Stranger Fruit

Archives for July, 2008

A party animal

This is a pen-tailed tree shrew, Ptilocercus lowii, a Malaysian critter that weighs only 47g but can drink the pound-for-pound equivalent of nine glasses of wine without any ill-effect when it sups on the alcoholic nectar of the bertam palm. While there are other species that drink the nectar – the slow loris, Nycticebus coucang,…

Monday Mustelid #23

Your Monday Mustelid is the Patagonian weasel, Lyncodon patagonicus (de Blainville 1842). Unfortunately, I can’t find a picture of the little blighter anywhere. Instead, here’s a picture of a Eurasian badger (Meles meles) cub …

(This review appeared in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology in 2005) As human beings, we like to tell stories–we are story-telling apes. As scientists, however, we tend not to see ourselves as telling stories for, we are led to believe, stories are mere fiction. Yet when faced with answering the question of why or…

(A review from Journal of the History of Biology 2004) In the years following the publication of Origin of Species, George Romanes developed his theory of physiological selection in which he posited that “physiological peculiarities” lead to hybrid sterility between individuals and thus isolation which would allow natural selection to “promote diversity of character, and…

(Another book review, this time from 2002 and the Journal of the History of Biology. Both books are still in print and worth reading) The simplicity (and adversarial nature) of the phrase "science versus religion" belies the diversity of ways in which these two fields of knowledge can, and do, interact. Thanks to the work…

The stupid, it burns.

The ever anonymous “PhysioProf” has managed to slander the whole medical profession.  Orac, Mark Hoofnagle, and PalMD (who actually know something about medicine) rightly call shennanigans. As Mark notes: In medicine, we take attitudes like this towards students and doctors seriously, and the only reason PP gets away with this crap is because he abuses…

Another book list

There’s another one of those book lists circulating – a list of 100 works of which it is claimed that the average American has read only six. Whether that is true or not (and Chad doesn’t believe it), the list contains the usual mixed bag of works. Below the fold is the list; bolded works…

(Another review that was published a few years back, in this case in Isis in 2001. Alter’s book is still in print and still worth reading.) Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was written in a vivid style and, as such, is frequently studied as much as literature as scientific text. Particularly notable is Darwin’s use…

On the Origin of Species

Wordle for Darwin’s Origin of Species. [Clickie for biggie.]

On Steve Fuller

Over at Crooked Timber they are discussing a review of Steve Fuller’s latest expectoration Dissent Over Descent: Intelligent Design’s Challenge to Darwinism. As the review notes: The book is an epoch-hopping parade of straw men, incompetent reasoning and outright gibberish, as when evolution is argued to share with astrology a commitment to "action at a…