Daily Archives: November 24th, 2014

The conehead mantis

I had no idea this creature existed, so it’s a bit of a thrill to see it for the first time. The photo below shows two specimens of the conehead mantis, Empusa pennata, endemic to southern Europe and Turkey. This lovely photograph is from Project Noah. The blobs on the branch are part of the plant, not the insect’s legs. […]

Art imitates life: Babylon 5 and Karen Armstrong

Reader Grania sent me a clip from the television show Babylon 5 (I didn’t know of that show, of course) as well as an explanation of the similarities between the clip (below) and the logorrhea of Karen Armstrong. Her explanation: It reminds me of Babylon 5 again. I’ve mentioned this scene before. A terrorist-rebel turned peace-maker tries […]

Our god vs. theirs

A New Yorker cartoon tw**ted by Massimo Pigliucci. Remind you of a certain Monty Python skit?

Does evolution need a revolution?

I’m a bit late on this one, but the Albatross has kept me occupied. This post will be of interest mainly to science buffs, particularly those who already know a bit about evolution. But I’ll weigh in anyway, for, like an egg-eating snake expelling the shell, I had to get this out. On October 9, the […]

The National Academy honors Ernst Mayr

by Greg Mayer Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) was one of the greatest biologists of the 20th century, an architect of the “Modern Synthesis” of evolutionary biology which harmonized Mendelism and Darwinism and showed that the phenomena of paleontology, systematics, and genetics formed a mutually consistent and coherent whole. Mayr in particular identified and explicated the importance […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Marooned in the wilds of rural Canada, reader Diana MacPherson nevertheless takes great wildlife photos of the creatures in her yard.  Here are a sparrow (Passer domesticus) and some chipmunks (Tamias striatus). Sadly, I’ve lost the notes, and am no good at anthropomorphizing, but remember that the sparrow displaced the chipmunk from its seeds. I remember Diana said […]

The two best soul songs ever

As promised, here is Professor CC’s choice of the two best soul songs ever. This was a hard one, as my list of favorites is long, and of course many will disagree with these choices (you may list your TWO favorirtes—no more—in the comments). Both of these were written, at least in part, by Smokey […]

Monday: Hili dialogue

It’s Monday again, but in the U.S. we have Thanksgiving on Thursday, and either the day before or after that, the galley proofs of The Albatross arrive, so I will a. see the book in near-final form, and b. have more work to do.  Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, today’s Hili dialogue is one of the rare […]