is older than it's ever been and now it's even older



It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged any science articles, and that’s too bad. Despite my near perpetual focus on the social sciences, I really am very interested in many aspects of science and especially biology. I don’t get the physical sciences as quickly, although I know weather and geology as well as any layindividual could be expected to, and my absorbance of all things relating to dinosaurs is nearly legendary amongst my family. Every time I get together with my mom and anyone else, I can expect to hear this story about how I guided a tour in the Chicago Field Museum when I was around five.

That being said, it’s my brudda who is the science whiz in the family. Kevin is a senior at the University of Oklahoma, a physics major capable in speaking of concepts so dense that I can’t follow the general subject without paying very close attention. I’m impressed.

While we were out in Kenton we noticed many cicadas about. Cicadas are fairly large critters often misidentified as locusts. Cicadas are known for having strangely long breeding cycles, most famously the 13 and 17 year varieties. New evidence suggests that the evolution of prime intervals gained these periodic cicadas an evolutionary advantage. A fascinating read from the outstanding MNBLOG Honeyguide.

Speaking of evolution, what advantage would the development of music stand to gain our species? It’s an interesting question with no real answer, but this article makes the fascinating point that lab tests show young babies can tell when they are played the wrong notes. It almost would seem that we are hardwired from birth to appreciate music. The prevalence of music genes could be explained by “rock star status:”

Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico, has looked at thousands of jazz, rock, and classical music albums and noted the age and sex of the musicians. In every genre of music, he says, men produce about 10 times as much as women, and their output peaks at around age 30— near the time of their peak reproductive years. "Good musicians, particularly good singers, attract sexual interest," Miller says. "Successful male musicians are notoriously promiscuous and tend to produce a lot of children— and that's how the genes for musical ability tend to be passed on."

I have known so many women that would want to use these new drugs that are being developed to suppress menstruation. Personally, I am still waiting for the male birth control pill, but I’m not holding my breath for that.
Please go stand next to the stairs

Another round of (delayed) 1142 gleanings. I think I got this one from Jessamyn, the house librarian: Miss Charlotte Brown, Librarian, Goes Mad. A literary answer to flash kung fu. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Snarkout pointed me at the Terrible Secret of Space, a multimedia flash video. It’s extremely entertaining and hilarious. I think I’m the very last blogger to link to that, as all the cool people knew about that a long time ago.


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