Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

So, I’ve been reading a ton of scientific literature on speciation and patterns of diversity recently for my PhD work. This author keeps popping up all over the place on numerous articles and I can’t seem to quell the laughter every time I see his name.

You will know when you see it.


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Man… I just don’t get how this sort of thing can happen today. Especially not in a relatively developed country.

A petition to remove references to evolution from high-school textbooks claimed victory last month after the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) revealed that many of the publishers would produce revised editions that exclude examples of the evolution of the horse or of avian ancestor Archaeopteryx. The move has alarmed biologists, who say that they were not consulted. – Article

Ironically, I send all of my PCR reactions to the South Korean branch of the DNA sequencing company Macrogen located in Seoul for sequencing…

The campaign was led by the Society for Textbook Revise (STR), which aims to delete the “error” of evolution from textbooks to “correct” students’ views of the world, according to the society’s website. The society says that its members include professors of biology and high-school science teachers.

Who is anyone to personally decide what is or isn’t “error” in the scientific realm, but for the realm of science itself not some group of religious idiots? I’d love to see a list of these ‘professors of biology’ and ‘high-school science teachers’, as well as a list of their IQs.

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So the Transit of Venus is occurring right now as I write this. It’ll be the last chance any of us have of seeing this in the flesh, or like me, watching it over the internet in the flesh, unless we live past about 150 until the next one occurs.

For those wanting to view it at home without having to stare straight up at the sun here’s a quick video on how to use some binoculars to project and image of it onto some cardboard.

You can also watch it live streamed online on this page.

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Sharks are interesting creatures, and in more recent times it’s been discovered that they like having their noses rubbed, which can lead to a state of hypnosis or ‘tonic immobility’. They can also go into this state when turned upside down with shark researchers often taking advantage of this physiological phenomenon when studying these animals (see the guys on the Discovery Channel working on Great White Sharks).

This is believed to occur because of the vast number of sensory pores in the noses of sharks, called ampullae of Lorenzini, which are used to detect electric signals from muscle movement in animals around them. These sensory organs are overstimulated when touched and lead to the shark falling into a state of ‘tonic immobility’, whether because they enjoy it immensely, simply become temporarily paralysed, or otherwise I’m yet to ascertain. They can remain in this state for up to 15 minutes.

I did a quick search on Google.com and it lead me to a video on YouTube.com that turned out to be this same guy doing this with these sharks.

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Want to have your brain blown for a few minutes today? Dip your head in some physics, and realise that there’s no such thing as pink. Scientifically speaking, that is: it’s just something our brain makes up.

MinutePhysics puts it in predictably concise terms: all colours correspond to wavelengths of light. But there’s no wavelength in there for pink! Instead, it’s a combination of neural trickery — our brains strip green out of the spectrum to fill in for pink. Brains!

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So I spotted this large skull in the museum’s mammal collection last week and had a closer look to see what it was. It belonged to a leopard seal, Hydrurga leptonyx (a pretty cool scientific name!). But that wasn’t the coolest bit. When I looked down to see by whom and where it had been collected I saw it was retrieved by Douglas Mawson and crew on his expedition to the Antarctic around 100 years ago (1911-1914)!

You would have probably seen documentaries on these guys around the Antarctic slaughtering penguins willy nilly. They’re pretty ferocious seals.

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I recently stumbled across this link to an article called 6 Terrifying Ways Crows Are Way Smarter Than You Thinkwhich is pretty interesting. I definitely recommend having a read. Then I had a friend post this to me on FB (thanks Kent). It’s effectively a video of a crow, somewhere in Russia guessing from the language I can hear in the background, snowboarding with some piece of rubbish on a snow covered roof. Blew my mind!

Next time someone calls you a ‘bird-brain’ you can point them to this article and video!

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