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Gifts of the Crow

A murder of wits... Author:  John Marzluff Can you tell how smart somebody is by looking at their brain? Probably not, as most human brains look pretty much alike.  But scientists have long figured that the intelligence of other animals was reliably determined by what their brains looked like.  Since humans are smart (at least some of the time), comparative neuroanatomists went with the general idea that the more closely an animal brain resembled a human brain the smarter the animal must be.  Not surprisingly, this approach gave mammals a significant edge in the brainpower competition, as mammalian brains tend [...]

December 10th, 2017|Tags: |

Ground Beneath Us, The

Dirt is destiny... Author:  Paul Bogard When’s the last time you walked barefoot anywhere?  Outdoors?  In some natural area?  The beach hardly counts.  If you’re like me, it’s probably hard to remember a time. It’s this sad fact that served as one of the motivators for The Ground Beneath Us, writer Paul Bogard’s exploration of an often overlooked part of our planet.  He eloquently argues that by paving up and plowing under much of the Earth we’ve lost touch with the natural world.  Quite literally, we’ve lost the physical connection between our bare feet and the soil, a remarkable microcosm [...]

December 5th, 2017|Tags: |

Population Wars

Evolution and Ethics... Author:  Greg Graffin Ethicists have been guided by the natural world for millennia.   But it’s a practice fraught with hazards.  Should we emulate the swan for its admirable monogamy or shall we follow the bonobo chimp’s lead and engage in frequent sexual orgies?   Anyone who pays any attention to the natural world knows that you can support or condemn any human behavior by finding a creature that exemplifies your particular passion.  It’s cherry picking in the extreme.  Not surprisingly, as scientists continue to improve their understanding of life on Earth, new attempts to use the natural world [...]

December 5th, 2017|Tags: |