The Steve-o-sphere

Everyone has heard of the Blogosphere. It appears that a new -sphere, the Steve-o-sphere, is being born.

The Improbable Blog, the blog of the journal Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), has blogged the recent AIR paper “The Morphology of Steve.” Here is a link to the online PDF with lower-res graphics; go buy the issue for the full resolution version, plus other ground-breaking research, such as “The Importance of the Hyphen to Naked Astronomers”. The Steves post has gotten a half-dozen trackbacks already, and this post adds another one for good measure. See also the previous PT post on the paper, and the post previous to that on Project Steve. More evidence of the beginnings of a Steve-o-sphere is found in the fact that “The Morphology of Steve” has been added with pride to the online CVs and blogs of Steves such as Stephen J. Taylor (CV, full ref), Stephen Thorsett (blog), and Steve Renals (homepage).

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Figure 1: Morphological novelty in the form of Steves

Speaking of Project Steve, the Steve-o-meter now stands at #457. To celebrate the AIR paper, a new Steves T-shirt was made at the otherwise arbitrary number of 440 Steves (“Over 440 Steves agree…”), which is now for sale at NCSE although I hear there has been a bit of a run on them. Perhaps people hope that if they buy T-shirts, they will get to participate in the next major Steve study, tentatively titled “On the Origin of Steves.” One non-Project-Steve Steve, Stephen C. Meyer, Program Director at the Discovery Institute, has claimed that evolution cannot produce morphological novelty. However, early results from the new Steve study indicate that, at least when it comes to morphological novelty in the form of Steves (see Figure 1), it is intelligent design, not evolution, that has a problem. The Discovery Institute recently put up a “Key resources for parents and school board members” webpage, which touts “Over 300 Scientists Skeptical of Neo-Darwinism” (further touted in many articles linked therein). However, an analysis of the DI 300 list reveals a mere 5 Steves, and that’s counting one guy who only has the last name “Stephan,” which is really being generous in my view. Either way, it appears that evolution is about 100 times better at producing Steves than ID.

P.S.: Does anyone know the Serbian equivalent of “Steve”? Apparently they’ve just banned evolution from the schools over there…