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Stan's Darwin blog
Saturday, 7 February 2009
Evolution and global warming

Global warming is rapidly kicking in, changing the entire face of the Earth.  Global warming has occurred in the past, for example at the end of the most recent ice age--and the ice ages before that.  But this time is different.  Previous global warmings have occurred slowly enough that plants and animals could migrate to new locations with the climate conditions to which they were adapted.  And, to a certain extent, evolution by natural selection could allow them to adjust.  However, today, global warming is occurring too fast for either of these processes to make much difference.  In addition, today, farms and roads and cities block potential migratory routes.

The processes by which organisms adapted to global warming thousands or millions of years ago will not work today.  This is one reason why it is so important to bring carbon emissions under control.  Investment in solar and wind energy is part of the economic stimulus package that the Obama administration is pushing.  This will create jobs, as well as reducing carbon emissions (and reducing our dependence on Middle East politics).  Even if there were not an economic crisis right now, it would be an urgent thing to do.

Investing in renewable energy certainly makes more sense than what we did last year, when we gave billions of dollars to banks to use as they pleased, and they used some of it to pay millions of dollars to their executives who got us in the economic crisis in the first place.  Investing in bank executives is like putting money down various kinds of holes; but investing in "green energy" will pay big returns--some of them now, and even more over the long run.

Posted by stanleyrice at 1:18 PM EST
Sunday, 1 February 2009
Guess Who Was Born in 1809!

The year 1809 was an important one for births of important people in history.  Here follows an incomplete list: Louis Braille (January 4), Edgar Allan Poe (January 9), Felix Mendelssohn (February 3), Charles Robert Darwin (February 12), Abraham Lincoln (February 12), Alfred Lord Tennyson (August 6), and William Gladstone (December 29).  One of the most celebrated of these births will be that of Charles Darwin.  Around the world, universities and scientific societies are marking the bicentennial of Darwin's birth with special publications and meetings.  I will be speaking at one of these, sponsored by the University of Oklahoma, on February 13.

The coincidence of Darwin and Lincoln both being born on the same day has not gone unnoticed.  Both led the world towards liberation of thought and understanding, in different ways.  I wrote a story about this.

Posted by stanleyrice at 2:34 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 1 February 2009 5:44 PM EST
Sunday, 4 January 2009
To Darwin with love from Oklahoma
I am Stan Rice, a biology professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University (http://www.stanleyrice.com).  I teach botany and evolution.  An evolution teacher in rural Oklahoma would seem to be inviting trouble.  Actually, I have not encountered any personal animosity.  Oklahoma culture in general, however, is strongly against evolution.  Every year, new creationist bills show up in the state legislature.  To keep up with the latest evolution news in Oklahoma, check out the website for Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (http://www.oklascience.org).  It is not just evolution, but the entire scientific history of the univese that meets a cool reception in Oklahoma.  The photo is of a marquee in front of a church in Durant, Oklahoma.  To see a larger image, go to the photo album (http://www.stanleyrice.com/evolution_photos).  Watch this space for more evolution and Darwin information.

Posted by stanleyrice at 4:36 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 4 January 2009 5:18 PM EST
Welcome to the Darwin blog
Welcome to Stan Rice's Darwin blog!  The year 2009 will be a very exciting one for the followers of Charles Darwin.  It is the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth.  All over the world, there are special Darwin events.  I will let you know about some of them in this blog, especially the ones in which I participate.  You can find a permanent page of Darwin information on the home page, http://www.stanleyrice.com.  Watch this space!

Posted by stanleyrice at 4:04 PM EST

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