Thugs Run Amuk!

From MSNBC baboons are becoming quite a handful in Cape Town, South Africa:

Trethowan works with a team of baboon monitors, nine men recruited from a poor community whose job it is to shepherd the animals away from built-up areas.
But the baboons know they will find dustbins full of leftovers in the suburban yards and that an open window can mean there is a bowl of tempting fruit within easy reach.
The troop splits into two and they charge across a road toward the houses. The monitors drive some of them back to the reserve, but others hurdle garden walls and grab what they can.
“They’re getting used to getting easy food,” said Trethowan. “The way to stop it is for people to install baboon-proof garbage cans, put burglar bars on their windows and avoid growing fruit trees in their gardens.”

Continue reading

Multiple Body Clocks?

According to Science Daily the body may have more than one clock:

Our latest research suggests that a separate but likely related clock resides in the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland is involved in several important body functions, such as body temperature regulation, metabolism, mood, stress response and reproduction. The research also suggests that other peripheral clocks reside throughout the body and that these clocks are perhaps interconnected.”

Continue reading

How Children Learn About God and Science

This is interesting.

But the study revealed an interesting sidebar that is tougher to explain. Among things they can’t see, from germs to God, children seem to be more confident in the information they get about invisible scientific objects than about things in the spiritual realm.
“We don’t have a firm view on why it is they’re a bit more confident on the scientific information,” said Paul Harris, a professor of education at Harvard University. “But one possible plausible reason is that when we talk about things like germs or body organs, we talk in a very matter-of-fact fashion. We don’t say, “I believe in germs,” we simply take it for granted that they exist.”
On the other hand, adults tend to assert the existence of God more strenuously, possibly raising doubts in children’s minds as to the existence of an unseen deity, Harris said.

The study is available here
Okay, the link is fixed…

Competitive Enterprise Institute Distorting Science

I don’t normally write much about global warming, but since this is kind of close to home I thought I’d mention it.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a university of Missouri – Columbia professor is crying foul over the way the Competitive Enterprise Institute is using his research in their ad campaign.

Continue reading

More Interesting Science News

Via Bootstrap Analysis comes a link to an interesting paper in Plos Biology Scientific Illiteracy and the Partisan Takeover of Biology:
[I have fixed the above links – afarensis]

The era of nonpartisan science is gone, says Miller, who urges scientists and science educators to learn the rules of this new game and get behind moderate Republicans as well as Democrats to protect the practice and teaching of sound science. Given the partisan attack on evolution and stem-cell research, he thinks scientists need to learn more about how the political process works. They need to be willing to run for the school board, write $500 or even $5,000 checks to support moderate candidates, and defeat Christian right-wing candidates. “Scientists need to become involved in partisan politics and to oppose candidates who reject evolution or attack scientific research,” he says. “It takes time, money, and paying attention to the issues.”

Continue reading

Funding for Anthropological Research in Danger

Added Later: Duane over at Abnormal Interests has an interesting discussion of the bill…
Via Kambiz at Anthropology.Net comes news of impending cuts that would strip money for behavioral research from the NSF budget.
The American Anthropological Association has this to say about it:

OPPOSE the Hutchison amendment to S. 2802 (the “American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2006”) which excludes the behavioral and social sciences from consideration in the awarding of NSF research grants, and undercuts their role in advancing national innovation and competitiveness.
SUPPORT the amendment to S. 2802 sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) which would eliminate the section of S. 2802 that prescribes research priorities to the NSF.

Question From the Corporate Masters

The powers that be at Seed would like to know:

“If you could shake the public and make them understand one scientific idea, what would it be?”

John at Stranger Fruit stole my answer so I will have to come up with another…although I am going to reprint his Darwin quote as a lead in to my response:

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved” (Charles Darwin, 1859)

Continue reading