Sorry that I’m just doing links these days. I am writing Real Stuff, and catching up on commitments of some long standing.
Every so often on a blog you will come across a totally Right piece of writing. Such is Thony Christie’s deflation of Galileo. All historians of science, and anyone interested in using history of science, should read it.
Chad Orzel argues that there’s nothing wrong with a debate of moderates, because extremists aren’t interesting. I think that is overstated: extremists are interesting for the deathmatches.
Arithmoquine, at the Unpublishable Philosopher has a wonderfully subtle and yet direct attack on a Christian complaining about the “new” atheists. The money quote: “Yes, those were the days. Losing one’s tongue or even one’s education was not cheap, and nothing cheap, as is atheism these days, is worth having.” I hope that the irony survives the interwubs.
The Literary Review of Canada has a good review of the late G. A. Cohen in “The thinking man’s Marxist“.
A UCLA researcher has identified new kinds of methylation that alter gene expression.
Silvio Berlusconi first puts Italian science institutes at risk of losing their funding, then “reprieves” them, then leaves open the possibility that, as the article has it, not being decapitated, they may be throttled. This includes the justly famous and influential Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in Naples. There’s a petition at the Stazione’s site if you want to protest further threats.
Andy Purvis is giving a talk in London next Wednesday on why not only higher taxa, but even species are not to be used uncritically for macroevolutionary trend studies. Unfortunately he repeats the old saw that species are “fundamental units for evolutionary biology”. They aren’t. Populations are.
And what every academic knows: universities do not value education, because funding does not.