16 April, 2008

Optical Allusions

Some time ago, I received for Xmas a couple of comic books graphic novels by Jay Hosler, a biologist AND cartoonist(interesting combination, no?). Clan Apis tells the story of the life of a honeybee, providing information on bee behavior along the way (Hosler's primary research involves bees). The Sandwalk Adventures conveys Darwin's theory of evolution using Darwin himself and a curious follicle mite who resides in his eyebrow. They are fascinating reading for adults and would make a delightful introduction to science for pre-teens.

Anyway, via Pharyngula I learn that Hosler is working on a new book, Optical Allusions, which will be
a science comic book funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The aim of this work is to develop and test a chapter of a non-majors biology text book in comic form. This particular chapter will contain 9-10 short stories focusing on different aspects of eye biology and evolution. The stories are linked by a common protagonist, Wrinkles the Wonder Brain, and his ongoing quest to find his employers' lost eyeball.

Hosler offers the following graphic as the rationale behind this project:

PZ has some additional details at Pharyngula and an excerpt, in pdf form, can be found here (you can also read excerpts from his other comics by following links from his main page). If this work is anything like his others, it will be a triumph as well.

15 April, 2008

"Expelled!" exposed...

Bleeaagh. The Discovery Institute's latest mishmash of lies & half-lies (otherwise known as "Expelled!") is soon to be released into U.S. theaters where the ignorant, gullible, downright stupid, and dishonest will no doubt lap it up. To counter this appalling paean to lunacy, the National Center for Science Education has put up a counter website to expose the fraud at the heart of the film as well as the falsehoods it promotes. If you have a blog or Facebook/MySpace page, please consider linking to the site to promote truth and science.

Link: Expelled

The Ascent of Man

I've said before that I don't want this blog to become a YouTube showcase, but I find so much really neat stuff there. This clip is from the 1973 TV series The Ascent of Man. Hosted by Jacob Bronowski, the series was designed to promote science (in a manner similar to Carl Sagan's Cosmos series). Here Bronowski is defending the idea of scientific knowledge as opposed to doctrine and dogma. He does so from the grounds of the Auschwitz concentration camp where members of his own family perished during the Holocaust. His argument is both eloquent and timeless and the presentation riveting.