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The Panda's Thumb is the virtual pub of the University of Ediacara. The patrons gather to discuss evolutionary theory, critique the claims of the antievolution movement, defend the integrity of both science and science education, and share good conversation. Movable Type Pro 4.381
Updated: 23 hours 30 min ago

Colaptes auratus

Wed, 2015-05-06 04:06
Photograph by Louis Shackleton. Colaptes auratus – female yellow-shafted northern flicker, University of North Carolina at Wilmington campus. Mr. Shackleton writes, “She is gaping, that is, thermoregulating by opening her beak and just breathing, because birds do not sweat.”... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Google Logins

Sun, 2015-05-03 09:50
We are aware of the issue with Google comment logins and are working on a fix. It is going to take us a while to implement one due to various personal and software reasons.... Reed A. Cartwright http://dererumnatura.us/
Categories: Pro-Science News

Cereopsis novaehollandiae

Thu, 2015-04-23 04:23
Cereopsis novaehollandiae – Cape Barren Goose, Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island, Australia.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Climate Education Week, April 18-25, 2015

Sat, 2015-04-11 23:44
NCSE tells us, April 18-25, 2015, is the inaugural Climate Education Week, sponsored by Earth Day Network. To celebrate, the Climate Education Week website is providing K-12 educators with the Climate Education Toolkit – “a free, easy-to-use, ready-to-go resource with everything you need. The Toolkit includes a week’s worth of lesson plans, activities, and contests for K-12 students that meet Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core. Each day covers a different theme related to... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Evolutionary medicine: Studying disease in a Darwinian context

Tue, 2015-04-07 20:34
What do Charles Darwin, wisdom teeth, and cancer have in common? They are all related to an emerging field called evolutionary medicine, the application of evolutionary principles to understanding why and how organisms get sick. Scientists in the field believe that an evolutionary perspective can help improve our diagnosis and treatment of disease. In his keynote address at the inaugural meeting of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health (held March 19-21 in... Emily Thompson http://cartwrig.ht/people/
Categories: Pro-Science News

Eudyptula Minor

Tue, 2015-04-07 20:34
Eudyptula Minor – little penguin, Kangaroo Island, Australia. These penguins are nocturnal, but are apparently blind to the red light. Unfortunately, according to Kangaroo Island Penguin Center, “Our nocturnal Penguin Tours ceased in November 2013 due to the very low numbers of Penguins in the Kingscote colony. Predation by the increasing numbers of New Zealand Fur Seals from 2010 onwards has decimated the Penguin Colony, because the seals kill the adult penguins as they swim... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Fitness surfaces and searches: Dembski, Ewert, and Marks's search for design

Wed, 2015-04-01 23:02
This post is by Joe Felsenstein and Tom English Back in October, one of us (JF) commented at Panda’s Thumb on William Dembski’s seminar presentation at the University of Chicago, Conservation of Information in Evolutionary Search. In his reply at the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News and Views blog, Dembski pointed out that he had referred to three of his own papers, and that Joe had mentioned only two. He generously characterized Joe’s post as an... Joe Felsenstein http://evolution.gs.washington.edu/felsenstein.html
Categories: Pro-Science News

Governor seeks dismissal of Ark lawsuit

Wed, 2015-04-01 23:02
Tom Loftus reports in the Louisville Courier-Journal that Gov. Steve Beshear has asked a federal court to dismiss the Ark Park’s lawsuit on the grounds that “[p]roviding the public funding sought for religious purposes …would constitute an unlawful establishment of religion” and thereby violate both the state and federal constitutions. Governor Beshear and his co-plaintiff, state Treasurer Bob Stewart, told the Courier-Journal that “the state’s denial of public funds for the ark park [sic] ‘reflects... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Origin-of-life puzzle cracked?

Wed, 2015-03-25 21:36
A pair of recent articles on the Science website seems to think so. Staff writer Robert Service says Researchers may have solved origin-of-life conundrum and writes, Chemists report today that a pair of simple compounds [HCN and H2S], which would have been abundant on early Earth, can give rise to a network of simple reactions that produce the three major classes of biomolecules—nucleic acids, amino acids, and lipids—needed for the earliest form of life to... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Ice stalagmite

Wed, 2015-03-25 21:36
Photograph by James Rice. While we are still thinking of icicles, here is another ice stalagmite that James Rice sent us. We showed his picture of a natural ice stalagmite here, as well as another anthropogenic ice stalagmite here.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Pi Day

Sat, 2015-03-21 01:48
Today is Pi Day, and the time will be exactly pi at 3/14/15 9:26:53, or a little thereafter. We will not see another Pi Day till 2115, but I am sure that someone next year will point out that pi = 3.1416 within a thousandth of 1 percent or so. Won’t be the same, though!... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

SISRS: A new way to analyze genomic data

Sat, 2015-03-21 01:48
Remember the two studies published at the end of last year that produced groundbreaking evolutionary trees of birds and insects? The researchers in these studies used data from whole sequenced genomes to construct these more reliable trees. This is a practice that is somewhat novel but gaining importance in phylogenomics. But we’ve talked about how large data sets, like genomes, can lead to incorrect conclusions if analyzed improperly. How did the researchers avoid this problem?... Emily Thompson http://cartwrig.ht/people/
Categories: Pro-Science News

Teachers first, scientists second

Sat, 2015-03-21 01:48
That is one of the disquieting results of a new survey, Enablers of doubt, by Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer. The two Penn State professors interviewed a total of 35 students on 4 Pennsylvania campuses in 2013. All the students were training to be biology teachers; many were not comfortable with the theory of evolution, and many were “concerned about their ability to navigate controversy initiated by a student, parent, administrator, or other members of... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Anybody remember Prof. Steve Steve and the Ig Nobels?

Sat, 2015-03-21 01:48
In 2005, Prof. Steve Steve visited Harvard for the Ig Nobels. We have had a request to use one of the pictures taken on his trip. If you are the photographer, please get it contact with us.... Reed A. Cartwright http://dererumnatura.us/
Categories: Pro-Science News

Icicle ripples

Sat, 2015-03-21 01:48
An Icicle showing ripples due to impurities in the water. How the impurities cause the ripples is unknown.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Troubles in Paradise: an amazing pro-science resource by James Downard (summary and interview)

Tue, 2015-03-03 04:55
I would like to introduce everyone to James Downard, and his website Troubles in Paradise (TIP). TIP is available at http://tortucan.wordpress.com/ or http://www.tortucan.com. James Downard is an activist with decades of experience tracking the creationists, stretching back to encounters with Stephen Meyer in Washington state in the early 1990s. In 2010, he did a guest post for PT, “An Ill Wind in Tortuca”, available at: http://pandasthumb.org/archives/201[…]wind-in.html Troubles in Paradise is a massive review of the... Nick Matzke http://www.talkdesign.org
Categories: Pro-Science News

Physics trumps biology

Sat, 2015-02-28 19:17
Or, perhaps more precisely, Did dark matter kill the dinosaurs?, which is the way that an article in ScienceNOW put it. Readers of PT doubtless know that there have been a half-dozen or so mass extinctions in the history of the earth, and they appear with a periodicity on the order of 30 million years. You can see an early graph here. The vertical arrows are separated by approximately 30 million years. Not every vertical... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Tell me who funded the research ...

Sat, 2015-02-28 19:17
… And I will tell you the outcome. I cannot find the origin of that quotation, and I am pretty sure it is not original, but I thought of it when I read this article in Science. In a nutshell, Willie Soon, a part-time employee of the Smithsonian Institution, has published a number of articles linking changes in Arctic air temperature with changes in the sun’s output. His conclusion is at variance with the well... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Q&A in the WASP nest

Sat, 2015-02-28 19:17
By Steven Mahone. What would happen if a dyed-in-the-wool secularist was given the opportunity to speak with students from one of the most religiously conservative school districts in the country? Well, I had the privilege of finding out first hand. The Classical Academy (TCA) is an affluent, public charter high school in north Colorado Springs, so imagine my surprise at receiving an invitation to represent the secular and scientific viewpoint for a week-long seminar titled... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News

Pygoscelis papua

Mon, 2015-02-23 22:11
Photograph by Dan Phelps. Pygoscelis papua – gentoo penguin, Danco Island, Antarctica.... Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung
Categories: Pro-Science News