Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Near to my heart

Well, this is certainly a topic very close to my heart, amphibians are going extinct, and since I studied reptiles as an undergraduate and still have quite a fascination with them. A high extinction rate in these animals is indicative of toxins which could affect other species even if many of them did not depend upon amphibians for survival. I would absolutely love to see a herpetarium devoted to breeding the thousands of amphibian species in captivity to preserve as much biodiversity as possible. Is anyone interested in undertaking a task of this magnitude?

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Tuna is safe!

Sushi lovers can relax now that bluefin tuna are can now be bred in captivity. It's nice to know that large fisheries corporations care about staying in business.

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The good and the bad

Dr. Myers posted a good basic (very basic) explanation of how we figure out what happened to a chromosome or genome of a species evolutionarily. He kind of oversimplifies it and I disagree with this method of discussing biology, but I can see it being useful tool to teach concepts to those without much of a background in evolutionary biology. I encourage everyone to keep up with Dr. Myers' blog here as he frequently posts some good stuff.
Now for the bad; it's not secret among those that know me I absolutely hate the news media for their constant mistakes when dealing with science. The AP recently had a story dealing with evolutionary biology in which the statement was made "Scientists unearthed a skull of the most primitive four-legged creature in Earth's history" which is not so bad in and of itself is not the worst in the world. It was, in all likelihood, not the first species of vertebrate with four legs. It continues to speculate about the behaviors of the animal and it's evolutionary history and lineage future. The one on ScienceNews is far more accurate and contains less speculation. Just compare the two articles and see for yourself.

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Southern (California) Comfort

Yay, my first post, so I'll start off with a little humorous observation, in case you haven't noticed, Ray Comfort (one of the crazy and uneducated evangelical guys from Australia) has a blog called "The Soap Box." Now, for those of you not familiar with the definition and connotations of a soapbox (which is one word, not two) I shall fill you in:
To be "on a soapbox" is to be engaging in an impromptu speach.
Now it could be argued that, having very little, if any, formal education and what seems like absolutely no informal education as well, all of his speaches are impromptu. I will try not to be too harsh, but for such a pretentious person, I don't think "too harsh" can describe any verbal beating which I, or anyone, can administer. So, here's his next completely stupid comment which I shall rip to shreds.
"Then again, a thinking person will look at what's happening in this nation, and question whether or not we are morally pleasing to God, and wonder if there is a missing link between the two."
I'm not entirely sure if Comfort understands how large California is, even though he lives there, so I'll attempt to put it into perspective. Of the 104,765,440 acres, only 517,267 have been burned. You would think that for an act of "god," it would be more efficient to hit, you know, well populated areas if he is only going to destroy 0.5% of the total area. I mean, wouldn't this all-knowing god at least know where the people live? He goes on to say:
Maryanne said “in California it's fair and dry.” I said that we are in the worst drought in our history, with 840 wildfires at one time (now over 1,000). All is not well in California as she naively supposes (how would she react if I said that all is wet and well in the Midwest?). We badly need rain, and God is in charge of rain, and He’s in charge (unintended pun) of lightning (see Job 38:22-27) . . . whether we believe that or not.
Well, except of the 840 wildfires he is talking about, most of them are less than 10 acres, and there are no 1,000 wildfires, here's a map of the fires in California as of today. I would like to point out that with 842 wildfires, his god completely missed EVERY major city. Wouldn't a massive earthquake in the 12.0 area be much more efficient than hundreds of wildfires that seem to only be destroying forest. I mean, the San Andreas fault passes right between every single metro center, the fires all missed. Thousands of lightning strikes, a few hundred fires, and only threaten forests and maybe a couple thousand homes? Damn, isn't Comfort's god powerful? In case you forgot about the whole "rain" fiasco and how it works when, two weeks later, they get a half inch of rain, it was because "god did it." Even though they were predicting rain two weeks later long before the prayer. Actually, they were predicting rain three days before they actually got it before the governor prayed, so if anything, it pushed back the inevitable rain a few days. Now for Comfort's closing arguments which are completely and utterly hilarious.
Lighten up atheists. Life is too short to develop an unwarranted ulcer over what you think I believe.
Why hello there pot....

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