Let me begin by saying that while I’m not a Luddite, I’m also not a technology whiz. I’m one of those less-than-cool people who still use Facebook, have no idea what WhatsApp is, and don’t know which expresses approval—swiping left or swiping right. I recently asked my way-cooler-than-me au pair to show me SnapChat and I didn’t really get it. So it should come as no surprise that while most of the rest of the world was playing Pokémon GO, I remained happy in a cocoon of ignorance.

+ read

The New York Times published eight essays as part of its “Week of Misconceptions” series in early April.

+ read

I have a three-year-old daughter who is obsessed with Curious George. I think I can recite every word to every one of the 102 episodes, which means that I know roughly 102 scenarios in which the Man with the Yellow Hat tells George, “Be a good little monkey,” which in turn means my daughter is familiar with the 102 scenes in her favorite show that make her mother yell “APE!” Yes, Curious George is not a monkey; he is a chimpanzee, which makes him an ape, as the Man with the Yellow Hat should well know as a scientific illustrator of some kind and with a scientist (who, alas, wears a lab coat) for a best friend. But I am digressing a little bit because ape vs. monkey is not the subject of this post. The subject is:

Misconception: Humans evolved from monkeys.

+ read

In my introductory post, I presented one of many common mistakes made when speaking about evolution. I argued that writing and talking about evolution demands vigilance to avoid finicky issues. In that case, it was inferring a selection pressure for a given trait: Why might longer fingers be better than shorter ones?

Proving that even the MVPs of science can get it wrong when it comes to evolution,

+ read