April 16, 2014
Here’s just exactly the sort of thing that happens in nature that drives creationists nuts. How could this happen without God personally working to confuse and/or delight the photographer? Not to mention the physicist and mathematician.
Photo from the Twitter feed of Science Porn: “Go home waves you’re drunk. This is called cross sea btw pic.twitter.com/5Cv1UUo8QX”
Where? Somewhere in France, one might gather from the flag on the structure (lighthouse?).
Turns out to be a Wikipedia photo, with this intriguing caption:
Crossing swells, consisting of near-cnoidal wave trains. Photo taken from Phares des Baleines (Whale Lighthouse) at the western point of Île de Ré (Isle of Rhé), France, in the Atlantic Ocean. The interaction of such near-solitons in shallow water may be modeled through the Kadomtsev–Petviashvili equation.
Oh, you remember that one, don’t you? The Kadomtsev–Petviashvili equation?
At least we confirmed it was taken in France.
They do everything differently in France, don’t they?
Update:Got an e-mail suggestion that I include the equation itself. You may certainly click to Wikipedia to find it; here’s what it says over there:
In mathematics and physics, the Kadomtsev–Petviashvili equation – or KP equation, named after Boris Borisovich Kadomtsev and Vladimir Iosifovich Petviashvili – is a partial differential equation to describe nonlinearwave motion. The KP equation is usually written as:
where . The above form shows that the KP equation is a generalization to two spatial dimensions, x and y, of the one-dimensional Korteweg–de Vries (KdV) equation. To be physically meaningful, the wave propagation direction has to be not-too-far from the x direction, i.e. with only slow variations of solutions in the y direction.
Like the KdV equation, the KP equation is completely integrable. It can also be solved using the inverse scattering transform much like the nonlinear Schrödinger equation.
Certainly the longest equation ever published at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub.
February 5, 2014
No, I didn’t watch Bill Nye dissect Ken Ham in the science vs. creationism debate. I share with many other science-loving people a conviction that “debating” creationists is wholly irrelevant, and tends only to build the glory of the creationists who cannot manage to set up a single scientific observation or experiment to provide evidence for creationism, but can stand on a stage and crack bad jokes and lie, against a mumbling scientist.
But I have looked at some of the commentary, and some of Nye’s remarks and rebuttals. Nye did very well.
Nye tended to develop clear, non-scientific explanations for the issues. Ham and creationists aren’t ready for that.
In that vein, J. Rehling tweeted this astonishingly clear explanation for why it’s just impossible to “believe” that the fabled ark of Noah could carry even most of the species alive, in one boat (and, mind you, the San Diego Zoo is neither the world’s largest collection of species on display in a zoo, nor displaying a significant percentage of all species):
Two pictures that tell the story.
How big was Noah’s Ark? Not big enough, especially compared to the San Diego Zoo and the USS Nimitz.
San Diego Zoo and USS Nimitz, the largest ship in the U.S. Navy; clearly, no ark built by Noah could have been big enough to carry all land animals. Image mashup by JRehling
January 1, 2014
Carnival of Evolution #67 is up at The Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks.
Carnival of Evolution, No. 67 — Wallace centenary edition
Carnival of Evolution #67 at Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks – Alfred Russel Wallace Centenary Edition
Charles Darwin’s Tree of Life metaphor (from 1859) has become world-famous. However, Alfred Russel Wallace, who independently developed the idea of evolution by means of natural selection, had already used a very similar image in 1855, when he noted: “the analogy of a branching tree [is] the best mode of representing the natural arrangement of species … a complicated branching of the lines of affinity, as intricate as the twigs of a gnarled oak … we have only fragments of this vast system, the stem and main branches being represented by extinct species of which we have no knowledge, while a vast mass of limbs and boughs and minute twigs and scattered leaves is what we have to place in order, and determine the true position each originally occupied with regard to the others”.
This past year has been one in which many people commemorated the death of Wallace (1823-1913), and so it seems appropriate to join them for the final summary of 2013′s posts at the Carnival of Evolution.
Wallace spent 1848-1852 collecting in the Amazon, and 1854-1862 doing the same in South-East Asia. He is best known today for his studies of biogeography, but he also worked on what we now call environmental issues, and even what is now known as exobiology. More controversially, he also involved himself in social criticism, and atheistic spiritualism. At his death, he was as well known as any living biologist; but since then he has sadly been eclipsed by Darwin.
Blog carnivals have fallen out of favor, it seems to me; but this is one that lay people can use to better understand evolution and the real issues that scientists discuss about evolution. You’ll want to read several of the stories and posts in this collection:
All in all, it’s a pretty good collection of stuff. Go see.
Another reason to visit this collection of blog posts on evolution: You can be fairly certain that you’ll encounter few Republicans or Tea Party members in the comment threads.
Unlikely, but were Darwin and Wallace ever photographed together? Anyone know?
September 20, 2013
Graphic from Colin Purrington, in commemoration of the kickoff of hearings at the Texas State Board of Education on science textbooks, September 18, 2013
Colin Purrington Tweeted, “Thanks,
@ncse for helping keep Darwin in Texas science textbooks. #Whac-A-Mole #creationism #StandUp4Science pic.twitter.com/8dNYbqFELV.”
July 30, 2013
No, the evidence doesn’t point to a Noachic flood. Evidence contradicts the idea.
@crazy_stairz @EdDarrell @paulmc107 @StrangerGirl2 @HomunculusLoikm @LogicBobomb, and anyone else who wants to join in. Usual rules of civility apply.
Discussing this, and its many cousins:
July 23, 2013
I get e-mail, sometimes from the Texas Freedom Network. In this case, I’m happy to share. You need to know this.
Would you sign the petition?
I’m worried about my kids’ future because of six words.
The Texas State Board of Education.
The state board has already begun working on its once-a-decade adoption of science textbooks for Texas classrooms. And for years, an anti-science faction of that board has done all it can to undermine the science of evolution and climate change by giving equal weight to nonscientific beliefs like climate change denial and the idea that dinosaurs and humans coexisted.
We’ve got news for those folks: Big Tex and T-Rex didn’t ride the range together.
It’s time to Stand Up for Science.
Click here to sign our petition and help us reach our goal of 5,000 signatures of Texans demanding that the State Board of Education approve science textbooks that are based on sound, peer-reviewed scholarship.
This fight is personal for me because from an early age, both my kids have loved science. In fact, my oldest son is enrolled in the “tech academy” at his middle school, where he’s learning about cool high-tech careers and honing computer skills that already put me to shame.
But whether you have school-aged kids or not, this fight is too important to the future of Texas and the nation to ignore. With over 5 million students, Texas is one of the country’s biggest buyers of textbooks. And that has an impact on other states because book publishers often follow our lead so that they don’t have to create different versions of the same science books.
I want my kids and every child to have classroom materials based on modern, mainstream science that gets them ready for college and prepares them for those high-tech jobs my son is learning about. Anything less handicaps their future and sets them up to fail.
For our children’s future, let’s win this.
Sign our petition to Stand Up for Science.
Deputy Director, Texas Freedom Network
They’re coming for Texas science textbooks, again; please stand up and speak out for science, for accuracy, for good education.
January 25, 2013
In no particular order, nor in any particular ardor, stuff of interest and consequence we should be talking about instead of soaking in Millard Fillmore’s bathtub and admiring the plumbing:
- Do they get lost in the Milky Way? Sensuous Curmudgeon dissects story on dung beetles navigating, notes without dung beetles around, we’d be up to our fannies in dung. With links, this story tells us what’s wrong with the Republican National Commitee, the GOP leadership in the House, the Texas Lege, and current Education Deform efforts — a dramatic shortage of dung beetles. Is it climate related?
- Slow e-mail: Popped up this week the links to this blog from Bug Girl’s epic post on the truth about Rachel Carson, way back in 2007. Bug Girl’s blog is dormant, but this fisking of the rabidly anti-Rachel Carson, pro-Poison Africa for profit gang and their claims, is a piece you should have bookmarked. William Souder’s book is a great step in the direction of getting the truth; but the hoaxsters, like Stephen Milloy and the pseudo-charity group Africa Fighting Malaria, are still at it.
- Serious blow to all political theory: GOP partisans get crazier about conspiracies, the more they know that should tell them differently.
- Jim Stanley keeps telling me I should read Fred Clark’s stuff at Slacktivist. I especially like these compilation, olla podrida posts of his, like this one, “Good news, for people who like good news.” Lots of good stuff to chew on.
Charles Darwin looks out at the Galapagos (Photo credit: betsythedevine)
- Friendly Atheist’s Hemant Mehta noted the introduction of a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives to declare Darwin’s birthday as “Darwin Day.” Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, just a few hours different from Abraham Lincoln. New Jersey’s Rep. Russ Holt introduced the resolution. Regardless Congress’s action, there will be celebration.
- KTHV in Little Rock, Arkansas, reports just the facts about a bill to put Bible classes in Arkansas schools — and it makes a rational person wonder why so-called Christian fundamentalists are so tone deaf on religion in public schools, and simultaneously so out of touch and unfamiliar with scriptures they wish to make into ungodly idols.
- You could do a heckuva history class just using the episodes of James Burke’s Connections from PBS. Kids would probably love it. This sort of experimentation to improve the quality and relevance of a class is directly discouraged by almost all “education reform” efforts today. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, watch some episodes online. This could be great material for elementary and middle school science classes; an industrious teacher could make these work in high school physics, chemistry, and other science courses.
- Vicco, Kentucky’s city council lights the path for reform of the Republican Party. GOP ain’t listenin’.
- Most educators exhibit profound disappointment with the Obama administration’s action and lack of attention on education issues. Will we see changes in the second term?
- Teachers standing up against the War on Education are too rare. Tough economic times.
- Why isn’t your local paper providing more coverage of events in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economics Conference? Worse, how do I know your local paper isn’t paying attention, without having to bother to ask you where you live or what your local paper is?
- It’s winter. Every winter storm will provide new opportunities for truly clueless or truly evil people to question whether global warming is an issue — and they will. Grist gives five quick answers to such ill-informed, ill-intended disinformation. Meanwhile, Mother Jones gives a rundown of what you need to know about climate change generally.