Why Evolution Is True

A loveless left-handed snail can’t find a mate

A loveless left-handed snail can’t find a mate

Is there a Match.com for gastropods? Because if there is, “Jeremy,” a rare left-handed variant of what the Torygraph says is a garden snail (Cornu aspersa) needs to put up his profile pronto: Left-handed garden snail seeks mate for companionable dinners (no garlic butter!), long crawls on the beach, and, above all, mating. No right-handed […]

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“Testosterone Rex”, a biased polemic, wins the Royal Society book prize

“Testosterone Rex”, a biased polemic, wins the Royal Society book prize

I’ve now finished Cordelia Fine’s newest book, Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society. I’ve also read her earlier work, Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference, so I’ve polished off both of her highly-regarded books on sex differences in behavior. Both books have a similar thesis: there’s essentially no evolved difference […]

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Now they want to demonize Francis Crick

Now they want to demonize Francis Crick

The Statue-Removing Squad has finally jumped the shark. I can sympathize—and even agree—with people’s desire to remove statues honoring the Confederacy, though I quail a bit at taking down statues of Robert E. Lee, who did fight for the Union before secession. But now, it seems, everyone from the past who uttered an offensive remark, […]

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Readers’ wildlife photos

Readers’ wildlife photos

It took me many months of begging and pleading with Pete Moulton, an excellent wildlife photographer, to get him to give me some photos to put up. Day after day I’d see him posting stunning photos—usually birds—on his Facebook page, and day after day I’d ask, “Can I have this, please?”. Finally, when I posted […]

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My poor deformed finger

My poor deformed finger

Well, I finished finger therapy yesterday after my April 4 accident in Rotorua, New Zealand, when I broke a tendon on a right-hand finger trying to stuff clothes into my backpack. It was a long haul of splinting and exercises, and, like the last time I acquired what’s known as a “mallet finger” (doing exactly […]

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Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Good morning: it’s Thursday, September 21, 2017, considered the official start of Fall in the Northern Hemisphere (it starts in Chicago at 3:02 this afternoon). It’s also the 264th day of the year: 101 days to go until 2018. We’ve had record heat in Chicago the past few days, with high temperatures predicted for both […]

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A bright blue tarantula

A bright blue tarantula

Have a look at this lovely blue tarantula from Brazil. The species is Pterinopelma sasimai, named after Dr. Ivan Sazima, a Brazilian zoologist who discovered the species in 1971 but didn’t formally name it. He had a blue female which died during molting. Here are two videos: The species wasn’t in fact formally named until 2011, […]

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Gender- and race-based ticket pricing in Canada

Gender- and race-based ticket pricing in Canada

According to yesterday’s Toronto Sun, some Canadian filmmakers are charging people different amounts of money for tickets to see their productions, with the charges based on both race (a social construct?) and sex. Organizers for the Victoria [British Columbia] premier of “Building the Room” used “justice pricing” when tickets went on sale last week, with […]

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Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ straight talk

Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ straight talk

Here’s today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “little”. The email came with a note from the artist: I once saw a video of Medhi Hasan responding to a point made by a debating opponent by saying, “That’s really patronising.” This prompted a big cheer from his supporters in the audience – as if he had […]

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Readers’ wildlife photos

Readers’ wildlife photos

I have a comfortable backlog of photos now, but please keep sending them in. Good ones, please. They don’t have to be professional quality (some readers think they have to match the very best photos that have appeared on this site), but they should be appealing and well composed–and in focus! Please add the Latin binomial […]

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Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Wednesday, September 20, 2017; I am still suffering from insomnia, have my last day of hand therapy today, and apparently have lost my duck to her migratory instincts. Am I kvetching like an old Jewish man? Well, that’s what we do! It’s National Rum Punch Day, and I’m betting that not one reader will […]

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2017 World Yoyo Champion

2017 World Yoyo Champion

I had a Duncan yoyo as a kid, but barely managed simple tricks like “walking the dog”. Have a look at what Shu Takada, the world yoyo champion can do. (The contest was in Reykjavik in August.)

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Theistic evolution is not science: More misrepresentation of a survey on British beliefs about evolution

Theistic evolution is not science: More misrepresentation of a survey on British beliefs about evolution

Yesterday I wrote a brief post about a story published in the Guardian (really The Observer, but they post on the same site) called “Would you Adam and Eve it? Why creation story is at the heart of a new spiritual divide”. It also bore the invidious subtitle, “Major survey reveals that it’s atheists who perpetuate […]

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Happy 60th birthday, central dogma!

Happy 60th birthday, central dogma!

JAC Intro: Today is precisely 60 years after Francis Crick, more of a genius than you realize, gave a famous lecture in London laying out what’s been called the “Central Dogma” of biology—about how information gets from genes to proteins via RNA intermediates. I asked Matthew, who wrote a very nice book  about the history […]

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New Mexico school standards water down evolution, geology, and climate change

New Mexico school standards water down evolution, geology, and climate change

Mother Jones has an article by Andy Kroll about how the state of New Mexico has watered down a widespread and excellent secondary school science curriculum (grades kindergarden through 12): the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) developed in conjunction with National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of […]

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Readers’ wildlife photos

Readers’ wildlife photos

I see that yesterday’s photo post was a repeat of one posted barely a week before. I blame jet lag, not senility. Today we return (I hope) to all new photos—of Lepidoptera. First, from reader Don Bredes, we have “two caterpillars: one good, one bad”. His notes are indented: Found this Black swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio […]

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Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning; It’s Tuesday, when the work week ahead looks long and daunting; and it’s September 19, 2017, National Butterscotch Pudding Day. Enough said about that vile dessert. And it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day. RRRRRRRR!!!! Kiss the black spot! (Is that good enough?) Again, it’s one of those days that not a lot happened […]

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A “Dear Reza” note from a Bangladeshi woman

A “Dear Reza” note from a Bangladeshi woman

The three Muslim countries touted by Reza Aslan as “progressive” are Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. Over the past couple weeks I’ve written about the oppression that Islam has exerted in Indonesia and Malaysia (granted, sharia law isn’t enforced everywhere). That leaves Bangladesh. And that’s where Zerin Firoze comes in: a woman from Bangladesh who gave […]

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Beautiful white giraffe and white calf

Beautiful white giraffe and white calf

Since both mom and calf are white, and the chance she mated with another white giraffe are low, this is probably a dominant form of whiteness. It’s not albinism, which is recessive, nor do the animals have the pink eyes of albinos. It could be leucism, which stops the migration of pigment-containing cells into the […]

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