Sexual Selection Up To Date: A Taste for the Beautiful

A Taste for the Beautiful: The Evolution of Attraction is a popular science book written by an actual expert on the field, addressing the ways in which the world of animals is shaped by sexual selection.

One of Darwin’s major contributions to the panoply of theoretical and observational work we call “evolution” was to recognize, describe, and model sexual selection. Continue reading Sexual Selection Up To Date: A Taste for the Beautiful

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Candidate Rebecca Otto Lauded By Moms Demand Action

On the day of yet another school shooting (in Maryland), we have some serious issues to think about.

Every four years in Minnesota, we elected a new gubernor. We’re doing that right now.

This is an especially important race, for four reasons. Continue reading Candidate Rebecca Otto Lauded By Moms Demand Action

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California Flood Worst Case Scenario (hypothetical yet real) UPDATED

Regarding the real storm hitting California right now, 30,000 are being urged to evacuate. There is more informaiton about that storm down at the bottom of the post.

Meanwhile, on the hypothetical worst case scenario for flooding in California…

If an ARkStorm were to come to the US West Coast, this is what the flooding in California could look like: Continue reading California Flood Worst Case Scenario (hypothetical yet real) UPDATED

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Cambridge Analytica Uncovered: Secret filming reveals election tricks

The short documentary everyone is talking about:

An undercover investigation by Channel 4 News reveals how Cambridge Analytica secretly campaigns in elections across the world. Bosses were filmed talking about using bribes, ex-spies, fake IDs and sex workers.

Continue reading Cambridge Analytica Uncovered: Secret filming reveals election tricks

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Darwin Quotes, Assembled

From Janet Browne, the author of Charles Darwin: A Biography, Vol. 1 – Voyaging and other works about Charles Dawin, The Quotable Darwin.

Quotes by Charles Darwin are not just the stuff of memes. Even the fake quotes. They can be the center of long arguments, or at least, they can significantly augment the arguments. For example, did you know that while Darwin never used the term “missing link” he did talk about missing links quite a bit, missing links are central to his thinking about evolution, and all those writers of today who claim that we must never speak of missing links are misguided? Continue reading Darwin Quotes, Assembled

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Code Breaking, Cryptography, Decoder Ring, Python

I’m putting a lot of things together here all at once.

This started out with a review of Cracking Codes with Python: An Introduction to Building and Breaking Ciphers. This is a book to help you learn middle level to more advanced Python, and at the same time, learn about codes, ciphers, and cryptography. The examples in the book tend to be classic examples, so this is a bit more like learning the history of encoding technologies and practices, and using Python as a way to play around with this interesting material. Continue reading Code Breaking, Cryptography, Decoder Ring, Python

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Kepler Space Ship Death Imminent

The Kepler Space Ship, is this, via NASA:

The centuries-old quest for other worlds like our Earth has been rejuvenated by the intense excitement and popular interest surrounding the discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting other stars. There is now clear evidence for substantial numbers of three types of exoplanets; gas giants, hot-super-Earths in short period orbits, and ice giants. The challenge now is to find terrestrial planets (i.e., those one half to twice the size of the Earth), especially those in the habitable zone of their stars where liquid water might exist on the surface of the planet.

The Kepler Mission, NASA Discovery mission #10, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets.

I heard something rather mind blowing about the hunt for planets elsewhere, and I’ve not followed up on it. Apparently, every single one of the one thousand or so plantery systems that have been found follow a similar pattern, except for our. The large planets (like Jupiter) are close to the sun, the smaller Earth-like planets are farther out, beyond the Goldilocks Zone. In other words, rather than the plethora of planetary systems signaling a high probability of life elsewhere, it may in fact turn out that the Earth-like scenario is very rare.

The Drake Equation now looks like this, if true: Continue reading Kepler Space Ship Death Imminent

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