Classic Badass Quote

Stealing a concept from my friend Ed Brayton, the following is a quote from George Orwell which I recently ran across and thought was brilliant:

Political languageand with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchistsis designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. – George Orwell

This is from Orwell’s essay: Politics and the English Language (1946), do give it a read.

[Hat tip to Jerry Coyne for the reading suggestion.]

New quote shirt from Evo-T’s

Yes this is a shameless commercial post for my internet T-shirt shop: Evo-T‘s (hey, I’m poor and domain names and science books don’t pay for themselves).

This one bears a nice quote from the influential philosopher of science Karl Popper (1902-1994) on the tentative nature of scientific conclusions:

The game of science is, in principle, without end.  He who decides one day that scientific statements do not call for any further test and that they can be regarded as finally verified, retires from the game. – Popper, Karl (1965) The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Harper Torchbooks, p. 53

This shirt comes in navy blue with yellow print, in sizes for both men and women.

And as always:

Inside Natures Giants

I recently stumbled upon (on YouTube) a BAFTA award winning British TV series titled Inside Natures Giants and I’ve fallen in love. What we have here is a television show in which various large animals, all vertebrates so far, are dissected on camera (and often in front of a live audience of students)  by a team of biologists in order to show the details of their anatomy while presenting elements of their physiology, natural history and evolution (including commentary by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins).

So far the show has dissected an Asian elephant, a fin whale, a Nile crocodile, a Rothschild giraffe, a great white shark, a Burmese python, and most recently (unfortunately not yet available on YouTube) a two for one, lion and tiger combination.

I’m hoping they work in a ostrich or emu in there sometime soon and maybe a giant squid or octopus to show some invertebrate anatomy as well.

These programs deal with the dissection of actual animals in graphic detail so if you’re squeamish at all you might find them difficult to watch, however this show is an absolute must see for anyone interested in zoology and evolution.

Of particular interest was the dissection of the giraffe. Among the various interesting adaptations towards tree top browsing is a classic example of one of the cloven hoofprints of evolutionary history, the recurrent laryngeal nerve; the dissection of which has apparently not been done (according to one of the scientists in the show) in a giraffe since the 1830′s.

Here is the first episode of the first series on the Asian elephant:

A play list of all the videos available on YouTube can be found here, and I really cannot recommend them more highly.

Go watch them… NOW!

but there is a whole series of videos showing several different large animals being dissected while their anatomy, physiology, and how these evolved are discussed. A must see for those interested in zoology and evolution.

An example of “intelligent design”?

Ah yes, surely if there ever was a perfect example of the handy work of a benevolent intelligent designer it must be parasitic wasps.

Warning: You may not want to watch this prior to eating if you are squeamish at all.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lintelligent designerd made them all.

[Via Pharyngula]