Tameness in Lizards is Strongly Selected For on Predator-Free Islands

Posted 11 March 2015 by Joe Dramiga

In chapter XVII of his Beagle Diary Charles Darwin noted more than 150 years ago that birds on the Galapagos Islands were more docile than their counterparts living on the mainland. He attributed this tameness to the fact that there are fewer predators on remote islands. ... Read more

Darwin the University Student and his Mentors

Posted 11 February 2015 by Joe Dramiga

Darwin’s father Robert had a successful medical practice. When Charles was sixteen his father decided that medicine was to be his son’s calling. Charles arrived at Edinburgh University in the autumn of 1825. He was accompanied by his brother Erasmus, who was completing his medical course, also with some misgivings. Not surprisingly, he found the prospects grim. In fact, the Edinburgh medical course was anathema. Edinburgh “Dr Duncan’s lectures on Materia Medica at eight o’clock on a winter’s morning are... Read more

The Death of DNA

Posted 26 December 2014 by Joe Dramiga

In July 1952 crystallographers Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins from King's College London visited Watson and Crick at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. ... Read more

Black Like Me: How Virtual Embodiment Reduces Implicit Racial Bias

Posted 23 December 2014 by Joe Dramiga

When we look down at our body, we immediately experience that it belongs to us. We do not experience our body as a set of fragmented parts, but rather as a single entity. This body self-perception is traced to specialized multisensory neurons in various parts of the brain, specifically the bilateral ventral premotor and left intraparietal cortices and the left putamen [1], that integrate different sensory inputs across all body parts into a unified view of the body. ... Read more

Does It Matter?

Posted 5 December 2014 by Joe Dramiga

New York City Police suspected Eric Garner of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk. In an attempt to place him under arrest, Officer Daniel Pantaleo put Garner in what NYPD Chief Bill Bratton describes as a chokehold. Garner was pronounced dead about an hour later at a hospital. ... Read more

The Oscar Pistorius Verdict and Theory of Mind

Posted 24 October 2014 by Joe Dramiga

On 19 August 2013 Oscar Pistorius was officially charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The Paralympic champion admitted shooting her on Valentine's Day but denied murder, saying he believed she was an intruder. ... Read more

Raw and Uncut 4: The Glow-Worm

Posted 20 October 2014 by Joe Dramiga

Jean Henri Fabre (1823-1915) is considered by many to be the father of modern entomology. Last week I came across an English translation of his “Souvenirs Entomologiques” a series of texts on insects and arachnids. The translation is called “Fabre’s Book of Insects” and was done by Mrs. Rodolph Stawell in 1926. ... Read more

A Cwinye Leng On The Ebola Frontline: The Heroes of Lacor

Posted 23 September 2014 by Joe Dramiga

Up until this year, the largest Ebola outbreak the world had witnessed occurred between 8 October 2000 and 16 January 2001 in Uganda, centered around the town of Gulu. ... Read more

Why HAL 9000 is not a Villain

Posted 21 September 2014 by Joe Dramiga

HAL 9000 is the primary antagonist of the science fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) is a board computer that controls the systems of the Discovery One spacecraft and interacts with the ship's astronaut crew. ... Read more

Evolution’s Surprise Bag: The African Naked Mole Rat

Posted 11 September 2014 by Joe Dramiga

This beauty wouldn’t win any pageants, but it is a fascinating animal. ... Read more