Finally, a science debate in the Kansas state legislature that doesn't make me want to beat my head against a desk.
So, Kansas is apparently in the process of picking a state fossil. The original candidate, named in the House bill introduced on the 24th of January, was Xiphactius audax—best known for being the big fish of the famous little-fish-inside-a-big-fish fossil that resides at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays. Since the bill was introduced, however, there have been rumblings favoring a completely different fossil, the flying reptile Pteranodon.
Two fossils enter the statehouse. One leaves. But it's not entirely clear yet which will be the victor. Pteranodon has a much bigger public profile—it was in Jurassic Park, after all, and has featured prominently in many children's books about dinosaurs. Plus, according to the adjunct curator of paleontology at the Sternberg Museum, high-quality pteranodon fossils are almost exclusive to Kansas.
But, speaking as a former fossil-obsessed Kansan child, Pteranodon wasn't there to comfort me when I realized my state had been underwater for much of its deep pre-history and, thus, that I was unlikely to find a T. rex in my backyard. No. It was Xiphactius audax that dried my tears and made me hopeful again. Xiphactius audax that got me over my first bout with Midwestern inferiority complex. And it was Xiphactius audax—or, at least, its huge, pointy teeth—that gave me a wonderful, terrified thrill every time I went into the basement of KU's Dyche Museum.
Besides, as you can clearly see from the artistic rendering above, Xiphactius audax would totally kick Pteranodon's ass.
Detail of a painting of Xiphactius audax by D.W. Miller.
With so many costumes adorning this election season, you might think the Halloween get-ups are overkill. Think again, because David Ng and B.R. Cohen are here to present the official universal survey about your candy favorites for the 2016 hierarchical delineation of candy virtue.
University of Zurich researchers used transcranial magnetic stimulation, a noninvasive method of inhibiting activity in parts of the brain, to “turn off” people’s ability to control their impulses. They focused on the temporoparietal junction, an area of the brain thought to play an important role in moral decisions, empathy, and other social interactions. They hope […]
Are you jonesing for a dose of optimism and possibility? In the mood to contemplate the cosmos? Want to experience a musical message for extraterrestrials the way it was meant to be played? The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition, a project I launched with Timothy Daly and Lawrence Azerrad, is a lavish vinyl box […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]
This week’s top deals from the Boing Boing Store range from lobster to wine to desk organization. 1. Get Maine Lobster (50% Off)With these discounted packages from Get Maine Lobster, you can experience the sweet, fresh flavor of world-renowned Maine lobster right at your own dinner table. There are four options to choose from, each at […]