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PS. Your Favorite Operating System Sucks

The Evolution of the Desktop 1984-2007
My oh my, how far we've come.
posted by fenriq on Aug 13, 2006 - 60 comments

More Beautiful Women Than Handsome Men

A new study by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa suggests there are more beautiful women than handsome men, finding that attractive people are significantly more likely to have a daughter than a son. Previous Kanazawa research found big and tall parents, scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and violent men tend to have sons; while nurses, social workers and kindergarten teachers tend to have daughters. [Via]
posted by CodeBaloo on Aug 4, 2006 - 57 comments

The Origins and Evolution of Intelligence

The origins and evolution of human intelligence: parasitic insects? viruses? mushrooms? neural darwinism? foraging? machiavellian competition? emergence? or something else?
posted by MetaMonkey on Jul 24, 2006 - 26 comments

who could be?

Against Pandas: "Pandas are endangered because they are utterly incompetent... Pandas are badly designed, undersexed, overpaid and overprotected. They went up an evolutionary cul-de-sac and it is too late to reverse."
posted by kliuless on Jul 2, 2006 - 57 comments

Giraffes, bonobos, and manatees oh my!

450 Species of homosexual animals and counting ... Fascinating Seed article concerning the existence of homosexual animals and Darwin's conception of heterosexuality.
posted by AllesKlar on Jun 21, 2006 - 236 comments

Dogs Love Trucks. Beavers Love Trucks. Dogs Love Beavers.

Do you like pickup trucks? How about automotive history and evolution? Here are some pictures of old pickups, from the blatantly-obviously named oldcarandtruckpictures.com. And since I got complaints on IRC that the wheels weren't big enough...
posted by Eideteker on Jun 14, 2006 - 11 comments

Meet the newspeak, same as the oldspeak

When taking lessons in English from the BBC, be sure to follow up with remedial "playground-speak"
posted by Mr. Six on Jun 12, 2006 - 198 comments

As the designer moves into high gear, things heat up...

The bats and frogs and Montane voles,
The squirrels, bugs and garden moles,
The creepers, flyers and the swimmers,
All hope that they will be the winners.
 
When we are gone, through choice or fate
'Twill be a cause to celebrate.
Will old return or new arrive,
When Gaia once again can thrive?
posted by missbossy on Jun 9, 2006 - 23 comments

Men will be men

Sexual ornaments grow out of all proportion It seems that men will be men throughout the animal kindom, not just our little lonely corner of of it. Most body parts grow proportionally with the rest of the body as individuals of a species become larger, although scientists have long known that visual cues of reproductive prowess are a special case. But is this the case with everyone?
posted by pezdacanuck on May 23, 2006 - 41 comments

metafilter: anti-microbial snot mixed in with a lot of fat and sugar

the origin of fun bags. The age old question of where breasts came from may have finally been answered!

[boobs] first evolved as an immunoprotective gland that produced bacteriocidal secretions to protect the skin and secondarily eggs and infants, and that lactation is a highly derived kind of inflammation response. [...] Milk is actually a kind of anti-microbial snot mixed in with a lot of fat and sugar.

All vertebrates have an innate immune system consisting of molecules which are hostile to microbes. It appears that the nutritional content of the milk is a product of mutation and repurposing of these immunological molecules! Xanthine oxidoreductase, which produces natural preservatives and disinfectants is also responsible for the essential role of encapsulating fat droplets which promotes suspension in water. Lactose (sugar) "requires a specific synthetic complex consisting of β-1,4 galactosyltransferase and α-lactalbumin for its production." As it turns out, α-lactalbumin is a modified (mutated) version of an awesome little molecule that literally skins bacteria alive - lysozyme!
posted by Tryptophan-5ht on May 20, 2006 - 127 comments

Kicking a dead horse with mammalian feet evolved from ancient mammal-like reptiles that, in turn, evolved from fish.

Evolution just won't go away. New evidence suggests the development of the human embryo mirrors our species' course of evolution. This guy seems to be stirring up all kinds of trouble these days. It makes me wonder: does this new information help determine the quality of being human? From the link: "Another supposed vagary produced by the abortion issue is the question as to when the embryo or fetus becomes human. Rivers Singleton, Jr. states in his article in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, that, for some, conception defines the point of being human, whereas, for others, various periods of development suffice to 'distinguish human from non-humans.'"
posted by narwhal on May 19, 2006 - 41 comments

In his cups, too, he had fitful but almost demoniac inspirations for hidden truth

Another black eye for ID (youtube link): Zoologist Dan-Eric Nilsson of the University of Lund in Sweden explains how the complex human eye could have evolved gradually from a primitive light-sensitive eye-spot. Via Swift.
posted by flabdablet on May 10, 2006 - 50 comments

This is fiction

Writing has been around for a long time, but that doesn't mean we've mastered it yet. Want to make fiction? Perhaps it makes itself, perhaps it makes you... Self reference breeding infinite hyperrealities. Which world will you choose?
posted by 0bvious on May 10, 2006 - 9 comments

evolution of cooperation

evolution of cooperation apparently the evolution of cooperative behavior has been something of a rough spot for evolution researchers. Some guys (Mikhail Burtsev & Peter Turchin) developed a computer simulation that helps to explain how the essential selfishness of survival is not mutually exclusive to altruism and cooperation as well as how these behaviors can arise naturally. (further reading from google: ###)
posted by Tryptophan-5ht on May 8, 2006 - 25 comments

What did one ghost say to the other?

Get A-Life - an interesting read on artificial life and evolutionary computation, from the game of life (playable applet), through core wars, tierra and on to genetic programming. This approach has recently borne fruit to genetic programming pioneer and inventor of the scratchcard, John Koza, who last year patented his invention machine, actually a 1000 machine beowulf cluster running his software, which has itself created several inventions which have been granted patents. [See also: BBC Biotopia artificial life experiment, another odd BBC evolution game, Artificial Life Possibilities: A Star Trek Perspective]
posted by MetaMonkey on May 3, 2006 - 14 comments

Evolution: A Web Companion

Evolution: A Web Companion. 'The expanding universe is both awesome and humbling. When looking closely at nature—whether through a telescope, microscope, or computer visualization of collected data—one cannot help being struck by the intricacies and complexities observed. The magnitude of the cosmos, the power of natural forces, and the extent of deep time, however, alert us to how small and transient we are...'
Related :- The Writings of Charles Darwin (previous thread); Talk Origins; Understanding Evolution.
posted by plep on Apr 19, 2006 - 10 comments

Next up, Alyssa Milano on Fermat's last theorem

Well, this settles everything: Kirk Cameron debunks evolution.
posted by docgonzo on Apr 18, 2006 - 312 comments

Take that Intelligent Design - It's flash so it must be true

Evolution timeline (Embedded .swf). This animated story of life since about 13,700,000,000 shows everything from the big bang to the formation of the earth and the development of bacteria and other organisms to the ascent of man and humans effect on the earth. Other work discussed one year ago yesterday, what an evolution! (The animation is pretty large, you may have to scroll your screen, or just open the .swf directly)
posted by pithy comment on Apr 18, 2006 - 21 comments

The Darwin symbol has a new name.

There have been many knock offs of the Ichthys symbol. None of these symbols have caused as much controversy as the Darwin fish. Recently some scientists in Northern Canada have made a discovery that may eliminate some of that controversy, it’s called the Tiktaalik roseae.
posted by Mr_Zero on Apr 5, 2006 - 43 comments

"Inside every lawyer is the wreck of a poet."

This is Darrow,
Inadequately scrawled, with his young, old heart,
And his drawl, and his infinite paradox
And his sadness, and kindness,
And his artist sense that drives him to shape his life
To something harmonious, even against the schemes of God. [MI]
posted by amro on Mar 30, 2006 - 7 comments

Dawkin's The Selfish Gene, 30yrs On...

The night's event featured speakers Daniel C. Dennett, Matt Ridley, Sir John Krebs, Ian McEwan, and -- the man himself -- Richard Dawkins. It was, as you might suspect (based on the title), an event celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Dawkins' seminal work. If you didn't get a chance to attend, you can still read the full transcript or stream/download the audio of it in MP3 format (many thanks to Helena Cronin, founder/director of Darwin@LSE, for hosting the file). Thanks to 3QD for the link.
posted by Moody834 on Mar 26, 2006 - 20 comments

"50% do not cover evolution because they felt intimidated, saw no need to teach it, or might lose their jobs"

"I am under censure for mentioning numbers...." "I am instructed NOT to use hard numbers when telling kids how old rocks are. I am supposed to say that these rocks are VERY VERY OLD... but I am NOT to say that these Ordovician rocks are thought to be about 300 million years old."

Essentially, they are not allowing Bob to teach a certain set of scientific data in order to protect their ability to provide students the good science curriculum they do teach. The directors... have heard from them more than enough times that teaching evolution would be "political suicide".
In Arkansas, even supporters of teaching evolution feel they must hide, obfuscate, and water-down evolution.
posted by orthogonality on Mar 23, 2006 - 111 comments

The Simulacrisation of Technology into Life

As the Pentagon ousts plans to turn insects into cyber war machines you'd be forgiven for asking the question: Where does the real digital end and the faked life begin? Are we simulating life synthetically? or just speeding up an entirely natural process? Technologically engineered life is here to stay. Its not far fetched to speculate that simulacra may become all there is.
posted by 0bvious on Mar 15, 2006 - 13 comments

Are we not men?

A Kurdish family in Turkey can only walk on all fours. Some claim that their genetic defects have led to a sort of "backward evolution." An upcoming BBC documentary (pdf) will share their story.
posted by zonkout on Mar 7, 2006 - 55 comments

Helping evolution scientists preach outside the choir...

Ten things evolutionists can do to improve communication. Speaking as a battle-scarred survivor of a few battles over evolution on teh Interweb, I plead guilty to ignorance of a few of these rules. But I wonder, too, what good any of these would do in the grand scheme of things: could we expect Creationists to act as honorably, or as honestly? And what would the Flying Spaghetti Monster think?
posted by micketymoc on Feb 26, 2006 - 167 comments

A new branch in the Tree of Life

A monstrous discovery suggests that viruses, long regarded as lowly evolutionary latecomers, may have been the precursors of all life on Earth. "We haven't even begun to scratch the surface. The numbers are mind-boggling. If you put every virus particle on Earth together in a row, they would form a line 10 million light-years long. People, even most biologists, don't have a clue. The general public thinks genetic diversity is us and birds and plants and animals and that viruses are just HIV and the flu. But most of the genetic material on this planet is viruses. No question about it. They and their ability to interact with organisms and move genetic material around are the major players in driving speciation, in determining how organisms even become what they are."
posted by five fresh fish on Feb 17, 2006 - 60 comments

Toads teach evolution

... before the toads evolve into even more dangerous adversaries. So read up. Know the enemy. Consider biological warfare which may be in violation of one of those Geneva Convention thingies.
posted by ewkpates on Feb 15, 2006 - 32 comments

Inspired to the Vmax.

Metabolism of evolution information in the blogosphere.
posted by melissa may on Feb 8, 2006 - 19 comments

Some people can't bear clarity

Before the class, Crocker had told me that she was going to teach "the strengths and weaknesses of evolution." Afterward, I asked her whether she was going to discuss the evidence for evolution in another class. She said no.
A "Biology 101" class turns into a gripe session for creationists at a state school, the Northern Virginia Community College. The lecturer then whines about being discriminated against when she fails to teach the subject she's hired to teach.
posted by orthogonality on Feb 5, 2006 - 80 comments

Alpha

"Who's afraid of evolutionary biology?" (I've linked Bede before, but this piece bears a much more important message to Christians who feel it their biblical duty to get hot and bothered over evolution and origin-of-life issues.) Also see a Christian response to "Young Earth" apologetics, and the Young Earth Argument Index, both from "Old Earth" Creationists who disagree with 6-Day biblical literalism. (Note that Old Earthers may still be Intelligent Design advocates. Heaping spoonsful of salt all around.) If that's still too "Christian" for you, Talk.Origins has a summary of other Genesis interpretations.
posted by brownpau on Jan 29, 2006 - 49 comments

Intelligent Design goes overseas...

BBC News: British unconvinced on evolution "More than half the British population does not accept the theory of evolution, according to a survey. Furthermore, more than 40% of those questioned believe that creationism or intelligent design should be taught in school science lessons." Nice to know that the maxim for the UK being five years behind the US still holds true, more or less.
posted by badlydubbedboy on Jan 26, 2006 - 63 comments

You got your god in my science; You got your science in my god

The Clergy Letter Project has completed acquiring 10,000 signatures from clergy around the country. Their stated goal: For too long, the misperception that science and religion are inevitably in conflict has created unnecessary division and confusion, especially concerning the teaching of evolution. I wanted to let the public know that numerous clergy from most denominations have tremendous respect for evolutionary theory and have embraced it as a core component of human knowledge, fully harmonious with religious faith. They've declared February 12, 2006 as Evolution Sunday, a day when "hundreds of Christian churches from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science."
posted by thanotopsis on Jan 25, 2006 - 55 comments

Orson's Intelligent? Examination of Intelligent Design

A conservative Metafilter loves to hate weighs in on the issue of intelligent design being incorporated into the classroom. Some of Orson Scott Card's views have been linked to before (see here; here; and most notably here.) This time, he seems to be less reactionary and more thoughtful. This is related to many prior Mefi threads on this issue some of which include this; this; and this.
posted by bove on Jan 20, 2006 - 177 comments

Four Mothers, 3.5 Million People

Study finds that 40% of Ashkenazi Jews come from four Jewish mothers. Previously discussed on Metafilter: the peculiar genetics of Ashkenazi Jews and their impressive intellect.
posted by billysumday on Jan 13, 2006 - 153 comments

The Cute Factor

The Cute Factor: "Cute cues are those that indicate extreme youth, vulnerability, harmlessness and need, scientists say..." (NY Times registration req'd)
posted by shivohum on Jan 7, 2006 - 28 comments

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson on evolution, women, and political conspiracy theory. It's an old interview but includes some topical issues.
posted by bobbyelliott on Dec 29, 2005 - 51 comments

Intelligent Decision

Decision in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District:
The weight of the evidence clearly demonstrates, as noted, that the systemic change from "creation" to "intelligent design" occurred sometime in 1987, after the Supreme Court's important Edwards decision. This compelling evidence strongly supports Plaintiffs' assertion that ID is creationism re-labeled.

posted by orthogonality on Dec 20, 2005 - 146 comments

The concept of the Transhuman: human, the self, consciousness and their effects on the law

The first Transhuman Conference On the Law of Transhuman Persons: Whether or not you believe humans are set to evolve into gods, or AI is destined to achieve self-awareness the idea of the Transhuman is a thought provoking concept. Philosophers have debated the nature of the self, of the human for millennia. Is it time to start drafting new laws to govern all possible sentient beings on this planet? or is it all just a science of fiction? a comfortable humanist illusion?
posted by 0bvious on Dec 13, 2005 - 37 comments

Big butt? Here's why.

Why Homos have big butts, short shouts, and big leg joints: long distance running.
posted by orthogonality on Dec 12, 2005 - 36 comments

Would God flunk a first year engineering course?

Incompetent Design is yet another entry in the battle regarding the origin of humans.
posted by knave on Dec 9, 2005 - 38 comments

In Soviet Russia...

NewsFilter: Squirrels attack
posted by spinoza on Dec 1, 2005 - 57 comments

Museum of the African Diaspora

MoAD is San Francisco's newest museum. The Museum of the African Diaspora is the latest addition to the SOMA neighborhood's expanding cultural riches, and promises to be fascinating (and, as far as I can tell, unique in the world). [more inside]
posted by trip and a half on Nov 30, 2005 - 14 comments

Not so intelligent design?

Deep Time. “Once we realize that Deep Time can never support narratives of evolution, we are forced to accept that virtually everything we thought we knew about evolution is wrong.”
It’s not the latest salvo from the proponents of intelligent design... [more inside]
posted by nanojath on Nov 25, 2005 - 65 comments

Is God An Accident ? - Long Version

Despite the vast number of religions, nearly everyone in the world believes in the same things: the existence of a soul, an afterlife, miracles, and the divine creation of the universe. Recently psychologists doing research on the minds of infants have discovered two related facts that may account for this phenomenon. One: human beings come into the world with a predisposition to believe in supernatural phenomena. And two: this predisposition is an incidental by-product of cognitive functioning gone awry. Which leads to the question ...
Is God an Accident ?
This is a fascinating essary from the current Atlantic reprinted apparently in full for non-subscribers
posted by y2karl on Nov 24, 2005 - 232 comments

Life in the Undergrowth

Mating Leopard Slugs entwine - one of the untold wonders of the animal kingdom captured on video.... The BBC gets up close and personal with Life in the Undergrowth in their new wildlife documentary. A must see for any animal, insect or David Attenborough fan... (If the main vid link doesn't work for you try it from here - realplayer needed)
posted by 0bvious on Nov 23, 2005 - 32 comments

Message from the Designers

Intelligent Design. Traces of this epic masterpiece of creation can be found in all religious writings and traditions. It is to them that Moses, Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed referred. It is now time to welcome them. To your child's classroom.
posted by Otis on Nov 18, 2005 - 12 comments

The consequences of Charles Darwin's "one long argument"

Intelligent Evolution...Today we live in a less barbaric age,[than the age of Copernicus and Bruno] but an otherwise comparable disjunction between science and religion, the one born of Darwinism, still roils the public mind. Why does such intense and pervasive resistance to evolution continue 150 years after the publication of The Origin of Species, and in the teeth of the overwhelming accumulated evidence favoring it? The answer is simply that the Darwinian revolution, even more than the Copernican revolution, challenges the prehistoric and still-regnant self-image of humanity. Evolution by natural selection, to be as concise as possible, has changed everything...
posted by Postroad on Nov 12, 2005 - 75 comments

THINK!

Welcome to Idiot America: "The America of Franklin and Edison, of Fulton and Ford, of the Manhattan project and the Apollo program, the America of which Einstein wanted to be a part, seems to be enveloping itself in a curious fog behind which it's tying itself in knots over evolution, for pity's sake, and over the relative humanity of blastocysts versus the victims of Parkinson's disease."
posted by bitmage on Nov 10, 2005 - 57 comments

Kansas Schoolboard affirms Intelligent Design

Flying Spagetti Monster expelled from Kansas The Kansas School Board has decided that it knows much more about the origins of life than the combined intelligence of all the scientists on the planet, and that fiction can be taught as fact. But seriously, if you don't even understand the scientific method, what business do you have setting academic policy?
posted by gallois on Nov 8, 2005 - 187 comments

No ID for Catholics.

Newsfilter: Vatican rejects Intelligent Design. The Vatican has stated that Intelligent Design is not, in their opinion, science and they do not support it. Their announcement is a part of the effort to end the "mutual prejudice" between science and evolution.
posted by delmoi on Nov 7, 2005 - 98 comments

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