19 June 2009

Weekly sampler 24

1. Get your genome sequenced for $48,000. I would so do this. In the meantime, we bought the Matheson family DNA test for my dad for Father's Day.

2. I'm following this series at Siris: Philosophical Sentences explained. You know the old chestnuts: Cogito ergo sum, God is dead, virtue is its own reward, cleanliness is next to godliness... heh. Brandon tells us where they came from and a little about them. Latest installment is Santayana's famous quote etched at Dachau.

3. A very cool illusion that, like all good ones, tells us something interesting about how the brain processes visual information. Don't click till you're ready to follow these instructions: display the image on your computer screen so that you can slowly back away from the screen and still see the image. The idea is to view it up close then back up at least a few meters.

4. Two of my favorite bloggers, John Lynch (of Satan's University) and John Wilkins (from Down Under) have left ScienceBlogs and set up shop independently. Lynch formerly blogged at Stranger Fruit and his new place is called a simple prop. Wilkins is an important antidote to brainless anti-religious bellowings from Coyne and like-minded simps. Both are skeptics who know a lot about evolution. Recent important posts: Lynch on The Roots of ID and Wilkins on The Demon Spencer.

5. Strangest species discovered in the last year. The ghost slug wins for weirdness, but the big news is that someday we might be able to drink decaf that's still coffee.

6. Becoming Creation is an important blog by a homeschooler, evolutionary creationist, accomplished biologist and good guy: Doug Hayworth. Up right now is an interview with Denis Lamoureux, author of Evolutionary Creation.

7. A recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education presents a very interesting take on teaching science in the context of religion (and other social influences). The concluding paragraph:

Science professors should explicitly engage the rich social and ethical context of the subjects that they teach, engaging new generations of students in the science that so many now fear and reject. A careful, thoughtful approach to teaching the sensitive issue of evolution represents merely the beginning of a challenging, less-traveled-by path, but one that could, nevertheless, make all the difference.
8. My research concerns some very interesting proteins called formins. Michael Behe's scholarship includes a focus on the malaria parasite, P. falciparum. A recent paper reports that a formin protein in P. falciparum is critically involved in the process by which the parasite invades red blood cells. I always knew that Professor Behe and I were destined to be collaborators.

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