Monthly Archives: April 2004

Homosexuality as a Challenge to Darwinism

An author called Joan Roughgarden, in her new book Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender and Sexualilty in Nature and People, argues that Darwin’s theory of sexual selection doesn’t fit the available data based on her research on homosexuality and same-sex relationships in humans and other animals.

This interview with Roughgarden is interesting, although a bit shallow, and actually left me wanting to yell through my computer screen at her. At one point she says, “A typical couple has sex once a week for 50 years, but has only two offspring,” which is so wrong if you’re looking at the human population as a whole right now and at humans in the millions of years that we’ve existed. At other times, though, she makes intelligent reference to things like polygamy.

I hope this is a useful, interesting and well-researched book, but this interview raises a few doubts. I wondered what you all would think.

The Shape of Things

Folks have been trying to figure out the shape of the universe for a long time. Early answers included “a big tree” and “flat, supported by elephants on the back of a turtle”. One of the latest ideas is a Picard topology, sort of a horn shape with a really long end.

I notice that the term “pringle” has replaced “saddle” when describing areas of negative curvature…

An Exercise

This probably won’t make sense to anyone else, but I need to make a note reminding myself about something I thought about over lunch. (I always lose them otherwise, so maybe this will help me remember.) Read on if that kind of thing interests you.
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