Friday, October 31, 2014

In the Evolution Files

The thing about Facebook, one of them anyway, is that you see things that sometimes you just can't let go. In this case, a friend commented on a post of someone I am not friends with. So I can see the original post and the comments, but I cannot comment or share the post itself. Most of the time, this is fine. Whatever. It doesn't matter.

Then there are times when what you see just makes your head explode. The words written, the ideas conveyed are just SO.WRONG. that the need to share comments on the wrongness of it all just cannot be contained.

This happened today.
As an educator
As a biologist
As an "evolutionist" ... I must comment.

Luckily, I have skills. Perhaps not mad computer skills, but enough, in this case. to get the job done.

So what is this post that made my head explode. .



It was a link to this wonderful picture of a beautiful bird. . .




The person, whose name isn't important, who shared it to his Facebook Page wrote this.

"Take one good look at the way each feather lays upon the other, perfectly, symetrical, and the coloring is magnificent...and evolutionists tell us we are supposed to believe that some bird, millions of years ago, decided it needed to flap its wings hundreds of times per minute, and have the most strikingly beautiful colored feathers, and a pencil lead thin beak, and all of that just came about because the bird of origin willed itself that way?
Um, think again Darwin students....even he admitted fault in his theory, prior to his death.
Here's a theory: God designed this bird this way...now let's go play football."

(My brain is screaming - That is not how this works! That's not how any of this works!!!!)

This comment caused my head to explode because it shows a complete, utter, astounding, and perhaps willful ignorance of how evolution actually works.

And it boils down to this

No organism, plant, animal, microbe, or other, has ever willed a trait into existence. Darwin does not suggest this to be the case. No one in evolutionary biology has ever stated this. IT DOES NOT HAPPEN.

Some other minor issues
1. We aren't 100% sure what feathers were originally used for. Perhaps it was flight. Perhaps is was for thermoregulation. Here is an interesting article about the evolution of feathers from National Geographic Magazine.

2. Darwin never doubted that natural selection was responsible for evolutionary change. Rather, he questioned how the mechanismsof inheritance worked relative to natural selection. REGARDLESS....there has been over 150 years of evolutionary biology SINCE Darwin published "On Origin of Species".  The questions of how inheritance meshed with natural selection were worked out during a period referred to as The Modern Synthesis.

If you want to know more about how evolution REALLY works - the University of California at Berkeley has a great resource called Evolution 101. It's a site I have used in several of my college level classes and I highly recommend it.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

Trumpet Flower

Yesterday I went to the St. Louis Botanical Gardens with my friend Nancee. It was a brisk Autumn day. When we walked into the warm humidity of the Climatron, my camera lens kept fogging up. This picture of a large trumpet shaped flower (and no I foolishly didn't get the name of the plant) was taken in the deep shade with a foggy lens. I really loved the romantic, misty effect that resulted. 

Here is the original photo.


Here is the photo after minor tweaks to the color, brightness, and contrast. 


That was so much fun, that I decided to play around some more. 



In this photo, I increased the red in the shadows. 


Then I decided to make the whole photo purple. 


Finally, I inverted the colors. After more tweaks with color balance, brightness and contrast, I had a beautiful frost flower. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Throughout the Day

Yesterday I was studying the affect of different natural light conditions on my photographs by taking photos of the same scene several times throughout the day.


8:30 am 

12:20 pm


3:30 pm


Also, you realize you need to dust when take close up photos with a good camera.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkins of Cave Springs

This morning I went to Cave Spring Historic Site in Kansas City. I was expecting a beautiful morning of shooting nature shoots, pictures of the cave and the ruins. To my delight, there were hundreds of jack-o-lanterns left over from Saturday's Pumpkins on Parade. This unique photo opportunity made my morning even more fun and wonderful than I had expected.

The creativity of the children who made these jack-o-lanterns was impressive, and there were so many amazing photos to take. So, I warn you, there are a lot of pumpkin pictures here. After the first edit, I still had over 140 photos. Here are my favorites.






























Sunday, October 19, 2014

A relaxing Saturday at Home

We decided to have a low-key weekend. We went to a movie, played video games, ate spaghetti, went to lunch with a friend. It felt good, to behave like teenagers, just doing whatever we wanted. No worries about jobs, no packing and setting up camp for an event. No hosting other people in our house. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends and love having them stay here. I love going to events. (The job worries, I don't love so much). We haven't had a weekend like this for, wow...at least 6 months. A weekend where we just hung out together. I am glad we decided to do it.

Late Saturday night, yes I can stay up late from time to time..about 2 am, I was sitting on the couch and looking over our living room just made me happy. The tables still set up from Thursday night's gaming session. The light. The blinds that Jason closed to make it warmer for me in the apartment. So I snapped some pictures. A nice restful weekend is good for the soul.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

PofTD - Light

I am jumping forward a few days on the "official" list. However, yesterday I went out and shot some photos in the early morning light at the park near my house. My goal was to play with the light in the photographs. Here are several of my favorite shots playing with the light.