Daily Archives: November 19, 2007

Too Strange to Blog

The Pandas are getting smart. Have a look at the film Corpus Callosum smuggled out of somewhere…Scientists in Utah make transsexual wormsI always thought worms were hermaphrodites (both male and female) but the story, as usual, turns out to be a bit more complex. From Discovering Biology in a Digital World.Researchers Create Robot Driven by Moth’s Brain

Researchers Create Robot Driven by Moth’s Brain from PhysOrg.com
In a notion taken from science fiction afficionados, University of Arizona researchers presented a robot that moves by using the brain impulses of a moth at the 37th annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.[]

Androids have an attitude (from Geekology)Turns out it’s the Canadians behind it this time…Don’t Yawn Big or you can Die!

Huge yawn locks jaw, chokes man from PhysOrg.com
A British man was rushed to the hospital after his monster yawn locked his jaw, blocking his ability to breathe or swallow.[]

Jesus goes to India from The Guardian

Hollywood is to fill in the Bible’s “missing years” with a story about Jesus as a wandering mystic who travelled across India, living in Buddhist monasteries and speaking out against the iniquities of the country’s caste system.Film producers have delved deep into revisionist scholarship to piece together what they say was Jesus’s life between the ages of 13 and 30, a period untouched by the recognised gospels.The result is the Aquarian Gospel, a $20m movie, which portrays Jesus as a holy man and teacher inspired by a myriad of eastern religions in India. The Aquarian Gospel takes its name from a century-old book that examined Christianity’s eastern roots and is in its 53rd reprint.

Global Warming, the Blog Epic ~ 04 ~ Forcing

This is the fourth in a series of reposts from gregladen.com on global warming. i-e1372cd57ce206dff3631a4a9438e737-epic-GlobalWarming.jpg“Climate Studies” is a “causal” science. Most sciences are “causal” in nature, which is why the sciences and scientists are often loathed and distrusted by people in the humanities and some of the soft sciences. There is not the time or space right now to address this issue, but I’ll just say this: People who criticize science for its interest in causality usually do not understand what scientists are talking about. I think this is partly because people in the humanities and social sciences have gone gaga over the concepts of “agency” and “intentionality,” yet often do not understand those concepts, and often confused them with “cause” and, worst of all, “explanation.” So, the idea of explaining something and the idea of blaming someone become conflated. (I’ve been ragging on the soft sciences and humanities lately: I just want to say that some of the smartest people I know, or know of, are in these areas. It’s the 96% of the rest of them that need to go away or at least become less annoying.) Continue reading Global Warming, the Blog Epic ~ 04 ~ Forcing

Faster Browsing II

There are a zillion ways to configure Firefox using the obscure but incredibly cool feature known of as “about:config”Try this, and don’t be frightened. Well, you should be a little frightened. Type the following into the URL box at the top of your browser:]about:configHow you’ve got a strange new window with a zillion alphabetized options. Above this is a “filter” box into which you can put a filter. For instance, you can type this into the filter:networkand you can see dozens and dozens of network related options. Keep typing so this is in the filter box:network.prefetch Continue reading Faster Browsing II

I hate these guys

There are a handful of street preachers around on our campus. Some are just stoners standing on boxes babbling about Jesus, others are older guys, more typical, telling us we are all going to hell and handing out literature, often somewhat aggressively. There was one who was habitually blocking a major building entrance way with his preaching, and I believe the cops took him away.There’s a piece by a student columnist for The Oracle (more irony), a college newspaper of the University of South Florida: Continue reading I hate these guys

The Nematode Vulva and the Nature of Evolution

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchThe question is basic: Is evolutionary change largely random or is it more often shaped by selective forces? The former is linked to what is called Neutral Theory, and it has a lot of support, to the extent that it most likely true. The latter is part of what is sometimes known as the Adaptationist Program, and it is certainly correct. New research on the Development of the Nematode Vulva is sure to cloud the issue even further… Continue reading The Nematode Vulva and the Nature of Evolution

Evolution Directed, Not Random…

Well, this is interesting:

Evolution is deterministic, not random, biologists conclude from multi-species study from PhysOrg.com
A multi-national team of biologists has concluded that developmental evolution is deterministic and orderly, rather than random, based on a study of different species of roundworms. The findings are reported in the latest issue of the journal Current Biology.[]

I’ve got my mouse on the link to read the original paper, but CB is not delivering it. Something wrong with their server. But rest assured, I will get it, I will read it, I will blog it.

Fish Oil, Statins, and Neural Disease

The “statins” make up a class of cholesterol lowering drugs. Fish oil (oil derived from fish) is rich in certain fatty acids.Both types of compounds can have powerful positive and protective effects in the brain.A study just now coming out (to be published in Brain Research Reviews) looks at the biochemical effects of statins and fish oil in the brain in detail. The study makes specific recommendations for further research, and concludes with a proposal that the way we classify certain neural pathologies be reconsidered to take into account the complex biochemical pathways that produce them rather than their clinical presentation. Continue reading Fish Oil, Statins, and Neural Disease


As has been reported in various places, the death toll from Sidr has slowly and steadily climbed, topping 3,000 according to a fairly recent report from the BBC.The Bangladesh Red Crescent is estimating that the death toll may reach 10,000.A half million homes have been destroyed, and a couple/few million people displaced.Aid is getting to many areas though there are concerns of lack of coordination among agencies and between the aid agencies and the government, according to some reports. The southwest has many regions where supplies and help have not yet arrived.The biggest problem right now seems to be lack of food, and that is also a long term problem with much of the rice crop destroyed in many places.

Judgment Day On Line Now Free

Intelligent design. Creationism. Evolution. Fossils. Controversy. Charles Darwin. The Controversy, and Teaching the Controversy. The Dover Trial reconstructed with Oscar Winning Performances.Thank you VERY much NOVA and PBS for making “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” available on line.It is unfortunately that it is not available in formats that everyone can use easily In any event, it is here.[Hat Tip: Pharyngula]