Taylor McCracken

33 Flips | 2 Magazines | 86 Likes | 1 Following | 10 Followers | @Makraken | Biologist, zoologist, amateur botanist, and lover of all things provocative and controversial.

Startling new finding: 600 million years ago, a biological mishap changed everything

By Sarah Kaplan<p>, Reporter<p>If life is effectively an endless series of photocopies, as DNA is transcribed and passed on from one being to the next, then evolution is the high-stakes game of waiting for the copier to get it wrong.<p>Too wrong, and you’ll live burdened by a maladaptive mutation or genetic …

Biology

How an Evangelical Creationist Came to Accept Evolution

Scientists announced in September that they had discovered a huge cache of ancient hominid bones deep in a cave in South Africa. The bones, …

Faith

How Europeans became tall and fair-skinned 8,500 years ago

When agriculture arrived in Europe some 8,500 years ago, humans didn’t simply adapt their lifestyles and eating habits, but also their genes.<p>Researchers, led by geneticist David Reich at Harvard Medical School, analyzed the DNA of 230 ancient humans who lived between 3,000 and 8,500 years ago and …

Anthropology

Neil deGrasse Tyson lets the science deniers have it: “The beginning of the end of an informed democracy”

<b>(AP/Dennis Van Tine)</b><p>In a Salon exclusive, the renowned astrophysicist discusses his show “StarTalk” and the state of science in America<p>Sean Illing<p>October 20, 2015 6:35pm (UTC)<p>If Americans agree about one thing, it’s that their favorite astrophysicist is Neil deGrasse Tyson. A ubiquitous presence on …

Will you support your state and sheriff that defy Obama Gun Control Orders

Obama uses Executive Orders to Strip Gun Owners of legal Constitutional Gun Weapons Rights<p>Where do you draw the line in the sand in defense of your …

This is climate change: Alaskan villagers struggle as island is chewed up by the sea

This is what climate change looks like, up close and personal.<p>In this town of 403 residents 83 miles above the Arctic Circle, beaches are disappearing, ice is melting, temperatures are rising, and the barrier reef Kivalina calls home gets smaller and smaller with every storm.<p>There is no space left …

The Arctic

Marco Rubio’s trickle-down nonsense: Tax cuts for the rich make sense because his father was a bartender!

His tax plan will make the rich richer and worsen inequality, but his dad was working-class so it’s okay<p>Simon Maloy<p>August 27, 2015 9:59am (UTC)<p>If you’ve paid any attention to Marco Rubio at any point over the past five years, then chances are pretty good that you know that his father worked as a …

Scientists try to replicate climate denier findings and fail

Does the Ted Cruz in you ever wonder whether global warming really <i>is</i> just a hoax? Whether skeptics really <i>are</i> the Galileos of our time? Whether …

The cheapest oil ever still won't slow down the clean energy revolution

The clean energy revolution is facing an old enemy again.<p>President Obama is in the midst of a week of climate change-focused appearances, starting at …

White people aren’t the enemy: Why social justice demands a rainbow coalition of minorities & poor whites

<b>(Reuters/Carlo Allegri)</b><p>Black Lives Matter rightly spotlights racial injustices. But let’s not pretend whites are living on Easy Street<p>Musa al-Gharbi<p>August 25, 2015 11:58am (UTC)<p>On average, whites are far better off than blacks. But the problem with averages is that they often conceal radically …

Grizzlies, polar bears evolve with climate change.

Scientists say the Arctic has undergone unusual, and increasingly rapid change over the past few decades as a result of climate change, including the appearance of the Pizzly bear — a grizzly-polar bear hybrid.<p>“There’s a lot of weird stuff going on in Alaska, and there’s a lot of weird stuff going …

Chestnut leaves yield extract that disarms deadly staph bacteria

Leaves of the European chestnut tree contain ingredients with the power to disarm dangerous staph bacteria without boosting its drug resistance, …

Earth's Ice Is Melting Much Faster Than Forecast. Here's Why That's Worrying.

COPENHAGEN -- For me it was only after eight years of studying Greenland -- installing and maintaining a network of on-ice climate stations and examining how much snow evaporates from the island -- that I suddenly realized glaciology textbooks needed a major revision. This was 2002. Prior to the …

Drone captures amazing image of killer whales at sea

A drone has successfully captured photographs of a pod of killer whales at sea, providing stunning shots of the animals in their natural habitat. But …

Earth - How do we know that evolution is really happening?

Evolution is one of the greatest theories in all of science. It sets out to explain life: specifically, how the first simple life gave rise to all the huge diversity we see today, from bacteria to oak trees to blue whales.<p>For scientists, evolution is a fact. We know that life evolved with the same …

NASA Confirms Liquid Lake on Saturn Moon

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA scientists have concluded that at least one of the large lakes observed on Saturn's moon Titan contains liquid hydrocarbons, …

Astronomy

Global warming: What the U.S. will look like when Earth’s entire polar ice cap melts

Some say global warming isn’t a real phenomenon, yet 2015 is the hottest year yet — at least since humans began measuring temperatures. The increased …

This Company Wants To Recycle Carbon Dioxide From The Atmosphere

We recycle cans, we recycle clothes, yes, we even recycle bras and old prosthetic limbs.<p>But what if you could recycle some of your fossil fuels, the carbon dioxide (CO2) that’s emitted from using coal, oil and natural gas?<p>Carbon Engineering in Canada is powering up a plant which promises to do just …

Texas residents condemn plan for Muslim cemetery

Muslims say they're looking for a place to bury their dead. Locals say it's a plot to gain a foothold in their small rural Texas town.<p>A proposal to bring a Muslim cemetery to Farmersville has stoked fears among residents who are vehemently trying to convince community leaders to block the project. …

Meet the snake mimic that will make you question everything | Animal mimicry

Image: Andreas Kay<p>Meet <i>Dynastor darius darius</i>. Deception level: 5000. Native to Trinidad, these butterfly larvae have developed an impressive defence …

Have scientists found a drug to stop Alzheimer's disease?

Eli Lilly is due to announce results of its latest trial into Solanezumab at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Wednesday<p>The first drug that can halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease if caught early is expected to be unveiled this week.<p>Trials have been ongoing into a new …

The $50 billion plan to save Louisiana's wetlands

Louisiana is in trouble. The Mississippi River Delta is disappearing into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of 16 square miles a year, some of the fastest land loss on the planet.<p>The bayou lands are crucial to the nation's fisheries, as well as regional oil and gas supplies. Perhaps ironically, …

Is Addiction A Habit Or A Disease?

A neuroscientist takes on the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s assertion that addiction is a brain disease—a classification he finds not only …

Global Warming Will Destroy The Earth In The End

We like to think of our planet as perfect for life, having met all the conditions we know of for life to exist, flourish and thrive for billions of years. After all, here on Earth, with our not-too-thick and not-too-thin atmosphere, we’ve got liquid water on our surface, made possible by the …

NASA just found something big hiding out behind Pluto

NASA and the team behind its New Horizons spacecraft announced today that Pluto — the dwarf planet — has a giant tail.<p>It's not a physical tail like a dog's, of course, but rather a frigid cloud of ionized gases trailing an estimated 48,000 to 68,000 miles behind Pluto, according to a NASA press …

Space

Goodbye International Space Station, Hello Moon Village

ESA’s new director general lays out his vision for an international community on the dark side of the Moon.<p>The International Space Station has been occupied for nearly 15 years, but the astronauts' lower-Earth orbit home away from home won't be around forever—or even that much longer.<p>So while NASA …

Designers build spiral staircase to the treetops

People of all ages could soon be able to climb to the tops of trees thanks to two design graduates from London’s Royal College of Art (RCA). They’ve created a novel modular step system that is attached to the trunk of a tree to form a spiral staircase, allowing anyone to walk up into the canopy …