Archive | Patrick’s Ponderables

So thoughtful, cause he’s a doctor.

Triceratops is Safe and Sound

Numerous popular press outlets reported last week that Triceratops was going the way of the dinosaur (haha) and that Triceratops was no longer a valid genus name because it was potentially just an example of a juvenile stage of a dinosaur with another name, Torosaurus. Here are some examples. At Science… sort of you would think that we would not be swayed by the popular press, we would go straight to the primary literature, read the study ourselves and then report on what the actual scientists said, maybe even interview them. Wrong; we made the same blunder that many popular press outlets did in our podcast episode 48 – No Frills. When it came down to it, we were rushed to put a show together and had already read too many pop press accounts of the Triceratops article that many a member of the Paleoposse had sent us. As a result, we gave the primary literature only a quick once over before we (or at least I) thought we understood the crux of the argument.

Oh, did we miss the boat. Continue Reading →

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10 Animals You Probably Didn’t Know About

Well if you are the kind of person that goes around reading articles with titles like “10 Animals You Probably Didn’t Know About” then maybe you already know about these, but most people don’t.

1. Pangolins

You may have actually heard us mention this on Science… sort of, but there were no pictures then, and you might have thought to yourself, I think I know what they were talking about. You didn’t. Here’s a picture. Continue Reading →

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Randomness

You’re on a road trip with your buddies and your iPod is the one churning out the tunes, when a Captain and Tenille song comes on.  The guy riding shot gun shoots you a look and skips to the next song.  After that one finishes, there they are again, “Do that to Me One More Time” is killing the good vibes in the car. Skip.  Then, of all things, “Muskrat Love” comes on? “Dude, how much Captain and Tennille do you have on your iPod?”  Turns out you only have a greatest hits album and you have something like 8 days worth of other music on that Jobsian box.  Clearly the iPod can’t generate a random playlist worth a damn.

Noise, chance, whatever you want to call it.  Often times people misunderstand what randomness actually is.   Randomness is a sequence of things such that there is no intelligible pattern or combination.  The problem is we expect that random means that things will be equally spaced out or that there will be “no coincidences.”    In fact, one of the ways you know your are looking at randomness is that there will be repetition or related items in the list.
Continue Reading →

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