Stories about evolution are compelling because they fit with our very human need for a linear narrative, but evolution possesses distinctive non-linearities driven by its agent, natural selection. Continue reading
Somewhere between single-celled organisms and human beings, brains evolved. Just why and how is still shrouded in mystery. Continue reading
Similar to the once wildly popular anime, Dragon Ball Z, science too has its own sagas.
She’s checking out your on-line profile.
“I am a scientist who enjoys bird watching and canoeing.”
“Interesting!” she thinks.
Then she scrolls to the next profile; also a scientist:
“I enjoy white water kayaking, and I study alligators in the wild.”
She passes on you with your canoe, and in eager anticipation sends the kayaker an electronic “wink.”
This, according to a study by psychologist John Petraitis, is what most women will do, but why?
In nature, we find many examples of animals that favor mates with a certain set of features. In some cases, such sexual selection leads to impressive changes to the morphology of animals through the course of evolution, such as the enormous and colorful tail of peacocks, deployed during courtship. When choosing a partner for reproduction, animals are facing an important dilemma. On the one hand, some of the characteristics of their potential mate may truly indicate the quality of their genes – they may somehow correlate with how good of an offspring can be expected from mating with them. Continue reading
A couple of months ago, author Sam Harris challenged his readers to write an essay proving him wrong with respect to his book, The Moral Landscape. The winning essay was written by Ryan Born who holds a BA in cognitive science from the University of Georgia and an MA in philosophy from Georgia State University. The essay can be read here, and I extend my congratulations to the winner. Today I post my own essay which was among the 400 or so texts that were submitted to the contest. Continue reading
For the star-studded cast who made up two panels at this year’s Kavli Prize award ceremony (available via webcast) at the World Science Festival in New York City today, special significance was attached to the death in November of the Norwegian-born Fred Kavli, the benefactor of 17 institutes in various parts of the world, including five dedicated solely to neuroscience.