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Posts Tagged ‘Olivia Judson

Can you believe it? The LHC is not big enough

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GENEVA - JUNE 16:  A photon source is seen in ...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

and the really important proton collisions haven’t happened yet in CERN’s current LHC. But the next collider is going to be linear! Link

Circular or linear or wiggly, or??????

I am intrigued by Big and Small science, especially when an apt writer like Olivia Judson writes those sidebar stories about the biology of our biosphere!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/07/27 at 16:06

Genomes, humans and Neanderthals

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The Wikispecies logo created by Zephram Stark ...
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Are you still wondering about the evolution of the human species?

Olivia Judson writes about the latest DNA analysis of Neanderthal bones and explains how that evidence tells us about the human/Neanderthal nexus.

In here usual way of teasing us about our human realities she writes thus to end her article in the NY Times:

Here, lots of ideas have been put forward — a sure sign that no one knows. Perhaps they died of mad Neanderthal disease, owing to a habit of feasting on one another’s brains. (This has been put forward as a serious hypothesis.) Perhaps they were victims of a changing climate. Perhaps they were “inferior” beings, unable to match our capacity for innovation in the face of adversity. Perhaps their populations became too small, and too sparse, for them to find mates. Or — and this is the most haunting possibility — perhaps they were eventually murdered by their puny cousins. That is, us.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/05/12 at 15:24

Grass seems so ordinary and unimportant

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BAMIYAN, AFGHANISTAN - SEPTEMBER 7:  Afghan Ba...
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That’s probably because we know so little about grass and how it relates to our humanity and our evolution as humans. As usual Olivia Judson, my favorite science writer, tells the story of grass and grasslands and their basic connection with humans in today’s NY Times Science section.

Some very basic facts about grasses:

“Today, the grass family contains more than 10,000 species — that’s more species of grass than species of bird — and grasslands cover about a third of the planet’s landmasses. (“Grassland” refers to an ecosystem, like prairie, where grasses dominate; it doesn’t mean they are the only plants there.)”

She informs us that “Rice, wheat, rye, oats, maize, millet, barley, sorghum and sugar cane are all grasses” and constitute one third of our diet.

She ends her essay with these thoughts:

Yet regardless of how much grasses shaped our earliest evolution, in the recent past they have transformed us. We usually talk of our domestication of grasses, and the ways in which we have evolved them: we have made plants with bigger, more nutritious seeds that don’t fall to the ground, for example.

But their effect on us has been far more profound. Our domestication of grasses, 10,000 years ago or so, allowed the building of the first cities, and marks the start of civilization as we know it. Grasses thus enabled the flowering of a new kind of evolution, a kind not seen before in the history of life: the evolution of human culture.

So much for the ordinariness of grass!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/03/03 at 11:30

What Earth’s journey through space means to us, homo sapiens!

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Comparison of the current-day Sun and the Sun ...
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Olivia Judson often offers thoughts that are based on science and common sense. Here’s one from her science essay in today’s NY Times:

A pedant has pointed out that our journey ’round the sun is only seemingly endless, and that we’ve only got another four or five billion years to go before the sun turns into a red giant and engulfs us. He’s right; but a few billion years is so long that it feels endless to me.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/12/30 at 10:37

Olivia Judson offers practical advice about positive and negative body rhythms

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A phylogenetic tree of living things, based on...
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Olivia JudsonOlivia Judson on the influence of science and biology on modern life.

Yes she is a molecular biologist who writes well, but she is also very good with advice about dealing with our health and dis-ease care. Check her latest ideas out!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/12/23 at 17:48

Now Olivia Judson is campaigning for “Other Life Forms”

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Urbi et Orbi (EP) album cover
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She is suggesting a Wild Celebration for the Year (2010) of Bio-diversity. In her usual way she is full of practical suggestions and original ideas about our bio-universe.

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Then there’s Olivia Judson reminding us about a deadly aspect of evolution by natural selection

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Olivia JudsonOlivia Judson on the influence of science and biology on modern life.

Yesterday, Tuesday, Nov. 24, was The Big Day: it was exactly 150 years since Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” was first published. In this book, Darwin described how evolution by natural selection works — and presented a huge body of evidence, drawn from every field of biology then known, that evolution can account for the patterns we see in nature.

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An evolve-by-date or become extinct! Wow ain’t that a concept? Of course no wonder that it’s Olivia J reminding us about our evolutionary existential reality!

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/11/25 at 08:08