…My friend Carl and I went out to the Berne Grange Hall, up on The Heldeberg, one evening to see them. I remember my brother, in his white lamÃ© suit, holding up a Jimmy Hendrix album and saying, “If any of you can tell me who this is, you win the album.” (Silence.) “OK, now we’re going to play a song by this guy.” (Silence.) They play the song. No one knows. Adrenalin gets to keep the Hendrix album for one more week. At least….
A Texas-sized battle over scrapping a longtime requirement that Lone Star State students be taught weaknesses in the theory of evolution has split politicians, parents, and professors who teach biology at the state’s Christian universities.
“I hope to reach others on the weightier matters of the Resurrection, hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven while I work out how evolution does not have to conflict with Christianity,” said Daniel Brannan, a biology professor at Abilene Christian University.
Brannan joined hundreds of scientists in signing a 21st Century Science Coalition petition that supports new curriculum standards for the state’s 4.7 million public-school students. The petition states that Evolution is an easily observable phenomenon that has been documented “beyond any reasonable doubt?”
A RIVETING and hugely satisfying report on BBC Radio 4 today tells the story of a missionary who was charged by an American missionary group with taking the Gospel to the little understood PirahÃ£s tribe in the Amazon – only to realise how ridiculous his faith in Christianity was.
… read about it at The Freethinker
H/T: August Berkshire
A computer model of the formation of Olympus Mons (a big giant mountain on Mars) indicates that this geological formation should contain pockets of water.
The scientists explained that their finding is more implication than revelation. “What we were analyzing was the structure of Olympus Mons, why it’s shaped the way it is,” said McGovern, an adjunct assistant professor of Earth science and staff scientist at the NASA-affiliated Lunar and Planetary Institute. “What we found has implications for life – but implications are what go at the end of a paper.”
This water would be liquid. Warm, in fact. And thus, the prospect of life.
I’m going off a press report here, but it sounds interesting. The paper was published in Geology, and at the moment I’m having a bit of trouble getting a copy of it. More later, maybe.
…The war has just ended, both are finding their way home on foot, still in uniform, bedraggled, soul-weary. The only thing keeping them putting one foot ahead of the next is the thought of home and family. Meeting on the road, they recognize each other through the grime and dust for the brothers they in fact are. There follows a reconciliation, joyful that each has survived, each forgiving the other for taking the part they did in the war. United, they return home to their family….
And with this, a five year old catapulted back in time, say 10,000 years in West Asia or Southern Europe, encountering two people, would make perfectly intelligible sentence that wold be understood by all. Assuming all the people who were listening were at least reasonably savvy about language and a little patient. This is because a handful of words, including Who, You, Two, Five, Three and I exist across a range of languages as close cognates, and can be reconstructed as similar ancestral utterances in ancestral languages.
It’s like an elephant and a mammoth meeting up in the Twilight Zone. Close enough to know there is a similarity, yet different enough to be a bit freaky.
This is from the work of Mark Pagel, of Reading (England) and his team. And it isn’t quite as simple as I’ve characterized it above. As Pagel told me in a recent interview, “… when I say ‘I’ or ‘two’ are very old, I mean that they derive from cognate (homologous) sounds . Every speaker of every Indo European language uses a homologous form of ‘two’ such as ‘dos,’ ‘due,’ ‘dou,’ ‘do,’ etc. It is an amazing thought because there are billions of Indo European speakers and hundreds of thousands of ‘language-years’ of speaking across all the unique branches of the phylogeny of these languages. In all that time ‘two’ has remained cognate. Cognate does not mean identical … it is a bit like my hand being homologous but not identical to that of a gorilla.”
Pagel acknowledges that may linguists are ‘upset’ with the assertion that there are numerous cognates that share a common ancestor …. which is also a cognate … that must be over 10,000 years old. But he indicates that this dislike for the proposed reconstruction is more of a misunderstanding of this concept of homology than anything else.