News From Around The Blogosphere 8.29.08

Sarah Palin – creationist sympathizer – In the past she’s stated that science classes should “teach the controversy” between Evolution and Creationism. I wonder if she thinks we should also teach these equally valid controversies:

Winged Cat in China:

Abbie Smith determines that Young Earth Creationists & Old Earth Creationists, as stupid as they are, are still better than the “Intelligent Design” proponents

Reasons to be skeptical of Meta-analyses

“Patient-Centered Care” and the Society for Integrated Oncology

Get ready for flu season – If you’re Kim Stagliano from the “Age of Autism” blog, you probably think the flu is harmless because you never saw anyone die of the flu in Leave It To Beaver, but it’s actually responsible for 35,000 deaths a year.

Autism “Research” Institute (ARI) announces Autism TV – Sounds like a great idea, right? Wrong. There’s a reason I put quotation marks around the word “Research.” Yup, this is a front group for propagating anti-vaccine misinformation. In fact, the Age of Autism blog says they’re sponsored by the ARI. What a depressing development. But I suppose Jenny McCarthy will probably have a job again.

Critical Thinking Test – Would you buy this product?

The Rick Warren Magazine – Could this be the future?


Arctic Ice On Verge Of Another All-time Low – “Following last summer’s record minimum ice cover in the Arctic, current observations from ESA’s Envisat satellite suggest that the extent of polar sea-ice may again shrink to a level very close to that of last year.”

Why Flies Are So Hard To Swat – “Over the past two decades, Michael Dickinson has been interviewed by reporters hundreds of times about his research on the biomechanics of insect flight. One question from the press has always dogged him: Why are flies so hard to swat? … Long before the fly leaps, its tiny brain calculates the location of the impending threat, comes up with an escape plan, and places its legs in an optimal position to hop out of the way in the opposite direction. All of this action takes place within about 100 milliseconds after the fly first spots the swatter.”

Eyes Evolved For ‘X-Ray Vision’ – “The advantage of using two eyes to see the world around us has long been associated solely with our capacity to see in 3-D. Now, a new study from a scientist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has uncovered a truly eye-opening advantage to binocular vision: our ability to see through things.” The article also says:

“All animals have a binocular region — parts of the world that both eyes can see simultaneously — which allows for X-ray vision and grows as eyes become more forward facing.

Demonstrating our X-ray ability is fairly simple: hold a pen vertically and look at something far beyond it. If you first close one eye, and then the other, you’ll see that in each case the pen blocks your view. If you open both eyes, however, you can see through the pen to the world behind it.

To demonstrate how our eyes allow us to see through clutter, hold up all of your fingers in random directions, and note how much of the world you can see beyond them when only one eye is open compared to both. You miss out on a lot with only one eye open, but can see nearly everything behind the clutter with both.”

And in monkey news…

Unexpected Monkey Population Found In Cambodia – “A Wildlife Conservation Society report reveals surprisingly large populations of two globally threatened primates in a protected area in Cambodia. The report counted 42,000 black-shanked douc langurs along with 2,500 yellow-cheeked crested gibbons in Cambodia’s Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area, an estimate that represents the largest known populations for both species in the world.”

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