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The Panda's Thumb

It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.

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The National Academies In the News: Your Inner Fish – A Scientific Adventure Have you ever wondered why people look the way they do? Why our hands and feet have five digits instead of six? Why we stand on two legs instead of four? It took 350 million years of evolution to produce the amazing machine we call the human body and in Your Inner Fish, a three-part series based on the best-selling book of the same name, author and evolutionary biologist Dr. Neil Shubin looks into the past to answer these and other questions. The Christopher Hitchens Web by (Yellow Pages Directory Inc.) is a leading online directory allowing users to search an online database and telephone directory for all telephone numbers in the USA. Using the above boxes, simply type in a name and location. Even if you don't have the complete information, the telephone number lookup database can help you find phone numbers.

Skeptics in the Pub Skeptics in the Pub (or Sceptics in the Pub, if you prefer) are groups which meet and converse in the UK and beyond, usually gathering once every month. The event was founded in London, UK by Dr Scott Campbell in 1999, for all those interested in science, history, psychology, philosophy, investigative journalism and how to examine extraordinary claims of all types. A speaker (or number of speakers) is invited each month to present a topic of interest, which is followed by a discussion in a relaxed and friendly pub atmosphere. Pharyngula Probably not. But the New York Times reports: A review of studies has found that the health benefits of infant male circumcision vastly outweigh the risks involved in the procedure. Actually, it doesn’t. Not at all. The paper is all about the frequency of circumcision in the US; this is the only real data in the paper, and notice that a good chunk of it is speculation.

Insight The Problematic Process of Cryptozoologification How did the traditional character of the cannibal ogress Dzunuk’wa come to be claimed by cryptozoologists as a depiction of their hypothesized “Bigfoot” cryptid species? (Kwakwaka’wakw heraldic pole. Carved in 1953 by Mungo Martin, David Martin, and Mildred Hunt. Thunderbird Park at the Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria. Photograph by Daniel Loxton) Edwards v. Aguillard [This is the text of the 1987 United States Supreme Court decision striking down a Louisiana law that required if evolution is taught in public schools then creationism must also be taught. This 7-2 decision ended any prospect of public schools in the United States being legally forced to teach explicate creationism. One consequence of this case was that some antievolutionists choose to use the term "intelligent design" instead of "creationism."]

Black Triangle By Anthony - Last updated: Thursday, July 4, 2013 If anyone is reading this, I now blog at Many thanks. Anthony By Anthony - Last updated: Monday, February 13, 2012 World's Only Rational Man (Welcome, Instapundit readers! Thank you, Professor.) I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night… …okay, that’s a lie. But I am an expert in ionizing radiation and its effects. Bad Astronomy Well now, this is an interesting discovery: astronomers have found what looks like a "super-Earth" – a planet more massive than Earth but still smaller than a gas giant – orbiting a nearby star at the right distance to have liquid water on it! Given that, it might – might – be Earthlike. This is pretty cool news. We’ve found planets like this before, but not very many!

Consequence - True Stories About False Things Consequence is a biweekly podcast from the James Randi Educational Foundation. Each episode, regular people share their personal narratives about the negative impact a belief in pseudoscience, superstition, and the paranormal has had on their lives. From the thrilling to the uplifting, Consequence brings you true stories about false things. Episode 4: David McCarthy vs Ramtha's School of Enlightenment Channeler J.Z. Knight claims to be a conduit for the spirit of an ancient warrior named Ramtha. What's wrong with Gillian McKeith by Ben Goldacre Call her the Awful Poo Lady, call her Dr Gillian McKeith PhD: she is an empire, a multi-millionaire, a phenomenon, a prime-time TV celebrity, a bestselling author. She has her own range of foods and mysterious powders, she has pills to give you an erection, and her face is in every health food store in the country. Scottish Conservative politicians want her to advise the government. The Soil Association gave her a prize for educating the public. And yet, to anyone who knows the slightest bit about science, this woman is a bad joke.

Homeopathic Dilutions - Bock The Robber Homeopathy preaches that the more you dilute the mixture, the stronger the treatment becomes, and the most common homeopathic dilution is called 30C, which is very diluted indeed. How dilute? Is it one in a thousand?

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