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Evolutionary Theorists Discover How mp4 Videos Work

  Over on this thread we’ve had a lively discussion, primarily about common descent.  However, one of the key side discussions has focused on the information required to build an organism. Remarkably, some have argued that essentially nothing is required except a parts list on a digital storage medium.  Yes, you heard right.  Given the right sequence of digital characters (represented by nucleotides in the DNA molecule), each part will correctly self-assemble, the various parts will make their way automatically to the correct place within the cell, they will then automatically assemble into larger protein complexes and molecular machines to perform work, the various cells will automatically assemble themselves into larger structures, such as limbs and organs, and eventually everything will Read More ›

Top ridiculous academic papers

From Daily Caller: Twitter lost one of its leading lights earlier this month when user @Real_PeerReview, who chronicled ridiculous, useless, and unintelligible academic papers, shut down their account in an apparent effort to avoid having their real-life academic career ruined. While @Real_PeerReview’s tweets have been deleted from Twitter, they fortunately are not gone entirely, and can still be read here. More. For example, This article investigates the origins of the bucket and spade as a foundational element in the relational materialism of the beach as a space of vacationing. Using the intensification of Romantic beach painting through the early nineteenth century alongside prose descriptions and the development of photography at the beach, the article locates more precisely than ever before Read More ›

Put your science education to work. Cut pizza equally.

Learn how. Or so they say. From Mashable: It’s an age old question: Can cutting pizza ever be truly equal? … But mathematicians Joel Haddley and Stephen Worsley at University of Liverpool in England believe they have cracked the code for perfect equality at the dinner table by cutting somewhat complex, curved slices — also known as monohedral disc tiling. More. From Phys.org: “I’ve no idea whether there are any applications at all to our work outside of pizza-cutting,” said Haddley in New Scientist. He has tried slicing a pizza in this way for real. But the results are “interesting mathematically, and you can produce some nice pictures.” In short, the math is beautiful, but the pizza was probably a Read More ›

Weather Network: Slug-like object spotted on Pluto

The high-resolution image transmitted to Earth on Dec. 24 from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) shows the dwarf planet’s icy surface. However, look a little closer and you may see a strange and dark snail-like object. Hey, They just gotta be out there!

Eureka! Christmas spirit located in brain…

From Neuroscience News: Understanding how the Christmas spirit works could be a powerful tool in treating the ‘bah humbug’ syndrome. Oh no! Stop them before it’s too late! The world needs more of the Bah! Humbug! Sydrome. The study involved 10 participants who celebrated Christmas, and 10 healthy participants who lived in the same area, but who had no Christmas traditions. All participants were healthy, and did not consume eggnog or gingerbread before the scans. Each participant was scanned while they viewed 84 images with video goggles. … Differences in the brain activation maps from the scans of the two groups were analysed to identify Christmas specific brain activation. Results showed five areas where the Christmas group responded to Christmas Read More ›

Devolution: Is average IQ dropping?

This guy argues so. Drink yer brew and decide. Note: For a serious look at devolution in nature, see “Getting back to the simple life …” Hat tip: ’s blog, Signs of the Times

Fri Nite Frite: The endless spiral

Go nuts watching that, and if you really like this sort of thing, also try: Note: We were going to do a cobra frite, but the cobra booked off sick again with tennis elbow. We then tried to get our esteemed readers another frog frite, but the frog was at the hairdressers when we called. So relax and be bewildered by the above. 😉

150 crocs found in Toronto home

Okay, okay, but it’s August, breathless around here, and this is too good not to share: Further to Fri Nite Frite: Truly venomous frogs: From CBC News: 150 crocodiles and alligators removed from Toronto home “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Loyst, who is the curator of the Peterborough-area reptile zoo, told CBC. “I could not believe that somebody had that many crocodilians and raised them to adulthood. These were not baby little crocodiles, they were adults.” According to Loyst, some of the reptiles were more than 3 m long, and some had been kept by their owner for as long as 10 years. More. Note: Loyst told the Star the animals had been well kept, and their owners Read More ›

Fri Nite Frite: Truly venomous frogs

From ScienceDaily: Heads of Brazilian frogs are venomous weapons It’s no surprise that some frogs secrete poison from glands in their skin. But researchers have discovered the first two species of frog, both living in Brazil, that are actually venomous. Not only do the frogs produce potent toxins, but they also have a mechanism to deliver those harmful secretions into another animal using bony spines on their heads. … The researchers’ calculations suggest that a single gram of the toxic secretion from the other frog species, A. brunoi, would be enough to kill more than 300,000 mice or about 80 humans. “It is unlikely that a frog of this species produces this much toxin, and only very small amounts would Read More ›

A disgraceful lie against drug gangs everywhere…!

How academia resembles a drug gang: In 2000, economist Steven Levitt and sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh published an article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics about the internal wage structure of a Chicago drug gang. This piece would later serve as a basis for a chapter in Levitt’s (and Dubner’s) best seller Freakonomics. The title of the chapter, “Why drug dealers still live with their moms”, was based on the finding that the income distribution within gangs was extremely skewed in favor of those at the top, while the rank-and-file street sellers earned even less than employees in legitimate low-skilled activities, let’s say at McDonald’s. They calculated $3.30 as the hourly rate, that is, well below a living wage (that’s why Read More ›

Lab bench frustrations: Nature can be sneaky

Here. But in 2009, everything started to fall apart. When Rimm ordered a fresh set of antibodies, his team could not reproduce the original results. The antibodies were sold by the same companies as the original batches, and were supposed to be identical — but they did not yield the same staining patterns, even on the same tumours. Rimm was forced to give up his work on the melanoma antibody set. “We learned our lesson: we shouldn’t have been dependent on them,” he says. “That was a very sad lab meeting.” Antibodies are among the most commonly used tools in the biological sciences — put to work in many experiments to identify and isolate other molecules. But it is now Read More ›