Bacteria Made Of Star Stuff

One of the best at explaining science was Carl Sagan. One recurring theme in Sagan’s works can be seen in the quote below:

And we who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos we’ve begun, at last, to wonder about our origins. Star stuff, contemplating the stars organized collections of 10 billion-billion-billion atoms contemplating the evolution of matter tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet Earth and perhaps, throughout the cosmos.

Or consider the video below: Continue reading

Interesting Science In The News

Some interesting news items that caught my eye.

First, the American Association for the Advancement of Science had a session based on Wilton Krogman’s The Scars of Human Evolution. Krogman, for those unfamiliar with him, was a pioneer in the Field of Forensice Anthropology. He also did some interesting research on primates. You can find more about the symposium here and here. Here is a quote that sums up the session from Eureka Alert:

But applying Darwinian evolutionary theory to the human condition offers a window to why humans suffer from physical ailments that no other animals do, said Latimer, who is on the faculty in the Department of Orthodontics at Case Western Reserve.

Evolving from four-footed walking has created issues from flat feet and bunions to slipped discs, hernias and fallen pelvic floors. And as bizarre as it sounds, rising from four to two feet resulted in reshaping the face and head, which is why humans suffers with such dental problems as wisdom teeth with no room to grow.

Also at the AAAS was a presentation by Nina Jablonski, which sounded fascinating. From Phys.Org:

“We can make a visual impact and present a completely different impression than we can with regular, undecorated skin,” said Jablonski, who reports on her research today (Feb. 16) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston. Over the millennia, people turned their skin into canvases of self-expression in different ways, including permanent methods, such as tattooing and branding, as well as temporary ones, including cosmetics and body painting, according to the researcher.

And of course, giving Carl Zimmer yet another book idea.

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Interesting Science News

Still working on my review of Science and Human Origins (yes, I have been somewhat lazy when it comes to blogging) in the meantime enjoy the following items.
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Interesting Science Stories In The News

Some science stories I found interesting below the fold. Continue reading

Cool Archaeological Stories!

I stumbled across a couple of cool archaeological stories today. Continue reading

Interesting Science News

A number of items, ranging from paleontology and developmental genetics to osteology and primatology caught my attention this week. Continue reading

Einsteinian Relativity At A Personal Scale

This is really cool!:

Scientists have known for decades that time passes faster at higher elevations — a curious aspect of Einstein’s theories of relativity that previously has been measured by comparing clocks on the earth’s surface and a high-flying rocket.

Now, physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have measured this effect at a more down-to-earth scale of 33 centimeters, or about 1 foot, demonstrating, for instance, that you age faster when you stand a couple of steps higher on a staircase.

Described in the Sept. 24 issue of Science, the difference is much too small for humans to perceive directly — adding up to approximately 90 billionths of a second over a 79-year lifetime — but may provide practical applications in geophysics and other fields.

Censoring Science and Nobody Cares

I don’t know why a bigger fuss isn’t being made over this. Continue reading

ScienceBlogs Jumps The Shark

Pepsi has a blog. What’s next? HuffPo Woo meistering?

Update 1: Okay, I have to admit that Badger3k makes a good point:

If SciBlogs can host Nesbitt without losing credibility, what is a corporate “blog” going to do to it?

Interesting Science News From Around The Web

Ruminant diets and the Miocene extinction of European great apes in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. From the abstract:

The successful evolutionary radiations of European hominoids and pliopithecoids came to an end during the Late Miocene. Using ruminant diets as environmental proxies, it becomes possible to detect variations in vegetation over time with the potential to explain fluctuations in primate diversity along a NW-SE European transect. Analysis shows that ruminants had diverse diets when primate diversity reached its peak, with more grazers in eastern Europe and more browsers farther west. After the drop in primate diversity, grazers accounted for a greater part of western and central European communities. Eastwards, the converse trend was evident with more browsing ruminants. These opposite trends indicate habitat loss and an increase in environmental uniformity that may have severely favoured the decline of primate diversity.

The article is open access.

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