From The Rational Optimist

An article: “Out of Africa–but When?“Out of Africa, but when?

My latest Mind and Matter column for the Wall Street Journal is about the exodus from Africa, either 125,000 years ago or 65,000 years ago.

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Carnival of the Africans 6 at Everyday Skeptics

Check out this carnival about African science, skepticism, and academic life.

Africa at night

Africa at night

Barack Obama helped to stabilize democracy in Kenya

Barack Obama pleaded with Kenyans to obey the rule of law and not abandon democracy in Kenya. Read about it in The Economist: “Saving the World in his Spare Time.

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Change in cichlid vision encourages speciation

Cichlids are fish that live in some of the great lakes in Africa, such as Lake Tanganyika. Reefs and shallows provide many environmental niches for them, and they speciate like mad. There are at least 2,000 species. Now researchers have found that one recent split of one stock into two species was helped , or perhaps made possible, by a change in the fishes’ vision. Some fish began to see better in long wavelengths, such as red, while others saw better in short wavelengths, such as blue. The fish had red and blue colouring themselves. The differences in vision affected how well the fish could see each others’ colours at different depths and thus could find a mate at depth. That began to affect how deep the fish liked to be, eventually leading to as split in the population.

Mathias Rath drops case against Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre of Bad Science reports that vitamin-pill pusher Mathias Rath has dropped a libel case against him and the Guardian. Rath has been denouncing AIDS drugs and pushing vitamins in South Africa. The result of his ads is that people stop taking their medications and die. Ben says,

Usefully, it seems that Rath will now be responsible for the Guardian’s legal costs. Interim costs were awarded this afternoon at just shy of a quarter of a million, and we are seeking the full half a million pounds the paper has spent. For my part, I will probably now write a swift book on Rath and South Africa, as a way to make all the fascinating extra information I’ve had to dredge through useful to others, and to try and recoup something so that my time was not wasted. It will be meticulously well referenced and carefully written.

Read Mathias Rath case exposes the difference between science and its imitators.

Pat Condell: Laugh at Sudan

Pat Condell talks about Muslim violence in Sudan.

What’s America famous for?

Blake Rig was conducting a class exercise with his students when he got a disconcerting response: What’s America Famous For?” Blake is a writer and teacher in Sudan.

Maybe the U.S. is framing it wrong.

Brian Rig\'s blog

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