Posts

July 24, 2014

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10:48 AM | On the mythology of natural selection. Part VIII: Complex evolution without selection?
The default and sometimes only explanation for the origin of complex biological traits is an often barely-altered invocation of Darwin's notion of an all-seeing force-like natural selection.  As we have said earlier in this series, when conditions are suitable, natural selection will follow essentially by definition of 'suitable'.  Natural selection is about the proliferation of better traits at the expense of lesser traits in a given environment.  But we have tried to […]
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7:00 AM | The Shocking Baby Cage From 1937
They say that everything old is new again, but if there's one thing destined to remain in the past it's the 1937 baby cage. This disturbing contraption was designed to hang outside a window---even many stories up---so babies could crawl inside it and get fresh air. More astonishing than it being invented is the fact that it actually caught on and was used by a number of London mothers looking for a convenient way to get their little ones outdoors. The post The Shocking Baby Cage From 1937 […]

July 23, 2014

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5:30 PM | 10 Signs We're in a Cold War
From sports and space, to trade and missiles, frosty U.S.-Russia relations are back.
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4:51 PM | DNews: What Is Genius and Where Does It Come From?
The word genius gets tossed around frequently these days. But what constitutes genius, and what does the brain have to do with it? Trace takes up the mystery behind super-smarts.
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1:46 PM | DNews: Why Do Eye and Hair Color Change?
Got sparkling baby blues? How about brown? And why, oh, why does our hair go gray with age? As with so many things, it's all about the genes. Trace has the details.
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1:46 PM | Are we the only creative species?
Can animals be creative? A few are prodigious producers of ‘art’, as Jason G Goldman discovers. Is it any good?
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1:40 PM | U.S. Man Claims Africa Land, Daughter a 'Princess'
U.S. man planted a flag in a tiny parcel of uninhabited land on the border between Egypt and Sudan, and The Kingdom of North Sudan was born.
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9:00 AM | On the mythology of natural selection: Part VII. Phenogenetic drift
We are trying in this series of posts (see this week and last, beginning with Part I here) to enumerate a few ways in which organized traits can arise without the usual canonical view of natural selection as the complete, force-like causal process.  We do this to temper what we see as an often unquestioning belief in natural selection.  We do this because such a belief leads to what we think is extreme, and unwarranted, genomic determinism and belief in inborn inherency that leads […]
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7:00 AM | The Forgotten Creator Of Crime Scene Forensic Science
In the late 19th century, Alexandre Lacassagne was rewriting the way law enforcement looked at crimes and crime scenes. He ushered in a new era of weapon identification and analytical sciences and should be known as the father of modern forensics, but his name has largely been swallowed by unforgiving, cramped history books. A real-life Sherlock Holmes, Lacassagne constructed the first forensics lab and taught countless students how to recreate a crime from the evidence left behind. The post […]
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4:58 AM | Why is the grass always greener on social media?
Are you on social media? I’m willing to bet you’re on at least one channel (and it’s probably Facebook). In December 2013, 73% of adults online were using a social networking site... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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4:58 AM | Why is the grass always greener on social media?
Are you on social media? I’m willing to bet you’re on at least one channel (and it’s probably Facebook). In December 2013, 73% of adults online were using a social networking site... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

July 22, 2014

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10:00 PM | Exorcism Death Priest Released from Prison
A Romanian priest jailed for seven years for killing a woman during an exorcism has been released.
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5:36 PM | DNews: Is Your Smartphone Hurting Your Relationships?
Are you tethered to your phone for what seems like every waking hour? Laci and Tara examine what kind of damage you could be doing to your social life.
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3:15 PM | How long was the average Roman foot, and what was their shoe size?
Archaeologist Eric Poehler just keeps coming with the questions about Roman walking and feet.  Today, he wanted to know the size of the Roman foot.  In my last post, I'd kind of given up on the idea of figuring out foot size, since I didn't think I had any foot measurements.  Then I remembered this morning that of course I have calcaneus maximum length.  The trick was to find a formula using calcaneus maximum length to approximate foot size.Sandaled foot from the Augustan […]
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1:42 PM | Weddings and the Dead
I’ve been thinking about weddings a lot recently. It’s not just that I’m planning my own wedding which is less than ten weeks away, I’m also in my little brother’s […]
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1:33 PM | Should Pets Be Banished From the Bedroom?
New research examines the effect of sleeping with pets on their owner's health and happiness.read more
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1:24 PM | Why the New 'Anti-HIV' Pill Isn't for Everyone
The new pill Truvada might seem like the closest thing to an actual HIV vaccine, but not so fast, says Trace Dominguez. The CDC isn't even recommending it to the general public.
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11:01 AM | On the mythology of natural selection: Part VI. Sexual and Group selection
We have been focusing in this series on forms of selection that are generally unfamiliar, and perhaps a challenge to the usual idea of evolution by natural selection.  There are a couple of rather standard types of selection that are well-known and widely discussed however, their importance or even existence sometimes debated and we wanted to acknowledge and touch upon them here.Sexual selectionCompetition in the Darwinian selective arena may not just be among individuals for food or […]
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8:50 AM | An Example of Osteogenesis Imperfecta in the Archaeological Record
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), more commonly known as ‘brittle bone’ disease is a condition which causes bones to be fragile and break easily. I have a personal interest in this condition and therefore wondered if there was any evidence of the condition in the archaeological record. A quick search produced this article ‘Osteogenesis Imperfecta in the […]
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7:00 AM | Rome’s First Deadly Artificial Sweetener
Health gurus and nutritional experts have been waging a war on artificial sweeteners and the potential long-term health effects of using such products for decades. The idea of artificial sweeteners is nothing new, and neither is the idea that they can be pretty deadly. The Romans were the first to use an artificial sweetener; it was called "sugar of lead," and was exactly that. This lead-based sweetener was often added to wine, and the rampant lead poisoning it caused has, in some cases, been […]

July 21, 2014

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11:58 PM | Why the Malaysian Jet Crash Sparks Conspiracies
The circumstances of the downed Malaysian airplane in Ukraine made it ripe for conspiracy theories.
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5:00 PM | Talking to Strangers Can Make You Happier
Public transit commutes are more enjoyable when you actually talk to the person sitting inches away from you, new research shows. Continue reading →
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9:00 AM | On the mythology of natural selection: Part V. Niche construction
The usual Darwinian presentation of adaptive life assigns essentially all of it to natural selection, in which, going back essentially unaltered to Darwin, constraints of the environment (including overpopulation relative to resources, and competition for those resources, and predators, and competition for mates and territory) screen contending alternatives and allow some to reproduce more and others less.  We model this traditionally in terms of relative success within a local population […]
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7:00 AM | The Tale Of Bach And The Fistfight
One of the best-known classical composers, Johann Sebastian Bach created some of the most beautiful pieces of music in history. Maybe that's why it's hard to imagine this guy rolling around in the dirt, exchanging blows with an irate musician. But that's exactly what happened when Bach insulted a music student by the name of Johann Geyersbach, a bassoonist with an awful temper. The post The Tale Of Bach And The Fistfight appeared first on KnowledgeNuts.

July 20, 2014

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9:10 PM | Para entender la paleoantropología. 3ª parte: La sistemática
Introducción Creo que estamos atravesando uno de los momentos más interesantes en el ámbito de la paleoantropología, y ello por tres razones fundamentales: en primer lugar, asistimos a un incremento notable de los restos de homininos fósiles que están viendo … Continue reading →
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9:06 AM | Bees in space
Image credit: the NASA History Office and the NASA JSC Media Services Center Today marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing, which seems like a good time to take the next step on our space adventure. You choose the topic of bees in space, so here we go! In 1984, 3400 honey bees (Apis mellifera) joined the crew of the Challenger space shuttle for a mission in space, housed in an aluminium “bee enclosure module” (BEM) as part of a student experiment to so see whether […]
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7:00 AM | The Most Shocking Sex Documentary In American History
Mom and Dad was a 1945 sex docudrama by producer Kroger Babb. It claimed it had shocking content such as footage of a live birth. To make sure there was sufficient media chatter about the movie's shocking and health-threatening qualities, a theater owner in Philadelphia interfered with the ventilation for the theater to help audience members to pass out. It subsequently became one of the most successful movies of all time. The post The Most Shocking Sex Documentary In American History appeared […]

July 19, 2014

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6:32 PM | Green Thumbery: Water, Sunlight, and Data
All of those concerns I had at the beginning of the season have disappeared. My plants are healthy and flowering—and they’re slowly taking over the backyard, much to my delight. Now, if only I... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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6:32 PM | Green Thumbery: Water, Sunlight, and Data
All of those concerns I had at the beginning of the season have disappeared. My plants are healthy and flowering—and they’re slowly taking over the backyard, much to my delight. Now, if only I... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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6:29 PM | Grinning, winning cress heads
Photo by kennysarmy If you’re looking for ways to keep the little ones occupied in the summer holidays, then check out this competition from Chiltern Seeds. Call 01491 824675 or email info@chilternseeds.co.uk to request a free “CRESS HEAD PACK”, and they’ll send you a packet of cress seeds, some googly eyes and some coloured pompoms to make your very own Cress Head/Animal/Alien/Loch Cress Monster (I’d love to see a Loch Cress Monster :) It’s then up to […]
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