Monthly Archives: June 2008

Steven Gould Coopted Into Teleological Demonstration of Evolution!!!!!


Proto Stephen Jay Gould
OMFSM you are not going to believe this. Over at the University of Chicago, someone is making a terrible fool of themselves. It is hard to say if this is Shankar Vedantam, the Washing Post Staff Writer, or Patterson Clark of the Washington Post or someone else.The title of the piece is “And the evolutionary beat goes on…”The piece contains a flash multimedia item that shows the face of a lemur evolving, through a series of other primates, into the face of Stpehen Jay Gould, White Anglo Male. Is there a moment in which he resembles an African person? Maybe. You be the judge. It doesn’t matter, really, the whole thing is so totally wrong that it is astounding.This is the caption of the morphing animation:

A morphing demonstration of human evolution shows the transformation from a small lemur, up the evolutionary ladder into a human: seen here as legendary evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould.

Up. The evolutionary. Ladder. Continue reading Steven Gould Coopted Into Teleological Demonstration of Evolution!!!!!

Gedit With It.

I find myself using a basic text editor more and more often. Even the relatively well behaved openoffice.or Writer had a tendency to do stuff I don’t necessarily want to do with a simple text file, and certainly, something like Word is the work of Satan.For instance, have you ever noticed strange goofy characters that are not supposed to be there in the title of the posts on this blog or elsewhere? That comes from using a text editor. What looks like “Hello World” in both a text editor and a word processor may not really be the same thing, when copied and pasted. Character encodings and all.Anyway, text editors are important, and they are not just for coders. In fact, bloggers need an excellent text editor, as do many normal people.Here is an overview of Linux text editors. I’ll make just a few comments.As the review says, vi (or Vim or Elvis … variants of vi) is installed on virtually every *nix computer. Therefore, if you are a system administrator, you will find …. wait, wait, if you are a system administrator you do not need to learn anything from me about text editors. Move along. northing to see here.OK, the review also discusses Gedit and Kate. I’ve written recently about Gedit, HERE, in what I think is my most under appreciated post … lots of work, good stuff, funny jokes, nobody read it. Go read that to find out more about Gedit. And spornography. And other stuff. Continue reading Gedit With It.

Darwin’s Bulldog

On this day in 1895, T. H. Huxley died at the age of 70. Huxley was known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” because of his defense of Darwin’s important work in evolution. He debated Samuel Wilberforce in 1860, and people have been debating creationists since.Huxley invented the term “agnostic” and described himself as one.

Calling All Evolution Loving Rational People

Our local paper, the Star Tribune is re-printing a New York Times story on the Philidelphia “Year of Evolution” …. Which is just fine. But the story has a comment section and it would sure be nice to have a few more pro-evolution comments on it. Please consider contributing to it, here.Hope you get a chance to do it and that the Strib does not make it too difficult.

Science News


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Scientists have determined that human cells are able to shift important gene products into their own mitochondria, considered the power plants of cells. The finding could eventually lead to therapies for dozens of diseases.The gene products, known as tRNAs, assemble amino acids for the production of proteins within mitochondria. If the mitochondrial tRNA genes are defective or missing, and proteins are not manufactured, the mitochondria are unable to generate adequate energy.Defective tRNAs are believed to be the cause of about 60 percent of conditions traced to malfunctions in the mitochondria. The range of related conditions includes diabetes, hearing loss and a number of neurological disorders, depending on which kinds of cells are affected….

New study identifies occupations with highest suicide mortality

Suicide mortality in England and Wales is highest in skilled trades and elementary occupations, which include agricultural workers, construction workers, and plant and machine operators, a new study has found.A higher proportion of deaths due to suicide was also recorded among health professionals compared to the population as a whole.Published in the July 2008 issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, the study used mortality data collected by the Office for National Statistics to examine suicide by occupation between 2001 and 2005. Howard Meltzer, Professor of Mental Health and Disability in the Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, was one of the authors of the study.Among men, skilled trades and elementary occupations have the highest suicide mortality, with construction trades, agricultural trades, elementary construction and elementary process plant occupations contributing most to this result. This is consistent with previous Social Class studies of suicide, which show suicide risk to be higher in manual workers. Among women, those with any occupation have lower suicide mortality than those who do not have an occupation, suggesting a protective effect of employment.

Continue reading Science News

Morning Sickness is an Adaptation, not a … Sickness

There is new information from an older idea (from about 2000) by Paul Sherman and colleagues. The idea underlying this research is simple: Symptoms of illnesses may be adaptive. Indeed, this may be true to the extent that we should not call certain things illnesses. Like “morning sickness.”ResearchBlogging.orgBroadly speaking, there are two different kinds of reasons that a woman may experience nausea in association with pregnancy. 1) This pregnancy thing is a complicated mess with all kinds of hormonal (and other) things going on, so you puke; or 2) a woman who is pregnant feels nauseous for good evolutionary reasons. Continue reading Morning Sickness is an Adaptation, not a … Sickness