Thursday, November 02, 2006

Seed 2(7): Part II

This is the second part of a five part series of reviews of Volume 2, Number 7 of Seed magazine.

Part I is here.

Part II Short Articles

There are many short articles in this magazine, which I'll define for the purposes of this review as anything occupying two pages or less. The magazine is organised into thematic sections, such as "Notebook" and "Incubator" and so on. The shortest articles are grouped together in the table of contents under the heading "Plus:" Rather than exhaustively (and boringly) review every single little thing, I'll just pick a few to briefly talk about.

Not in Kansas Anymore (pg 18)

If you think the creationists are bad in the US, check out Turkey. Welcome to the other anti-evolution movement.
This one-pager discusses a prominent asstard in Turkey, pen-name "Harun Yahya", real name "Adnan Oktar", who distributes disinformation packages for teachers and others, lying about Darwin and evolutionary biology. It's a well-written article, but none of the information in it was new to me - probably because I spend so much time reading Pharyngula, where this asstard's stupidity and duplicitousness appeared some months ago. Still, I like the article as a snapshot of an American journalist's take on a problem not restricted to the USA.

Drosophila (pg 30)

Geneticists' habit of coming up with unique names and references for fruit fly mutants proves that we just love to put a familiar stamp on everything.
This is a short list of some of the more interesting, obscure, and unusual names for genes that Drosophila melanogaster researchers have come up with. This phenomenon is not restricted to flies, but it seems to reach its strangest peaks with them. I'll write a post specifically about this silliness at some point, possibly with mocking pictures.

The Mating Game (pg 41)
Akre follows the interactions of group members, documenting which individuals have the highest mating success and whether these squids use different signals than unsuccessful squids. Her shorthand notations describe the colors they display when communicating.
Here's an article I really like. I hope they put a "Scientific Method" article in every issue of Seed, since this is the first time I've ever seen a popular-science description of an actual scientist's work and daily activities. Also, this particular article is about two of my favourite topics: sexual selection and cephalopods. PZ probably already knows about this, and would also be pleased.

Scale (pg 94)

No quote here. This is a list of objects, arranged vertically, provided as examples of things that are approximately whatever length. For example, 1 micrometer is described as "Size of an anthrax spore" and 100,000 kilometers is described as "Diameter of Saturn". Each small picture is overlaid with a double-ended arrow, which is exactly the same size in each picture. The choices of representative objects is interesting, including an M16 assault rifle (1 meter) and a pilar of the Eagle nebula (1 light year).

Obviously, there are numerous other short articles, but I'm not going to discuss them in detail here. Some of the short articles have mistakes or other weirdness, so I'll save them for part IV.


Carlo said...

Shit man, Pharyngula is linking to you! You're getting notoriety!

TheBrummell said...

Hello Truthtalks, welcome.

It's nice to find a comment from a creationist that's not full of invective or ignorant blather. Very refreshing, thank you.

However, the fact that you are subjectively happier post-exposure to Harun Yahya AKA Adnan Oktar does nothing to convince me that I was wrong in calling him an asstard.

Thank you for your kind wishes, and I applaud your efforts to expose false Harun Yahya writings by other people, but I don't think you're likely to convince me that evolution is somehow unscientific or responsible for atrocities (as alleged by Harun Yahya) by appealing to a search for "meaning in life".

Thanks for visiting, please drop by again anytime.