The Evolution of Cooperation: National Academy of Sciences Colloquium

I’m back from camping everyone.  I had a blissfully slow week of hiking in Acadia National Park, and I never once checked my email — I didn’t even miss it.  Special thanks to juliebyrd and zil of medmd for adding to darwinbookcats in my absence, they did a great job.  While I gone, I read some great and not so great books, and got more exciting ideas for evolution posts.  I’ll get back to all of them this week and next, but first for a quick update. Continue reading

Stabilizing selection and a stable environment

koquin is away, so I’ve been asked to keep the blog going this week. I’m also an evolutionary biologist who likes to read and has cats, so hopefully it will be a smooth transition.

I just got back from a symposium celebrating the work and mentorship of Dr. Warren Abrahamson. Abe spent much of his career studying goldenrods and flies that live inside their stems. His work is one of the best examples of stabilizing selection. Continue reading

Michele Bachmann on Evolution: I’m an IDiot

I don’t think this will come as a surprise to anyone, but Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced that she thinks Intelligent Design/Creationism should be taught in schools.  According to CNN:

“I support intelligent design,” Bachmann told reporters in New Orleans following her speech to the Republican Leadership Conference. “What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don’t think it’s a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides.” Continue reading

Book Review: One Writer’s Beginnings, by Eudora Welty

Last Sunday I finished reading One Writer’s Beginnings, by Mississippi author Eudora Welty.  The book is a memoir that grew out of a series of lectures Welty gave in 1983 to the History of American Civilization graduate program at Harvard University.  In  three sections — Listening, Learning To See, and Finding A Voice — Welty describes different periods of her early life, from childhood to adolescents to adulthood, and explains what these years taught her about writing.  It is an engrossing book, short and powerful, a great read for anyone interested in writing or life in the early 20th century. Continue reading

What is “Profitable” University Research?

This weekend the Washington Post published a short article in its Business section titled “University research could be more profitable for all“.  Its author, Vivek Wadhwa, argues that university research isn’t profitable because academics are not entrepreneurs and because Universities have tried to jealously guard the fruits of their faculty.

If university research were a business, it would be bankrupt.  In 2009, the federal government, industry and philanthropic organizations invested $53.5 billion in university research. The total licensing revenue of all U.S. universities amounted to $2.3 billion that year, including royalties from technologies licensed over decades [ . . . ] Continue reading

Caturday: It’s too hot.

It’s hot out, not going outside.   Better sleep on the air conditioner.

Staying put, maybe catch up on blogging.

Then again, it’s so hard to type when it’s hot out.

Stephen J. Gould Cat (Jay-Jay) is . . . too hot . . . to move. Photo taken by the missus Claire.