Posted on February 12, 2015 * Comments

Title page of On Growth and Form. Via Wikimedia Commons.

I was asked to give a Darwin Day talk in Manteca, California, on February 7, and with my habitual foresightedness I began to draft the talk on the afternoon of February 6. Still, since I was covering familiar territory—under the title “Ninety Years after Scopes”—it wasn’t especially difficult to write the talk. And to make matters a little easier for myself, I began with two famous lines about evolution: Daniel Dennett’s “If I were to give an award for the single best idea anyone has ever had, I’d give it to Darwin,” from his Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (1995), and Theodosius Dobzhansky’s “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” from his famous essay of the same name in The American Biology Teacher (1973). (After quoting the former line, I added, “I was once inclined to agree with Dennett. Then Trader Joe’s started selling sweet sriracha uncured bacon jerky.” At least two people in the audience made a point of writing it down.)

Posted on February 11, 2015 * Comments

A Crystal disco ball for the Disco. ‘tuteFor whatever reason, there’s a new edition of Darwin Day in America, written by John West, who runs the Discovery Institute’s creationist wing, the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture.

Posted on February 09, 2015 * Comments

Are we turning the corner on addressing climate change? After more than a century of research on human impacts on the climate system and more than twenty years after the nations of the world rallied around the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to confront the problem, have we begun to finally gain traction?  

Posted on February 09, 2015 * Comments

Reading over comments from part 1, it seems most of you did pretty well. I was also delighted to hear from one teacher whose AP biology students all scored 100%.

Posted on February 03, 2015 * Comments

Headline: Bill Deny: Science GuyNow, we all know that air pressure is a function of the atmospheric conditions, it’s a function of that. So, if there’s activity in the ball relative to the rubbing process[…] So the atmospheric conditions as well as the true equilibrium of the football is critical to the measurement. …

Posted on February 03, 2015 * Comments

Asked to contribute to the recent “How Stupid Not to Have Thought of That!” series here at the Science League of America, Warren D. Allmon took a different tack, choosing to write about a theme in Darwin’s work that is too often overlooked: the importance of “vestiges” as evidence for evolution. Allmon is the Director of the Paleontological Research Institution in Ithaca, New York, and the Hunter R. Rawlings III Professor of Paleontology in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University.

Posted on February 02, 2015 * Comments

Groundhog Day poster (1993)On this Groundhog Day, I found myself thinking about the Harold Ramis/Bill Murray classic film of the same name, and the dangerous way that climate change policy has been stuck in a loop.