Can chimpanzees be non-human persons?

From George Johnson at Undark: In November, Judge María Alejandra Mauricio of the Third Court of Guarantees in Mendoza decreed that Cecilia is a “nonhuman person” — one that was being denied “the fundamental right” of all sentient beings “to be born, to live, grow, and die in the proper environment for their species.” Agreeing […]

Common ancestry: Bioinformaticist Julian Gough on the SUPERFAMILY database on proteins in genomes

In an interview with Suzan Mazur at Huffington Post. Mazur explains, Plug certain information into SUPERFAMILY and it can analyze a vast assortment of genomes and assist you in building a Tree of Life using superfamilies — i.e., domains with an evolutionary relationship — and the conserved part of thousands and thousands of protein structures […]

The Woeful State of Modern Debate

In debate after debate I’m sure we’ve all noticed that some people continually recycle the same statements over and over as if those statements represent something more than emotion-laden rhetoric that hasn’t already been factually and logically refuted or otherwise sufficiently responded to.  While this is hardly surprising, what has piqued my interest are discussions […]

Cells’ garbage disposal also has another job

From ScienceDaily: A subset of protein complexes whose role has long been thought to consist only of chemically degrading and discarding of proteins no longer needed by cells appears to also play a role in sending messages from one nerve cell to another, researchers report. … Paper. (paywall) Together, the researchers say, these findings suggest […]

Advance multicellular plant-like fossils appeared “much earlier than thought”

From ScienceDaily: Scientists at the Swedish Museum of Natural History have found fossils of 1.6 billion-year-old probable red algae. The spectacular finds, publishing on 14 March in the open access journal PLOS Biology, indicate that advanced multicellular life evolved much earlier than previously thought. … Discoveries of early multicellular eukaryotes have been sporadic and difficult […]

Mathematical model says humans’ larger brains evolved via food, not culture

From ScienceDaily: Animals with high cognitive ability also have relatively large brains, but the factors that drive evolution of big brains remain unclear. Scientists have hypothesized that ecological, social, and cultural factors could each play a role. Most of these hypotheses have not been formalized mathematically, but doing so would allow scientists to refine their […]

An elusive fifth force of nature?

From Philip Ball at Nautilus: The hypothesis of a fifth force is, then, anything but exhausted. In fact it’s fair to say that any observations in fundamental physics or cosmology that can’t be explained by our current theories—by the Standard Model of particle physics or by general relativity—are apt to get physicists talking about new […]

Have neuroscientist been on the wrong track about the brain for centuries?

Well, how about this: Would another hundred and fifty articles offering brand new theories of consciousness, each newer than the last, cause you to consider that possibility? Or will you just say, a decade from now, “That’s how science progresses!” From neuroscientist Henrik Jörntell at the Conversation: Understanding the human brain is arguably the greatest […]

Peter and Rosemary Grant (of Darwin’s finches’ fame) reply to their critics.

Readers may remember the Darwinian icon of the Galapagos finches that were supposed to be turning into new species but then just drifted back and forth. One would think the finches didn’t give a hoot about Science. From Evolution News & Views: In a new Perspective piece in Science Magazine, “Watching Speciation in Action,” they […]

Do Christians believe that there could not be life on other planets?

In a survey article of centuries of views, Jon Garvey offers at Hump of the Camel: God might indeed decide to make life on earth a unique case, and the vastness of a cosmos uninhabited by other physical beings a matter for himself alone. Indeed, one of the intriguing aspects of cosmic fine tuning is […]

Dark matter: What if gravity just doesn’t stick to the rules?

From Mark Anderson at New Scientist: Fresh suspicions have reopened the case against dark matter, forcing a fundamental rethink of the familiar force that keeps our feet on the ground … But what if we never really knew gravity at all? What if out there, beyond where we can easily keep our eye on it, […]

Biologist Wayne Rossiter on Joshua Swamidass’ claim that entropy = information

From Wayne Rossiter, author of Shadow of Oz: Theistic Evolution and the Absent God, at Shadow of Oz: Swamidass surprises us with a very counter-intuitive statement: “Did you know that information = entropy? This means the 2nd law of thermodynamics guarantees that information content will increase with time, unless we do something to stop it.” […]

Plants saved Earth from permanent ice age?

Nick Stockton asks, at Wired, why didn’t the ice ages that began at 800,000 ago just remain? What reversed the cooling trend? A new study, published today in Nature Geoscience, has a hypothesis what that something was: plants. Or, more specifically, a complicated process in which plants wear down certain kinds of rocks, and how […]

Yes, a fluorescent tree frog… using unique method to glow

From Anna Nowogrodzki at : The ability to absorb light at short wavelengths and re-emit it at longer wavelengths is called fluorescence, and is rare in terrestrial animals. Until now, it was unheard of in amphibians. Researchers also report that the polka dot tree frog uses fluorescent molecules totally unlike those found in other animals. […]

Tucker Carlson challenges Planned Parenthood

. . . on just what it is that we are killing in the womb: >>“Why are you giving me robotic responses? I’m asking you a human question, and I hope you’ll favor me with a human answer?” That was Tucker Carlson on his primetime Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” interviewing Planned Parenthood Executive […]

Physicist: Regrettably, materialism can’t explain mind

From Adam Frank at Aeon: It is as simple as it is undeniable: after more than a century of profound explorations into the subatomic world, our best theory for how matter behaves still tells us very little about what matter is. Materialists appeal to physics to explain the mind, but in modern physics the particles […]

Absolute zero proven mathematically impossible?

From Leah Crane at New Scientist: It’s an absolute. Mathematics has put speed limits on cooling, finally proving a century-old law – that unless you have infinite time and resources, you can’t get to the absolute zero of temperature. … Now Jonathan Oppenheim and Lluís Masanes at University College London have mathematically derived the unattainability […]

The ethics of colonizing other planets. Some think it’s wrong.

The other day, we noted that NASA has been spending money on the question of how world religions would view the discovery of life on other planets. (Meanwhile, Stephen Hawking insists that we must colonize other planets to avoid extinction (he gives us 1000 years) and that world government is needed to stop technology destroying us, which […]

Is celeb number pi “normal”?

Yesterday was pi day (3.14) From Tia Ghose at LiveScience: Pi is definitely weird, but is it normal? Though mathematicians have plumbed many of the mysteries of this irrational number, there are still some unanswered questions.   Mathematicians still don’t know whether pi belongs in the club of so-called normal numbers — or numbers that […]

3-D structures of active DNA now available

From ScienceDaily: Most people are familiar with the well-known ‘X’ shape of chromosomes, but in fact chromosomes only take on this shape when the cell divides. Using their new approach, the researchers have now been able to determine the structures of active chromosomes inside the cell, and how they interact with each other to form […]

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