News From Around The Blogosphere 12.29.09

December 29, 2009

1. Some of the biggest science stories of the year – Steve Novella briefly discusses Ardipithecus, Darwinius masillae, the Large Hadron Collider, water on the moon, the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and methane on Mars.

2. Scientists working on making Star Trek’s synthehol a reality - According to controversial neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt, soon people may be drinking a non-addictive alcohol substitute that allows drinkers to experience the effects of alcohol while having the means to “switch off” those effects by taking a pill.

3. What the Illinois gobernatorial candidates think of Evolution – Wow, this is depressing. Despite no mention of religion in the question, all but one found it necessary to reference their religious views. What the hell does that have to do with accepting basic scientific facts? And Dan Hynes, the one that didn’t mention religion and answered with a clear, concise, unambiguous ““I accept the theory of evolution,” is also the only candidate who supports marriage equality. Unless Hynes wins it, it looks like Illinois is doomed with either an idiot religious wackjob or a chickenshit religious panderer for the next couple of years.

4. Molars further elaborate on ape-to-human evolution -

The timing of molar emergence and its relation to growth and reproduction in apes is being reported by two scientists at Arizona State University’s Institute of Human Origins in the Dec. 28 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

5. Cockroaches inspire future robot design -

The sight of a cockroach scurrying for cover may be nauseating, but the insect is also a biological and engineering marvel, and is providing researchers at Oregon State University with what they call “bioinspiration” in a quest to build the world’s first legged robot that is capable of running effortlessly over rough terrain.


News From Around The Blogosphere 10.15.08

October 16, 2008

The battle isn’t over in Texas – The Texas Board of Education has named the 6 people who will be on a committee to review science curriculum standards. And 3 of them are creationists:

  • Stephen Meyer, vice-frakkin’-president of the odious Discovery Institute in Washington state;
  • Ralph Seelke, a pro-ID creationist and biologist from Wisconsin;
  • Charles Garner, a chemist from Baylor who is also a pro-ID creationist.

The first 2, Meyer and Seelke, wrote the new ID textbook, Explore Evolution.

So, three good guys and three ignorant ideologues, with the overall head of the board of education being Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist. It’s going to get ugly.

You hate me! You really hate me! – University of Minnesota Professor Randy Moore has won an award from the Discovery Institute: “The Award for Most Dogmatic Indoctrinator in an Evolutionary Biology Course.” Though obviously an ironic award from Evolution deniers, I’d say it’s quite an honor. So congratulations for pissing off the creationists!

Suit against God tossed out over lack of address – 2 months ago I blogged about Ernie Chambers, the senator who sued God. Well now the case has been thrown out because the God had no known address and could not be reached. But I thought God was “everywhere?” Anyway, this isn’t over. God won’t escape the law forever. I will not rest until God’s protection racket is shut down and he is behind bars. (Thanks Michelle)

Denis Leary in need of serious rescuing – I’ve always liked Denis Leary. I’d even call myself a Denis Leary fan. But now he’s really stepped in it. Mirroring the moronic comments of Michael Savage several months ago regarding autism, comments in Leary’s latest book has exposed him to be an autism denier. In a chapter titled “Autism Schmautism,” Leary writes:

“There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can’t compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks…to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons.

“I don’t give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you—yer kid is NOT autistic. He’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or both.”

Now compare this to Savage’s controversial statements from months ago where Savage characterized nearly every child with autism as:

“. . .a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out.”

“It is an overdiagnosed medical condition. In my readings, there is no definitive medical diagnosis for autism.”

On the July 16 installment of his program, which is broadcast every weekday, Mr. Savage suggested that “99 percent of the cases” of autism were a result of lax parenting. He told his audience: “They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron.You’ll get nowhere in life.’ ”

“ ‘Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’ ”

And now Leary’s excuse for backing away from the comments are also mirroring Savage’s, that he only meant some parents are exploiting the diagnosis and not all:

Leary suggests that those critics obviously haven’t read the book.

“Or if they have,” the Emmy-nominated actor said in a statement, “they missed the sections I thought made my feelings about autism very clear: that I not only support the current rational approaches to the diagnoses and treatment of real autism but have witnessed it firsthand while watching very dear old friends raise a functioning autistic child.”

Autism Society of America:

“For Mr. Leary to suggest that families or doctors conspire to falsely diagnose autism is ridiculous. Mr. Leary’s remarks reflect the same misconceptions of autism being caused by bad or unemotional parenting that were held over 50 years ago, misconceptions that have been completely disproven by the scientific community.”

Leary is still insisting that he’s not denying that autism exists and that the whole thing is being taken out of context. His solution to the alleged misconception: read his book. Of course I’ll reserve judgment until the matter is further explored but right now I think Leary was right about 1 thing: he is an asshole (Thanks Brain).

Interview with an Islamic fundamentalist:

It’s not just acupuncture, it’s laser acupuncture – Ugh! The stupid! It burns! Even more reason to avoid reading NaturalNews.com.

Alcohol shrinks the brain

Human testicles yield stem cells: “Scientists have derived potentially therapeutic stem cells from adult, human testicles—a development that may eventually make new medical treatments possible while avoiding moral dilemmas.”

Is College Worth It?

And they have the nerve you charge you a buck?! - A new study finds that bottled water is full of contaminants too. I’ve sung the praising of the U.S.’s water supply before. For all the problems in our country, you’d still be hard pressed to find cleaner tap water anywhere else in the world. And the fact is that besides the convenience factor, the prettier packaging, and the weight loss on your wallet, commercially sold bottled waters aren’t really any healthier than was you can get from your tap. Plus, they don’t even contain fluoride in them, which contrary to the conspiracy nuts out there, is actually beneficial.

Religulous creeping up on Expelled’s box office gross:

Bill Maher’s Religulous has made $7,049,342 in 13 days.

Ben Stein’s Expelled made $7,598,071 in 39 days.

Religulous is still in theaters. Expelled is not.

Double standard within the atheist community – Several weeks ago, I blogged about the vandalism of the University of Alberta Atheists and Agnostics’ flag. Sadly, many of my fellow atheists want to write this off as no big deal and just move on. I think that’s truly sad. Here’s a video of the making of the replacement flag:

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

Evolution From Fish To Land Animals Revealed – “New research has provided the first detailed look at the internal head skeleton of Tiktaalik roseae, the 375-million-year-old fossil animal that represents an important intermediate step in the evolutionary transition from fish to animals that walked on land.”

People With Autism Make More Rational Decisions – “People with autism-related disorders are less likely to make irrational decisions, and are less influenced by gut instincts, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust. The study adds to the growing body of research implicating altered emotional processing in autism.”

Oldest Fossil Impression Of Flying Insect – “While paleontologists may scour remote, exotic places in search of prehistoric specimens, Tufts researchers have found what they believe to be the world’s oldest whole-body fossil impression of a flying insect in a wooded field behind a strip mall in North Attleboro, Mass.”

Another Route Out Of Africa For Early Humans – “The widely held belief that the Nile valley was the most likely route out of sub-Saharan Africa for early modern humans 120,000 year ago is challenged in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”


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