Posted on September 02, 2014 * Comments

I love desktop sticky notes. I use them for everything, including keeping track of ideas for Misconception Monday posts. At the top of the stack is this: “Things that people think are controversial but aren’t (peppered moth, horse evolution, embryos, etc.).” I realize, however, that these topics aren’t exactly misconceptions as much as they are examples of what happens when a little bad journalism or sloppy science runs amok. But they’re still worth talking about, so I’ve opted to go ahead anyway.

Posted on September 01, 2014 * Comments

This week on Fossil Friday, I went out on a limb and gave you what I thought would be an easy paw of an answer. But no—people actually found this one tricky! We got a vote for a Dimetrodon and a vote for a Eusuchia, but a mystery guest was the first to get the closest with “cave bear.” And it turns out it is a bear—a short-faced bear (Arctodus sp.). 

Posted on August 29, 2014 * Comments

Worried that K-12 students aren't learning about climate change? Guess what—neither are college grads. Grads with BS and MS and PhD degrees in biology, ecology, and related subjects. At least, it seems that way.

At a recent Ecological Society of America conference, I interviewed scores of upper division students, recent college grads, and ecology professors who dropped by NCSE's booth.

Posted on August 29, 2014 * Comments

This week on the Fossil Friday, I give you one more item from our fossil friend, Gerald. This one I love—long, thin phalanges with nails that are deeply in need of a manicure. Can you tell from this photo what it was? Any guesses what it ate? How it moved? Where it lived?

Posted on August 29, 2014 * Comments

I really wanted this next installment to be a Well Said! … but then I found this short video in the It’s Okay To Be Smart series, produced by PBS Digital Studios, and I couldn’t resist. Can someone please tell me, if it's okay to be smart (and of course, it is), why can't it be okay to be accurate?

Posted on August 28, 2014 * Comments

In my last post, “The Curious Incident of the Fly in the Night,” I told a story about Mimi Shirasu-Hiza as an example of how scientists sometimes find that—in Shirasu-Hiza’s words—“what might look like ‘noise’ is potentially ‘signal’.’” Noting that her fruit flies were more likely to get sick and die if they were infected at nighttime led her to important discoveries about the effects of circadian rhythm on immune response.

Posted on August 28, 2014 * Comments

William Jennings Bryan (1902)

I’m continuing to discuss a strange misquotation of Charles Darwin by William Jennings Bryan: “I deserved to be called an atheist.”

Posted on August 26, 2014 * Comments

William Jennings Bryan (1902)

There shouldn’t be anything shocking about the fact that William Jennings Bryan, the leader of the antievolution movement in the United States in the 1920s, misquoted Darwin.

Posted on August 25, 2014 * Comments

This past week on Fossil Friday, I presented a fossil from our fan Gerald Wilgus that was as big as a hippo! But it wasn't a hippo. It was the rhino, Teleoceras. Dave Puskala was the first to figure this out.