Having trouble getting into the spirit of Christmas? We have the solution for you: Whitley Strieber’s wonderful little book The Christmas Spirits. In his Journal, he writes: "When I wrote The Christmas Spirits, I was not really speculating, but rather trying to portray a level of being that I believe is entirely real, and to describe its interaction with us as I have lived it.
Biologists now think that that tiny creatures–from worms to insects–are much more important to the health of our planet than they seem to be. In fact, the fate of all life (including us!) may depend on them.
In the November 10th edition of the Observer, John Vidal quotes entomologist E.O. Wilson (who studies ants) as saying, "When you thrust a shovel into the soil or tear off a piece of coral, you are, godlike, cutting through an entire world. You have crossed a hidden frontier known to very few. Immediately close at hand, around and beneath our feet, lies the least explored part of the planet’s surface. It is also the most vital place on Earth for human existence.
We’re relying more and more on DNA evidence to catch rapists and murderers, but there’s evidence that psychological bias plays a part in how this evidence is interpreted. Labs aren’t always as objective as we’d like them to be.
Recently, we’ve seen cases where DNA evidence freed innocent people from prisons, but sometimes, contaminated DNA evidence causes police to create a perpetrator in their minds who doesn’t really exist. This happened in Germany in 2007, when some contaminated swabs caused them to search for–as Vaughan Bell writes in the Observer–an "invincible, transsexual, border-hopping serial killer just to keep the story coherent with the genetic evidence."
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is one of those songs we hear piped into stores constantly during this season, and while we may get tired of it, we assume it’s just a children’s story. But it turns out there’s some real science behind it.
When Dutch and Norwegian traveled to the Arctic to use video-microscope and thermal imaging technology to measure glow from reindeer noses, they found that tiny blood vessels more abundant in the noses of reindeer than in those of humans.
The question we want to know is, how did the lyricist of that song get that information, since science has just discovered it?