A sentimental tribute to Motherhood, with spiders

OK, what I am about to tell you is gross, even horrific.  And (trigger warning to arachnophobes, who had better not click through to the jump) it has to do with spiders.  And yet, there is what Yeats called a terrible beauty here. And, for Mother’s Day,  it gives us a profound emblem of extreme motherhood. [Read more...]

The Teenage Brain

Parents have long been frustrated with their teenager’s “what was he thinking” moments.  Why do bright, thoughtful adolescents so often do things that are foolish and reckless?  We now know the reason:  their brains are not finished growing.  Specifically, the pleasure center is not completely hooked up to the judgement center.

The good news is that, contrary to what people used to believe, the teenage brain can change, which means that there really are “late bloomers.”

Neurologist Frances Jensen, with journalist Amy Ellis Nutt, as written a book on the subject The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults.  Read from a review after the jump. [Read more...]

FBI’s bogus forensics

The public loves the television cop shows about crime-solving by means of  forensic science.  But we might want to reconsider the popularity of all of those CSI series.  The FBI is now admitting that over 95% of the forensic evidence from human hair over  two decades was mistaken.  These revelations affect hundreds of cases, including 32 death sentences and 14 defendants who have been executed or died in prison. [Read more...]

Language as “Darwin’s problem”

Noam Chomsky is not a conservative Christian but is rather a leftwing radical.  But in his day job, he is a pioneering linguist, having shown how all languages depend on “deep structures”–complex grammatical processes that are built into the human mind–that all languages have in common and that children can master almost without effort.

He has teamed with a famous anthropologist, Ian Tattersall, and other scholars (Johan J. Bolhuis and Robert C. Berwick) to pose the question How Could Language Have Evolved? They certainly believe in evolution and they try to find a minimalistic feature that might have evolved, but the article shows that language, with its irreducible complexity (the intelligence design term, not theirs), is very difficult  to explain in terms of random selection over time, to the point that the authors describe language as “Darwin’s problem.” [Read more...]

Nutrition with a grain of salt

Nutritionists have taken back their warnings against dietary cholesterol.  Now some are challenging the warnings against salt. [Read more...]

Scientists look at Crucifixion

Scientists have been studying the mechanics, physiology, and history of crucifixion.  They have learned that it was more horrible than people had assumed.   Details and a link to some of the findings after the jump. [Read more...]


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