I continue to not be a big fan of creating too many posts on the Observation Deck, so here's a few science article links all gathered up together. Enjoy as you will!
Video partial descriptions of four new species of sponges
And not just any kind of sponges, but carnivorous sponges. Super cool stuff!
Bill Nye explains why he "debated" a young-Earth creationist
Bill Nye "debated" Ken Ham in February, and a lot of us in the scientific community wondered why. In this self-penned article for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Mr. Nye explains why he bothered. It's an interesting read, particularly for some details on the "Ark Encounter" park which Mr. Ham claimed didn't get funding until after the Nye-Ham "debate", but which Nye claims, direct from word of an Answers in Genesis person, was already funded before the "debate". Maybe someone in Kentucky would like to see which of those two claims is truthful?
10 dinosaur myths that need to go extinct
Brian Switek, writing a clickbait-titled article at tor.com a few weeks ago, gives us a quick rundown on ten things that people think about dinosaurs which are not true. Includes a commentator who is really really sure for some reason that sauropods were mostly living underwater.
The Mile High State
In November of last year, the state of Colorado legalized the production, sale, possession, and use of recreational marijuana. Some people in Colorado were afraid that crime values were increase after this law passed. So this article by Tom McKay over at policymic.com looked at violent and property crime rates in Denver. January and February of 2014 are …slightly less criminal than the same two months of 2013. Mr. McKay doesn't draw any unreasonable conclusions, but the small amount of data so far suggests that marijuana legalization does not correlate with any increases in crime.
Hunger hormone placebo effect?
Alix Spiegel at NPR writes and provides video about some research into ghrelin, the "hunger hormone". It's that thing that your stomach releases that tells your brain to acquire more food? And it might be able to be fooled into thinking that you're full if you tell it you just ate a lot.
Four quick rebuttals of climate contrarian memes
Ellie Shechet writing for glamour.com briefly features some advice from Anna Jane Joyner on how to respond to four common climate contrarian memes. Anna Jane has to hear these memes from her father, Pastor Rick Joyner, and apparently Anna Jane is going to be in the Years of Living Dangerously documentary that James Cameron is involved with.
Modern and prehistoric ocean acidification events
ferwen writing at Letters from Gondwana discusses some things we know about current ocean acidification in comparison to what we know about some of these events in the geological/fossil record.
IPCC continues to say reducing carbon emissions a good idea
The third working group of the IPCC released the summary of its report for the fifth assessment of climate by the IPCC. Beth Mole, writing for sciencenews.org, summarizes that the report states that reducing carbon energy production, while increasing carbon-neutral energy production, would be a really good idea if civilization wants to mitigate anthropogenic climate change.
Is modern global warming within natural variation?
Dr. Shaun Lovejoy, a professor at McGill, studied temperature data and proxies from the last five centuries to determine whether modern global warming is primarily caused by anthropogenic or natural causes. Dr. Lovejoy's conclusion: ""This study shows that the odds of that being caused by natural fluctuations are less than one in a hundred and are likely to be less than one in a thousand." Press release here, press release has links to the paper. While I was writing this up, a climate change contrarian I know on io9 gave me a link to this very paper in a comment. He or she commented that the paper's above-quoted conclusion "borders on absurdity". Just in case if you were wondering.