The Quiet Links

67728049.5HRY2ffe.TheQuietEarth.jpg After the apocalypse, links…

Species, biodiversity, and cool biology stuff

Richard Conniff explains why species matter to humans: What Are Species Worth? Putting a Price on Biodiversity: Yale Environment 360

A “new” “more objective” measure of what is a species: Quantitative criteria for species delimitation – TOBIAS – 2010 – Ibis [Editorial here] It looks a little phenetic, but in fact it might not be. I’ll try to get around to discussing this when I have time to breathe.

Microbes seem to share genes “intentionally” in the sea: Horizontal Gene Transfer: Bacteria Transmit Genetic Code without Sex; Virus-like particles speed bacterial evolution. I noted this in my microbial species paper, but not that it was itself a functional process. I’m still unsure to what extent that is reasonable.

Chromosomal inversions leads to speciation, in plants, anyway. Well, in one plant…. Adaptation, Reproductive Isolation, and New Species! Oh, and on that topic: How and Why Chromosome Inversions Evolve.

A microbial mat the size of Greece! Commuting to Work.

Giraffes – Necks for food or necks for sex? Hurrhurr, he said “necking”….

David Sloan Wilson says Open Letter to Richard Dawkins: Why Are You Still In Denial About Group Selection? and gave a talk last night in Sydney: Social Darwinism shows we control our environment (there are so many things wrong with that headline I nearly put this under media crap below, but it’s not DSW’s fault). Maybe because group selection is not the only alternative, David; Multilevel selection theory makes sense to me. I thought it did to you too :-)

To gain pallor is easier than losing it – Razib discusses genes for skin colour.

A Very Remote Period Indeed: Independent Neanderthal Innovation – Some Additional Considerations – did Neanderthals innovate?

Fossil secrets of the da Vinci codex – did Leonardo discover fossilisation and in particular trace fossils?

The Taxonomy Fail Index – how to get it really wrong taxonomically.

Religion and philosophy stuff

Beyond God and atheism: Why I am a ‘possibilian’ (in other words, an agnostic).

A philosopher says we’re doing it rong – a plea for reading the philosophy. The problem is that the philosophy here is not all that impressive.

Jean Jacques Rousseau – a new article at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Aristotle would say America is an aristocracy: American Aristocracy

Hume, Curiosity, and the Justification of Scientific Endeavor

Reality, one bite at a time: Force of faith trumps law and reason in Ayodhya case – The “beliefs of Hindus” trump law in India.

Science stuff

Back to School Month: Peak Oil 101 : Casaubon’s Book

Research funding: Making the cut : Nature News

Only In It For The Gold: Thought-Provoking Week

Because publishing your paper is only half of the job

Government funding for ‘pure’ research: an extremely brief and gappy history

Smarter Teams Are More Sensitive, Have More Women? – the intelligence of a group matters less than their cooperative abilities.

Media crap

The Oz declares war on bloggers, more on the bastardry. But Quality sets The Australian apart!

New ‘Do Not Kill’ Registry To Allow Americans To Opt Out Of Being Murdered | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

Other stuff and crap

Versatile Blogger Award – some cool blogs linked.

Watch your language (yes, tone matters)

3 thoughts on “The Quiet Links

  1. It always simply mystifies me when people recommend Swinburne. Not that he isn’t clever, but I’m really not sure why anyone should be impressed by anything he does in any sense beyond “Oh, how very interesting that one could make such an argument if one accepted these bizarre assumptions”. I suppose that that’s the secret of Swinburne’s success: he’s a philosopher’s philosopher, good at coming up with striking arguments that only philosophers could recognize are clever, and that have no value whatsoever except that philosophers can see that they show that Swinburne is very clever. (I have much the same problem with Plantinga, but I think he also comes out as much the better of the two in the comparison.)

    But then, what he’s really doing is transferring a particular form of philosophy of science into a new domain, and I have no sympathies whatsoever with the assumptions of the particular from of philosophy of science he’s using, even in its own domain, so I’m not an impartial judge in the matter at all.

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  2. I like the Taxonomy Fail Index. Haroun Yahya’s Big Book O’Creationism (or Atlas of Creation if you prefer) has two wonderful examples of TFI >100: featherduster worms labeled as crinoids (Lophotrochozoa vs. Deuterostomia) and a spider crab labeled as a crab spider (Pancrustacea vs. Arachnida). Can anyone do better? (Not sure what the TFI would be on the fishing lure labeled as a mayfly.)

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