Stranger Fruit

Archives for January, 2006

And at #46 we have … Bruce Chapman

Not for the easily offended – so PZ will enjoy it ! – is the BEAST Most Loathsome People in America 2005. And who do we see at #46? Why, none other than Bruce Chapman of the DI! 46. Bruce Chapman Charges: Founder of the misnamed “Discovery Institute.” Despite its pioneering title, Chapman’s organization seeks…

Twenty years tomorrow

On January 28th 1986, the shuttle Challenger broke up 73 seconds into its tenth mission. Here James Oberg demolishes seven myths about the Challenger tragedy – including the idea that millions of people saw the “explosion” (and the reason for quotes will become obvious if you read the article) live on television. I was a…

Surprising numbers from Britain

My experience of Europe in the 1980’s was that creationism was a particularly American phenomenon – and frankly, I still think it is. However, the following poll from the UK gives one pause for thought: Over 2000 participants were asked what best described their view of the origin and development of life: 22% – creationism…

Philip Skell – whom I’ve dealt with before – is once again shilling for the Discovery Institute. Witness: “I am writing — as a member of the National Academy of Sciences — to voice my strong support for the idea that students should be able to study scientific criticisms of the evidence for modern evolutionary…

Swordtail and Retail

Over at Pharyngula PZ has a nice post on sexual selection in Swordtails (Xiphophorus helleri). By a strange coincidence, I bought a couple of male neon swordtails yesterday for my tank and was reminded why the staff in many pet stores know nothing about their stock. Male swordtails have an elongated caudal fin – hence…

Welcome boingboingers

Scienceblogs got a mention on BoingBoing – which if you don’t know, is well worth checking out daily – and I’m seeing a spike in visits from that site. So, welcome one and all!

Brayton on Buttars

Over at Dispatches, Ed makes two interesting points about the Buttars bill I mention below. Firstly, the bill is in danger of being destroyed should it be challenged in court as the religious intent expressed by its supporters would clearly fail the Lemon test. Secondly, We don’t allow people to practice in many fields without…

I’m back and Utah is going backwards

Things have been quiet here – primarily because it was the first week of the semester and everything that entails. But it’s over now and hopefully I can get back to blogging. While I was away, Buttars’ bill in Utah apparently advanced on to the next stage of Senate consideration. Buttars states “I’ve never advocated…

Detecting Natural Selection

Over at Evolgen, RPM has posted the seventh installment of his series on detecting natural selection, a piece on nucleotide polymorphism and selection. As always, it is worth checking out. For those that missed the earlier pieces, here is RPM’s summary with links: The introduction can be found here. The first post described the organization…

Cambrian beasties

Last night’s talk on the Cambrian explosion went really well – managed to nicely weave a narrative of fossils, genetic analysis, and evo-devo over the two hours (questions were spread throughout the talk). Over at Pharyngula, PZ has linked to some nice scanning electron micrographs of Cambrian arthropods. Check ‘em out, they’re quite cool.