In this column, recent events will be treated. Some events are discoveries whose import is not yet finalized.
Some events are congresses and lectures that have just taken place. Some books are expected to be published but not
yet available. Some events are reported in the popular press.
Time Magazine convened a board of technologists in May 2002 to discuss how evolutionary biology is influencing
the way we build computers, write software and organize companies. The members of the board were Melanie Mitchell of
the Santa Fe Institute, Paul Horn of IBM, Sandeep Malhotra of Ardesta, Chris Meyer of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and Ray
Kurzweil, and independent inventor, futurist, and entrepreneur. Kurzweil noted, "Technology is just a continuation of
the evolutionary process." Eric Roston, "The New Face of Technology," Time Magazine (June 2002): Bonus Section.
Alex & Me, by Irene M. Pepperberg, 2008. The author of this book hoped to replicate chimp language
studies with birds. She chose an African grey parrot, named Alex, as her subject in 1977. Although Alex's brain
was the size of a walnut, he won fame for his ability to know and say colors and numbers, in a way comparable to a five year
old human. Pepperberg's tale is a facinating tale of animal "intelligence" and also bonding between humans and amimals.
Alex died in 2007 at age 31. Review by Caroline Leavitt, People Magazine, 10 November 2008.
Santa Ana, California. --- A federal judge ruled that a public high school history teacher violated the First Amendment
when he called creationism "superstitious nonsense" during a lecture. U.S. District Judge James Selina ruled Friday
in a lawsuit student Chad Farman filed in 2007, alleging that teacher James Corbett made repeated comments in class that were
hostile to Christian beliefs. The lawsuit cited more than twenty statements made by Corbett during one day of class,
which Farman recorded. (Chicago Sun Times, 5 May 2009)
New York --- A 47 million year old fossil, now at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, may
fill in some gaps in primate evolution. The fossil is the best preserved primate fossil ever found, 95% complete,
even showing what the creature ate. About the size of a small cat, the creature had 4 legs and a tail. It was
discovered in 1983 in the Messel Shale Pit in Germany, about 25 miles southeast of Frankfurt. The fossil remained in
a private collection, out of reach of scientists, until recently. (Chicago Tribune, 20 May 2009; Chicago
Sun Times, 20 May 2009)