Category Archives: Evolution

Science State Standards Signify Success: Alabama Versus Massachusetts

Fortunately for you, dear reader, I couldn’t figure out how to have every word in this post begin with the letter S. Anyway, onto to science education. I would take the education reformers more seriously if they would face up … Continue reading

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Heuristics Are Not a Cognitive Flaw, But a Necessity in an Uncertain World

So says economist Gerd Gigerenzer. As far as I’m concerned, this video is essential viewing for not only economists, but also biologists, especially those interested in behavior. As one behavioral ecologist I know once quipped, “I don’t believe in optimal … Continue reading

Posted in Ecology, Economics, Evolution | 3 Comments

A Question for Education ‘Reformers’ About Tennessee’s “Monkey Bill”

Do you give a shit? If you haven’t heard, the Great State of Tennessee, in a effort to inflict reversible (hopefully) mental retardation on the children entrusted to its educational system, has passed legislation that “encourages teachers to present the … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Evolution, Fucking Morons, Global Warming, The War on Science | 1 Comment

NYC Department of Education Loses Its F-cking Mind

And that is the polite way of putting it. According to CBSNewYork, New York City’s Department of Education has a list of words it would like to remove from tests (boldface mine): Fearing that certain words and topics can make … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Evolution, Fucking Morons | 7 Comments

Nothing in Movement Conservatism Makes Sense Except in the Light of Creationism: Global Warming and Educational ‘Balance’

The reason I keep bastardizing biologist Theodosius Dobzhanky’s aphorism about the importance of evolution is that creationism is so daffy that it makes movement conservatives’ tactics and methods crystal clear (that there’s significant overlap between movement conservatives and creationists is … Continue reading

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Obama and Why Rhetoric Matters: Nothing Makes Sense in Movement Conservatism Except in the Light of Creationism

Once again, with apologies to Theodosius Dobzhansky. Rick Perlstein explains why liberals and progressives are so bothered by Obama’s failure of rhetoric (boldface mine; emphasis original): Instead, his favorite campaign line on the Republican record was a story about competence: … Continue reading

Posted in Conservatives, Democrats, Evolution | 1 Comment

So How Will the Ag Lobby Explain This?

A brand spanking new paper in mBio describes how a clone of MRSA (the bacterium methicillin rensitive Staphylococcus aureus), known as ST398, long-associated with agriculture including pigs gained its methicillin and tetracylcine resistance. Surprise! It happened in the agricultural setting. … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Antibiotics, Evolution, Microbiology, MRSA | 4 Comments

Los Cubanos!

Amazingly, all of these snails belong to one species, Polymita picta (from the Harvard Museum of Natural History): I realize this is from an exhibit on coloration in nature, but if HMHN wanted to do this right, it would put … Continue reading

Posted in Evolution, Genetics, Museums etc. | Comments Off on Los Cubanos!

Why Intelligent Design Should Not Be Taught in High School

Last week, a long time reader pointed my attention to two blog posts by the Washington Post‘s Jay Matthews, who argues that creationism should be taught to advanced biology students by qualified teachers. Matthews has been flogging this horse for … Continue reading

Posted in Creationism, Education, Evolution | 2 Comments

Salmonella, E. coli, and Plasmids, Oh My! Solving the Plasmid Persistence Problem and the Virtues of Open Non-Equilibrium Models

Ed Yong has some very good coverage of a recent PNAS paper that describes how bacterial mini-chromosomes, known as plasmids and that often carry disease-related or antibiotic resistance genes, can jump from bacterium to bacterium at really high rates when … Continue reading

Posted in E. coli, Evolution, Plasmids, Salmonella | 3 Comments