A Few Things to Consider

According to an article on MSNBC the “God Spot” doesn’t exist. Apparently, it’s all the result of:

…the sense of union with God or something greater than the self often described by those who have undergone such experiences involves the recruitment and activation of a variety brain regions normally implicated in different functions such as self-consciousness, emotion and body representation.

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Taung and the Eagles: A Follow Up

The research I wrote about here and here has finally been published in the AJPA. There is a little more to it than I thought. Bergers’ piece is a companion piece to an indepth study of primate remains found beneath the nests of African crowned eagles…

Republicans and Science, or the Republican War on Science

Michael Gerson on Bushs’ stem cell policy:

First, the president’s policy has been useful, giving scientists the time and incentive to pursue a number of alternatives to the wholesale destruction of embryos. Second, all this research and debate concerning a small clump of cells is an encouraging sign that American conscience remains on duty. They reveal an intuition, even among people who consider themselves pro-choice, that this clump is different from a hangnail or a tumor. It is genetically distinct, biologically alive and undeniably human. And when this life ends, like a snowflake in a warm hand, we know that something irreplaceable has been lost.

Gerson presents a wonderful picture of a wise president making smart choices about stem cell research. Gerson was also a speechwriter and policy adviser to President Bush. Now he gives the Republican Party line for Newsweek. If you really want to know how the Republicans feel about science read The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney which is being released today in paperback. You can learn more at the above link

Cool Science News

From the BBC Scythian mummy shown in Germany:

The mummy was found in the snow-capped mountains by the team of scientists from Germany, Russia and Mongolia.

*snip*

The man – who the archaeologists believe was a nobleman – was dressed in a fur coat and wrapped into sheep’s wool lining that was in remarkably good condition.
Two horses with saddles and weapons and also vessels were also found in the burial mound, or kurgan.
The archaeologists say they were placed in the tomb to accompany the warrior into the next life.

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Katrina: One Year Later Prisoners Still Lost In The System

This story appeared on NPR Friday. I found it kind of chilling. It concerns prisoners lost in the justice system post-Katrina. Many of them have been charged but have not received a trial. Others don’t have lawyers, some were scheduled to be released but can’t prove it because the records are missing, or worse yet, lost. It has gotten so bad that a judge in New Orleans is going to start releasing people tomorrow. The District Attorney disagrees saying something on the order of “…the fact that they are in prison today is a strong indication that they need to stay in jail until they are tried…”
In the meantime, students from the Tulane Law School are busy tracking down people who have served their sentence and have succeded in getting about 100 people released…

Friday Know Your Primate: Late Edition

Siamang%201.jpg
Order: Primates
Family: Hylobatidae
Genus: Hylobates
Species: Hylobates syndactylus
Common Name: Siamang
Siamangs are part of a group called the lesser apes. They are native to Malaysia and Sumatra and are sympatric with the white-handed gibbon (H. lar).

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Talent and Missouri Right to Life Misleading People about Plan B

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“Safety concerns over the use of this drug have been raised,” said Talent spokesman Rich Chrismer. “Sen. Talent questions the FDA’s decision to allow the purchase of a higher dose of a drug that is only otherwise available by prescription at a lower dosage.”

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