Photo contest ends...


… in 4 3 2 1 0 days, Wednesday, July 19 at noon, MDT.

Update, July 19: The deadline for submitting entries has passed. To be safe, though, I will list the names of those who have submitted photographs. If you submitted something to and your name does not appear, please contact us at OK, here goes: DullienV, DullienR, Fugate, Andreas, RiceJ, RiceA, May, Kocher, Sturtevant, Susek, Phelps. If your name is not on the list and should be, please contact us right away.

Update, July 18: We have received a report that may not work properly, and a test message did not go through (or at least was not forwarded correctly). Please send submissions to

If you did not get a response, please assume that your submission was not received and send it again to the pandasphotocontest address.

When is a for-profit corporation not for profit?


When it is owned by Ken Ham, of course. According to press reports in the Grant County News and the Lexington Herald Leader, the management of the Ark Park is resisting efforts by the City of Williamstown to collect a safety fee that will be used to upgrade police and fire protection because of Williamstown’s increased needs as a result of the Ark Park.

Ark Encounter, which owns the Ark Park, is a for-profit corporation and arguably should be subject to the tax. It is, however, owned by a nonprofit corporation, Crosswater Canyon. Mark Looy of Answers in Genesis has previously admitted that Ark Encounter is a for-profit corporation, but now he argues that they should be exempt from the tax because – you guessed it – Ark Encounter is owned by a nonprofit.

The Williamstown City Council, anticipating a possible lawsuit, has gone into executive session. According to an informant of ours, Williamstown, which was promised untold wealth if it permitted the Ark “replica” to be built there, barely has a coffee shop downtown, let alone the restaurants and hotels which were supposed to provide jobs and revenue. If you need gasoline or a tattoo, our informant implies, Williamstown is the place to go.

If I were inclined to schadenfreude, I might add that if something sounds too good to be true, it is probably being offered by grifters and charlatans. Nonetheless, it is hard not to feel sorry for the people of Grant County who will suffer as a result of this Ark Park nonsense. If Answers in Genesis decides to fight the safety fee, I think they will be adding injury to injury.

Convolvulus arvensis

Field bindweed
Convolvulus arvensis – field bindweed, also previously known as wild morning glory. I read once that there is only one bindweed plant in the entire world, and its root is at the center of the earth. More realistically, I think there is only one bindweed plant in Boulder County, and its root is in my backyard, where it passes for lawn.

Climate change in the American mind: May 2017


We received the following in an e-mail from the National Center for Science Education and reproduce it with permission in its entirety. It is gratifying to note that a significant majority of those polled agree that global warming is real and a somewhat smaller majority understand that it is the result of human activity. Although few people knew that over 90% of climate scientists accept the reality of human-caused climate change, it appears that a majority knows that most climate scientists accept the reality of human-caused climate change. More importantly, though, a majority of the US population understands that climate change is real and human-caused, and presumably understands the danger of climate change. Things could be worse!

Seven in ten Americans think that global warming is happening, and almost three in five think that, if it is happening, it is mostly owing to human activity, but only about one in eight know that nearly all climate scientists agree that global warming is happening as a result of human activity. Those were among the key findings of Climate Change in the American Mind: May 2017.

Presented with a definition of global warming as “the idea that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world’s climate may change as a result” and asked whether they thought that global warming is happening, 70% of respondents said yes, 13% said no, and 16% indicated that they didn’t know.

Photography Contest IX


Polish your lenses again, oil your tripods (but not your shutters), search your archives (and, if you have entered before, remember that you are not limited to 3 good pictures per lifetime). The ninth Panda’s Thumb photography contest, begins – now!


Stereoscope invented by Oliver Wendell Holmes. Mont Saint-Michel looks a little different today.

We will accept entries from 12:00 MDT (11:00 MST), July 5, through 12:00 MDT (11:00 MST), July 19. Mountain Daylight Time is 6 h earlier than UTC(GMT).

We encourage entries in a single, general category, which includes pictures of just about anything of scientific interest: any object of experimentation or observation, from single-celled organisms, through nematodes, fruit flies, rats, chimpanzees, and college sophomores to volcanoes, stars, and galaxies. In order not to omit theoreticians, we will consider computer-generated pictures and also photographs of equipment. Photomicrographs and electron micrographs are likewise welcomed.

Prizes will include a signed copy of Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails), by Matt Young and Paul Strode, which has been donated by one of the authors; and Sahotra Sarkar’s Doubting Darwin? Creationist Designs on Evolution, which has been generously donated by the National Center for Science Education.

If we get enough entries, consistently with Rules 11 and 12, we may add categories and award additional prizes, presuming, of course, that we can find more prizes.