biology

Category archives for biology

“All the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think. The trouble is that men very often resort to all sorts of devices in order not to think, because thinking is such hard work.”  -Thomas J. Watson You’ll frequently hear people say, “the science is settled.” Scientifically speaking,…

What is Color? (Synopsis)

“You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.” -Alan Alda Alan Alda recently challenged scientists to explain this simple question to 11-year-olds in less than 300 words. Could you do it?…

“If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens… Where Is Everybody?” -Stephen Webb If stars, planets, and biological processes are so common in the Universe, then where is everyone? Here on Earth, we take for granted how easy it was for life to form. Our world has been around for some four-and-a-half billion years, and the oldest…

Ask Ethan #21: Why does life exist?

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” -Robert Frost Well, here we are, at the end of the week, and you know what that means: another Ask Ethan column! This week, I’ve been asked about the same thing by many different people, so I’ll credit it to Patrick E. and…

Ask Ethan #17: The Burden of Proof

“Never waste your time trying to explain who you are to people who are committed to misunderstanding you.” -Dream Hampton Perhaps no word in the English language generates as much misunderstanding as the word theory. In scientific circles, this word has a very specific meaning that’s different from everyday use, and — as a theoretical…

“Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war that we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living.” -Omar N. Bradley Nuclear physics is one of the most daunting, emotionally charged phrases in all of science. You can hardly say the words without the image…

Weekend Diversion: The Physics of Flamingos

“Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? And he’s carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and also he’s carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet. And also, you’re drunk.” -Jack Handy The diversity of the world’s animals is one of the most…

Scientific Paradoxes are Omens of Advance

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” -Charles Darwin There are problems with science today, no doubt. With all the knowledge we’ve accumulated about the Universe, from…

“Next to reasoning, the greatest handicap to the optimum development of Man lies in the fact that this planet is just barely habitable. Its minimum temperatures are too low, and its maximum temperatures too high. Its day is not long enough, and its night is too long… These factors encourage depression, fear, war, and lack…

“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” -Robert Frost Middle school — or junior high, which we called it when I went — should really be classified as a form of child abuse. I recognize that it isn’t as bad for everyone as it was for…