Friday Coffee Break


Yo mama so microbial! Sarah brings us  a link about how we inherit our microbial community from our mothers. Or if you prefer the article, it’s open access!

CJ is thinking about scientific literacy quite a bit these days, so she brings us a link about misused scientific words. Just a “theory” you say?

Also, if you haven’t checked out this awesome blog you should. It’s all about natural events happening largely in the backyard. This week we get a bonus post!

Friday Coffee Break


Jeremy is kicking off the links this Friday with a bacteria that can terraform a squid. I don’t think I need to comment on how bizarre/cool that is.

Sarah has a link only for the strong of stomach, a video view of a flight over the arctic.

Have you paid attention to what’s happening in Louisiana? The ground is swallowing cypress trees… literally.

Finally, the future of blogging? Birds who will be posting daily blog posts about their well-being. It may be a model we here at NIB will be adopting soon!

Friday Coffee Break


Sarah is full of links this week!

First “pub-style science” where people sit around and chat about science topics. this week – families and science.

Second a cool collection of evolution related things!

Jeremy found this article on death by sugar informative on multiple levels. Did you know that high fructose corn syrup only has about 5% more fructose than table sugar?

Noah has found a new species of carnivore! Or more accurately he’s found out about the olinguito, a new species hiding right underneath our noses.

Finally, also from Sarah a cutesy video of common evolution misconceptions:

Friday Coffee Break


It’s that wonderful week where the scientifically minded and modern man all get together and celebrate…. shark week.

As a result, CJ is reading about the brains of the Whale Shark (an animal so cool I’ve included a picture)


Sarah is thinking about food. A lot. We start with a simple equation: does no sleep = give me junk food? makes perfect sense to me! How losing a night’s sleep will reduce your ability to resist junk food.

Also from Sarah, whiskey is distilled corn ferment, rum is distilled sugarcane ferment, so why shouldn’t we have liqour made from distilled coffee bean ferment? Because the only thing scientists love more than coffee or alcohol is coffee and alcohol.

Speaking of fish, Jeremy is learning how to school fish. 

Finally, after a long time and much controversy NIH finally makes good with Henrietta Lacks family. 

Who are the people in your neighborhood, Baba Brinkman?

Baba Brinkman’s latest salvo in his quest for a fact-based justification for his proposal to select meanness out of the human race by not sleeping with it really boils down to a question most members of my generation will likely remember from a childhood saturated in “Sesame Street”: Who are the people in your neighborhood?

We’ve come to this question because Brinkman has finally discovered that there is, in fact, data that might suggest genetic variation contributes to variation in “meanness”—even if he couldn’t be bothered to cite it in connection with the campaign up to now:

In his new post, Yoder’s argument is not that male violence isn’t an adaptation; rather, he argues that our violent tendencies have been so completely drilled into us by natural selection that they show insufficient genetic variation for selection to act on …

He’s right that a complete lack of individual genetic differences in proneness-to-violence would be a death-blow for my campaign, but luckily for me and all the other peaceniks who support the DSWMP credo, Yoder simply didn’t bother to look up any of the evidence.

You have to love how, after implicitly conceding the factual point—that in his first attempt to shore up the scientific basis of DSWMP, he cited data that has nothing to do with the question at hand—Brinkman chides me for not doing my homework. In fact I’ve acknowledged at every step of our little back-and-forth that there is a body of research which suggests there’s some genetic contribution to variation in what we might call “meanness.” My argument isn’t that this genetic contribution doesn’t exist—it’s that this genetic contribution is pretty much meaningless from the perspective of an individual person’s dating life.

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Friday Coffee Links


The battle of North vs. South America! A really good synopsis of the epic battle between placentals and marsupials.

This week is photo heavy. The first set coming from Sarah an awesome collection of photos of marine microbes (and be sure to check out the “More Ocean Galleries” – so pretty!).

CJ is looking at exquisitely weird spiders and they are stunning!

Jeremy is feeling revolutionary. Or more accurately reading about the milk revolution and the history of lactose tolerance.