Tangled Bank #115: The awesome level is over 9000!

10/01/2008 | 12:32 AM | Evolved Rationalist

Welcome to the 115th edition of the Tangled Bank, a biweekly blog carnival featuring the best science and medicine posts in the blogosphere. The name of this carnival was taken from Charles Darwin's famous metaphor:

It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.
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Onwards, science soldiers - let's get on with the show!
  • To get things going, how about some sex? Susan Johnson at The Gallimaufriologist has a post up in which she explains light pattern mimicry between firefly species in order to get food and sex.
  • From the aptly-named Behe Fails Weblog, Glen Davidson brings us a post answering Behe regarding eye evolution, where he points out how vertebrates have highly-modified cilia in their photoreceptors; which is as accidental a fact as the fact that cilia are made up of cytoplasmic transport machinery. tl;dr: The eye is an accident throughout, so have some lulz at Behe's expense.
  • Larry Ferlazzo posts about a series of online science interactives that are environment-related. Do check those awesome links out!
  • In the post "In Response to an Animal Rights Apologist", Chris at A Free Man brings a rational slant to the heated issue of animal "rights".
    Most animal rights campaigners are earnest, if in my opinion misguided, people with a real concern for animal welfare. Many of them are unknowingly being led by wild-eyed, violent, extremists that have no concern for the truth. They use shock tactics and horrifying images to mislead compassionate people. They have less regard for human life than they do for animal life.
  • Over at Highlight Health, Walter Jessen discusses how a large-scale, multi-dimensional analysis of the genomic characteristics of glioblastoma provides new insights into the roles of several genes and defines core biological pathways altered in tumor development.
  • More lulz are to be had, this time at theologian Alvin Plantinga's expense. Daniel Floren of Unreasonable Faith debunks Plantinga's assertion that "one cannot rationally accept both evolution and naturalism."
  • At Mors Dei, Jared Cormier reviews what we know about Agkistrodon species. Did you know that Anolis carolinensis is known for it’s ability to change color based upon its mood, and like most iguanids, does “pushups” instead of physical conflict in most cases? Talk about awesome.
  • If food is more your thing, get ready for some food science! Brian has a post on searing meat over at The Off Season Recipe Blog.
  • Over at his blog, Mr. McGehee has a homework resource up for the 6th and 9th graders that he teaches. Ah, it brings back memories...fond and otherwise.
  • Greg Laden posts a review of a paper on how human societies tend to be at least a little polygynous. Shock! Horror!
  • Diane at Science Made Cool reports on the annual chameleon Furcifer labordi. (I have a terrible fear of lizards and lizard-like creatures, and the photo of the chameleon on that page actually did make me shudder. The lulz is on me this time.)
  • Jeremy Cherfas at Another Blasted Weblog asks an important but often overlooked question: Why does it matter that we don’t understand as much as we think we do? This post really got me thinking, so I would recommend that you put your thinking caps on and check it out.
  • Over at Aetiology, Tara Smith wonders if Obama's goal to provide support to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015 is attainable or merely a lofty goal.
  • Larry Moran of Sandwalk discusses the number of genes in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. A new nematode genome sequence has just been published and the estimates of gene number in that genome are slightly higher at 23,500 genes. Thus, it looks like the simple nematodes have as many or more genes than much more complex looking humans. How can that be? OH NOES!!
  • Scicurious at Neurotopia blogs about how the brain predicts reward and how conditioned stimulus learning takes place.
  • Meanwhile, Lou, FCD at Crowded Head, Cozy Bed blogs his biology class. Among the topics covered are the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and the structure of the eukaryotic cell. There is also an animated demonstration of the Charles Brown Structural and Cellular Inscription and Basic Biology Lesson Extraction method of cell diagramming.
  • This November, Colorado will put a referendum on its ballot to define conception as life's beginning. Ames at Submitted to a Candid World posts about how the result will be shockingly unconstitutional.
That has been some delicious cake. The next edition of the Tangled bank will be at Pro-science on the 15th of October. Send your submissions to pzmyers(at)gmail(dot)com for great justice.

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