Daily Archives: April 25, 2008

Brian Greene: The universe on a string

In clear, nontechnical language, string theorist Brian Greene explains how our understanding of the universe has evolved from Einstein’s notions of gravity and space-time to superstring theory, where minuscule strands of energy vibrating in 11 dimensions create every particle and force in the universe. (This mind-bending theory may soon be put to the test at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.)

Continue reading Brian Greene: The universe on a string

Earthquake Dangers

Did you ever notice how when there is one earthquake in the news, more follow right away, often leading to the impression that earthquakes come in clusters? Well, maybe they do come in clusters, but if they do, it is not the cluster you are observing on the news. That is entirely an effect of copycat journalism.The recent earthquake in Illinois was, unfortunately for the journalistic appetite, not followed by any other really interesting earthquakes. So instead, we have two news items about earthquakes that have not happened … yet … Continue reading Earthquake Dangers

New NCSE Video


“Teaching Creationism in Schools,” the second in a series of videos produced by NCSE, debuted at expelledexposed.com on April 23, 2008. The brief video presents three incidents in which NCSE helped concerned citizens to resist assaults on the integrity of evolution education. In the video, NCSE’s Eugenie C. Scott explains: “If we’re going to have good science education, now and in the future, we have to support people like Erec [Hillis], people like the citizens of Dover, and people like the citizens in Kansas, and we have to put out those brushfires. And NCSE is going to be there until the last fire is out.”

Continue reading New NCSE Video

New Poll Reveals Overwhelming Opposition to Teaching Intelligent Design Creationism in Schools

A new poll asks “Do you think the thoery of Intelligent Design should be taught in our education system? Respondents to this on line poll were given the options: Yes, No, Not Sure, and What is it?The results show that nearly 90 percent of respondents oppose teaching ID in schools.i-fc71eefa8f7bdc754fa8a9c445cd3412-idpoll.jpgAlmost no one was unsure, and just under six percent claim to not know what ID is.The poll was conducted by Expelled The Movement, a MySpace group.[source]

Good News for Great Apes


The world’s rarest great ape has found a safe haven in the mountains of the west central African nation of Cameroon. With guidance from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Cameroon’s prime minister, Ephraim Inoni, has created the world’s first sanctuary exclusively for the Cross River gorilla.Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary spans only 19.5 square kilometers but contains an important segment of the Cross River gorilla population. The species’ range consists of 11 scattered sites in Cameroon and Nigeria. Of the estimated 300 or fewer Cross River gorillas that remain, approximately 20 live in the new reserve.”The creation of this sanctuary is the fruit of many years of work in helping to protect the world’s rarest gorilla subspecies,” says Dr. Roger Fotso, director of WCS-Cameroon. Fotso and his colleagues worked in tandem with the Cameroon Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife in laying the groundwork for the sanctuary.

The rest of the details are here.I am not personally convinced that this is the rarest population of great apes. The most threatened are certainly the eastern lowland gorillas of the Congo, of which there may be only a handful left. If any.

Poll Crashing Time

Pharyngula exhorts us to crash a poll on Intelligent Design. It is here. down on the lower left side. About eight hours ago, when PZ discovered the poll, the pro-intelligent design vote was overwhelming. Now, for some reason, the anti-intelligent design vote is overwhelming. So your vote is not needed, but you can still feel like part of the process.Go. There. Now. But come back, I’ll miss you.

New Research on How Visual Memory Works

i-eb1c570ee1369fa42b7a582ef19ee402-lily.jpgLife is complex. The way a living system works can be described in a series of increasingly refined models, each fleshing out details of the previous model. Typically, description at one level raises questions about what is happening at the finer level. These questions induce hypotheses which drive experimental work which produces ever more detailed knowledge.A paper about memory, just published, is an example of one incremental step in this process. In short, this research works out some of the fine detail at the molecular level for the process of forming visual memories. Continue reading New Research on How Visual Memory Works

Nature News

Washed-up sea snake rescued in New Zealand from PhysOrg.com
A highly venomous yellow-bellied sea snake that washed up on a New Zealand beach was recovering Thursday at an aquarium.

Researchers recommend ways to fight lake trout invasion in Glacier National Park from PhysOrg.com
Natural barriers like waterfalls play an important role in preventing lake trout from spreading through Glacier National Park, so maintaining those barriers should be a priority, Montana State University researchers said after conducting a four-year study in the park.

Continue reading Nature News