Posted on May 09, 2014 * Comments

Now that spring has arrived, I thought I'd share a leaf that might seem a little too familiar!  Well it should—it's from a genus that is found all over North America today. Its closest living species is still found in the Southeast. Can you tell me the modern species, as well as this ancient one that dates back to Miocene? Their names are almost the same!

First person to correctly identify the fossil wins bragging rights for the week!

Posted on May 08, 2014 * Comments

Last Sunday's Cosmos took on the related concepts of extinction and climate change, topics I’ve had on my mind since reviewing The Sixth Extinction and interviewing author Elizabeth Kolbert.

Posted on May 08, 2014 * Comments

Darwin: A Graphic Biography

In part 1, after a cryptic reference to The Mariner’s Mirror, I was discussing how, while writing a review of Eugene Byrne and Simon Gurr’s excellent Darwin: A Graphic Biography for Evolution: Education and Outreach, I became preoccupied with two questions of underwhelming historical significance. Did Captain FitzRoy of the Beagle have a mustache? And if not, why might Gurr—whose “depictions of historical figures are clearly based on a study of contemporary portraits and photographs,” as I approvingly wrote in my review—have thought otherwise?

Posted on May 08, 2014 * Comments

During the panel discussion at the White House Tuesday about the release of the National Climate Assessment (NCA) report, I admitted that what keeps me up late at night is worrying that we haven’t done everything possible to prepare our children for the climate changes that are already happening. What gives me hope is how teachers and students are finding creative ways to learn about and address climate change.

Posted on May 07, 2014 * Comments

When NCSE started its climate change program just over two years ago, we encountered a lot of skepticism–but not from the usual suspects. We expected the climate change denial folks to argue that there was limited science behind climate change, so how could we advocate teaching of it? We also anticipated some concern among our faithful followers regarding our choice to expand beyond our original topic of evolution.

Posted on May 06, 2014 * Comments

Biblical fundamentalists and their opponents on the extreme opposite end of the spectrum of belief often share one significant assumption: in order to contribute to modern science you have to be an atheist.

Posted on May 06, 2014 * Comments

Darwin: A Graphic Biography

It is a credit to the professionalism of the staff at the California State Library in Sacramento that my request for a bound volume of the journal The Mariner’s Mirror from 1975—a request, I’m willing to wager, unique in their experience—raised not a single eyebrow. Had they asked, though, I would have been willing to explain that the ultimate reason that I needed a couple of obscure papers from a journal devoted to detailing the historical minutia of the Royal Navy was that Skip Evans left NCSE in 2004 without finishing all of the projects to which he was committed.

Posted on May 05, 2014 * Comments


Photo Credit: Scott..? via Compfight cc

Posted on May 02, 2014 * Comments

I recently wrote a review of New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, and had a chance to chat with Kolbert about the book for about half an hour.