Pluto might get promoted back to “planet”

Nh-pluto-in-true-color_2x_JPEG-edit-frameThe recent space probe to Pluto revealed it to be no mere frozen rock but a complex world.  Now NASA scientists involved with that project are proposing a new definition of “planet” that would restore Pluto to its former planetary status.

Possible problems:  The new definition would also make the Earth’s moon a planet.  Also 110 other celestial bodies in our solar system.

But read the reasoning after the jump. [Read more…]

Bringing back the woolly mammoth

Now a human/pig hybrid

4376553184_a40a8d9055_zScientists have combined the cells of a pig with the cells of a human, resulting in an embryo that has been implanted into a sow.
From Human-pig HYBRID? Scientists hoping to create part man, part pig organs | Science | News | Daily Express:

Scientists from the Salk Institute – a biological research organisation in California – have taken cells from pigs and people to create an embryo that was then inserted into a female pig.

As part of initial experiments, several different types of human cells were inserted into pig embryos in petri dishes to determine which cells were the best match for the pig embryo. [Read more…]

The superiority of the left-handed

512px-Linkshaender_01People who are left-handed constitute 10-15% of the population.  The other 85-90% have often given them a hard time.  But new research suggests that lefties are wired in a way that makes them, among other things, quicker thinkers and more creative.  And, judging from my left-handed wife, I know it’s true.

Read details after the jump. [Read more…]

Ancient scientists helping modern scientists

Ashur5Contrary to the stereotypes about ancient and medieval knowledge and totally contradicting Mark Twain’s depiction in Connecticut Yankee of King Arthur’s court panicking over an eclipse, the scientists of yore were keen observers of the heavens.  They kept meticulous records of things like eclipses and analyzed them mathematically.  
Now astronomers from 2016 A.D. are using data recorded by the Babylonians in 136 B.C. to determine that the earth’s rate of rotation has slowed down.  They are also making use of astronomical observations from ancient and medieval Greece, China, and the Middle East.  (Maybe some of them were the Wise Men!)This is a good example of how knowledge builds and information is connected, not only in the present but across time. [Read more…]

Tom Wolfe takes on Darwinism and its failure to explain language

Tom Wolfe is among our best contemporary writers.  The founder of the New Journalism, which uses novelistic techniques for the purpose of non-fiction, and a novelist who employs real-world research like a journalist, Wolfe is also an iconoclast of contemporary culture.  (See, for example, his send-up of wealthy leftists in Radical Chic, and his mockery of the trendy art world in The Painted Word.)

Now Wolfe takes on the biggest icon of modern thought, the one thinker who must not be questioned and the one  sacrosanct idea:  Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection.

Wolfe’s book, The Kingdom of Speech, is a lively history of Darwin’s theory and its continually demonstrated inability to account for human language.  It also gives us a portrait of Charles Darwin and his nemesis Alfred Russel Wallace, who beat him to the theory of natural selection.  Wolfe also takes on Noam Chomsky, the leading linguist of our day and a leftwing activist, and his nemesis, Dan Everett, a former missionary who disproves his theory on the innateness of language.

Though Wolfe is neither, from what I can tell, a creationist nor an Intelligent Design advocate, he shows how science is made–by human beings, with ambition, politics, and social pressures all playing their part.  The book is informative, funny, and stimulating.  And it is ultimately a tribute to the transcendent Word that underlies all things. [Read more…]