What We’re Reading
Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful holiday, and put into practice Josh Rosenau’s helpful advice if there was a monster at your Thanksgiving table. We’ve got a nice collection of articles for you this week, from tardigrades to koalas, and from Iraq to Miami to the halls of Congress. Enjoy!
- The Young Iraqis Promoting Evolutionary Theory and Rational Thought to Save Iraq, Niqash, January 10, 2015 (but still timely) — Young Iraqis are working to save their country by, among other things, translating books about evolution and other sciences into Arabic. (Thanks to Salman Hameed for the link.)
- The Koala in the Coal Mine, TakePart, November 30, 2015 — Koalas are outstandingly cute, but they're also outstandingly at risk from climate change, Todd Woody explains. (What about the drop bear, though?)
- The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood, by David Montgomery, BioLogos, December 1, 2015 — Mark Harris of the University of Edinburgh contributes a thoughtful (if tardy) review of Montgomery’s book. It is interesting to compare his reaction to NCSE’s Steven Newton’s take (PDF) in RNCSE in 2013. A sample (PDF) from the book is available on NCSE’s website.
- The Genome of the Tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini, bioRxiv preprint, December 1, 2015 — Contrary to a recent study (discussed in Tardigrades, World’s Toughest Animals, Borrowed a Sixth of Their DNA from Microbes), Georgios Koutsovoulos and his colleagues report that they “do not find support for massive horizontal gene transfer” in tardigrades. “The great tragedy of Science—the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”
- Steven Vogel, Biologist Who Studied How Things Move, Dies at 75, The New York Times, December 4, 2015 — Sad news of the death of a professor at Duke University who was the founder of comparative biomechanics, the author of Cat’s Paws and Catapults: Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People, and Steve #63 of NCSE’s Project Steve.
- Water as a Climate-Change Gut Punch in a City Defined by an Ocean, The New York Times, December 4, 2015 — An artist brings sea level rise and climate change to Miami in a troubling, but gorgeous, performance art piece.
- Chief of House Science Panel Picks Battle Over Climate Paper, The New York Times, December 4, 2015 — The Gray Lady is now covering Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R–Texas) efforts to force scientists and government officials to turn over emails relating to a peer-reviewed paper published in Science. The paper definitively refutes climate change-deniers’ favorite (and already discredited) claim that global warming has been on “pause” for 17 years. Read my posts about Smith’s campaign here and the scientific community’s reaction here.