sci-universe:

These are the depictions of the most intense meteor storm in recorded history – the Leonid meteor storm of 1833. The Leonid meteor shower is annually active in the month of November, and it occurs when the Earth passes through the debris left by the comet Tempel-Tuttle. While the typical rates are about 10 to 15 meteors per hour, the storm of 1833 is speculated to have been over 100,000 meteors per hour, frightening people half to death.
Here’s how Agnes Clerke, an astronomer witnessing the event, described it:  “On the night of November 12-13, 1833, a tempest of falling stars broke over the Earth… The sky was scored in every direction with shining tracks and illuminated with majestic fireballs. At Boston, the frequency of meteors was estimated to be about half that of flakes of snow in an average snowstorm.” (x)

POSTED 1 week ago with 4,296 notes
VIA fuckyeah-stars   •  SOURCE sci-universe
#science  #history  #space stuff  
quietmagpie ASKED: Hello! I was browsing tumblr and saw you respond to an anon (they criticized your gender classification scheme), and, as an entomologist, I would like to make a comment. In entomology, "female" is defined as the capacity to lay eggs. Queen bees and worker bees are both functionally "female". Workers are nutritionally deprived and therefore have an undeveloped reproductive tract but, in the absence of the queen, they are capable of developing and laying viable (male) eggs. Good post overall.

beautifuloutlier:

I appreciate there is a consistent definition within the field, but my point is it’s also arbitrary. All clownfish also have the capacity to produce eggs in absence of a dominant egg-producer, but language in that field isn’t usually in the form of “hermaphrodites with unused egg-laying characteristics” but “males which develop into females”.

We have a distinct tendency to look at any living thing and say “which one is the male and which one is the female”, even for creatures in which the sexual dynamic is so different from ours that the terminology is likely more confusing than convenient.

Some species of fungi reproduce sexually through equal fusion, and yet we still sometimes label their compatibility groups “male” and “female”.

This is no terrible injustice, nor am I campaigning to change the names we use for things (that would be so much trouble, Lord), but my point was that a big reason that a lot of living things seem to have males and females is less because reproduction is very similar across the domains of life and more because we are calling lots of different things by the same names because of how our society interprets things.

Which hopefully isn’t huge news to any biologist, but I’ve found a lot of other people who seem to not have realised it.

POSTED 2 weeks ago with 14 notes
VIA beautifuloutlier   •  SOURCE beautifuloutlier
#wait  #science  #poltical  

dr-birdenstein:

beautifuloutlier:

I want to note that the way the sex binary looks like it’s present throughout the animal world is that white scientists have a terrible habit of labeling everything “male” or “female” even when it makes no sense.

Like, by any reasonable metric, bees have three sexes: drone, queen, and worker. Workers are only labelled female because someone couldn’t abide the idea of something not being either one or the other.

And before someone calls “genetics” there are many species where both sexes have the exact same genetics, and even many where individuals can change reproductive capacity at will, and scientists suddenly have no problem calling the ones who grow eggs “female” even though they were “male” two weeks ago.

Some species of mammals reproduce asexually. They have only one sex. It is still called “female” because it makes babies even though one might reasonably ask why even make the distinction when every single individual makes babies just the same.

Mostly true except I don’t think there are any parthenogenic mammal species out there. OP was probably thinking of these lizards.

ehhhhhhhhh this post is kind of a mess

in biology, we defines the male/female sexes across all species as being: 1) males have the smaller, usually mobile gamete; and 2) females have the larger, non-mobile gamete. female gametes are large and non-mobile because of all the nutrition they carry, so by extension, females are also the sex with the higher reproductive burden. 

hermaphroditic species are species where all individuals in a population possess both the male and female physiology necessary for sexual reproduction (simultaneous hermaphrodites) or can change sex later in life, usually in an attempt to increase reproductive success (sequential hermaphrodites). we recognize the “female” as who produces the egg in a reproductive episode

the genetic structure of diploid species and its relationship to males/females is unique to each species. in humans, males are heterogametic for the x chromosome; females, are homogametic for it. however, in birds and butterflies, the heterogametic individuals (ZW) are females and homogametic (ZZ) are males. genetics aren’t a good way of classifying male/females because it isn’t a standardized system across species and because an individual can have multiple copies of the sex chromosomes and be physiologically male/female sexed, depending on the phenotype produced

the reason why worker bees are still classified as female it is because of genetic structure of the species. bees/ants/wasps have a haploiddiploid structure, which means that all males of the species have only one one set of genes (from one parent because their eggs are not fertilized) but females have two sets of genes (from two parents because their eggs are fertilized). the only difference between a queen bee and other female worker bees is that she is fed extra food and develops into sexual maturity, while her sisters won’t. 

you can argue a lot about trying to force our current gender binary constructions onto the animal world as far as behavior goes; but the sex binary exists in sexually reproducing species as an inherent part of the construct. there is one type that has the sperm and one that has the egg. we assign these types words so we can talk about them, not because we are trying to enforce the same sex and gender constructs we have in humans onto the rest of the animal world

fiftysevenacademics:

anthrocentric:

This Viking Female Warriors story is all over my everything/social media/news outlets right now

jangojips:

I find it pretty troubling that people historically assumed biological sex from grave good and never actually thought to give clout to the physical human remains themselves. Forensic osteology helps to paint a more accurate picture here, and in this case gave archaeologists solid…

NOOOO!!! HELP I CAN’T ESCAPE THIS STORY. IT’S EVERYWHERE! Inaccurate media representations of archaeology is one of my HUGE pet peeves so I HAVE to respond. For those of you who don’t know, there’s a TRULY WRETCHED tor.com post claiming that new research shows 50% of Viking warriors were female. This is one of the most egregious examples of shitty science reporting I’ve seen in ages for a bunch of reasons.

1. It’s not news. The post they’re referring to is from 2011. So why the big fuss all of a sudden.

2. What the authors of the original study actually say is that around 50% of the skeletons, 6 out of a total of 13, were probably female. ONLY ONE OF THESE FEMALE SKELETONS WAS BURIED WITH A SWORD AND SHIELD. What the authors actually say is that women were a large element of Viking migration. At no point do they claim 50% of the warriors were women. Tor.com says that because no one ever taught them to read carefully or think critically.

3. The authors of the original study are properly cautious regarding their claims about the sex of the skeletons. Everyone knows how difficult it can be to determine sex from osteological remains, and it’s one area where there is almost always some room for debate. Although if you have a complete pelvis, you can usually get a pretty reliable reading of the sex, people generally still refrain from making absolute statements no matter how confident they are.

4. Far from ignoring or overlooking women, what the article actually says is that they believed there were a lot of Viking women in England because so many round brooches of the sort typically worn by women (and not men), have been found. Contrary to what Tumblr would like us to believe, grave goods and artifacts are important and valid sources of information regarding gender, and the large presence of Viking women in England was already hypothesized on the basis of that. So, now someone has tested that hypothesis on a particular population and come up with an actual number— 50%— of females in that population, which will undoubtedly be put to the test in the future and eventually we’ll have an idea how accurate that is. THIS IS GOOD SCIENCE AND IT’S NOT IGNORING OR OVERLOOKING WOMEN. Quite the opposite.

5. What IS unfair to women are popular media posts that make wild, unsubstantiated claims about what women did on the past that then get dragged all around social media and feed into tedious and ill-informed debates about gender roles and male bias in archaeology (which exists, I’m not denying that, but this is not an example of it).

Finally, here is a better post dealing with this topic.

POSTED 2 weeks ago with 200 notes
VIA bonequeer   •  SOURCE jangojips
#history  #science  
asapscience:

was-that-a-pun:

superpunch2:

Mars is the only planet in the solar system solely inhabited by functioning robots.

oh

OH

asapscience:

was-that-a-pun:

superpunch2:

Mars is the only planet in the solar system solely inhabited by functioning robots.

oh

OH

POSTED 1 month ago with 40,686 notes
VIA biologizeable   •  SOURCE superpunch2
#space stuff  #science  
pipeworks ASKED: hi i saw your post from last christmas in the population genetics tag on this here website and I was wondering if you had any resources for studying the subject? i'm taking a class in it next semester but i don't feel terribly prepared for it so I was hoping maybe there was some books/articles I could read ahead of time to help prep me for the class? thanks for any help you can offer!

thejunglenook:

I have included a few links and websites below for you to peruse. While it’s lovely that you are taking the initiative in preparing for your class, I would like to point out that it is ok for you to not be well versed in this subject. After all, if you were an expert you wouldn’t need to take the class!
Professors generally spend the first day (or even week) reviewing base information to make sure all the students are on the same page before breaking out the nitty gritty new stuff. So as long as you remember a few basic genetics definitions, I’m sure you’ll be off to a solid start.

That being said, if you have any questions about the information in the links below, in your class, or just about Biology in general, please don’t hesitate to ask. Genetics is a pretty awesome sub-field and I’m always happy to nerd out with you all. 

Suggested Reading (not a complete list!):


(xkcd)

Note: There are some pretty cool computer (FREE!) programs you can use for population genetics analysis (e.g. studying hybridized zones between populations, estimating pop. allele frequency, etc.) but let’s save that adventure for another day. 

POSTED 1 month ago with 25 notes
VIA thejunglenook   •  SOURCE thejunglenook
#thank you for this!!!  #science  

sagansense:

Although unnoticeable to those who pay attention to “the news"….we’re living in a pretty spectacular era of human history.

Seth Shostak - Senior Astronomer at SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) - posed a submission that we, the human race, will detect an extraterrestrial civilization amidst the cosmos within the next 24 years. He’s so confident of this, he’s bet everyone (all 7+ billion of us) a cup of coffee on it.

It’s very easy to make fun of this, just like it also would have been funny to make fun of Magellan before he sailed around the world," Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer with SETI, told Congress. "We looked in particular directions at a few thousand star systems—the fact we haven’t found anything means nothing. This is like asking Christopher Columbus two weeks out of Cadiz if he’d found any new continents yet. We have to look at a few million star systems to have a reasonable chance." [Motherboard]

The reality is, we’re on an unprecedented exponential growth curve fueled by Moore’s Law, whereby advancements across multiple fields of science and technology are yielding new and transformative achievements, propelling us into a future of faster data processing at the helm of many disruptive technologies. A universal Rosetta Stone may not be attainable regarding our ability to generally decode transmissions from everywhere (and in any form) amid the past/present universe, but we certainly do have the tools for deciphering messages as we have from our ancestors’ hieroglyphics and artifacts.

With this in mind, read the referenced Motherboard article, and be sure to browse NASA’s newly published ebook by Douglas A. Vokoch, Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communications.

The question I continue to submit when this topic is brought up, however: if we detect it, what will we do, and will we care?

We no longer live in a world where today’s news is tomorrow’s headline. News now is relative to weather…always fluctuating…when the storm is over, we go back outside. If it’s bitterly cold, we complain until it warms up. When we’re warm, the complaints pour in that it’s too hot. And similarly, when “breaking news” becomes breaking news, it ends up at the bottom of our news feeds and online dashboard threads.

Our society is plagued with alarmist tendencies. As X Prize Co-Founder Peter Diamandis reminds us, “the news media preferentially feeds us negative stories because that’s what our minds pay attention to. And there’s a good reason for that. Every second of every day, our senses bring in way too much data that we can possibly process in our brains. And because nothing is more important to us than survival, the first stop for all that data is an ancient sliver of the temporal lobe called the amygdala….our early warning detector, our danger detector. So given a dozen news stories, we will preferentially look at the negative news." This has more to do with how little attention we pay to how fast the technologically driven world is moving and how tremendous of a time we’re living, but it’s a worthy comparison to how we process that information to our advantage as a species which belongs to the cosmos…and to with whom we share this cosmic neighborhood.

Some may rush to say that we would plan some kind of hostile takeover. However, it’s unlikely we will detect a neighbor close enough to visit, let alone “shout across the street.”

So again, I wonder: what will humanity’s response be to the detection of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe?

POSTED 1 month ago with 309 notes
VIA speculative-evolution   •  SOURCE sagansense
#aliens  #science  
jangojips:

valdanderthal:

macabre-mind-94:

Differences between male and female skulls.

Some of this stuff overlaps into ancestry as well but it’s a good quick guide 

In GENERAL, males have more pronounced, robust cranial features. It is important to remember that there is a lot of overlap in reality, and many skulls are ambiguous or have a percentage of uncertainty!

jangojips:

valdanderthal:

macabre-mind-94:

Differences between male and female skulls.

Some of this stuff overlaps into ancestry as well but it’s a good quick guide 

In GENERAL, males have more pronounced, robust cranial features. It is important to remember that there is a lot of overlap in reality, and many skulls are ambiguous or have a percentage of uncertainty!

POSTED 1 month ago with 576 notes
VIA dead-men-talking   •  SOURCE macabre-mind-94
#bonessss  #science  

Lichens are fungi that have discovered agriculture.

 - lichenologist Trevor Goward (via newagenaturalist)
POSTED 1 month ago with 53 notes
VIA biologizeable   •  SOURCE newagenaturalist
#science