Posts

September 01, 2014

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2:41 AM | August ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
  Bloggers in the thick of election campaign? Image Credit: Against the Current PLEASE NOTE: Sitemeter is playing up again making it impossible to automatically get the stats using the normal process. I have done a manual work around but it was … Continue reading →

August 31, 2014

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3:47 PM | Homosexuality and evolution
I made the mistake of reading some of the comments on those last youtube videos. There were some good ones, but they were also laced with the usual grunting assholes complaining about gays and “trannies” and quoting the Bible and making racist remarks about Africans. Let us pass over those contemptible arguments; there’s no dealing…
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11:15 AM | Symposium: Antropoloog zoekt maatschappelijke partner
Antropoloog zoekt maatschappelijke partner - Kennisdeling buiten de muren van de universiteit – 3 september 2014 Aanleiding Er is onder antropologen een toenemende aandacht voor kennisdeling buiten de muren van de universiteit. Antropologische blogs,...
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3:03 AM | Sad news – Victor Stenger has died
I was sad to read that Victor Stenger died during the week at the age of 79. Victor was a prolific author, writing on science, religion and philosophy. He often dealt with difficult issues coming out of the religion-science debates … Continue reading →

August 30, 2014

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3:52 AM | Friday Cephalopod: “Dumbo” doesn’t do them justice
What an awful name for such a graceful animal.

August 29, 2014

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2:01 PM | Oh, dear
The context of this graph isn’t entirely clear, but it’s from Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra of UC Davis, and it’s from a poll of 800 first year students, so I presume it’s the results of a survey of their incoming class? Maybe one of the things we need to do as part of popularizing science to the…
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1:36 AM | Making money out of fanatics
Click on image to enlarge This looks like a Xcd cartoon. I picked it up from a new Facebook page The Girl Against Fluoride Lies. Good to see more and more Facebook pages like this. Speaking of fluoride – the cartoon sort … Continue reading →

August 28, 2014

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4:06 PM | Developmental plasticity is not Lamarckism
Sometimes, people email me with good questions. Here’s one. When I was a kid, my own visualization of evolution was Lamarckism. But I didn’t know it. In reading Dawkins and others, I know it doesn’t exist. But it seems this article is claiming it does to some extent. Can you comment? I’m curious as to…
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2:21 AM | Botanical Wednesday: Probably not the best place for a stroll
No summary available for this post.

August 27, 2014

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7:21 PM | Arte, ciencia y naturaleza
Por Martín Bonfil OliveraDirección General de Divulgación de la Ciencia, UNAMPublicado en Milenio Diario, 27 de agosto  de 2014Uno de los grandes prejuicios respecto a la ciencia es que se trata de una actividad puramente racional, cerebral, y por tanto para nerds, insensible, fría. Exactamente lo opuesto al arte, que es cálido, creativo y expresa emociones. Parecería que el arte es lo más humano, mientras que la ciencia es […]
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2:03 AM | Dirty politics on the Royal Society fluoride review
In Anti-fluoride activists unhappy about scientific research I related how local anti-fluoride propagandists were busy rubbishing the Royal Society of NZ  fluoride review – even before it was released. Now that it is released (see Health Effects of Water Fluoridation: a Review of … Continue reading →

August 26, 2014

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3:21 PM | Vox Day, Scientist
The anti-vaxxers are excited. A recent paper, Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination timing and autism among young african american boys: a reanalysis of CDC data, claims that there is evidence that vaccinations cause autism. Only one problem: it’s a crappy paper. Orac has covered it to an Oracian level of detail, so let me give the short summary:…
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4:00 AM | Was ist Krebs? – Ausweitung der Kampfzone: Invasion und Metastasierung
Wenn ein bösartiger Tumor für sich genommen nicht tödlich ist, z.B. indem er so groß wird, daß er das Gewebe oder Organ, aus dem er stammt, verdrängt und zerdrückt, so kann er dennoch zu einer tödlichen Gefahr werden. Nämlich dann, wenn er beginnt, sich auszubreiten, benachbartes Gewebe zu durchwuchern und zu infiltrieren (Invasion) und zuletzt…

August 25, 2014

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10:49 PM | Mary’s Monday Metazoan: How can you not love an extravagant worm?
No summary available for this post.
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1:06 PM | Crusaders against GMOs
The New Yorker has a fascinating article on Vandana Shiva, a crusader against GMO crops. I’d never heard of her before, but apparently she has charisma and cult-like followers who hang on her every word, and her word is a rather religious opposition to scientific agriculture. Weirdly, I can agree with some of it. At…
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11:22 AM | Symposium: Antropoloog zoekt maatschappelijke partner
Closer Blog: Symposium antropoloog zoekt partner 3 september 2014 in het Amsterdam Museum. Read more: Symposium: Antropoloog zoekt maatschappelijke partner

August 22, 2014

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11:46 AM | Friday Cephalopod: Dancing on the edge of the abyss
No summary available for this post.

August 21, 2014

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11:33 PM | Review finds community water fluoridation safe and effective
A press release from the Royal Society of NZ today. I think the “take home message is: “The panel concluded that the concerns raised by those opposed to fluoridation are not supported by the scientific evidence” A review of the … Continue reading →
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2:08 PM | Learning thresholds
Kim Goodsell was not a scientist, but she wanted to understand the baffling constellation of disease symptoms that were affecting her. The doctors delivered partial diagnoses, that accounted for some of her problems, but not all. So she plunged into the scientific literature herself. The point of the linked article is that there is a…
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1:46 PM | What would analog genetics look like?
How about another of those non-awkward Dawkins Twitter questions? Although this one actually is kind of awkward, in a non-offensive way. I don’t quite know what it means. Does evolution rely upon digital genetics? Could there be an analogue genetics? What features of life have to be true all over the universe? I don’t understand…
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2:27 AM | Anti-fluoride activists unhappy about scientific research
These activists have a really weird understanding of science and the nature of scientific research. How’s this for press releases from the NZ Fluoride Free Science and Legal Advisor, Mark Atkin: 1: Rubbishing a planned review of the published science around fluoridation … Continue reading →

August 20, 2014

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3:34 PM | Científicos: ¿villanos o héroes?
Por Martín Bonfil OliveraDirección General de Divulgación de la Ciencia, UNAMPublicado en Milenio Diario, 20 de agosto  de 2014La profesión de científico ha tenido siempre una mala percepción pública.El científico es percibido a través de dos estereotipos. Uno es ridículo: el viejito canoso, despeinado tipo Einstein, distraído, sabio y bonachón, que más que científico es un […]
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12:03 PM | Islamists have brain leeches!
Susan Blackmore always lectures entertainingly — really, if you get a chance to hear her, you should — so I can guess how surprised she was when students claimed offense and walked out on her talk. They were religiously indoctrinated, and simply shut down their brains when the word “evolution” came up, and when she…

August 19, 2014

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1:01 AM | Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Lobopods forever!
I think this is rather awesome: a detailed examination of the Cambrian fossil Hallucigenia, specifically an examination of the fine structure of its claws, has revealed clear affinities of the long extinct form to this adorable little guy, the velvet worm.

August 18, 2014

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12:38 PM | Why do cavefish lose their eyes?
It’s another Dawkins question! Why do cave-dwellers lose their eyes? They’re useless, but are they harmful? Costly to make? Or eroded by rain of uncorrected mutations? I thought I’d already addressed this in a blog post long ago, but I searched, and I didn’t — it was my inaugural column in sadly defunct Seed magazine,…

August 17, 2014

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11:43 PM | Why do all cells have the complete genome?
Ophelia has summarized a series of science questions Richard Dawkins asked on Twitter. Hey, I thought, I have answers to lots of these — he probably does, too — so I thought I’d address one of them. Maybe I can take a stab at some of the others another time. I like this one, anyway:…
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10:50 PM | The Mind of the Science Denier
Over recent months I have been following, and learning more about, the issues of fluoridation and the Ukrainian civil war. One is a scientific issue (at least in most of the debate), the other political. Yet in the social media … Continue reading →

August 15, 2014

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8:20 PM | Children with a religious upbringing have difficulty telling fantasy from reality
There’s a long-standing debate over whether we humans are naturally predisposed to believe in the supernatural, or whether it’s learned. Well, here’s a study that shows the importance of young children’s environment in determining credulity.The basic set-up was simple. Kathleen Corriveau (Boston University) and colleagues recruited 33 kindergarten kids in the USA (that’s 5-6 year olds). Half went to state-run schools, which are mostly religion free, while the […]
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2:34 PM | Friday Cephalopod: I’m not the only one flying
No summary available for this post.

August 14, 2014

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2:22 AM | Robin Williams
Por Martín Bonfil OliveraDirección General de Divulgación de la Ciencia, UNAMPublicado en Milenio Diario, 13 de agosto  de 2014Mork del planeta OrkSí: ya sé que se supone que ésta es una columna de ciencia. Pero también lo es de gusto. Y si algo se puede decir del recientemente fallecido actor estadounidense Robin Williams es que dio gusto a sus miles de fans durante décadas en las muchas decenas de películas que […]
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