Catch the last Mini-Science 2008 lecture at McGill

McGill Univeristy Mini-Science lecture seriesLook what we’ve almost missed! McGill University in Quebec is holding a series of spring lectures called Mini-Science, meant to give you an understanding of a general subject area. This year the subject is Ecology, Evolution, & Extinction. The series runs on Wednesday evenings and the last one is tomorrow night. Registration is required; I don’t know what a single lecture would cost, but it’s worth asking. So if you’re in Montreal, check it out.

Here’s the blurb:

Learn from the experts about:

  • Evolution and global change
  • Sustainability and biodiversity
  • The consequences of species and habitat loss

Mini-Science offers the public an opportunity to participate in a unique program that brings people together with experts in the field of science and related disciplines at McGill. In the second annual Mini-Science, top scientific minds give lectures that enlighten, entertain and demystify their cutting-edge research on Ecology, Evolution & Extinction.

No science background is required and there is no homework and no exam.

Lectures will be presented in English mais nous vous invitons à poser vos questions en français.

You’ll be able to get Webcasts of the lectures by May 12. ‘Casts of the 2007 lectures are available now.

Thousands die as Cyclone Nargis hits Myanmar

fallen trees in Yangon, capital of Myanmar, after Cyclone Nargis 2008

Myanmar’s coast and capital city were struck by a major cyclone that may have left 15,000 people dead. According to news reports, whole villages have been destroyed.

Myanmar was formerly Burma. It is ruled by a restrictive military junta, which has been keeping the democratically elected leader under house arrest for years. There’s was some question about whether the government-by-force would let anyone in to help, in case the people would be exposed to foreign contact. However, apparently they have decided to let in relief workers and supplies.

Maps are here: ReliefWeb.

Track of Cyclone Nargis:

Myanmar, 2008-05-05, track of Cyclone Nargis

Whose books did Hitler burn?

Here you see Nazis confiscating the library of the Institute for Sexual Research:

Nazis confiscating the library of the Institute for Sexual Research

They appear to be trampling on the books while looking for the ones with the good pictures.

Far from being inspired by evolutionary theory, in fact, Hitler burned Charles Darwin’s books:

Books to be burned, in German:

6. Schriften weltanschaulichen und lebenskundlichen Charakters, deren Inhalt die falsche naturwissenschaftliche Aufklärung eines primitiven Darwinismus und Monismus ist (Häckel). (Guidelines from Die Bücherei 2:6 (1935), p. 279)

In English:

6. Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel).

As noted before, Hitler believed in the creationist theory of “kinds”:

“Whence do we get the right to believe, that from the very beginning Man was not what he is today? Looking at Nature tells us, that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump, as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today.” (Hitler’s Table Talk)

Expelled the movie seeks to blame the Holocaust on Hitler’s version of the Origin of the Species. If that’s what caused it, you have to blame the Bible and Creationism!

New alternative to evolutionary theory

Colour creep… a new source of variation:

humorous pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Isn’t this how someone in the bible sneakily increased their number of spotted goats? No, that was by having the goats gaze on speckled sticks while pregnant: wrong theory.

Posted in humor. Tags: , , , . 1 Comment »

Tornado strikes U.S.S. Normandy

Commenter Jack C. provided two images of a tornado vs. the U.S.S. Normandy. One was taken by a bystander on the docks, showing the tornado directly over the ship. Another was taken from the ship, showing the tornado receding approaching. These pictures were taken on April 28. No one on board was injured.

Left: tornado striking ship; right: tornado approaching

Right: tornado approaching

Jack reports that his son is OK:

Yes he is, thanks – as is everyone else, though I think he needed to change the uniform shortly after. He grabbed his camera and took the second shot when the beastie was out in the harbor. Not sure who took the one from pierside, but the person behind the camera had a set for certain.

Last I had heard, no injuries from the crew and families and only three could not get info on their property due to areas being closed.

CF@44: it shakes a bit from what I am told. The son grabbed a handfull of hatch, slammed and dogged it and said the ship suddenly shook like nothing he had felt. Apparently, a few minor things were ripped off – a painting barge ended up adrift – and a VERY large trash compactor on the pier got repositioned. I understand the duty section performed admirably.

I have never seen one of these – and he gets to ride one. Nothing exciting ever happens when I am around.

The U.S.S. Normandy is a Ticonderoga-class Guided Missle Cruiser with its own Web site.

USS Normandy

The stupid, it burns

If there’s a Darwin Award category for getting in trouble with the law, this fellow should win it. It seems he strolled into a bank in Fort Worth, Texas, with a hand-written, or hand-altered, cheque for $360 billion and expected to cash it. He was arrested and was found to be carrying almost an ounce of marijuana as well. He has been released on $3750 bail.

It looks to me as if it’s been altered from something like $34.

Posted in humor, people. Tags: , , . 1 Comment »
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