Posted on February 18, 2013 by afarensis, FCD
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.
Filed under: Interesting Science News | Comments Off
Posted on February 17, 2013 by afarensis, FCD
This is a case of “Let the buyer beware.” I am an avid baseball fan, and living in St. Louis, my favorite team is the St. Louis Cardinals. On of my favorite players – well ex-player now, is Jim Edmonds who played centerfield for the Cardinals from 2000 to 2008. Solast December my youngest daughter and her boyfriend wanted to get me a Jim Edmonds jersey for Christmas. I didn’t want them to shell out the $100.00 or so dollars from the team store so I hopped on line and found this. $30.00 sounded like a good deal and the fact that the shipping and handling was $20.00 didn’t set off any warning bells (it should have though), because what I actually received was a Philadelphia Phillies Roy Halladay jersey. So, I got it touch with the seller and after exchanging 5-6 emails the upshot was that I would need to pay more money to get the item I ordered – with no guarantee that I would actually get the item I ordered. I have no interest in throwing good money after bad and contented myself with reporting the company to the BBB and the Attorney General for the State of Missouri (not that I think either of those actions will do any good).
If anybody is interested in buying the jersey let me know, it is $50.00 – although that is somewhat negotiable.
Edit to add: I forgot to include pictures:
Size is 2x
Filed under: Baseball, Miscellaneous, Sports | Comments Off
Posted on February 16, 2013 by afarensis, FCD
This is really amusing. Especially this bit:
I only hope the materialist, reductionist scales fall off your eyes one day. Until then, I feel sorry for your students.
(material omitted – afarensis)
The “scales falling off the eyes” bit is apparently derived from the Bible. I’ve only heard that phrase once previously, when speaking with a devout Christian friend. It’s a curious tactic for him to employ. I certainly can’t say it compelled me: basically it means that someone was deluded or wrong, and that a new piece of information shifts their perspective fundamentally.
They just can’t keep religion out of their discourse, no matter how hard they try to deny the connection between Christianity and ID. Check out the rest of the post.
Hat Tip: Ptaylor
Filed under: Intelligent Design | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 16, 2013 by afarensis, FCD
I haven’t been able to do much blogging because Mrs. afarensis has been doing work from home in the evenings (which ended Friday – she will be returning to her office Monday allowing me to actually write some posts). While this was occurring Dr. Ben Carson popped up in the news for criticizing President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast. Which caused a flurry of searches for info about Carson and resulted in a lot of hits for the post I wrote on his views on evolution. Which leads me to ask two things. First, What is it about neurosurgeons and pseudoscientific bullshit? Second, what is it about neurosurgeons that cause them to let their inner right wing nutjob loose on the rest of the world? Actually, I have a third, what is it about a middle of the road politician like Obama that sends right wing nutjobs into absolute paroxysms of insanity (don’t answer, I know the answer to this one)?
Filed under: Insanity, Politics | Comments Off
Posted on December 31, 2012 by afarensis, FCD
Woese was 84. More can be found here and here.
Hat Tip to Sparc
Filed under: In Memoriam | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 23, 2012 by afarensis, FCD
Carol for Another Christmas was written by Rod Serling and was part of a series of Xerox specials promoting the United Nations. It has ran several times on TCM recently and if it comes on again I highly recommend you see it. The movie is based on Dicken’s A Christmas Carol) and features a number of interesting performances (Steve Lawrence was brilliant as the Ghost of Christmas Past). In the clip below* Peter Sellers gives a phenomenal perfomance as the “Imperial Me.” When watching this part of the movie I couldn’t help thinking about the current state of the Republican party.
My apologies, apparently I am unable to embed clips for some strange reason. Follow the link below.
You can find other excerpts here.
Let The War on Christmas Begin
Filed under: Miscellaneous | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 23, 2012 by afarensis, FCD
Pardon the awkward title of this post. What I would like to do in this post is revisit something I mentioned in the first part of my review of Science and Human Origins in that post I mentioned a paper by Jianzhi Zhang called “Parallel Functional Changes in the Digestive RNases of Ruminants and Colobines by Divergent Amino Acid Substitutions.” The paper looked at mutations in the pancreatic RnNase of ruminants and colobines and found nine mutations in colobine RNase and five -different- mutations in ruminant RNase. The fact that Zhang found fourteen different mutations that affected pancreatic in much the same way prompted Zhang to come up with an estimate of how many different mutations can affect the function of the Rnase. He concluded that this number was somewhere between 16-44. So, of those 16-44 theoretical mutations 14 had been identified.
I have found a more graphic example to illustrate the point. The picture below illustrates the Melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R)
The picture is self explanatory. The black colored dots are mutations that cause melanism, the green dots are mutations linked to coat color changes in rock pocket mice, the red are mutations that cause red fur or hair, the blue are mutations that cause red hair in humans and possibly melanism in other species. Not shown are the mutations in the -COOH that affect coat color in retrievers and other dogs.
The point is that there are many ways to a new function and to say that unless a given specified pathway is followed evolution can’t happen is clearly nonsense.
Majerus and Mundy (2003) Mammalian melanism: natural selection in black and white. TRENDS in Genetics: 19(11)585-588
Zhang (2003) Parallel Functional Changes in the Digestive RNases of Ruminants and Colobines by Divergent Amino Acid Substitutions. Molecular Biology and Evolution 20(8):1310-1317
Filed under: Genetics, Intelligent Design | Comments Off