Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tangled Bank #54

The Tangled Bank

Welcome y'all (as we say here in the South, Serbian or not) to the Tangled Bank. Believe it or not this is a hat-trick (or a trifecta) for me - the third time hosting this carnival, the first and the last carnival on this blog.

This post, as it will be seen by many eyes, is also the best opportunity for me to make the grand announcement that, yes, I too have been swayed by the siren song of the SEED overlords, and will be starting a brand new Coturnix franchise over on ScienceBlogs.

In about ten days from now, try this link and it will take you to my new blog there. While Circadiana and The Magic School Bus will be closed (but not deleted), Science And Politics will continue as a purely local/political blog, waxing and waning in activity in sync with the electoral cycle.

All my ideas for a creative hosting of Tangled Bank fell through as the entries poured in over the last couple of hours before the deadline. My creative ideas all depended on the ability to classify the entries into several clearly defined categories, but that is impossible today as each post is quite unique. Long gone are the days when science blogging was a Dog-And-One-Trick-Pony-Show (mixing metaphors is my hobby, as are parentheses): 5 posts debunking Creationists, 5 posts debunking global warming deniers and 5 posts discussing the latest "hot" study as reported in the New York Times. Science Blogging has diversified and matured - there are many more bloggers, each writing what they know, what they like and how they like it, which makes me very happy even if I have to resort to a traditional non-creative format for today's carnival.

Thus, the entries are included (almost exactly) in the order I received them - something that has not been done on carnivals recently. There are no hidden "Editor's Choice" entries. So, now you'll know who the slackers are...and the biggest slacker is myself, writing a post of my own at the last minute, actually after the deadline.

So, let's start. I hope you enjoy the entries as much as I did while putting this Tangled Bank together:

Always Learning, of the Wandering Visitor blog, summarizes and adds a few thoughts of his own on the "March of the penguins" documentary in Nature's Formula: A Dash of Brilliance, An Ounce of Madness. I hear another penguin movie is coming out soon, in which cartoon penguins sing and dance the Numa-Numa Dance.

Joseph of Corpus Callosum provides valuable information about the Tenkile Conservation Alliance. Tenkile what? It has to do with kangaroos, but you'll have to click on the link to learn the rest.

Patrick Francis is freakishly strong. And he likes pie. But one day he broke down and wrote A Brief History of my On-going Love Affair With Science, to be found on Science Creative Quarterly. Read it carefully. You may recognize yourself in it. Oh, and btw, I always thought that Science was a real hottie.

The lengthening of photoperiod in spring stimulates the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis in many people (I know from personal experience and introspection), but Sowmya of Shallow Thoughts to Profound Insights has a different response to the arrival of warm weather - the Allergies.

Hsien Hsien Lei of Genetics And Health wants to remind everyone that genetic testing is not inherently evil nor targeted at eliminating undesirable children: Not All Genetic Tests are Prenatal.

Burning Bush! Not any more, or so hopes Jennifer Forman Orth of Invasive Species Weblog in Live Free or Die Trying.

Reason of Fight Aging! blog appears to be getting younger and younger, and is pouring all that new youthfull energy into blogging. Check out the secret potion in Roundup on the Singularity Summit at Stanford, What Do Failing Stem Cells Contribute to Degenerative Aging?, Why We Need to Change the Approach to Aging and Rejuvenation Research, Volume 9 Number 2.

PZ Myers of Pharyngula wrote one of the best lines ever penned by a scientist: "Four of my favorite things are development, evolution, and breasts...". See how those four are snuggling together in Breast beginnings, totally safe for work.

CFeagans fixes a mean Hot Cup of Joe, good enough even for the discriminating taste of Bilbo Baggins: Homo floresiensis: New Species or Modern Human?

Douglas Galbi of Purple Motes is an engineer, economist and computer scientist. He says that Text messaging is unnatural. I agree. I'd rather carry a clay tablet with me or even a stone and chisel, than any kind of electronic hand-held device. But that is not what the post is about...

I like garlic. I like mustard. But I agree with Nuthatch of Bootstrap Analysis that those two do not go well together: Garlic mustard changes forests. And if you'd like to help out bird species that need helping instead of ubiqutous house sparrows, learn what to do to your birdhouse: Decorative bird houses: no, no, no!

Judging from the picture on the blog, Indian Cowboy (OK so he's not really a cowboy) appears to be fitter than me, that is, relatively fitter than me.....or inclusively fitter than me: Wasps, Dominance, and Eusociality. But my brother is stronger than his brother!

Martin Rundkvist of Salto sobrius wrote a more somber post, an obituary to a great scientist: Christian Lindqvist 1948-2006.

Diane Kelly of Zygote Games lives up North in the tick country, so a new paper on Lyme Disease brings out personal recollections as well as scientific analysis, in Ticks and Time.

Eva of Easternblot went to a really cool meeting with wacky science-related presentations, including two described in Ants and knitted proteins.

Nick Anthis is a Scientific Activist and he is voicing mild optimism as the Embryonic Stem Cell Bill May Finally Receive Vote in Senate. Another reason for potential optimism is that curbing global warming may not cost as much as the naysayers think: Get Rich Quick! (And Stop Global Warming in the Process).

Michael Stebbins of Sex Drugs and DNA Blog has more information on the politics of stem cells in Senator Frist to Make Stem Cell Bill Announcement!

The spring is here, the Sun is out, and the snakes and lizards are basking on rocks. Carel Brest van Kempen of Rigor Vitae paints the scene and writes about thermoregulation in "cold-blooded" animals in In Cold Blood.

Grrrlscientist of Living the Scientific Life often writes about the intersection between science and literature, but it is usually literature that touches on science. This time, it is the other way round: science touching on literature: Harry Potter Meets Paleontology.

Do you think of numbers as if they were on a number line? I do. But people's brains are funny sometimes. Dave Munger of Cognitive Daily shows how, when and why other people do it, in If you thought the Stroop Effect was cool, have I got an effect for you!

Lab Cat is a Food Science blog written by Cat, so prepare for a mouth-watering experience while reading Sweet tastes to sweet cat.

So, you think that there are twenty essential amino-acids? Is that what you learned in school? Well, think again, as Sandra Porter of Discovering biology in a digital world traces the discovery of the 21st (and that number is not final) in Part I: Future Shock and Selenocysteine and what practical problem this poses for researchers in Part II. Future Shock and Selenocysteine: it's time again to update the databanks.

Carbon Dioxide - we call it Life! James Hrynyshyn lives on the Island Of Doubt and gives us a run-down (and smack-down) in Twisting climate science.

Orac Knows Everything! So, by reading Respectful Insolence, you'll also get to know everything. This time, about the science of vitamin supplements and who does not like the results: Too much sciency-ness for the vitamin industry?

Tigtog of Hoyden-About-Town (aka TigTogBlog) debunks some seriously misleading statements cloaked in the rhetoric of science, repeatedly put forward by one side of the abortion wars: Fetal Brain Development: Myths and Disinformation.

Don't balk and run away just because there are formulas in this post! Read it carefully and I bet you'll get it just fine. Mark Chu-Carroll of Good Math, Bad Math takes a break from debunking Dembski's pseudomath and presents a whole series of posts on some really good math. The first post in the series is My Favorite Calculus: Lambda (part 1).

Steinn SigurĂ°sson, the Icelandic friend from Dynamics of Cats is following the smaller and smaller sizes of planets being discovered these days: Extrasolar Planets: step close to Earth.

Tara Smith of Aetiology has been on the roll lately, producing cool post after cool post every day. I have actually read and liked all these posts even before they were submitted and even mentioned some of the material from them when I was teaching a couple of days ago, so I was unable to cut down the number. Enjoy them all: Bazell says 'quit whining', Obesity and your microbes, Archaea as human pathogens? and Viruses vs. Superbugs.

Vaughan of Mind Hacks did some thorough digging on The curious case of Morgellons disease. Is it all in your head?

Mark Rayner of The Skwib, the master of double-entendres: Professor Quippy: Proto-Jungle Fever.

Michael White of Adaptive Complexity looks at the same study in a more serious tone in New ideas about human-chimp speciation - the power of comparative genomics

Josh Rosenau has many Thoughts From Kansas. Here are some samples for your enjoyment. On polar bears, grizzly bears, and the vagaries of systematics: Taxonomy tales. On the idea that should be shaken into more heads: An emerging answer to Seed's question. On what Merck's ad campaign about HPV and cervical cancer can teach us about educating the public about science: HPV vaccine. And on technology and the ways it helps us build bridges: Building bridges.

Charles Daney of Science and Reason wades through various confusing reports of recent research into the effects of fats in human diet, and our infatuation with food fads, in Fats and food fads.

Janet D. Stemwedel, aka Dr.Free-Ride of Adventures in Ethics and Science published more than she thought she did: The author unaware. Now go Google yourself.

John Wheaton of Wheat-dogg's world gives a comprehensive analysis of the Chernobyl explosion twenty years ago in The physics of a disaster.

Karl Mogel of Inoculated Mind went to see a talk by Nancy Pearcey, one of the Discovery Institute Fellows and what he heard was, at best, Half Truth.

Daniel Collins is Down To Earth and investigates something that is interesting to me and other people watching the Bosnian Pyramid fiasco - how nature makes strange shapes - in Life and landforms

Finally, I have been teaching introductory biology lately, thus blogging about it quite a lot, as you can see from Yet another teaching update. I also post summaries of my lectures and would particularly like feedback on the first unit, the one on the Scientific Method in Biology. I did find some extra time to blog about other things on my three blogs as well, including taking the Ten Bird Meme way too seriously, commenting on a new study about the ecology of Lyme Disease in Parasite of my parasite is not my friend and, as expected, had something clockwise to say in Clock in the primate adrenal.

I hope you have enjoyed the show. If any entries got lost in the mail please let me know ASAP so I can include them. Next edition, two weeks from now, will be hosted by Daniel Morgan over on Get Busy Livin', or Get Busy Bloggin' so get busy bloggin' and sendin' cool science entries to Daniel at: dmorgan AT

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