Birds have more neurons than primates do

It’s unclear how neurons relate to intelligence, exactly. From ScienceDaily: The macaw has a brain the size of an unshelled walnut, while the macaque monkey has a brain about the size of a lemon. Nevertheless, the macaw has more neurons in its forebrain — the portion of the brain associated with intelligent behavior — than […]

Science can FIX it! Whatever “it” is. Whatever “science” is…

From New Scientist: Unconscious biases and data-torturing are weakening our knowledge base – but unlike politicians and bankers, scientists aren’t covering up their failings I started hearing in the mid-90s, about how scientists were going to fix all that stuff, but they didn’t actually do much better than politicians and bankers. Science cannot afford to […]

We’re all scientists now? Actually, not enough of us are!

Another self-referential piece from New Yorker: Science is not a major or a career. It is a commitment to a systematic way of thinking, an allegiance to a way of building knowledge and explaining the universe through testing and factual observation. The thing is, that isn’t a normal way of thinking. It is unnatural and […]

Not all mammals are “warm-blooded”

From BBC: One of the most extreme heterotherms is the Arctic ground squirrel. In a classic paper that made the front cover of Science in 1989, physiologist Brian Barnes of the University of Alaska Fairbanks studied the squirrels during hibernation. He found that they drop their core body temperature below zero, in one instance to […]

Gobsmackingly Stupid Things Atheists Say, Example 8,264

Jason Rosenhouse writes: We certainly do not know a priori that piles of bricks do not form images of imaginary unicorns, and it is not logically impossible that they do. UPDATE: I decided I could not resist adding Example 8,265 from the some post: I do not know how the chemical reactions and electrical firings […]

ID in intellectual collapse?

From mathematician Jason Rosenhouse: Speaking of the intellectual collapse of ID, its other major blog, the Discovery Institute’s “Evolution News and Views” also seems to have fallen on hard times. How else to explain the presence of this article, by Steve Laufmann? … More. Rosenhouse must mean this article, we think: “Foundational Question: Is Intelligent […]

First life born on diamond worlds, not like ours?

Our Earth consists of silicate rocks and an iron core with a thin veneer of water and life. But the first potentially habitable worlds to form might have been very different. New research suggests that planet formation in the early universe might have created carbon planets consisting of graphite, carbides, and diamond. Astronomers might find […]

Macaque stone age culture?

It used to be we read the Blue Fairy book for wondrous tales; now one can read New Scientist: From Alex Kasperak: Only a few decades ago scientists thought that humans were the only species to have worked out how to turn objects in their environment into useful tools. We now know all sorts of […]

SAD NEWS EVENT: Mass murder at nightclub in Orlando, FL

Drudge headline: A bit of background: The club may have attracted terrorist attention. Info re believed shooter. Allegiance to Islamic State Worst mass shooting in US? Islamic State claims responsibility US Prez: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims.“ Sky News: embedded by Embedded VideoYouTube Direkt I add, […]

Hawking now thinks we can escape black holes

From Business Insider: “They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought,” Dr. Hawking said in a talk last year. “If you feel you are trapped in a black hole, don’t give up. There is a way out.” He posted his paper on arXiv, a pre-peer review site, in January. This month, the paper […]

When did design in nature stop being a swear word?

Did we miss it? From 2015: Does the universe embody beautiful ideas? Artists as well as scientists throughout human history have pondered this “beautiful question.” With Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek as your guide, embark on a voyage of related discoveries, from Plato and Pythagoras up to the present. Wilczek’s groundbreaking work in quantum physics was […]

Study: How Americans perceive scientists

From Pacific Standard magazine: The results revealed that scientists are perceived as more likely than members of other groups to commit certain, but not all, moral transgressions. Specifically, they were viewed as more likely to engage in serial murder, incest, and necrobestiality, but not more likely to cheat or abuse others. This is best understood […]

String theorist thinks universe might be designed

From Intellectual Takeout: Reasoning aside, Kaku’s conclusion is pretty is clear. “The final solution resolution could be that God is a mathematician,” says Kaku. “The mind of God, we believe, is cosmic music. The music of strings resonating through 11-dimensional hyperspace.” More. We’re more familiar with string theory, etc., being used to explain why the universe […]

Half billion-year-old bacteria not “simple”

From ScienceDaily: Researchers are resurrecting ancient bacterial protein complexes to determine how 3.5-billion-year-old cells functioned versus cells of today. Surprisingly, they are not that different. Despite a popular hypothesis that primordial organisms had simple enzyme proteins, evidence suggests that bacteria around 500 million years after life began already had the sophisticated cellular machinery that exists […]

Are atheists lonely and invisible?

From Daily Caller: A sad, sparse crowd of a few thousand people dotted the expansive National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Saturday to be part of a “Reason Rally,” an event devoted increasing the political power of Americans who reject religion. “There are millions and millions and millions of atheists in America,” Robyn E. Blumner, […]

Grizzly-polar bear hybrids in arctic

From RealClearScience: Grolar bears a result of climate change Climate change is in part responsible for the emergence of these grolar hybrids, as polar bears that live and hunt on the ever-shrinking Arctic sea ice are forced on land during mating season in spring and summer. At the same time, male grizzly bears are expanding their […]

Quote of the Day

“No argument can pry doubt from the minds of those wishing not to believe.”  WJM Exactly.  Dozens of idiots commenting on these pages have engaged in what we call “insane denial.”  WJM’s particular comment was directed to daveS, and if Dave wants to join their ranks, there really is nothing anyone can do to stop […]

Okay, so Darwinian biology is over now?

From ScienceDaily: Enel et al at the INSERM in France investigate one of the most noteworthy properties of primate behavior, its diversity and adaptability. Human and non-human primates can learn an astonishing variety of novel behaviors that could not have been directly anticipated by evolution — we now understand that this ability to cope with […]

Unfair animal intelligence tests

From Bob Holmes at New Scientist on unfair animal intelligence tests: Elephants can’t recognise themselves in a mirror? Sure they can – if you give them a mirror big enough to show more than just a leg or two. As researchers learn to design more appropriate IQ tests that meet the animals on their own terms, […]

String theory: Welcome to the future of science

From Peter Woit at Not Even Wrong: String theory continues to make progress. Today the news is from Megan Fox: “Sometimes I just know things,” she explains. “I accidentally tap into stuff sometimes. I used to do it as a kid, and I do it as an adult. I crossed over and saw a future […]

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