Daily Archives: February 10, 2009

Some people tell me I have the mentality of a 13 year old…

But according to this scientific diagnostic tool, I have the brain of a 25 year old. How old is your brain?????

You’ll have to know how to read Japanese to make this work, or you can just follow these instructions:

1) Click on start. The diagnostic tool will count down from 3 and show you some numbers.

2) Remember where the numbers are. The diagnostic tool will make the numbers go away and replace them with empty circles.

3) Now click each circle in turn, in order from smallest to largest. Zero is smallest (that’s what screwed me up … for some reason my brain would not remember that zero is the smallest).

Then, the game will give you your brain age, in Arabic Numerals. Report your brain age below…

Hat Tip Ana. Who’s brain is the same age as mine, it turns out.

Earthquake Triggering of Mud Volcanoes

ResearchBlogging.orgA quick note for those of you interested in mud volcanoes (and I know there are many of you). From an article titled “Earthquake Triggering of Mud Volcanoes” by Magna et al we learn that …

Mud volcanoes sometimes erupt within days after nearby earthquakes. The number of such nearly coincident events is larger than would be expected by chance and the eruptions are thus assumed to be triggered by earthquakes. Here we compile observations of the response of mud volcanoes and other geologic systems (earthquakes, volcanoes, liquefaction, ground water, and geysers) to earthquakes. The compilation shows a clear magnitude-distance threshold for triggering, suggesting that these seemingly disparate phenomena may share similar underlying triggering mechanisms. The compilation also shows that pre-existing geysers and already-erupting volcanoes and mud volcanoes are much more sensitive to earthquakes than quiescent systems.

M MANGA, M BRUMM, M RUDOLPH (2009). Earthquake Triggering of Mud Volcanoes Marine and Petroleum Geology DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2009.01.019

Fossil Quadrupeds

Charles Darwin wrote a book called Geological Observations on South America. Since Fitzroy needed to carry out intensive and extensive coastal mapping in South America, and Darwin was, at heart, a geologist more than anything else (at least during the Beagle’s voyage), this meant that Darwin would become the world’s expert on South American geology. Much of The Voyage is about his expeditions and observations. Part of this, of course, was figuring out the paleontology of the region.
Continue reading Fossil Quadrupeds

Darwin Day Party

Thursday, February 12, 2009, 7 to 9 p.m.
Bell Museum Auditorium
$10/ free to museum members and University students

The speakers will present in the auditorium from 7 to 8 pm. Birthday cake and refreshments are served after the presentations.

Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday! Part of a world wide celebration, the Twin Cities’ version is at The Bell Museum of Natural History this Thursday night. Join in the fun with cake, drinks and presentations by U of M scientists and educators. They will present funny, outrageous and controversial rapid-fire, media-rich presentations about Darwin and evolution. From the big bang to the human genome, hear the newest research and controversy on evolution and Darwin. The presenters are:

Keith Olive

Mark Decker

Sehoya Cotner

Greg Laden

Mark Borrello

Click here for more information about the Bell Museum

Click here to connect to these events on Facebook

Also Opening on February 12th: Frans Lanting Photographs: The University of Minnesota Bell Museum of Natural History is proud to host the North American premiere of this internationally acclaimed exhibit. LIFE: A Journey Through Time, interprets the evolution of life on Earth through photographer Frans Lanting. Lanting’s lyrical photos trace Earth’s history from the beginnings of primordial life to the ascent of mammals through otherworldly landscapes and breathtakingly intimate portraits of animals and plants engaged in million-year-old rituals. Many of the exhibit’s 62 photographs are matched with real animal, fossil, and plant specimens from the Bell Museum’s collection. Born in the Netherlands, Lanting serves on the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund and is a columnist for Outdoor Photographer and has received the BBC Wildlife Magazine’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award and the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography.

Also Opening on February 12th: Lynn Fellman’s DNA Portraits: The expanding field of genographics uses genetic markers to trace the patterns of human migration from our common origin in Africa. Recent advances in genetic research has spurred Minneapolis artist Lynn Fellman’s imagination – she’s taken the science to an art form by combining maps, DNA sequence data, and colorful graphics to create stylized portraits as a way to visualize one’s deep ancestry. This exhibit features a sampling of her portraits, as well as a series of panels and banners that explain the science behind her art.

American Religious Preference: Change over time

One of the really useful features of the new edition of Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction by Genie Scott is the coverage of the socio-cultural context of the so called “debate” between Creationists and Evolutionary Biologists. This tidbit is an example:


The obvious patterns are interesting. There is a modest drop in overall religiousity over the last twenty years. This drop is entirely acounted for by a drop in Christianity specifically. And the biggest change overall (percentage wise, doing the figures in my head so this is subject to revision) is an increase in the “No religion” category.

Note also that the “Refused to state” category fluctuates dramatically. It is a small number so this may be spurious, but it is interesting. What does that mean?

Republicans: ” If only we could have kept the Democrats away, Colmeman would be Senator.”

Well, that’s not exactly what they are saying, but it is what they are doing. Or at least trying to do.

To stamp out voter fraud, GOP legislators have offered a proposal that would make Minnesota’s voter-ID laws the most restrictive in the country. But according to their own party, no actual cases of voter fraud have been reported here. Still Reps. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, and Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, have sponsored a bill requiring photo identification for every voter.

Read it at the MN Indy.

Hat tip: Ana

Big Bullies in the Publishing World

… are not confined to any one area of interest. Check out this post on How Not to Manage Your Image at Almost Diamonds. It is all about this picture:


Well, it’s not really all about that picture, but that picture might be what draws the corporate lawyers to my site to force me to take it down. But I’m not going to mention the name Arcade of the Nickle Divided by Five or the name Country of Mom and Apple Pie How To Say Hello other than cryptically. Like I just did. And I’ve changed the name of the file this photograph exists as to be difficult to trace. The only way Big Brother can find this picture is if Big Brother already reads my blog, which is unlikely, or they know how to use Google and can find the link back to Almost Diamonds.

I’ll let you know how that goes. If I’m asked to take the picture down, I’ll do it right away. This is not my fight. But something better will go in its place.