The geometric form of the year

Artist’s rendering of the amplituhedron, a newly discovered mathematical object resembling a multifaceted jewel in higher dimensions. Encoded in its volume are the most basic features of reality that can be calculated — the probabilities of outcomes of particle interactions.

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Scientific discovery or technological breakthrough of the year?

Along the lines of the amplituhedron, above, what would you say was the top scientific discovery or technological breakthrough of 2013?

DNA encodes two languages, not just one

Scientists have discovered that DNA contains not just one but two languages, superimposed over each other.  They knew about the one that determines how proteins are made, but the other embedded language “instructs the cell on how genes are controlled.”

We sure are lucky that random processes led to the evolution of these two languages!  But don’t you need reproduction in order to have evolution?  And don’t you need both of these functions of the DNA to be already in place before there can be any reproduction?  I’m curious how Darwinists explain this.

The news story about this, quoted after the jump, uses terms like “language,” “writing,” “reading,” “meaning,” “information system,” and “instructs.”  So underlying all of life is language; that is, what the Greeks called a logos, the cosmic organizing Word. As in John 1:1-3.

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Man as hybrid of chimp and pig

A prominent evolutionary scientist, Dr. Eugene M. McCarthy, is advancing a new theory about the origins of man.  He says that while it is true that a chimpanzee is our closest genetic relative, human beings have characteristics that are unlike any other primate.  For example, we lack the hairy hide of chimps and instead have just plain skin; under that skin, we have a layer of subcutaneous fat, whereas you never see an obese chimp; we have a protuding nose, whereas an ape’s nose is flat; and there are scores of other differences.  Dr. McCarthy postulates that human beings may be a hybrid of two different kinds of animal.  The animal that has those other characteristics–skin, fat, protuding nose, etc.– is the pig. [Read more…]

Why we sleep

Virtually all animals sleep, but scientists have had a hard time figuring out why that is.  New research has apparently uncovered a major reason why our brains need to go out of consciousness on a regular basis:  While we are asleep, toxins that build up in the brain get flushed out.  Experiments with mice show that their brain cells actually shrink  so that there is 60% more space between them, allowing fluid to wash them more effectively, sweeping out dead cells and Alzheimer’s-causing plaque, as well as chemical toxic wastes.

How lucky we are that so many random mutations came together to make this happen so as to allow us to sleep!  I feel bad, though, about the animals that must have lived for millions of years before one of them, completely by chance, gained this survival advantage and spread it to all other species.  Before they could sleep, living organisms must have been really grumpy.

After the jump, details about the discovery. [Read more…]

Why cats are the way they are

I’ve blogged about dogs.  But I also like cats.  They are cool, graceful little killing machines.  I also like what cat-haters don’t:  their independence.  Did you know that cats, unlike nearly every other domesticated animal,  cannot be intentionally bred?   Did you know that cats are the most popular pet in the world, with three-times as many cats as dogs?

British zoologist John Bradshaw, the author of The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat,  has a new book out:   Cat Sense.  After the jump is  an excerpt from that book.  Read it all at the link, but I have quoted a passage that shows how cats sometimes do, in fact, show affection to their human owners.  Sort of. [Read more…]