Monthly Archives: September 2006

Hawks, Dogs, and Churches

Diane’s parents have been visiting with us. Head over to the Baywing weblog for a couple of posts on recent outings, including one where the hawks disturbed a napper who thought they were quite rude, and a visit to San Fransisco’s mission.

It Figures: Elevated Testosterone Kills Nerve Cells

ScienceDaily: Elevated Testosterone Kills Nerve Cells The linked article describes research where cultures of nerve cells show apoptosis – a programmed cell death process – when high concentrations of testosterone are present. The link to human medicine is that treatment with testosterone or other steroids may reach concentrations that trigger apoptosis in the human brain.… Read More »

Dolphin Tails and Animal Models

This morning, Glenn Branch IM’d me a link to the following blog post: Pure Pedantry : Scientists in FL attempt to make prosthetic dolphin tail Jake Young follows a quote from the original article with the following: Crazy town. We should have more programs in animal prosthetics — because animal disability is no laughing matter.… Read More »

Credit Cards and Identity Theft

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about credit card fraud and identity theft here. There’s still a huge problem with it. Tens of millions of people have already been affected, and millions more are victimized with each passing year. My friend Skip Evans is currently dealing with a related issue, the use of fraudulent… Read More »

Targetting NASA

Alexander Villacampa decided to go after NASA in an essay, NASA: Exemplary of Government Waste. There’s certainly room for improvement in the way that NASA has conducted itself, but Villacampa isn’t a reform advocate: The solution the problem of NASA overspending and endless mishaps is, like all government programs, privatization. I’m sorry, Alex, but I’m… Read More »

Engage Cloaking Device!

Over at Bill Dembski’s Uncommon Descent weblog, the administration has found it convenient in the past to excise comments or posts that, once criticism comes in, they belatedly find were ill-advised, or just plain stupid in content. There was the notable incident of Dembski railing about how Jeff Shallit’s deposition in the Kitzmiller case last… Read More »

ID Advocates Just Can’t Help Themselves

Over at UD, a commenter noted the following: “only an editor will be able to approve contributions. Otherwise the texts risk being wrong,” We need to get some ID friendly people on the editorial staff. This is in relation to the announcement of the Wiki textbook project, which aims to produce textbook-quality instructional materials that… Read More »

Climate Change Roundup

Greenhouse gas bubbling from melting permafrost feeds climate warming A study co-authored by a Florida State University scientist and published in the Sept. 7 issue of the journal Nature has found that as the permafrost melts in North Siberia due to climate change, carbon sequestered and buried there since the Pleistocene era is bubbling up… Read More »

At the Theater

I was part of a preview audience for a play that will have its world premiere at the B Street Theater in Sacramento Sunday evening, Lune (Pronounced Loony). The setting is the premises and grounds of the Acme Corporation — yes, that Acme Corporation. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it, but take a… Read More »

Bicycles are Surprisingly Stable

Think about riding your bicycle… you have one, right? When you have it up to speed, it feels stable. Minor bumps don’t put you at risk for falling over. Isn’t that odd? After all, you have something between 40 and 100 kg of mass with a center of gravity probably a meter or more above… Read More »

Small Universal Turing Machines

I ran across my copy of Marvin Minsky’s Computation: Finite and Infinite Machines. This isn’t exactly light reading, but it is far more accessible than some other treatments I’ve run across. One of Minsky’s topics was just how small a universal Turing machine could be made. Briefly and broadly, a Turing machine is a formalism… Read More »

Santayana and Shrom

I’m making my way through Glenn Shrom’s book, Getting Past the Culture Wars: Regarding Intelligent Design. I’ve run across something that I think is worthy of some immediate attention. Two separate yet simultaneous battles In discussing this book that I am writing, my wife, Jane, pointed out to me what I would have called two… Read More »

Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network Rummage Sale

Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network Rummage Sale For those of you in the Houston region, this news item notes that the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network will be holding a rummage sale at the Fort Crockett campus of Texas A&M University at Galveston, Galveston, TX, on September 23rd, with proceeds going to TMMSN. If you… Read More »

Plantinga and Wishful Philosophizing

ID advocate and philosopher Alvin Plantinga has a reputation for operating at a higher level than the mass of ID advocates. Over at After the Bar Closes, a commenter noted that Plantinga had weighed in on the falsifiability of “intelligent design”. One might have expected Plantinga to be somewhat more astute about this than his… Read More »

‘Frankenstein protein’ defies biology textbooks

‘Frankenstein protein’ defies biology textbooks – life – 07 September 2006 – New Scientist This article relates a research finding that the sequence of amino acids in a protein is not completely determined by the sequence of bases in our DNA — some post-transcriptional shuffling can be done by proteasomes. In particular, the research was… Read More »

Reef fish lives fast, dies young

News in Science – Reef fish lives fast, dies young – 08/09/2006 Lifespan of the coral reef pygmy goby: 59 days, tops. This is, according to the report, the shortest adult lifespan of any vertebrate species. The researchers figured this out by examining the otoliths or “ear bones”. These have a daily pattern of accretion,… Read More »

Are Dolphins Dimbulbs?

Paul Manger has found a fast-track to academic notoriety: say something controversial about dolphin intelligence. Specifically, Manger contends that dolphin brain size and constituent cell type is consistent with rapid size increase to adapt to a cold marine environment, and is inconsistent with brain size increase for increasing intelligence. Manger’s paper lays out two lines… Read More »