The world’s scientists support evolution

This is big.

The world’s leading scientists yesterday urged schools to stop denying the facts of evolution amid controversy over the teaching of creationism.

The national science academies of 67 countries – including the UK’s Royal Society – issued a joint statement warning that scientific evidence about the origins of life was being “concealed, denied, or confused”. It urged parents and teachers to provide children with the facts about the origins and evolution of life on Earth.

This is a nice foil to a recent post on the Discovery Institute’s “Evolution News and Views blog,” noting that their list of “dissenting scientists” has now exceeded 600 individuals, and touting that more international scientists are signing on:
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Magnets “zap” headaches

…according to a new Nature News story.

Migraine sufferers might soon be able to block an imminent attack using a device that targets the brain with a powerful magnetic field.

The technique, called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), triggers activity in the brain’s nerve cells and is already being tested as a way to treat depression. Two small clinical trials have now shown that delivering TMS to the brain in the early stages of a migraine seems to halt it in its tracks.

Since I’ve dealt with migraines for a long time, this sounds great (though I’ll note that the research hasn’t yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, and the number of patients reporting an improvement from placebo alone was quite high, so I’ll remain skeptical until more evidence rolls in). But I can already see it being touted by the magnet-bracelet-cure-all people as proof that their product works.

Tattoos and infections

I have an admission. I am tattooed. Twice. A small thing, but it’s pretty incredible at the visceral reactions I sometime receive when people find out. (They’re not in oft-seen areas under normal attire, but neither are they anywhere “naughty.”) I get head shakes and tongue-clucks from many of my elders; nose crinkles from folks of my own generation who simply think tattoos are unattractive (either on anyone, or on women specifically), or compliments from people who are inked themselves. I understand the range of reactions and hey, to each their own–I’m all for diversity of opinion. But what shouldn’t be compromised with the tattoo process is safety. The vast majority of tattoo studios and artists are very concerned about the safety of their clients, but there are always some bad apples to spoil the bunch. A new MMWR story shows one outcome of unsafe tattooing: serious infection.
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Mike Argento slams Coulter

On my old blog, I professed my undying love for York Daily Record columnist, Mike Argento. During the Dover trial last winter, his columns were hilarious and right on target. (See, for example, here, here, and here for snippets, though the full-text articles are no longer available). He’s now taken on Ann Coulter’s characterization of the trial in her new book, “Godless.” More after the jump…
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“New pet” update

In many ways, I’m like my kids: it doesn’t take much to amuse me. I mentioned previously my kids’ enjoyment of catching all things crawly, and our “pet” wolf spider, “Wolfie.” Well, Wolfie is now a mommy to hundreds of spiderlings. I’ll put the pics below the fold so that those of you with an aversion to spiders won’t be subjected to them.
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