Daily Archives: October 30, 2010

A Whale of a Missing Link : Indohyus

i-e1003b13638050040bea14fa3d3fabe0-repost.jpgI’m writing something about the concept of “The Missing Link” which may also end up as an episode of “Everything you Know is Sort of Wrong” on Skeptically Speaking. The fact that I’m working on this is of no interest to you, I’m sure, until I actually finish it and post it. But, in the mean time, I’m thinking about missing links, and decided to repost this writeup of one example of a fossil find purported to be one.

Let me know what you think: Is Indohyus a missing link?

Thewissen et al. report in Nature new fossil material from the Middle Eocene of Kashmir, India. This species (in the genus Indohyus is represented by a remarkable set of remains, including cranial and post cranial material. Previous studies using DNA had linked whales to the artiodactyls (even-toed ungulates such as deer, antelope, and bison). However, there is a great deal of uncertainty, and some contradictory evidence, as to where exactly in this group the whales arose.
Continue reading A Whale of a Missing Link : Indohyus

Does it matter what’s in a placebo?

Yes, it does matter what is in a placebo (as well as how it is administered, and so on) because the placebo is an important part of the experimental protocol used in pharmaceutical research. Before we get to why this question has even been raised, and an interesting point or two about it, lets quickly cover what a placebo really is.
Continue reading Does it matter what’s in a placebo?

Tomas is, suddenly, a hurricane …

… and almost as interesting as his enigmatic sister, Shary. Tomas formed farther south than Hurricanes often do, hung around for a long time as a tropical depression, then blew up to hurricane strength very quickly. Having been declared a hurricane just a few moments ago, it may reach Category Three status as early as Monday, certainly by Tuesday. It will track in it’s current direction, staying south of DR/Haiti and heading pretty much directly towards Jamaica, though it will likely turn north towards Cuba before hitting Rastaland.

I can’t see how Tomas is NOT going to be a serious problem for someone. It will srengthen over the next four days and likely remain a strong hurricane for a while afterwards. From the National Hurricane Center:

A hurricane warning is in effect for…
* St. Vincent and the Grenadines
* St. Lucia
* Martinique

A tropical storm warning is in effect for…
* Barbados
* Dominica
* Trinidad and Tobago
* Grenada

Shary … it’s complicated

Try to pick out the hurricane in this picture:


Possible but difficult. Click here to see an animation (if it is still on line), then it is easy to see this most unusual hurricane.

Shary is cnfusin the weather experts ath the HPC. words like “conundrum” and “system not handling this well” and “normally … would not require this much discussion” and “a change … does complicate matters” and “it is hard to discount” and a note that this hurricane would never have been detected were it not for the most modern of techniques.

Shary will be absorbed by a cold front by the end of the day Monday. Or so they say.