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Tag: Biology


Yawning: Puzzler of the Ages

Hippocrates took a crack at it, postulating that this mysterious activity was designed to flush harmful air from the body. Cut to the 19th century, when that notion lost traction.

Posted on Aug 13, 2014 READ MORE



The Sixth Extinction

Many now-extinct species had traits that were advantageous for millions of years, until some change made them lethal. Mostly, Homo sapiens are that change.

Posted on Jul 25, 2014 READ MORE



Save Us From Our Frankensteins, Genome-Editing Scientists Urge

A new laboratory technique enables biologists to “edit” the genetic makeup of entire species for purposes ranging from the benevolent to the nefarious, with the “potential to cause ecological mayhem,” Antonio Regalado reports in MIT Technology Review.

Posted on Jul 19, 2014 READ MORE



Men: The Weaker Sex?

“We can, thankfully, remove one threat to the future existence of the human male from our worry list,” Alice Shabecoff writes at Environmental Health News via Scientific American. “The male Y chromosome, after dwindling from its original robust size over millions of years, apparently has halted its disappearing act.”

Posted on Feb 20, 2014 READ MORE



andylepp (CC BY 2.0)

Scientists Manipulate Cells With Computerized DNA

Researchers at Stanford University used genetic material to develop substances akin to “biological computers” that can monitor and possibly one day take control of cells into which they’ve been injected.

Posted on Mar 30, 2013 READ MORE



roberthuffstutter (CC BY 2.0)

A Trojan Horse for Creationism

Everyone agrees that our students should learn how to think critically, but the misnamed and misguided Louisiana Science Education Act subverts that goal by sneaking creationism and other pseudo-science into public school science classrooms.

Posted on Mar 8, 2013 READ MORE



Zack Kopplin

Truthdigger of the Week: Zack Kopplin

Reason has a new friend: 19-year-old Zack Kopplin played a crucial role in getting the Orleans Parish School Board to ban creationism from its campuses.

Posted on Dec 22, 2012 READ MORE



Culture or Neurons?

What accounts for our species’ self-consciousness and awareness of our mortality, for our impulses to create art, to cling to our memories of childhood, to believe in a deity? Two new books suggest distinct approaches to such elemental questions.

Posted on Mar 8, 2012 READ MORE



bbc.co.uk

Scientists Say T. Rex Had Three-Ton Bite

And now for a brief bit of dinosaur geekery: Researchers at the University of Manchester had the fun job of putting together a computer model of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull that gave them a clearer idea about the bygone species’ bite, which turns out to be more impressive than previously believed.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

Presenting: Sperm in a Test Tube

They’ve gone and done it, those crafty scientists: As reported by Nature (as in the publication), a team of Japanese researchers has successfully cultivated “fully developed sperm” from “immature mouse testicles.” And they’re not just showing off.

Posted on Mar 24, 2011 READ MORE



Flickr / Hamed Saber (CC-BY)

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Flower Heaven

As much as one-third of all flowering plants face extinction at the hands of humans, according to new research—and that’s not even factoring in climate change. Such a die-off would have a devastating impact on the food chain. As one of the researchers put it, “if you get rid of [plants] you get rid of a lot of the things above them.”

Posted on Jul 7, 2010 READ MORE



AP / Huntsville Police Dept.

Disgruntled Professor’s Murderous Past

Adding to the sensationalism, reports are showing that accusations of lethal violence against Harvard-educated biology professor Amy Bishop, arrested Friday in the killing of three at the University of Alabama, are not new. In 1986, accordingly to The New York Times, Bishop shot her brother to death, putting an additional twist on the Alabama carnage.

Posted on Feb 14, 2010 READ MORE


stained glass
commons.wikimedia.org

Render Unto Darwin That Which Is Darwin’s

The New Atheist writers from Richard Dawkins to E.O. Wilson to Sam Harris have become the high priests not of science but the cult of science.

Posted on May 11, 2008 READ MORE


Intelligent Ruling on Intelligent Design

It’s good to know that some of our judges are standing up to the fundamentalists. A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled today that a public school district can’t require the inclusion of “intelligent design” in biology classes as an alternative to evolution. See story.

Posted on Dec 20, 2005 READ MORE


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