Moore’s Law, The Origin Of Life, And Dropping Turkeys Off A Building

I’ve already mentioned the nonsensical paper “published” in (surprise, surprise) arXiv in...

Genome Reduction In Bladderworts Vs. Leg Loss In Snakes

In one sense, I am happy that there is enough interest in the concept of “junk DNA” (and by...

Another Just-So Story, This Time About Fists

“It is demonstrable,” said he, “that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as...

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T. Ryan GregoryRSS Feed of this column.

I am an evolutionary biologist specializing in genome size evolution at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Be sure to visit Evolver Zone

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This past May, I was fortunate enough to take part in a conference in Venice, Italy, which was a retrospective on the legacy of famous paleontologist and author Stephen Jay Gould 10 years after his death. The choice of Venice as the conference venue was a nod to one of Gould’s most famous and influential papers, “The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme“, which he co-authored with Richard Lewontin in 1979.

My talk on evolutionary imagery at the Centre For Inquiry.

Dropbox rules

Dropbox rules

Aug 06 2010 | comment(s)

I love Dropbox. I use it to back up and synchronize all my important files, and it has pretty much replaced my need for external hard drives and USB keys. I also use it to share specific folders with co-authors or students so that any changes they make or files they add are synchronized automatically across everyone's computer. I also don't have to worry about updating all the files on my laptop before traveling -- as long as I will have an internet connection while away, all my files will be updated.
When I was a grad student, I installed SETI@home on a bunch of lab computers, which served as a screen saver and crunched data from scans of the sky in search of aliens whenever the computer was idle. I thought this was a neat idea, as it tapped into the processing power and electricity being wasted on huge numbers of computers that are left on in labs most of the time. Plus, wouldn't it be cool if your computer found a viable signal?
This story appeared on Science Daily, based on a press release from CNRS in France:
Segmentation Is the Secret Behind the Extraordinary Diversification of Animals ScienceDaily (July 27, 2010) — Segmentation, the repetition of identical anatomical units, seems to be the secret behind the diversity and longevity of the largest and most common animal groups on Earth. Researchers from CNRS and Université Paris Diderot have shown that this characteristic was inherited from a common segmented ancestor thought to have lived 600 million years ago and whose presence "changed the face of the world." ...