Michael Forbes Wilcox

Author's posts

Birds Did Not Evolve from Dinosaurs; They *Are* Dinosaurs

The January 2017 issue of Scientific American contains a fascinating article (behind a paywall) on the evolution of birds. Using birds as an example, the author makes several interesting points about evolution. Some are quite specific to feathers and such; others are more general, such as Evolution has no foresight; it acts only on what …

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What Do Plants See?

The latest (January 2017) issue of Scientific American has a short blurb entitled “Veggies with Vision” that harks back to speculation and studies of over 100 years ago.   In 1907 Francis Darwin, Charles’s son, hypothesized that leaves have organs that are a combination of lens-like cells and light-sensitive cells.   For some reason, research …

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Walking

Following my comments, you will find an excerpt from an original essay, “Walking,” by Henry David Thoreau that appeared in The Atlantic in 1862; there is also a link at the end for those who want to read more. Henry David Thoreau was the proto-environmentalist. said Bill McKibben. Thoreau was also the one who, perhaps in a …

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#Pantsuit Nation

Today is Election Day. As the hashtags #Pantsuit and #Nation sweep the internet, I am reminded of a day many years ago when I made a momentous decision involving a pantsuit. I know, I know! Hard to imagine a pantsuit being involved in an earthshaking moment, but this one was. In the late 1960s, I …

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50th Anniversary

  On October 15, 1966, I was married for the first time. That day, like its counterpart 50 years later, was a bright sunny day in the Berkshires, with the autumn foliage on full display. When I think back on the next few years of my early twenties; a time of hope, and dreams of …

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Acceptance Is Belonging

A beautiful essay, written by my friend Amy Sequenzia, for Autism Acceptance Month. Autism Acceptance means more than love and understanding. It means belonging. Amy lived in Great Barrington for a time, and was very active in CATA. She has published a collection of poetry.

An underreported feature of planned changes in US currency

I am very pleased with the change of heart that places Tubman on the twenty and leaves Hamilton on the ten. Tucked away at the end of this article is another hugely important change, one that is long overdue. Many (if not most) currencies have different sizes for different denominations, enabling people with poor or …

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The demise of mirror neurons?

The latest (April 2016) issue of Scientific American contains an article that caught my eye. It is billed as “Cognitive Psychology” and subtitled “By honing ax-making skills while scanning their own brains, researchers are studying how cognition evolved.” This is clearly a very speculative venture, and the article (“Tales of a Stone Age Neuroscientist” available …

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The Evolution of American Political Parties

Are we on the verge of a major shift in the way our political parties operate in this country? Jill Lapore has published a postmortem of the 2016 New Hampshire Primary, and perhaps of the political parties that we have known in recent years. Her basic point is that political parties have been with us …

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Back in the Saddle

Alice and I had not taken the horses out for a long time, but we had a great ride on Monday.Some time ago, Stewart had developed a serious infection in one foot and was sidelined for several weeks while it healed. He seems all better now, but he and Spot had not done any riding for a while. …

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