Barbara J King

Barbara J King appears in the following:

Getting Science Right In Film: It's Not The Facts, Folks

Saturday, January 30, 2016

How much does it matter that filmmakers accurately portray the scientific details — of cosmology or physics for instance, or evolutionary theory or genomics — on the big screen?

My initial response — "It matters a lot, of course!" — has changed after attending a Sundance panel presentation called "The ...


Teenage 'Eagle Huntress' Overturns 2,000 Years Of Male Tradition

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Eagle Huntress, a documentary film set in Mongolia directed by Otto Bell and starring teenager Aisholpan Nurgaiv, debuted Sunday at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. With its focus on a charismatic girl who has accomplished something other women have not in 2,000 years — she hunts ...


An Unkillable Myth About Atheists

Thursday, January 21, 2016

In his new book, The Big Question: Why We Can't Stop Talking About Science, Faith and God, Alister McGrath argues that "we need more than science to satisfy our deep yearnings and intuitions." That something more for McGrath is God, specifically, the Christian God.

As he develops this argument, ...


Can Babies Be Obese?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

For babies carried to full term, birth weight is considered "normal" between about 6 pounds, 2 ounces and 9 pounds, 2 ounces. Given sustained concern about childhood obesity, I have wondered how early in life children may be at risk for extra weight.

Can babies be obese?

It ...


Can Animals Think Abstractly?

Thursday, January 07, 2016

In her January Scientific American piece titled "What Animals Know about Where Babies Come From," anthropologist Holly Dunsworth makes a convincing case that despite popular assumptions to the contrary, animals generally — and our closest living relatives, the great apes, specifically — don't understand that sexual intercourse produces ...


Watch How Elephants May Hear Distant Water

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Elephants' ability to hear what is called infrasound — sound waves with frequencies too low for humans to hear — has been known about for years.

But recently, a new twist in elephants' infrasound detection was discovered — and now it has been caught on film.

In a ...


The Magdala Stone May Be A Portal To Early Religion

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Magdala Stone, a stunning archaeological find from an excavated synagogue in Israel that dates back to the time of Jesus, sits at the intersection of Jewish and Christian history.

Since its 2009 discovery, the stone — a carved block decorated with symbols including a seven-branch menorah (rare for the ...


Famous Gorilla 'Gives' A Climate Speech

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A video made available online last week shows the famous gorilla Koko communicating through the use of American Sign Language in what is billed as an address to world leaders attending the Paris climate change conference.

According to the Gorilla Foundation, Koko was invited to carry out this project ...


Why Cancer Is 'Gone' Discourse Doesn't Help Cancer Patients

Monday, December 07, 2015

Many media began to report on Sunday that former president Jimmy Carter had informed his church in Plains, Georgia, that his cancer is now gone.

Immediately, I felt joy and dismay in equal parts.

The joy is easy to explain. Carter is undergoing radiation and immune-based drug treatment for ...


Rock Climbing Superstar Quests For Energy Sustainability

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Alex Honnold doesn't like to watch his friends "free solo" on big rock formations like El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

"Free solo" means that the climber uses only his or her body to climb: There are no ropes, no partner, no bolts drilled into rock for stability and support. ...


Beyond Gratitude: Pitching In To Rescue Animals

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Animal rescues go on urgently every day around the world.

This autumn, rescuers have worked frantically to save wild orangutans caught up in terrible fires in Borneo and Sumatra. Most of these fires were set deliberately in order to clear land for the very same industry — the palm-oil ...


What Does It Mean To Be Intersex?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

In the area of 1 in 2,000 people are born intersex. These individuals may have mixed genitalia, meaning some combination of ovaries and testes. This comes about either because ovarian and testicular tissue grow together in the same organ or because a "male side" and a "female side" develop in ...


Your Cat Doesn't Really Want To Kill You

Thursday, November 12, 2015

For people in the 43 million U.S. households with domestic cats, there's good news: Your cat doesn't really want to kill you.

Recent media headlines like "Your cat may want to kill you, study finds" and "Bad news, your cat probably wants to kill you" suggest that ...


After 27 Years, A Goodbye To College Teaching

Thursday, November 05, 2015

In just four weeks, on Dec. 2, I'll teach my last-ever college class.

When I depart my classroom in the College of William and Mary's anthropology department around 3:20 that afternoon, it will surely feel surreal. After 27 years, I'm retiring from teaching to take up full-time science writing.

On ...


When Should You Introduce A Child To Evolution?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

All life on earth is related. The way children wiggle, breathe, cuddle and grab objects can help them to realize their ancient link with fish, reptiles, mammals and apes.

This is the message of Grandmother Fish, a new book for 3- to 7-year-olds written by Jonathan Tweet and illustrated ...


Are We Becoming Overzealous About Breast-Feeding?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

In The New York Times last Sunday, University of Toronto political scientist Courtney Jung argued that the "righteous zeal" and "moral fervor" that surrounds urging of new mothers to breast-feed their babies in this country is harmful, especially because the touted benefits of breast-feeding are more modest than ...


Why Do European Zoos Kill Healthy Animals?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

On Thursday, the Odense Zoo in Denmark is scheduled to dissect a lion for the educational benefit of children on school holidays.

The 9-month-old female lion was considered "surplus." Officials at Odense said they had too many female lions. They also were concerned about inbreeding, according to reports. The ...


Are We Ex-Apes? A Story Of Human Evolution

Thursday, October 08, 2015

"We are biocultural ex-apes trying to understand ourselves," declares biological anthropologist Jonathan Marks in his new book, Tales of the Ex-Apes:How We Think About Human Evolution.

That term — ex-apesget emphasized in the book a lot by Marks, as does "human exceptionalism." Marks really doesn't want ...


Should A Monkey Own A Copyright?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A six-year-old crested black macaque monkey named Naruto, who lives in the Tangkoko Nature Reserve on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, is at the center of a provocative lawsuit filed on Monday by the animal rights organization PETA.

Naruto's face is known the world over because, in 2011, he ...


Carl Safina On Wild Wolves And Bottle-Fed Squirrels

Thursday, September 17, 2015

In the arena of ocean ecology and conservation, Carl Safina is a superstar. Through television documentaries, his writings and the Safina Center, he's been a vital force for years in educating the public about ocean pollution, overfishing and conservation.

When I found out that Safina ...