Posted on May 02, 2016 * Comments

My day as a "scientist in the classroom" was a fun, collaborative experience with Robin Bulleri, an energetic AP Biology teacher, and her awesome class. Once we were connected through NCSE's Scientists in the Classroom program, Robin and I discussed what aspect of evolution I would cover with her class. As a visiting scientist, we decided it made the most sense for me to talk about the tools and evidence that scientists use to study evolution.

Posted on April 29, 2016 * Comments

We Can Do It!From http://climate.nasa.gov/blog/2438

Some mind-numblingly painful non-science below. Indeed, from one of the items: “It’s quite an achievement, really, to be so wrong i[n] so many ways on so simple a subject in so few words.” Feels like there’s a lot of that going around lately......

On the other hand, Susan Hassol, interviewed on a NASA blog below, says there are plenty of reasons for optimism, and we need to make sure to give people reason to believe that we can tackle climate change. We’ve cleaned up our messes before—remember “Burn on, big river, burn on”? Well, the Cuyahoga is no longer flammable. So chin up, and get to work!

Posted on April 29, 2016 * Comments

Fossils!

My, what great big teeth you have! And double-fanged, too! Be the first correctly to identify the possessor of these pearly whites in the comments below and be the object of ever new and increasing admiration and awe.

Posted on April 28, 2016 * Comments

Oh sure! Now you tell me she's not really a pilgrim. There’s a lot of hyperventilation in the science world lately about reproducibility. Oh, sorry, is my bias showing? If you read this in Scientific American, or this in The New York Times, or this in The Economist, you might think that the entire scientific enterprise is an exercise in futility, or perhaps, even, a world of utterly depraved carelessness, incompetence, and blind ambition.

Posted on April 28, 2016 * Comments

Frustrated penguin is frustrated. (CC BY-SA 3.0) The false dichotomy of the title that so infuriates me is the idea that you can be either accessible and engaging or accurate and scientific—but not both. It was a Science Friday interview with Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl that occasioned my furor, as described in part 1 and part 2.

Posted on April 27, 2016 * Comments

Detail from title page of Robinson's Infidelity Answered

Leafing through Robert Patterson’s The Errors of Evolution (third edition, 1893), I noticed a really silly argument in a footnote. To be fair, it isn’t Patterson’s argument; it occurs in the editorial preface to the second edition, due to H. L. Hastings (1831–1899), a Boston-based evangelist and publisher. But it isn’t Hastings’s argument, either; he credits it to J. B. Robinson’s Infidelity Answered. The full title of Robinson’s book turns out to be Infidelity Answered by the Father-God and His Family (1875), and Robinson himself is identified on its title page as the “Rev. John B. Robinson, A.M., President of New-Hampshire Conference Seminary and Female College,” a Methodist institution in Tilton, New Hampshire. Robinson was born in 1834 and died in 1912. Take a deep breath, because it’s about to get really silly.

Posted on April 27, 2016 * Comments

As I was just saying in part 1, I was starting to feel nervous while listening to Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl, interviewed on NPR’s Science Friday.

Posted on April 26, 2016 * Comments

Natural selection is part of every state’s high school science standards, but that doesn’t mean we teachers are always successful in connecting our students with the topic. If your students are like mine, I’m sure you get some disconcerting responses when you ask them to explain how a feature of a species, like the dark color of peppered moths, could have evolved by natural selection. For example, one student wrote, “The moth most likely changed color due to the fact that its environment did as well.

Posted on April 26, 2016 * Comments

I am, as regular readers of the Science League of America know, a regular Science Friday listener. I don’t always listen on Friday, but I do always listen, eventually.

Posted on April 25, 2016 * Comments

A class action lawsuit over an ounce of pepper? Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

Screen grab from April 22, 2016: can you spot the problem?