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Comment A wormhole into a can of worms? (Score 2) 79

A wormhole into a can of worms? I doubt it. Wallace has never critized Darwin publicly as far as I know, and I doubt in secrecy either. Did Victorian English ever use blunt language in writing? I don't really know but I suspect they didn't. I some of the summaries to the scanned pages and find it hard to believe there was ever

Yes, Wallace is our too little sung hero. He is not unsung (e.g. http://wallacefund.info/song-about-alfred-russel-wallace, http://wallacefund.info/mr-darwin-mr-wallace-mr-matthew-song-mr-haines) and I've raised many a toast to his memory!

Comment No teenager knows what a fax machine is today (Score 1) 110

and why should they... Scanners+email+internet have replaced that function, but are also what many teenagers don't know how to use.

Todays' kids take a photo with their smartphone and mms it. That's mobile phone systems, not the good old and tried internet with cables and dirt.

Comment Re:Kardashian? (Score 5, Informative) 697

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940): "Why do you think neanderthals had dark hair and brown eyes? Doesn't it seem a little odd that the only place you can find blonde hair, red hair, blue or green eyes and white skin also happens to be the same location that the neanderthals were mostly last seen in?"

Because

"A team at the University of Copenhagen have tracked down a genetic mutation which took place 6-10,000 years ago and is the cause of the eye colour of all blue-eyed humans alive on the planet today. [...] Originally, we all had brown eyes”, said Professor Eiberg from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. “But a genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a “switch”, which literally “turned off” the ability to produce brown eyes”. The OCA2 gene codes for the so-called P protein, which is involved in the production of melanin, the pigment that gives colour to our hair, eyes and skin. The “switch”, which is located in the gene adjacent to OCA2 does not, however, turn off the gene entirely, but rather limits its action to reducing the production of melanin in the iris – effectively “diluting” brown eyes to blue."

From http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080130170343.htm

"Neanderthal extinction hypotheses are plausible explanations on how Neanderthals became extinct around 30,000 years ago."

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal_extinction_hypotheses

So, the Neanderthals died out some 20,000 years _before_ there were blue eyes.

And no, the large dinosaurs like T-Rex weren't around at that time either.

Comment Re:Kardashian? (Score 3, Funny) 697

Yes, dark hair and brown eyes are the plesiomorphic traits. However, their breasts probably are way too large to be primitive and their noses are too narrow too to be it too. Still, I found those breasts really interesting and to be sure about their authenticity it would be nice to examine them more in detail. If they turn out to be of the primitive type I can go primitive too; maybe I have more of those plesiomorphic traits than I ever knew.

Comment Re:This IS important (Score 1) 68

"The controversy about ALH 84001 was not that it is from Mars (that is pretty much agreed upon): the controversy was about nanofossils purportedly discovered in this meteorite."

Many, including myself don't agree with that it was from Mars. I am am afraid that such an "agreement" by others may have been reached because a president was made a fool in combination with wishful thinking. Look at the analyses, via the Wikipedia link above. They are not persuasive.

Kuhn would have loved to analyze that "agreement".

Comment This IS important (Score 3, Insightful) 68

There have been too many sloppy science news the last decades.

Please, recall when president Clinton was fooled into saying they had found a rock from Mars, on Earth!!! A few days ago, there was another rock from Mars, also found on Earth. The arguments why these terrestrial rocks were from Mars is sadly weak.

Another Clintonian Mars or even a Piltdown Man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piltdown_Man) is what we all should dread.

Pushing the barrier between bad towards dishonest science is NOT good at all.

If we can once again ascertain that NO extraterrestrial life has been found, the better.

Comment you can improve what you can measure (Score 1) 134

"you can’t improve what you can’t measure"?

Huh?! Well, that doesn't preclude that you can improve what you can measure.

Yes, I believe that valuable insights can be gained from what you can measure. For example, if your data couldn't determine a success factor that is a valuable result in itself! The insight then is "there must be an unknown factor we have not included in our model".

What is the big deal? I also think that the unexpected can be found within a mainstream setting, it all but takes a glimpse of genius to discover it. Finding that genius recipe in the dark, without any previous experience is silly, ignorant and ill-informed. Think of the angry birds authors who had made about a hundred games before they hit gold. That was no luck. They had the experience. Systematizing that 'hovering feeling' experience into a mathematical model? Why not? It still takes genuine talent to make it fun and implement it well.

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