"Our sense of wonder grows exponentially; the greater the knowledge, the deeper the mystery."

-- E.O. Wilson

Web scienceontap.blogspot.com

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"The Wauchula Woods Accord"

Primates 'R Us...

Washington Post review of "The Wauchula Woods Accord: Toward a New Understanding of Animals" by Charles Siebert, a book exploring the human/great ape borderland, here:


Interview with author Siebert here:


A recent moving WNYC RadioLab podcast about the life of captive chimp "Lucy" based in part on Siebert's book is here:


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Science of Life and Liberty

NY Times review of popular science writer Timothy Ferris's latest, "The Science of Liberty," in which he explores the underlying connection between science and "liberal democracy," here:


....and a review below of the last offering from Dr. Francis Collins (of human genome fame), "The Language of Life":


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Back To Roots

The original intention when I started "Science On Tap" was to write science book reviews and link to other book reviews and science essays on the Web. Alas, lack of time, and the sparsity of good science reviews and writing on the Web, quickly made that difficult, so I reverted to linking to current science stories in the news, just to have daily posts.
At least for now though, with other projects gobbling time, I'll be reverting to a focus on reviews and science essays, and thus posting will be far less frequent for the near future.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Fear of spiders may develop in the womb (at least for crickets!):


(interesting study)

Placebo Effects

Duhhh... not quite sure why this is still surprising to some:


Friday, February 19, 2010


For a Friday video take your pick from any of these 100 TED talks on engineering:


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ocean Acidification

The degradation of the oceans, i.e. most of the Earth, by us land dwellers... in case you haven't had your full dose of foreboding news this week, this from Carl Zimmer:


The View From Space

A window on the world (literally):


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

News of the Weird

Competitive breath-holding (new record set --- almost 20 minutes!):


Are We Alone?

For citizen scientists and others... SetiQuest:


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thought Puzzle

Psychologist Richard Wiseman runs a new Friday puzzle every Friday at his entertaining, quirky blog and gives the answer on the following Monday. His latest one is an especially clever one, but also has caused more dissension than usual:


Monday, February 15, 2010

Brave New World?

 DNA 2.0 created based on "quadruplet" codons in place of triplets:


Friday, February 12, 2010

Hummingbird Candid Camera

This week's Friday video a live "nestcam" video broadcast of a hummingbird nest (with one chick) in Southern Callifornia --- normally, the chick would be leaving the nest very soon, but this nestling is very behind in development so not sure what the outcome will be; enjoy while it lasts:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Crackpottery" In Physics?

 Of string theory and other controversies in theoretical physics:


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Avian Evolution Questioned

Birds evolving from dinosaurs... not so fast. The birds-from-dinosaurs notion continues to be debated, even while accepted by a wide majority of scientists, and despite the "vagaries of the fossil record":


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

An Alternative to the Big Bang Theory

 A theory of a cyclic "endless" Universe, without beginning:


Monday, February 8, 2010

Another Approach To Prime Numbers

If you like prime numbers this website may keep you occupied for awhile:


Diet, Cancer, etc.

Some anti-cancer rules from Dr. David Servan-Schreiber:


Sunday, February 7, 2010

3 Current Books

Three very disparate recent books that look of interest to me:

1) "The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot
A book, being received very favorably, on the incredible history of HeLa cells and the family that unknowingly generated that history:


"The Raven's Gift:  A Scientist, A Shaman, and Their Remarkable Journey Through the Siberian Wilderness"  by Jon Turk
A book crossing the borderlines of science:


3) "You Are Not A Gadget" by Jaron Lanier
A book looking at the digital future for humans by someone deeply enmeshed in its ongoing evolution:


The Human Brain: Still A Mystery

Some say the ocean depths are the "last frontier;" some say outer space is, and still others contend the last frontier will actually be the human brain itself. Another article lending some support to that notion:


Saturday, February 6, 2010

For The Gardeners Out There

"25 plants you should consider growing":


Friday, February 5, 2010

Short TED Talk

For the Friday video, a recent 3-minute talk from TED talks worth a gander:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What Next... Testosterone in Slime Mold?

 For the first time, a study finds the female steroidal hormone progesterone in a plant; its function there and full ramifications not yet fully understood. "The new discovery may change scientific understanding of the evolution and function of progesterone in living things," states the article:


Some Genetics Websites Worth Knowing About

Reported here:


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Mystery of Bird Migration Continues

Now an olfactory component postulated to account for bird migration:


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Anti-depressants: Still Controversial

Anti-depressants: neurochemically effective or just placebos? after all these years, controversy continues:


Cell Plasticity Gone Wild

Brave New World continues....

Turning skin fibroblasts into neurons without any intermediate embryonic state:


“This really blew me off the chair," says one researcher. Indeed.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chordate/Vertebrate Fossil Record Questioned

Yet another reason why I generally refrain from using the words "paleontology" and "science" in the same sentence: