Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tangled Bank Carnival

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This week, we get the honour of hosting the Tangled Bank science carnival. I'd like to thank the Tangled Bank's founder and organizer, Professor Myers of the University of Minnesota, Morris, for letting me host this gathering of science knowledge, trivia, and blogging. I came to it after submitting my Time-published letter to the editor on obesity and portion sizes.

Note: Centrerion Canadian politics hosts the Mediocre Media carnival and the Moderate Circus, highlighting moderate politics around the globe. Here's more information on the carnivals we host.

Since this is a science carnival, I want to take the opportunity to encourage all of you readers to consider Centrerion Canadian Politics environmental/political coverage of the past little while, including our
interview with Green Party Leadership candidate Elizabeth May (who used to direct the Sierra Club of Canada),
notes on the Green Party's leadership debate here in Montreal, and
an editorial entitled Creative Taxing Can Save the Environment.

Most of all, though, I'd like some answers to my question about scientific opposition to evolution and Christian support for Darwin. I may be confusing things, but some positions each of the two groups have are hard to understand.

Without further ado, I present the Tangled Bank, June 21st edition, aka Tangled Bank #56! While I normally like to give editorial comments, given the huge volume of submissions, and my unfortunate ignorance in many of these fields, I will simply present the carnival's posts in the chronological order I got them from Mr. Myers. I apologize in advance for any sarcastic/snide remarks, they're just there to mask my own insecurity at being so ignorant.

I'm correcting some mistakes. I've attributed the good professor's actual place of teaching (yes, I know the expression is place of learning) properly, and I'm adding two posts I missed. To help them gain some of the residual traffic, I'll be putting it here at the top. Again, my apologies for the mistakes, but error is human, right?

Added posts worthy of your attention to make up for my error:

Isisfordia and the Origins of Modern Crocs: A newly described Cretaceous crocodile is helping scientists determine how modern crocodiles got their start. We learn this from the Hairy Museum of Natural History

James Hrynyshyn gives us: "How not to save the whales" from Island of Doubt. He says the Whaling Commission is an affront to science, because both sides of the whaling debate, who argue back and forth at the commission, abuse science and make junk arguments. A fasinating read!

GrrlScientist presents Europasaurus holgeri: the Smallest Giant posted at Living the Scientific Life. Grrl Scientists notes: this is a review of Douglas Erwin's new book, Extinction. It is a paleontological "whodunit" and it does a great job presenting the data that support various hypotheses as to why all life was nearly extinguished 252 million years ago.

Mediocre Media participant Josh Cohen at Multiple Mentality presents Rage... Taking Over... Josh mysteriously asks: "Do you feel like you're going crazy? Maybe you have a disease."

GrrlScientist presents another post, the, wait for it, The Rise of The Feathered Dragons posted at Living the Scientific Life.

Hsien-Hsien Lei, PhD, Science and Health Editor for Darren Rowse's heavyweight blog network, b5media, presents a post about "tissue engineering a beating heart." Now if only I knew what the meant... Anyways, it's at A Hearty Life and entitled, Growing a Heart.

Still in the lovely field of incomprehensible jargon, we have "A." suggesting we read
"Why You Weigh So Much: Dynamical Breaking of Chiral Symmetry" at his blog, Science is Potential (at least, that's what I think the latin means).
A explains: It's an introduction to the concept of "chiral symmetry breaking" for normal people. He adds, "let me know if you have any questions or need clarifications." How about explaining in the submission what chiral symmetry breaking is?

Chris McCullough, another regular contributor to Mediocre Media via his "blog for salty Christians" (is that how they described them before throwing them to the lions in Rome?), shares Al Gore and some inconvenient truths about global warming. For those of you who don't know, the former Vice-President of the US has made a movie about global warming that is now out in cinemas. Entitled An Inconvenient Truth, it is absolutely fantastic. Of course, Michae doesn't quite agree and he wants us to know that Gore himself ignored some inconvenient truths which suggest we humans are not causing global warming (to which I answer, who cares? We still need to do something about it!).

Joe Kissell shares an interesting things of the day with us. Robots that see and hear are nothing new, but researchers are now developing machines that can distinguish and identify odors. Applications include health care, public safety, and rescue work. Ah! Popular science! Hurray for Robots That Smell (so long as they don't smell too bad...) !!

Most mysteriously, we have some submitter named "Reason" asking us to take our pic.

Anyone know the winning lotto numbers?

From the more humanly named John Wheaton, we have two submissions, as John missed the previous carnival. The first considers science superstar, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. John's second post is about the "Voyager Probe, 30 years later." (I'm holding back the comments on this one, but it's soooo tempting!) For those who don't know about Voyager, if I recall correctly, the Voyager Probe was a NASA project sending some shuttle (or other spacecraft) around space. Anyways, the lot of it is courtesy of John's Computer Newbie site.

Nick Anthis's submission to The Tangled Bank from The Scientific Activist: concerns anthropomorphic molecules. Though I can't remember right now what anthropomorphic means, I actually do know it. Dont' ask me how, but I do. Ok, no really. It means my girlfriend's grown two sizes, err molecules, rather. Anyways, my lame attempts at comedy aside, Organic People Chemistry is this week's special on anthropomorphs.

Josh Rosenau brings us information on writing poll questions and desert locusts' behaviour. Now there's someone with an open mind and a wide range of interests!

Jane Shevtsov at Perceiving Wholes (no, it's not a voyeur porn blog - it's a regular porn blog - just kidding, of course) fills us in on the "nitrogen cycle and nitrogen fixation by humans."

With no description, we have Jennifer Forman Orth's submission, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Something to do with an invasive species. Do you know one? I sure don't.

Mo Man the Neurophilosopher (who's a little neurotic with his naming, by the looks of it) gives us: Religiosity is a Purely Human Thing. Reminds me of psychology class, which I liked. Interestingly, the psych prof was a former Christian who is now an atheist - but supports Bush nonetheless (he was an atheist before Bush was in the national political picture). Then again, it also reminds of the local French accent here in Montreal where French Canadians will pronounce "maman" (mother) mo-mahn.

Mike Bergin
shares with us some birding questions, namely a look at the Vireos of the American Northeast. Now there's a man who knows how to work the carnival blogosphere right, as I know of at least one other carnival which would be interested in that. More links for the same post! Smart guy.

Andre at BioCurious tells us that he loves taking a break from the lab and just staring at leaves. I find nature is restful for me too :).

Dave Munger presents Language and time: More on whether the future is literally in front of us. That sounds like a really interesting post! Questions of time have fascinated me ever since I learned that a) I can't manage my own and b) Someone on a train and someone off it will see a clock differently and yet both be right! At least, that's what I understood from Time magazine...

Back in the field of popular science, we have Jeremy Bruno at the Voltage Gate asking why it is we use so much harvested grass? He's talking about those roll-on lawns, of course, not the drug cartels. "At the cost of the eutrophication of lakes and bays and the dessimation [sic] of biodiversity, do Americans need giant tracks of short-cropped imported grasses in their yards? Why is this tradition so strong in our culture and so well-accepted?" Good question!

Phamous ole' Pharyngula (plural pharyngulae?) gives us "Polar lobes and trefoil embryos in the Precambrian." Who puts Brie Cheese in foil? Ok, maybe I stop making fun of the organizer of this carnival, who could probably display my pathetically tiny scientific knowledge in no more than a moment's time.

Josh Rosenau has more for us: Polar Bear Cannibalism, and how to grow big breasts. I'm not sure that this isn't actually a voyeur porn blog. Clicker beware.

Well, that's it. If I left something out, please send me an email (click Guided Tour, above, and go to the contact page). If you want to read more carnivals, consider our free newsletter. It's sent out twice a month.

Related articles are archived in the topical categories , .


At 1:24 a.m., Canadian Politico Anonymous Babbler said:

You know, PZ Myers is of University of Minnesota in Morris, not Michagan State.

At 12:21 p.m., Canadian Politico Anonymous Mike said:

Thanks for the compliment, LeCentre!

At 12:32 p.m., Canadian Politico Anonymous Anonymous said:

which suggest we humans are not causing global warming (to which I answer, who cares? We still need to do something about it!).

Bravo! More concerned people need to make that obvious (only to some of us, it seems) point.

At 11:14 p.m., Canadian Politico Anonymous wheatdogg said:

Thanks for including both my subs, but you left off the link to the Voyager post: And my blogsite link is, though I don't mind visits to the parent site.

At 12:09 a.m., Canadian Politico Anonymous Le Centre said:


Thanks for the comments all!

Babbler: I got the Ms confused, corrected it, then accidentally double posted this and deleted the uncorrected form. So you know... But anyways, thanks for the tip, I'll correct it as soon as this is posted,

Mike: don't mention it. :)

Craig: I'm glad someone agrees with me!

Wheatdogg: I saw the top level domain, hence the conclusion as to what site it is. I'll get the voyager link up, too. I think it was also cut off in the double-posting accident.

Much kudos again to Prof Myers for letting me host!

At 8:39 p.m., Canadian Politico Anonymous wheatdogg said:


At 10:09 p.m., Canadian Politico Blogger monado said:

I agree! Whatever is causing global warming, we should for our own wellbeing try to slow it down.

"Scientia est potentia" can also be translated as "Knowledge is power."

Thanks for hosting!


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