Saturday, February 27, 2010

Red Queen Theory

It has long been assumed that changes in evolution take place due environmental factors. That is, when environmental conditions change, evolution will adapt an organism to allow it to survive. Researchers at the University of Liverpool have announced this may not be the case at all. They point to results from their genetic research that seem to indicate that inter-species competition plays a much stronger role.

The theory, first proposed as the "Red Queen Theory", formulates that most evolutionary changes are a result of a sort of "tit for tat" result of combative interactions with other organisms. Small but relatively rapid changes occur due to competition for survival in their environment. It suggests that all creatures are in a constant race for survival, evolving new ways to counter threats to their existence over time.

The "Red Queen Theory" is named after a passage in the Lewis Carrol story, Through the Looking Glass in which the Red Queen tells Alice "it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place".

This theory plays more into our currently accepted notions of Chaos Theory than the earlier view of Evolutionary Change, and can also be applied to other evolutionary systems as well, for example international arms races.

I will let you Google this one yourself if you want to know more...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Child Beaten to Death By Religious Kooks...

Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz adopted six children from poverty struck Liberia, so they could have a better life in the US. Too bad that better life included being beaten to death for something as minor as mis-pronouncing a word.

These children had the misfortune of being adopted by a family of followers of Tennessee evangelist Micheal Pearl. A basic tenet of his church is to beat your children to make them more obedient and faithful servants of God. They are so serious about it, his church published a written guide to doing it, and even recommends using a particular 1/4 inch plastic plumbing supply line.

Allegedly, these two held their children down, in the name of God, and beat them with a plastic pipe for hours causing massive injuries. Their 7 year old died. Another child of theirs, age 11, is in critical condition for the same reason. All of this started over a word the Liberian children could not pronounce...

It's God's will they say.

Here is the story on True Crime Report...

Here is a horrid story about their "Child Training" methods...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Climate Change Caused Mass Extinctions, not Asteroids?

A group of Climate Scientists and Earth Scientists are now proposing a theory that sudden climatic change, not asteroid collision, has been responsible for most of the mas extinction events which have occured throughout history. They are basing this off the partly off the geological record, and what is known to have occurred during the early periods of life on Earth.

Whether right or wrong, it is a fact that mass extinctions have occurred due to climate change. The extinction event at the end of the Permian period is a prime example, where a combination of glacial melt and volcanism is thought to have initiated the climatic change.

So, the question is, are we next? Are we condemned to repeat the past?

Read more about Earth's extinction events here...

More about Climate Change and the Extinction cycle can be found here...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yellowstone's Plumbing Exposed

Researchers have confirmed that the source of the Yellowstone Super-volcano (which makes up the entire National Park, basically) comes from the Earth's Mantle more than 500 miles down. This is unheard of in the world of Volcanism, and shows that the caldera upon which Yellowstone Park sits, is basically a giant plug leading to the core of the Earth. Most Volcanoes are not supplied directly from the Mantle or the Core.

When this blows, it is going to be big...

Yellowstone's Plumbing Exposed

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Harpooned; New Game let's you Play as Jap Whale Researcher

Now, you too can pretend to play a Japanese whale researcher harpooning whales for hamburger meat in new video game. Cruising the oceans in your great blue whaling ship with RESEARCH painted on it, you can slaughter endless hordes of evil whales to make your meat supply quota. Just stay away from those pesky eco-terrorists out to stop you...

You can download it here

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Enigma of the Cygnus Bubble

In the constellation Cygnus, a recently discovered anomaly has shed new light on an old scientific controversey. This eerie bubble like nebula has ignited speculation about the possibility of discovering "Dyson" spheres, constructed by alien civilizations. A Dyson Sphere is a construct made to encase a planet, solar system, or region of space inside a sphere-like structure. There are many reasons to construct a body such as this, but most have to do with harnessing solar energy. The idea for these spheres was first formulated by physicist Freeman Dyson, who they are named after. The sphere itself could be constructed from nearly anything, from pulverised asteroids, to dust, to molecular plasma energy depending upon its purpose.

This odd looking nebula, was discovered about two years ago by an amateur astronomer. It is so new, it does not even have a name yet. The strikingly odd thing about it, is that it is in a region of space that is well known by professional astronomers, and is large enough it should have been detected in past surveys. No one really has an explanation for what it is, though it looks vaguely like a "planetary" nebula. However, it also shows traits not related to this type of nebula, making it a bit of an enigma to science.

Sixteen candidate objects for consideration as alien Dyson Spheres are currently known. This object is one of them.

Here is another article on The Daily Galaxy...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Voodoo, Missionaries, and the Haitian Earthquake...

As if Haiti did not have enough problems before the catastrophic earthquake. The recent events in this poor country are helping to widen a growing rift between Christianity and the local Voodoo adherents. While true Voodou is a strange combination of Roman Catholicism and ancient beliefs from Africa, the mass influx of protestant missionaries has heightened stress levels amongst the locals. True to its roots, Roman Catholicism has traditionally been very tolerant of syncretism with local spiritual beliefs and customs. Ever mindful of their shrinking worldwide Catholic population, these practices have been considered native customs and have not been outright banned by the Vatican.

In a world like Haiti, where most of the population steadfastly believes the world's events are shaped by the unseen spirit world, the influx of Protestant missionaries is creating hardship and widening the gap between the Protestant world and their own. While seemingly well intentioned, many of the largely Protestant aid organizations are well known for promoting views that the Haitian lifestyle comes from the "Devil", as evidence by Pat Robertson's notorious comments on the subject.

These very same organizations are also being accused of withholding aid from Voodoo practioners. Max Beauvoir, who is sort of like the Haitian Voodoo Pope, has claimed these Evangelical aid organizations are the very same who stand in the way of helping his people. He also claims these organizations are doing other things unrelated to aid, like spreading the idea that the earthquake was "divine retribution" via the mass media.

Some in the Haitian populace view the missionaries as simply taking advantage of their predicament. They see the missionaries as using the fact that Haiti is in trouble, as being their ticket for mass conversion of the Haitian people. We are seeing the results of this in the recent arrests of the Baptist missionaries under Human Trafficking charges. On the other hand, the Haitian belief structure is also being challenged. The population has a very fatalistic view of the world, and the fall of their spiritual icons and wholesale devastation of their land is sure to sow the seeds of pestilence.

We will surely see a Haiti which emerges from the ruins, far less trusting of the outside world than it previously was. This region is doomed to be a powder-keg for many years to come.