Monday, October 04, 2010

Bits and Pieces - October 4, 2010

Teh Stupid Division: We did such a great job on our inadvertent experiment of pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, let's see what else we can f*** up. Update: Russia's thinking big too.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. I don't understand what the people who issued the terror alert for Europe hope to accomplish if they won't say what the danger is.

Today's news not in the MSM: China's lunar mission.

Not so much in the MSM: terror trial in New York. Odd juxtaposition (or nonjuxtaposition) with the encouragement to be very afraid.

Student Brutality Division: The American West and Gin and Tacos on Tyler Clementi's suicide and potential punishment of his harassers.

Watch as the Supreme Court makes the law disappear.

Good News Division (yes, there is some!): Ptolemy's map of Germania deciphered.

Americans don't want to go to war with Iran.

Evolution among the trilobites.
The take-home message isn't that trilobites are cool (they are), but that this brings out a very important point about evolution, and a good refutation of the old creationist canard, "if evolution is true where are the half-way transitionals? The half reptile-half bird?"

What these results show, is that evolution doesn't happen to all features at the same time, or at the same rate, producing a neat half-and-half transitional form. Some features change relatively rapidly (the expansion of the frontal glabella), some features change relatively slowly (head width to length ratio), and some don't change at all (the distance from the back of the eye to axial furrow distance as a ratio of head length). So there isn't a transitional which has all features exactly half way between the ancestral and descendant forms. What we find are transitionals with a mix of features depending on the rates at which those features are changing. We should not expect to find exact half-and-half transitionals. Evolution doesn't work that way.
The Russians continue to be willing to talk about joint missile defense.

Too good not to embed:

I have a confession and apology to make. I get some of the "Bits and Pieces" links from my friends on Twitter and Facebook, as well as from their blogs. But all that is beginning to run together, so I'm not as conscientious about giving credit as I used to be. And if you want to follow me on Twitter, I'm @cherylrofer.

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