Archive for May, 2003

Tarzan’s Cheeta’s Life as a Retired Movie Star

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 9, 2003   View Article

Many Hollywood stars retire in the oasis of Palm Springs, California where they wile away their golden years splashing paint on canvases, taking leisurely strolls, playing the piano, and flipping through the pages of magazines.

Such is the life of 71-year-old Cheeta, the chimpanzee of Tarzan fame who celebrated his birthday a month ago.

Virtual Life Forms Mutate, Shedding Light on Evolution

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 7, 2003   View Article

They don’t sting or bite. They don’t cause diarrhea or headaches. They don’t even exist in a tangible form. But “digital organisms”— special programs that reproduce, mutate, and adapt —can thrive inside computers, and they are teaching scientists several lifetimes worth of information about evolution.

These artificial “bugs” show that complex functions that are the digital equivalent to something like human eyesight can evolve from the simplest of functions via a long and winding road of gradual mutation, according to a team consisting of a biologist, a computer scientist, a philosopher, and a physicist.

“Supercities” Vulnerable to Killer Quakes, Expert Warns

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 2, 2003   View Article

Unless protective measures are taken, once every century or so when the Earth trembles in a violent release of pent up tension, buildings will tumble, streets will buckle, and pipelines will snap, leaving upwards of a million people crushed beneath the debris.

That is the conclusion of Roger Bilham, a geological scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder who studied the potential impact of earthquakes on the world’s rapidly expanding urban populations in the 21st century.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach