Monday, April 18, 2011

Finding life in outer space

I was listening to the radio, and this astronomist was explaining how NASA's space probes are trying to find water in Mars, which is the essential for life to exist. By finding water, she explained we can then hope to find life in Mars. These guys are wasting time and money. They should try and find oil in Mars  - then, I guarantee they will find life (and drilling machines) in Mars!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review - The Ancestor's Tale

The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins: This book is a classic on biological evolution from a biologist professor famous among those who don't care about religion, and infamously known to those who do. Since it is reviewed extensively on the web, there is little I can add, so I will keep it short just to entice more readers. The book is about how we all came from, and traces our origins as a pilgrimage to the past, all the way to life's origin on earth - all the way to algae or amoeba, and all the way to when continents were together. Since it is based on the author's almost entire research career, it is filled with scientific discoveries, words of wisdom and convincing arguments. I learned that Australopithecus (our ancestor that gave rise to all the Homos... Homo-erectus, Homo-sapiens etc) had nothing to do with Australia, but Australo just means south, and implied an origin in South Africa. Likewise, erectus means standing up straight, and nothing to do with an erection! Somehow, a scientist chose to call this branch of Apes as Homo, borrowing from Homo-therm (meaning same temperature, implying warm blooded animals). I have read somewhere sapiens means wise, so we humans are supposed to be wiser than other species, though it may not show in many cases! Great to read, and must read!

Taxing Time

Just finished doing taxes and wanted to take a break. So, I pick up this book called "The Ancestor's Tale", and it gives me a boat load on Taxonomy! It's true you can't escape death and taxes...:)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Review - Our Cosmic Origins

Our Cosmic Origins by Armand Delsemme: I had been wondering if there was a book that tied together all the scientific discoveries related to the origin of our universe and human evolution. This book does exactly that, and I am very happy to have read it. Written by a very distinguished professor, it starts from the big bang, how our galaxy formed, what conditions are necessary for life and how life came about on earth, how dinosaurs came and went, and how plants, animals and human beings came into existence, and how the how we are evolving with the recent population explosion. That is billions of years worth of scientific history! It is easy to read, meant to reach common people, though there is a pinch of academic style from the professor. The best part I liked was the professor's advice to teach values to children at the young age (2-5 years), which is what he believes will help human evolution the right way. I completely agree.