Alan Turing’s Patterns in Nature, and Beyond from Wired Magazine


I found this ‘Interesting’ article on and was filled with some sort of an inexplicable joy. The buzzkill, however was that I had to click on each photograph to read about it. Hence this post…

This originally appeared in on February 22, 2011 at 7:00 am and is written by Brandon Keim.

Thanks Brandon Keim…

Alan Turing’s Biology PaperImage

Near the end of his life, the great mathematician Alan Turing wrote his first and last paper on biology and chemistry, about how a certain type of chemical reaction ought to produce many patterns seen in nature.

Called “The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis,” it was an entirely theoretical work. But in following decades, long after Turing tragically took his own life in 1954, scientists found his speculations to be reality.

First found in chemicals in dishes, then in the stripes and spirals and whorls of animals…

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Camels in the Cambrian? A Geology Mnemonic

Life in Pen and Ink

Sitting camel

How did you learn the geological timescale?

Geology is not a standard subject in the UK Curriculum, so those few students who arrive at university having done it at GCSE or A-Level, have usually been taught it by non-tradtitional means.  They are more exposed to the whim and wit of their teacher than they would be in any other subject.

In fact, it was partly the charisma and enthusiasm of my A-Level Geology teacher that prompted me to apply to Geology at university, and…well, the rest is history.  Initially planning to take science subjects and apply for biochemistry, I chose Geology at A-Level on a bit of a whim – having always enjoyed physical geography.  Imperceptibly, as the weeks passed, all thoughts of biochemistry slipped away, and I realised I’d been a geologist all along.  Starting it at university was a bit of a shock to the system, and it…

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Siamese Cats and the Optic Chiasm

the sensitive motor

Anatomy constrains function | Function drives anatomy

As a general rule of thumb, information about the right side of the body is represented in the left side of the brain, and information about the left side is represented on the right.  This is called lateralization.  While that’s probably only mildly interesting to most people, it can help neurologists determine where a nervous system injury (eg, stroke) has occurred.

But to me, even though I study the motor and somatosensory systems where this holds (mostly) true, I think a cooler example of decussation (crossing from one side to the other) is the optic chiasm.   More than that, it’s a great example of what neuroanatomy can tell us about the body and how it functions in its environment.  Similarly, the anatomy and behavior of an animal tell us about its brain.

Before I get in to the details, I should cover a few terms: visual fields, monocular/binocular…

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In what way can philosophy, or philosophical thinking contribute to the physical sciences?

The MOOC's Essays

86px-richard_feynman_nobel Richard P. Feynman

Physicist hero and Nobel laureate, Richard Feynman, was known for not being particularily fond of philosophy. In his Auckland lecture on Quantum Mechanics, he addresses philosophy with the polemic challenge that “if you don’t like the universe as it is, go somewhere else, to another universe where the rules are simpler” [1]. As much as this statement reflects a clear-cut scientific realism, criticizing what he disdained as wishful thinking, this essay takes a more differentiated approach. It is trying to investigate the question how much philosophy, from which physics had emanated, can make contributions to the physical sciences. In trying to argue that science without philosophy runs the risk of being disoriented, it investigates the following question: How could philosophical thinking help avoid physical sciences drifting off into the wrong direction?

Albeit it is the obvious objection that science has to be free to investigate in whatever…

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Breaking: Fatal Courtroom Act Ruins Michael ‘hockey stick’ Mann


By Paul Homewood

Is the Michael Mann/Tim Ball case coming to a head?

John Sullivan writes:

Penn State climate scientist, Michael ‘hockey stick’ Mann commits contempt of court in the ‘climate science trial of the century.’ Prominent alarmist shockingly defies judge and refuses to surrender data for open court examination. Only possible outcome: Mann’s humiliation, defeat and likely criminal investigation in the U.S.

The defendant in the libel trial, the 79-year-old Canadian climatologist, Dr Tim Ball (above, right) is expected to instruct his British Columbia attorneys to trigger mandatory punitive court sanctions, including a ruling that Mann did act with criminal intent when using public funds to commit climate data fraud. Mann’s imminent defeat is set to send shock waves worldwide within the climate science community as the outcome will be both a legal and scientific vindication of U.S. President Donald Trump’s claims that climate scare stories are a “hoax.”

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