Lily's leaping lizards, that is.
This remarkable young woman is an enterpreneur, because of her ability to....(ahem) charm anole lizards, which then serve as a succedaneum for action figures.
She's demonstrated her abilities on, among other places, the Letterman Show, and she's got a whole web site of delightfully quirky lizards 'posed' like dollies. Here's one:
And, no, though I've been known to play a few lounge gigs in various bands, that's not me. In any case, the image is real, not Photoshopped. Apparently after young Ms. Capehart strokes their bellies they are docile and pliable for up to ten minutes at a time, then return to normal. It may be that holding them and stroking them in a particular orientation applies a subtle pressure to their spinal cord, resulting in temporary paralysis. I'm not a lizard expert? Any comments?
Lily's leaping lizards, that is.
Posted by Scott Hatfield . . . . at 1:06 PM
Vera, like myself, appreciates evolutionary biology but knows that this often puts her at odds with her faith tradition----which, in her case, is Seventh-Day Adventist. Two weekends ago, she went to a SDA-sponsored satellite seminar series at her local SDA church entitled 'Out of Thin Air' which I blogged about previously. I attended the first and third nights myself, and plan on blogging about it. But in the meantime, she has a series of posts and it's interesting to get the impressions of someone who has grown up in that milieu.
I posted this on another site, and after re-reading it, and after recently posting on bonobos, thought it raised too many issues not to share here, as well:
"I don't have a dogmatic response---I don't claim to know 'THE Truth' on this topic---but I do have a lot of uncomfortable questions, based on what I know about the state of biology at present.
At what point is a child not a child? We don't actually know. But we know this: gametes are potentially zygotes, and at some point in the very near future, it will be possible to clone a person from any cell, not just a gamete, so any cell will potentially become a zygote. The same thing can be said for any mammalian species.
Since that's the case, shouldn't our deliberations about what is sacred and worthy of legal protection focus on that which is uniquely human, rather than the biology we happen to share with all mammals? The scientific community can't make that determination at present, of course, but unless there is a systematic worldwide campaign to eliminate research in reproductive biology, that data will eventually emerge, I think. What will happen to the entire notion of the sacred if we have committed ourselves, in advance, to an absolutist position on the sanctity of human life?"
Some will find this precious, some will find its' frank discussion of primate sexuality vaguely disturbing. Whether or not it is suitable for work depends on your workplace, I suppose, but in any case I think everyone should know about bonobos, and this charmingly candid lady's blog is as much as diary about her life with one of our closest relatives as it is science.
She's written a book, too. And all of its proceeds, apparently, help support the very bonobo sanctuary that she's immersed in! Stop in, say hello, learn something about your 'kissing cousin' and consider making a donation if you find this kind of work laudable.
God is speaking to Mark.
Apparently someone else is talking to Mark, too. A local journalist is interested in interviewing people 28 and younger in the Central Valley who are seriously skeptical about God's existence.
Unfortunately, despite being a hopeless sucker for free publicity, I fail to qualify on more than one account. But if the above sounds like you, and you're interested in being interviewed, contact Mark on his blog for more info!
Richard Dawkins, it seems, is human and like the rest of us, occasionally stumbles when he brings up a distantly-related (but controversial) topic in the course of making an argument about something else.
In this case, as Wilkins observes, Dawkins' stumble is to conflate the 'pro-Israel lobby' with being a Jew, secular or otherwise. Dawkins did this in an article which appeared in the Guardian, here. Of course, a careful reading shows of that same article gives the lie to the imputation of anti-semitism which has been hinted in certain corners. Dawkins made his unfortunate comment in the context of promoting the desirability of atheists (another despised minority, it is implied) lobbying the government.
Still, while my high regard for Dr. Dawkins as a scientist is unshaken, what Wilkins correctly diagnoses as a 'fallacy of composition' is pretty much the sort of argument Dawkins makes when he rails against those who identify the children of observant Christians as 'Christian children', an extension of his claim that religion is a form of child abuse. Which, frankly, is true in some cases and not true in others----much like the fact that some in the pro-Israel lobby are observant Jews, and others are neither observant or Jewish. If Dr. Dawkins had been as circumspect in his categories with the latter groups, he would not be the object of the very 'consciousness-raising' he commended in another context.
OK, this thing is totally cool! Move the slider and watch bromine convert into a gas. Play with the orbitals and see the Aufbau diagram change.
I hope my chemistry students appreciate this, because I'm going to write a homework assignment that in some way forces them to use it.
Posted by Scott Hatfield . . . . at 9:07 PM
Gasp! Naked mole rats, naked, naked naked----you’d think I’d stumbled on something obscene! Please don't tell the Society for the Prevention of Rodent Nudity.
(Just for the record, my chemistry students probably feel that it is the mole itself, rather than any nudity, that is so objectionable—especially after about 70 percent of them failed their first test using moles. But I digress....)
Anyway, why naked mole rats? Turning back to Vox’s last post in our exchange, he’s uncovered some (gasp!) cognitive dissonance in the example of the naked mole rat which, as NCSE trumpets, is a model example of an evolutionary ‘prediction’. Yet another reason for his famous 'intuition' that there's something wrong with TENS* to manifest itself, you see.
For those of you who are unaware, the naked mole rat is an unusual mammalian species that shows a pattern of societal organization (eusociality) more like that seen in ants and social wasps than in other mammals. The entomologist Richard Alexander (shown on the right) rather famously predicted (among other things) the functional ecology that might lead to a mammalian species exhibiting eusociality, even though:
Well, gee, Vox. Alexander, Jarvis etc. never claimed otherwise. The prediction had to do with what sort of functional ecology could select for eusociality in vertebrates, not whether or not a mammal would behave as a 'superorganism', which is something of a disputed trope within biology, anyway. Even the social wasps that inspired W.D. Hamilton (shown on the left) to propose a genetic basis for kin selection are, in a sense, seeking to maximize their individual fitness. In fact, the non-reproductive females that 'practice' haplodiploidy arguably have greater fitness than, say, Wilt Chamberlain.