Monday, September 12, 2005


For anything on the embryonic development of Zebrafish, Danio rerio, Pharyngula is the place to be!

For more evidence on the Theory of Evolution, check out Deep homologies in the pharyngeal arches at Pharyngula.

What the heck is a pharyngula? "a particular stage in the development of the vertebrate embryo ... Specific cells in the pharyngeal arches will form gills or glands, depending on the species of evolutionarily conserved period when vertebrate embryos of all species are most similar to one another, and has a repeated series of pharyngeal arches. These are characteristic chordate tissues that form a 'basket' of cartilage and associated tissues in the throat; they contribute to jaws and facial structures, ear bones, gill arches, etc."

Human gland evolved from gills.

These images really tell the story. The embronic cells which become gills in fish, become glands in humans, both depending on the gene Gcm-2.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 2004

Okabe and Graham tell all in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Next: The Jawbone of an Ass....


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Novosibirsk — A Symphonic Interlude

A Symphonic Interlude

Novosibirsk, RussiaNovosibirsk is the capital of Siberia and the geographic center of Russia. This beautiful scene of bridges crossing the Ob River inspired this foray into symphonic music.

Some very useful music software (called Performance Modeling) is created by my friends at Ntonyx located in Novosibirsk, Russia.

(MP3, 2 minutes 47 seconds, 2.6 MB)

Finally, I have a symphony orchestra at my fingertips!

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Monday, September 05, 2005


I have had a number of discussions concerning the creation/evolution controversy — often on blogs. However, most blogs do not offer the bandwidth or the multi-threading necessary for detailed scientific discussions. Due to these limitations, I often refer people to the Usenet newsgroup Talk.Origins *.

Talk.Origins Archives"Talk.Origins * is a Usenet newsgroup devoted to the discussion and debate of biological and physical origins. Most discussions in the newsgroup center on the creation/evolution controversy, but other topics of discussion include the origin of life, geology, biology, catastrophism, cosmology and theology."

The Talk.Origins Archives offers a variety of articles and essays providing mainstream scientific answers to many frequently asked questions (FAQ). The Talk.Origins Archives have won numerous awards and mentions.

( * Note: If you do not have a newsgroup reader, you can access Talk.Origins through Google Groups. Or, many email programs can be configured for newsgroup.)

The Panda's Thumb is the virtual pub of the University of Ediacara.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Forearmed with knowledge

Snaring the Fowler: Mark Twain Debunks PhrenologyIn the 19th Century, a new pseudo-science emerged to join the likes of alchemy and astrology. Called Phrenology, it claimed to be able to judge the aptitudes and characteristics of people by noting the bumps on their head, which presumably would give clues to the structure of the brain within the skull. The most important of these Phrenologists was a man named Fowler.

From the Skeptical Inquirer:

Britannica: Phrenology enjoyed great popular appeal well into the 20th century but was wholly discredited by scientific research.Forearmed with a knowledge both of phrenology and the tricks of con artists, the famous author Mark Twain performed a simple single-blind reliability test. In 1872 or 1873, he visited Fowler's London office and paid for a reading using a pseudonym.

"he found a cavity, in one place; a cavity where a bump would have been in anyone else's skull. That cavity, he said was all alone, all by itself, occupying a solitude, and had no opposing bump, however slight in elevation, to modify and ameliorate its perfect completeness and isolation. He startled me by saying that that cavity represented the total absence of the sense of humor!"

Twain returned to Fowler three months later and sat for a second reading, this time identifying himself. On this occasion, the reading differed greatly: "Once more he made a striking discovery-the cavity was gone, and in its place was a Mount Everest-figuratively speaking-31,000 feet high, the loftiest bump of humor he had ever encountered in his life-long experience!"

Google Scholar: Stand on the shoulders of giants.Twain has been cited for his single-blind reliability test in the scientific literature. Here are a few other cites to Twain's scientific results from Google Scholar.

National Library of MedicineIt is the ability to make reliable predictions that is the hallmark of science. I would also note that you don't have to have a PhD to practice the scientific method. Twain was doing science, and his only qualification was his ability to see the con.

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Mr. Bill for head of FEMA

Ohh Nooo!!!"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."George Bush.

"Ohh Nooo!!!"Mr. Bill.

Please watch the Video of Mr. Bill's public service announcement. I say, Mr. Bill for director of FEMA. He has the foresight, and the experience with disaster, that is requisite for the job.

You can make a difference! Sign the Mr. Bill petitionUPDATE

Someone started a petition to put Mr. Bill in charge of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). With your help, we can make this a reality! Please sign this petition.

Mr. Bill for director of FEMA. He can't be any worse.