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January 2008 Archives

One of the questions in the 2007 90717 paper was on an example of coevolution in bats & flowers. I had a look at the original reference and it's such a neat example, I thought you might be interested in hearing a bit more detail about it.

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Back to the dinosaur/caveman milk ad. (If you followed the link you may have found & watched a whole bunch of similar ads. All quite funny - I like the dino trying to wipe squashed caveman off its foot, in the one I linked to! - but all based on a (sadly) fairly common misconception about the history of life on Earth.

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I'm going to be off-campus for the next month - in fact, I'll be out of NZ & travelling in Europe :-) While I intend to post an item a couple of times a week while I'm away, when I can get to a computer (no, really! I do!), there might be the occasional lapse. So please bear with me; things will be back to normal by the last week of February - & if you're lucky I won't subject you to too many holiday photos!

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A couple of science concepts that people often seem to have difficulty with are fact and theory: what the terms mean, and how we distinguish between them. One of my scientific heroes, the late Stephen Jay Gould, covered this very well in a 1981 essay. I've just been re-reading it & thought I'd post the most directly relevant section here.

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A headline in a recent edition of the New Zealand Herald caught my eye: "Revealed: a dino's bugbear". The article kicks off: Biting insects might have killed off the dinosaurs, rather than a cataclysmic meteor impact, a new theory claims. Scientists now say disease spread by ancient mosquitoes, mites and ticks was probably the major factor that finished off the extinct reptiles. Gosh! (Said in a somewhat cynical manner...)

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I found this on Pharyngula & thought I'd share it - it's a catchy little number & might reinforce a concept or two. (And a little frivolity never hurt anyone!)

 

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Or should that be 'octopi'?

Anyway, I just came across this story, about an octopus that was given a Mr Potatohead toy for Chrismas - and not only plays with it for extended periods, but gets aggressive if keepers try to remove it from his tank. (Thanks, PZ!)

Awwww.

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... this is rather funny :-)

But - what's wrong with it? Critique the science, not the ad's effectiveness!

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Another argument says that evolution cannot possibly be tested, and what possible utilisation can there be? Well, OK, that's two for the price of one.

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... but after one of last year's weekend Schol sessions, someone asked me how you get to be a uni lecturer/researcher ie what would you have to do to get there. And we talked about it a bit. And now I'm searching round for a blog topic & thought, you're all probably heading for some sort of science career, so you might be interested in the answer too.

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Recent Comments

  • Alison Campbell: a cat may look at a cephalopod! read more
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  • Stephen: Snap or is that Schnapps! I'm reading The Drunken Botanist read more
  • Alison Campbell: Perhaps you should be promoting 'liquid oxygen' enemas for maximum read more
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  • herr doktor bimler: Speaking of fermentation: http://eusa-riddled.blogspot.com/2013/08/smut-dont-drink-it.html read more
  • Alison Campbell: an army of post-docs looking for that place to settle read more
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