January 24, 2014 |
Cinema was just emerging from its infancy when Charlie Chaplin created his comic character the Tramp a century ago. With his bowler hat, baggy pants, endearing little mustache, exaggerated shuffling walk and cane, the Little Tramp was an instant star. "The cinema was not yet 20 years old when he made the first Tramp film," said documentarian/film preservationist Serge Bromberg, whose Paris-based Lobster Films teamed with Flicker Alley three years ago to restore and release the "Chaplin at Keystone" DVD set. "What is so amazing is that 100 years later, he remains the absolute icon for cinema.
December 30, 2013 |
By about 2-1, Americans accept the idea that “humans and other living things have evolved over time,” but as with so many issues these days, answers to that question have taken on a growing partisan cast. According to a newly released survey by the Pew Research Center , six in 10 Americans say they accept the principle that species have evolved, while about one-third say that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.” That overall division of American views has stayed fairly constant.
December 20, 2013 |
Never mind the selfish gene - the cellular family history of the oldest living species of flowering plants is marked by enough sex and gluttony to earn a place in Shakespeare's folio. The powerhouse organelles inside cells of Amborella trichopoda, a woody shrub that grows only in the humid jungles of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, gobbled up and retained the entire genome from the equivalent organelles of four different species, three of algae and one of moss, according to a study of the plant's mitochondrial DNA published this week in the journal Science.
November 30, 2013 |
Richard Dawkins was enjoying a coffee at the Mondrian Hotel when a star-struck waiter interrupted him to thank him for his work. It was the kind of thing that happens a lot at the swanky West Hollywood hot spot - but usually to showbiz celebrities, not biologists. Dawkins is used to the adulation. The British intellectual has become a celebrity thanks to his books on evolution - including "The Selfish Gene," written in 1976 - and his vocal atheism, expressed in works like "The God Delusion," published in 2006.
November 15, 2013 |
Four billion years ago, rivers and lakes dotted the surface of Mars, their waters reflecting puffy clouds drifting in a blue sky, scientists believe. Now, it's a dry, rusty rock that's subject to fierce sandstorms, withering blasts of radiation and freezing temperatures that have frozen carbon dioxide to the planet's poles. What happened? That's the question NASA seeks to answer with the scheduled launch Monday of the MAVEN spacecraft. Planetary scientists believe the answer lies high in the Martian atmosphere.
November 15, 2013 |
Thursday was a true dog day afternoon, as scientists announced they had - perhaps - finally solved the riddle of the origin of domesticated dogs. As my colleague Monte Morin reported : “Dogs evolved from a now extinct species of European wolf that followed bands of nomadic or semi-nomadic humans who were hunting woolly mammoths and other large prey.” In other words, dogs come by chasing ducks and squirrels and cars and tennis balls quite naturally. And how do the scientists know this?