What makes life alive?

24 02 2010

Pebble plants (Lithops salicola) among rocks. What distinguishes one from the other?

What is it, exactly, that makes a thing alive? Why do we call a rabbit alive, but not a rock? Here’s a little dialog to help clarify the problem. This is hardly comprehensive and I reserve the right to make sweeping edits in the future! But here it is, just below the fold:

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE!

Read the rest of this entry »





David Attenborough and More on Youtube!!

17 01 2010

The man himself! Sir David Attenborough.

The unparalleled naturalist David Attenborough has participated in a huge number of fantastic nature documentaries over the year, and it turns out a fair number of these are available on youtube! Having stumbled on these yesterday and spent several hours enjoying them, I felt compelled to share them with you, the public hungry for knowledge!

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE!

Read the rest of this entry »





More New Tunes from John Boswell

6 01 2010

Ooooh, Johnny, lay another dose of those sweet scientific sounds on me! The new track is titled “The Unbroken Thread,” and it features David Attenborough, Carl Sagan, and Jane Goodall. Here it is:

Until next time!

-Neil





Emergent Phenomena and You

2 01 2010

The matter of the Chimpanzee and the matter of the stone are not so different...

Today I want to discuss something more philosophical than usual. This post contains personal thoughts that are not scientific and upon which there is not a consensus opinion. But I find the topic very, very interesting and I felt like sharing. So here we go.

The topic is Emergent Phenomena.

Let us start with a neuron.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE!

Read the rest of this entry »





The Times They Are A-Changing

27 09 2009
Beautiful fall colors! But where do they come from, and why are they coating the ground?

Beautiful fall colors! But where do they come from, and why are they coating the ground?

Hello! I haven’t done one of these long posts in a little while, so I thought I would remedy that. If you’re one of those people who seem to be suddenly coming to visit this site in great numbers, welcome! I’m glad to have you. Anyway, let’s get on with it.

I wanted to discuss the changes going on all around for those of us living in temperate deciduous forests like the kind in the northeastern United States. Every year, billions and billions of trees shed their leaves to prepare for winter. The precursor to this amputation is the emergence of beautiful and vivid fall leaf color.  But what accounts for this color, and why do trees shed their leaves in the first place? In this exciting two-part series, we’ll answer both questions! First, why do some trees lose their leaves in the fall?
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE!

Read the rest of this entry »