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Water is dangerous This was found on the newsgroup: rec.humor.funny A student at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair, April 26. He was attempting to show how conditioned we have become to alarmists practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical "dihydrogen monoxide." And for plenty of good reasons, since: Ancestral Lines Evolutionary biologists use a cladogram, the treelike diagram of evolutionary branches or clades, to organize species into lines of evolutionary descent across time. Biologists use three types of evidence to deduce evolutionary connections: genetics, morphology, and geologic dating. (Behavior, normally a key part of evolutionary studies, can only be inferred in extinct species — for example, by examining the ecology in which the species flourished and the species adaptations for eating and locomotion.)

How did life originate? How did life originate? Living things (even ancient organisms like bacteria) are enormously complex. However, all this complexity did not leap fully-formed from the primordial soup. Instead life almost certainly originated in a series of small steps, each building upon the complexity that evolved previously: Simple organic molecules were formed.

"Lucy" Kin Pushes Back Evolution of Upright Walking? Lucy—a 3.2-million-year-old skeleton discovered in 1974—belongs to , a species which scientists think was an early direct ancestor of modern humans. An exceptionally petite female—her estimated height was 3.5 feet (1.1 meters)—Lucy's small frame has been interpreted as not being totally adapted for human-like, upright walking. (See: "6-Million-Year-Old Human Ancestor 1st to Walk Upright?" ) Smarthistory: a multimedia web-book about art and art history Smarthistory offers more than 1500 videos and essays on art from around the world and across time. We are working with more than 200 art historians and some of the world's most important museums to make the best art history resource anywhere. Use the "subject" pulldown menu (go to "Arts and Humanities") at the top of this window or click on the headings below to access our content: Art history basics

A Sense of Scale By Glenn Elert Posted 01.08.08 NOVA At roughly minus 460°F, absolute zero is abysmally cold, yet at least we can imagine it. Being only a few hundred degrees below zero, it's in the realm of something we can put our minds around. The Meaning of Life Revealed! -This post is excerpted, with changes, from the book Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life by Steve Stewart-Williams - available now from Amazon.com , Amazon.ca , and Amazon.uk . Evolutionary theory answers one of the most profound and fundamental questions human beings have ever asked themselves, a question that has plagued reflective minds for as long as reflective minds have existed in the universe: The question was answered in 1859 by the English naturalist Charles Darwin, and the answer can be stated in just six words: "What?" I hear you exclaim.

How We Are Evolving Thousands of years ago humans moved for the first time into the Tibetan plateau, a vast expanse of steppelands that towers some 14,000 feet above sea level. Although these trailblazers would have had the benefit of entering a new ecosystem free of competition with other people, the low oxygen levels at that altitude would have placed severe stresses on the body, resulting in chronic altitude sickness and high infant mortality. Earlier this year a flurry of genetic studies identified a gene variant that is common in Tibetans but rare in other populations. This variant, which adjusts red blood cell production in Tibetans, helps to explain how Tibetans adapted to those harsh conditions. The dis­covery, which made headlines around the world, provided a dra­­matic example of how humans have undergone rapid biological adaptation to new environmental circumstances in the recent past.

Stone Agers Sharpened Skills 55,000 Years Earlier Than Thought Stone toolmakers living in southern Africa 75,000 years ago pushed the cutting edge in more ways than one. These intrepid folk sharpened the thin tips of heated stone spearheads using a forceful technique previously dated to no more than 20,000 years ago, a new study finds. This stone toolmaking method, called pressure flaking, was invented and used sporadically in Africa before spreading to other continents, according to a team led by archaeologist Vincent Mourre of the University of Toulouse-Le Mirail in France. Having a flexible repertoire of toolmaking methods aided the survival of modern humans who left Africa beginning around 60,000 years ago, the scientists propose in the Oct. 29 Science. The finding fits with the idea that symbolic art, rituals and other forms of modern human behavior developed gradually over hundreds of thousands of years, not in a burst of cultural innovation marked by cave paintings and other creations that appeared after 50,000 years ago in Western Europe.

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