Nature Blog Network

Monday, August 13, 2007

Monday Midnight Must-Reads

Here are some great posts from the blogosphere that I don't have time to do posts on myself.

First, Christopher Taylor at the Catalogue of Organisms beat me to it. He did a great job reviewing the recent PLoS ONE paper revealing how Acoels are not flatworms. In my ongoing efforts to battle paraphyletic nomenclature, Acoels shall not longer be called flatworms or "acoel flatworms". Find out where they fit at the Catalogue for an in-depth analysis of the paper.

Second, the LiveScience blog posts on new research published in Pain 'N the ASs on the evolution of body size in beetles. While palaeo-beetles were huge, modern-day beetles are pretty small by comparison. This study reports that

"bigger beetle species devote a larger portion of their bodies, proportionately, to airways than do smaller species. And the air passageways that lead from the body core to the legs turn out to be bottlenecks that limit how much oxygen can be delivered to the extremities."-Alex Kaiser, study lead author

Third, awesome song, awesome song lyrics
"There's nothing so pure as the kindness of an atheist

simple act of unselfishness that never has to be repaid 

And there's nothing so sure as a razor blade above your wrist

When you think you just can't stand it
That you're gonna leave empty handed

Do you still dream of being saved"-Freakwater's Gone to Stay from their Old Paint album
It's a beautiful song that is worth the $0.99 on iTunes (where you preview 30sec. of the song too). I found the chords for it and will cover it this week and add it to my list of insurgent country music.


  1. Well (as I'm told they say in Minnesota), I'll be a blue-nosed gopher! The post about acoels took me back (way, way back) down memory lane to my days as a wet-behind-the-ears Master's student when I actually worked on acoels, albeit not on phylogeny. Strange and beautiful creatures, and who would ever have dreamed they might be sisters to the deuterostomes?! Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction. My acquaintance with them was well before the days of molecular phylogenetics and all we had to go on was ultrastructural characters. The problem of their relationships seemed insoluble (and it may well be, if the authors of this paper couldn't get the answer with the kicking data set they had). Nature is full of surprises, and the closer you look, the more interesting it gets . . .

  2. "...published in Pain 'N the ASs..."

    why the lack of love? Did they reject a submission? Or just continued backlash at the retardation of scientific progress?

    (just poking)

  3. My work will never be grand enough to submit there I think. But students in some labs (not to mention any in particular) who've published in it haven't gone to publish much more...

    And of course it contributes to the winnowing and retardation of science by being what it is.

    Now that I've just secured my death in publishing in any major journal, let me shut my big fat mouth.

  4. "Now that I've just secured my death in publishing in any major journal, let me shut my big fat mouth."

    But you and SCIENTISTS like you are already working on a major INTERWEB publishing aggregation. So worry not, Kevin, for you are creating TEH FUTURE. Nature will be nullified by your efforts to... erm... democratize(?) SCIENCE! MUHAHhahahah!!!11

    Re: beetles: I'm a big fan of technomagically incorporating lungs and closed hematic system into our crusteous friends. This will surely enable them to gain size and agility and we can enjoy witnessing a STARSHIP TROOPERS kind of scenario where much kick-ass-ness is present.

    Now seriously, I know that in some arthropods some lungs or gills exist. Do they show larger body size and greater speed compared to other arthropods that possess trachea instead?
    I have a bit of a "I want better lungs, damnit!" obsession that I got after I've learned about the ones birdies have...

  5. OH! I totally forgot about the unselfish act of atheist kindness!

    This guy writes it very clearly:
    He's a real pessimist that always thinks in terms of evolution and the war of survival we're always fighting.

    He thinks there's no such thing as altruism. And that doing unselfish acts of kindness will most usually pay off in the end...

    Now back to studying for the thermodynamics test (REALLY!)

  6. cow, there are land crabs but king crabs can be freakin enormous (google image it) and they have gills.

    i like the post you suggested. I have always believed altruism doesn't exist myself. Everyone has ulterior motives. Mother Theresa wanted to guarantee her entry into heaven, and I have no doubt in her later years she was thinking about sainthood. Doing things to gain favor in someone else's eyes (or in God's eyes) is often misconstrued as altruism. Religious people have been ultimately selfish since the beginning of time. I would argue that religion is the construct of authority and the result of the misuse of power in the hands of few.

    The idea of the unselfish acts of kindness by an atheist is that an atheist doesn't help others expecting heavenly reward. Certainly atheist's have ulterior, if even subconscious motives when performing such acts. I certainly want to be seen as a good and helpful person by others.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.