010. Dr. Isis on On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess shares a study with us waistline watchers, comparing two approaches to calorie reduction. One group of overweight individuals consumed 25% fewer calories while the other group ate only 12.5% less…

Galileo, Knowledge and Power

Galileo transformed Western knowledge, but the Catholic Church vehemently opposed his “heretical” heliocentric observations. Inspired by author Thomas Dixon, ScienceBloggers debate whether the Church’s beef with Galileo was motivated by political power or by the competing principles of science and religion. On EvolutionBlog, Jason Rosenhouse writes that while the conflict was “played out in the…