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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution Education Update for 2011/10/28

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear Friends of NCSE,

A NESCent contest for bloggers, a preview of Brunetta and Craig's
Spider Silk, and a reminder about speakers from NCSE.


Do you blog about evolutionary research? Then NESCent, the National
Evolutionary Synthesis Center, wants to send you to North Carolina to
discuss science communication. Announcing its third annual blog
contest, NESCent writes: "To apply for an award, writers should submit
a blog post that highlights current or emerging evolutionary research.
In order to be valid, posts must deal with research appearing in the
peer-reviewed literature within the last five years. Posts should be
500-1000 words, and must mention the NESCent contest. Two recipients
will be chosen by a panel of judges from both NESCent and the science
blogging community." The lucky winners will receive $750 to cover
their travel to and lodging at ScienceOnline 2012, a science
communication conference to be held January 19-21, 2012, at North
Carolina State University. Applications are due by December 1, 2011.

For details of the NESCent contest, visit: 


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Leslie Brunetta and
Catherine L. Craig's Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of
Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating (Yale University Press, 2010).
The preview consists of the preface -- which explains, "The evolution
of spiders can help elucidate the workings of natural selection -- and
why Charles Darwin's phrase 'descent with modification' so well
describes evolution at both the genetic and the species level. The
case of spiders can also help dispel some commonly held misconceptions
about evolution, such as the notion that it always leads to a better
organism or aims at a perfect adaptation to the environment" -- as
well as chapter 2, which discusses mesotheles, the "living fossils" of

The reviewer for BioScience described Spider Silk as "an ideal
introduction to spiders and a tempting peek at the field of silk
research that I hope will leave the reader forever fascinated and
enthused by these wonderful web weavers," and Joe Lapp, in a
forthcoming review for Reports of the NCSE, praises Spider Silk as "an
amazing treat for arachnophiles and teachers of evolution both,"
adding that the book is "an enjoyable, informative, and surprising
read." Spider Silk received a 2011 "Highly Recommended" award from the
Boston Authors Club, was a finalist for the ForeWord Reviews Book of
the Year award in the Nature category in 2010, and was listed as a
best seller in botany/zoology by Library Journal.

For the preview, visit: 

For information about the book from its publisher, visit: 


As the only national organization that is wholly dedicated to
defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools, NCSE is the
perfect place to find someone to speak to your organization or
university about issues relevant to evolution education and attacks on
it. Available speakers include NCSE's executive director Eugenie C.
Scott, Glenn Branch, Joshua Rosenau, Steven Newton, Peter M. J. Hess,
and Eric Meikle, as well as three members of our board of directors,
Barbara Forrest, Kevin Padian, and Andrew J. Petto. So if you need a
speaker, please feel free to visit the speakers information page on
the NCSE website or get in touch with the NCSE office. If nobody from
NCSE is available or suitable, we'll try to find you someone who is!

For the speaker information page, visit: 

For NCSE's contact information, visit: 

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution education and threats to it.


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x305
fax: 510-601-7204

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