Bee summit

Back in 2007, about three different servers ago when this blog was with World, I wrote a post entitled The Rapture of the Bees.   Honeybees were disappearing, which is a major concern, since they are so important in the pollination of crops.  Since then, I’ve read several pieces that purportedly solved the mystery of why that’s happening, but I guess there is still controversy over the causes, and the problem remains.  Thanks to Pete Muller, who sent me an account of a “Bee Summit” sponsored by pesticide-maker Monsanto.

Some are blaming pesticides for the die-off of bees, while others are blaming a kind of mite that preys on bees and that presumably could be controlled by. . . pesticides.  Anyone want to guess what the diagnosis will be from the Monsanto summit?  Or from environmentalists?  Notice how science, though supposedly objective, is not free from conclusion-shaping presuppositions. [Read more...]

Babies change the male brain

At least in deer mice.  Scientists have known that motherhood makes the female rodents smarter, better foragers, braver, and more level-headed.  A researcher has found the same effect in father mice.  In fact, something similar happens when male mice are exposed to baby mice, even when they aren’t the biological father.  All of this has been traced to specific changes in the mice brains.  This has not been proven, of course, for human beings, but many men can probably relate to this.

Details after the jump.  Have any of you been changed by fatherhood?  Or exposure to children? [Read more...]

Human genes can’t be patented

In a rare unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that human genes cannot be patented.  As we blogged about earlier, some companies have patented human genetic material, but the judges ruled that only inventions and not products of nature can be patented. [Read more...]

Cicadas and Resurrection

Our pastor had some good reflections in our church newsletter on the 17-year locusts (a.k.a. “cicadas”) coming out of the ground around these parts.  He manages to connect cicadas to people, sin, the church, death, resurrection, and baptism! [Read more...]

A Christian physicist, the Higgs particle, and an anthropic multiverse

Christian physicist Stephen M. Barr, of the University of Deleware and a frequent contributor to  First Things, wrote with some other scientists a paper on the Higgs field–an aspect of the so-called “God particle”–that is getting new attention in light of the collider that has recently assembled evidence about this mysterious yet fundamental entity.  See The Large Hadron Collider, the Multiverse, and Me (and my friends) » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.  After the jump, a sample and a link to a very lucid popularized explanation from Dr. Barr about his findings, having to do with both the multiverse and the anthropic principle (the notion that the laws of physics are what they are in order to make possible human life). [Read more...]

The tornado set a record

One of the tornadoes that hit the Oklahoma City area on Friday was the widest ever recorded at 2.6 miles.  It was rated an EF5, which is the very top of the tornado scale.  Nine days earlier, another EF5 had hit Moore, an Oklahoma City suburb.  And in 1999, Moore had another of the rare EF5′s.  That twister featured winds at 302 m.p.h., the strongest winds ever recorded.  On Friday, the extra-wide tornado had winds just short of that, at 300 m.p.h.   Good thing it struck out in the country or Oklahoma City would have been blown off the map, with untold numbers of casualties.  As it was, 18 people were killed, including two tornado chasers.  The three tornadoes that we endured that night paled by comparison. [Read more...]


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