July 13, 2012 |
Psychologist Timothy D. Wilson, a professor at the University of Virginia, expressed resentment in his Times Op-Ed article on Thursday over the fact that most scientists don't consider his field a real science. He casts scientists as condescending bullies: "Once, during a meeting at my university, a biologist mentioned that he was the only faculty member present from a science department. When I corrected him, noting that I was from the Department of Psychology, he waved his hand dismissively, as if I were a Little Leaguer telling a member of the New York Yankees that I too played baseball.
March 18, 2013 |
Roosters, famously, crow in the early morn -- but scientists don't fully understand why they unleash their voices when they do. After all, roosters have also been known to make a racket when other animals or birds are about, when a car starts, or when lights turn on in the middle of the night. So do they crow because they see the morning light, or because they hear other roosters? Or do they have some kind of internal body clock that lets them know that's it's time to unleash their peals?
March 31, 2014 |
My Sunday column comparing private philanthropy and government social programs has revived the old debate over who is more charitably inclined, conservatives or liberals? Skipping to the last page of the story first, the answer is neither: As two MIT political scientists determined in a 2013 paper , the inclination to give appears to have virtually no relationship to one's partisan or ideological views. There are distinctions, however, in the kind of giving between the two poles. First, some context.
March 19, 2013 |
A rice-eating chicken has laid a giant egg weighing nearly half a pound. Unfortunately for Easter-egg-painting Americans, the chicken is in Guizhou, in southwestern China. The fowl's owner told the media that the hen began laying the eggs about a week ago. When it struggled to lay its first gigantic egg, "she thought the hen was dying. " Now it has laid several such beastly eggs. When villagers cracked open one of the latest, they found two yolks inside - and another regular-sized egg. They cracked that one open and found ... no new surprises, thank goodness. The owner said the only thing that distinguished this hen from her others was its diet.
November 24, 2009 |
Today, a century and a half after Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," the overwhelming majority of scientists in the United States accept Darwinian evolution as the basis for understanding how life on Earth developed. But although evolutionary theory is often portrayed as antithetical to religion, it has not destroyed the religious faith of the scientific community. According to a survey of members of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science, conducted by the Pew Research Center in May and June this year, a majority of scientists (51%)
July 22, 2011 |
To many, human-animal chimeras--animals that contain human cells--sound like the stuff of nightmares. If you can picture a frog with a human head, a monkey with human vocal chords or a dog with opposable thumbs, you can see why some people want to put the brakes on any sort of scientific experiment that mixes cells from different species. The reality of chimeras is much less dramatic: Picture instead a pig that produces human insulin or a mouse getting chemotherapy for its human cancer cells.