Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sikh student allowed to bring dagger to public school as a gesture toward religious tolerance

According to custom, members of the Sikh religion wear the “five Ks,” which, according to Wikipedia, are the following: Kesh: Uncut hair, usually tied and wrapped in a Dastar [JAC: A form of turban]. Kanga: A wooden comb, usually worn under a Dastar Katchera: Cotton undergarments, historically appropriate in battle due to increased mobility when compared to a […]

Young people today… Help them appreciate the Marx Brothers

by Matthew Cobb I have just finished teaching to the second year Animal Diversity course here at the University of Manchester – I cover the invertebrates. I closed with 10 minutes on my favourite flies, some of which we have featured here with stupendous photos by Stephen Marshall. One of them is the Groucho fly (aka […]

Three amazing photos by Melvyn Yeo

by Matthew Cobb We’ve featured the arthropod macro photos of Singapore-based photographer Melvyn Yeo before. You can browse his amazing DeviantArt page. Here are two doozies I just stumbled across. The first is of a mantidfly. These are weird neuropterans that look like a cross between a mantis and a fly (they aren’t). This one […]

From the Cambrian Explosion to swimming pigs – Professor Brian Cox

by Matthew Cobb My University of Manchester colleague Brian Cox has a new TV series out at the moment, called Human Universe, which looks at the big questions – why are we here, are we alone etc. Last Tuesday’s episode was about the possibility of alien life (high for microbes, reckons Brian, probably zero for […]

Readers’ beefs

For some reason—perhaps because I’m on the road—the wacko comments have been less frequent this week. In fact, we have only two. The first is from reader “assisinaturecouncil”, who commented on my post, “Monastery of the Transfiguration of God” (as usual, I present the posts without editing): am ecsatic show me a work of art […]

The Ratio meeting

The twice-yearly Ratio meeting in Sofia, which lasts a day each time, is unique in my experience: a large, privately-organized meeting designed solely to address science and skepticism. (They stay away from atheism.) It’s largely organized by Liubomir (“Lubo”) Baburov, who solicits donations but, I think, winds up paying a lot of the expenses out […]

Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Today we head back to Sofia, stopping at various scenic places on the way, and then tomorrow I take off on my own into the wilds of Bulgaria for a few days. We’ll see how I function in a country with the Cyrillic alphabet.  Meanwhile, in Dobrzyn, Andrzej produces one of his more enigmatic Hili […]

An experiment: an open thread

My absence in Bulgaria, and inability to post so often, has prompted this experiment: a readers’ thread.  Feel free to post links or even videos that you think might start a conversation, and see if you can keep it going. Feel free to change the subject if you’ve talked one dry. Go!

Guest post: The relationship between Islam and female genital mutilation

Dr. Oliver Scott Curry works on the evolution of morality at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford. Just to check out Reza Aslan’s claim that female genital mutilation (FGM) was an African rather than an Islamic problem, Curry did a preliminary statistical analysis. As you’ll see below, his results (and he emphasizes again that they’re tentative […]

Caturday felids trifecta: The cats of Sofia; Swiss try to pass one-cat-per-house rule; Cat fights washing machine

Three items today, just so I don’t miss a Caturday. But I’m in a rush, as I’m speaking at the Ratio conference this afternoon. So let us hasten to the felids: I’ve seen two live street cats in Sofia, but they were moving too fast to either pet or photograph. Fortunately, the Bulgarians love cats, […]


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