Spoilers for Kim Stanley Robinson's "Aurora" ahead. So, the story is like this: A multigenerational arkship is on it's way to Tau Ceti, they find their primary target for colonization hostile and discuss whether to move to another planet in the same system, live there in domes while terraforming it. One reason for not doing this is stated thusly: [more inside]
I read an article several years ago in which the following argument was made: "life" exists to modify carbon. The assertion was that "life" arose as the most efficient method for creating certain forms of carbon utilizing all available resources, including sunlight, etc. Does anyone know of the article or of the broader theory?
Say you had a religious education, and were never taught the first thing about evolution. Now you're no longer religious. How would you learn what you'd missed? [more inside]
Where are the best places on the web to find long comment sections of debate about the "controversy" of evolution and global warming? CNN had very long comment sections until they wised up and began opening comments for very few articles. Yahoo Answers has some, but they often only have 10-20 replies. FreeRepublic tends to veer into slamming Democrats, and I'm looking for more religious and non-science based arguments, like, "My grandpa was not a monkey," and "It's freezing outside, some global warming, huh?"
What are some good resources to help explain the Big Bang, evolution and, the meaning of life to my delightful 5 year-old nephew? Fairly equal emphasis for each, but I am stumped most by "but why are all the things and people here, mayurasana?" than the rest. [more inside]
I'm a cataloging librarian who works a couple hours a week on the reference desk. This morning I had a patron come in to ask me for sources that back up the claim that the probability that life on earth formed by random chance is so small that some kind of divine intervention is more likely. [more inside]
How many generations am I (or you) the product of? That is, how long is the continuous sequence of paired organisms in the chain of reproduction for a human in the 21st century? [more inside]
How and why do we become accustomed to smells? What makes some odours personally super-pungent one day and unnoticed 'background noise' later on, despite the smell remaining objectively unchanged? [more inside]
Why are there no lobsters the size of horses or horses the size of shrimp? [more inside]
Looking for recommendations for books on Christian apologetics that take seriously the reality of evolution rather than denying it in favor of the argument from design. [more inside]
Why do birds migrate to the Arctic and Antarctic? [more inside]
How is it chimps are stronger than humans? [more inside]
Does anyone know how to hunt down an animated film they used to (or still do) show at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History? It was attached to the marine life/oceans exhibit and was about the origins of life and natural selection. Absent finding a copy of the film online, does anyone else remember seeing this? [more inside]
Why is the concept of evolution seen as contrary to Christian teaching? [more inside]
Do paleontologists ever assume that a fossil was the only animal of its kind? Couldn't unique fossils have been mutants that never bred?
If an exoplanet had a light side and a dark side (like Earth's moon, slowly spinning in orbit to keep one face towards earth), might life evolve around the penumbra? [more inside]
Half-remembered board game ID question: In the mid-'90s, my family was visiting some friends who owned a strange board game involving evolution, species, a hexagonal grid, and lots and lots of dice. What was it? [more inside]
Sometime in the late '80s or early '90s I read, in a computer magazine, a review of a game where you had to create a creature by manipulating "genes" for various traits then release it into a wireframe ecosystem. Did this game ever actually exist? Anyone heard of it? [more inside]
Can'tFindThisVideoAgainFilter: YouTube, perhaps; within last 6 months. A couple of guys go back in time (!) and keep a diary. They return to the present and assert that birds are just dinosaurs. Pretty sure the punchline was something close to my tagline above. Much better than as described...
How did sexual reproduction become evolutionarily advantageous? [more inside]
I can't remember the title of a very thorough "defense of evolution" type book. It presented hundreds of arguments used against evolutionary theory and argued against them, usually only with a paragraph or two. It was large, detailed, straightforward, and non-polemical.
Did the word "evolve" exist before Darwin came up with the theory of evolution?
Why are arthropods the only animals with more than four legs? [more inside]
What are some good books about the history or evolution of different plants or animals? Overblown metaphor aside, I really liked Michael Pollan's 'The Botany of Desire' and would be interested in learning the history of other domesticated plants like roses or oranges. Or books on evolution that get into things like insects or whales.
How do I gently but firmly steer a very misguided 14-year-old to respect science? I'm not a teacher, but I am in a mentoring role and feel I owe it to her to try. [more inside]
Is there a website out there where I can enter the names of two species and be given the approximate date when their last common ancestor lived? Bonus points if it tells me what sort of species this ancestor probably was, and for showing me the part of the tree of life relating to these species. Thanks!
Can't remember, need help: Work of fiction about evolution [more inside]
What sci-fi or dystopian (or even utopian) stories of the future involve a form of humanity that has outgrown the need for any corporeal manifestation in favor a completely cerebral existence? [more inside]
Why do species feel empathy and aesthetic attraction (non-sexual) toward members of other species? [more inside]
What's the real reason apes evolved to move through trees using arms rather than legs and a tail; why do they swing rather than jump? Surely not because "a tree branch can hold more weight above than it than below it" (as purported by a suspect sheet of "fun facts" at the zoo). [more inside]
What happens to slimy amphibians during a drought? Do they shrivel up and die? [more inside]
Why do baby teeth come in in the order they do? [more inside]
I'd like to learn about biology. Can you recommend some books to get me started? [more inside]
Is there a word or term that expresses the following concept more accurately than "rename"? [more inside]
Ears have evolved over many many years to be perfect for us to hear with. Why have I never seen an ear shaped microphone?
Help me remember the illustrator's name who drew that original cartoon about evolution, which depicted the gradual transformation of a man starting as a monkey. [more inside]
Name that 3D wire-frame evolving-creature-in-a-hostile-environment Amiga game from 15ish years ago. [more inside]