semiotic_pirate: (speak your mind)
Saw a tweet by Neil deGrasse Tyson in my TL retweeted by someone (though I could SWEAR I had been following him directly - nevermind, the weird add/drop bug of Twitter is another matter entirely) and it was:

"Odd that drivers of fuel efficient cars often get more green-praise than those who chose to live where they can walk to work."

A few people jumped in with things that make a one-off statement like this seem truly uninformed over economic truths:

@Hidoshi said that "the flip side is that a lot of people can't afford to live close to where they work thanks to housing prices in cities"

@Dracos_snitch said it's "probably because it's harder to find a place to live close to work when you also have other needs for you and your family."

@RationalPastime called Neil to the carpet by saying it was "odd that you think living close to work is a choice for most people" and then Neil was further mocked by @SoundCheckMama when she commented "If only we could all live where we work. Or work where we live.

My knee-jerk reaction was to think backward to when we purchased the house my family is currently living in. A house that we chose because it was halfway between my job and my spouse's job (at the time.) Although my spouse has moved on to another position that is - mostly - in the same direction of my job but much closer. I would LOVE to live closer to my job (either halfway between or closest to mine since I have less incentive to job hop in my profession) but this is where we are stuck.

Just after we bought the house, the market crashed hard. I saw it coming and was able to make sure we purchased something at a price low enough that we wouldn't go underwater, though we've come close a couple of times according to Zillow...

I live in an area of my city that has NO sidewalks - though it IS on the sidewalk master plan for the city and will "eventually" get them. The road is marked as a 25mph "country road" but, since it is constantly used as a thruway between one side of the city as another, people tend to drive an average of 10-15mph over the limit, even on the hairpin turns. This isn't discoverable until you move in and have lived on the street for a while. This results in a dearth of walking or bike riding because all the surrounding roads are like this as well.

Another thought that popped into my head is that I didn't pay any more for my hybrid car than the regular version of the vehicle, JUST AFTER the tax break for purchasing hybrid vehicles lapsed. Yes, I drive a hybrid, in a culture that requires you to have a vehicle to go anywhere (safely) and I would love to move closer to my job, and have access to sidewalks, and bicycle trails, and food shopping within walking distance, etcetera, etcetera. Heck, I'd love for even the rumored high-speed commuter rail line that supposed to connect all the way up to Montreal to get built posthaste.

MOST OF AMERICA IS NOT BUILT TO FIT IN WITH WHATEVER YOU ARE THINKING NEIL, OR WHATEVER WELLSPRING YOU ARE DUNKING THAT BUCKET FROM WHICH YOU'RE DRINKING. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT I CHOSE, IT IS SOMETHING THAT I WAS BORN INTO AND MY VOTE HAS NEVER RESULTED IN MY LIVING ENVIRONMENT CHANGING INTO SOMETHING FRIENDLIER TO THE ENVIRONMENT AT LARGE.

Maybe the green-praise is by working from within the system that we are stuck in and making the most acceptable choice that we can live with, within our individual circumstances. I'd like to sum this tirade up with what @anneleonard said:

"Choosing to live where one can walk to work is a privilege."

Check your privilege, Neil.
semiotic_pirate: (OH NOZ!)
A while back, I tried to read this book The Mommy Myth, but got so angry with the revealed deceptions that I have yet to finish it. Someday...

Supporting evidence of neither sex being easily able to beat the ticking clock is being revealed daily.

Men have the ticking biological clock as well. After 35, there is lowered fertility. After 45, it gets even worse.


Women with already low fertility (read, any female over 35, right?) can cut their chances of conceiving by an additional 26% if they drink four or more cups of coffee a day.

As someone who currently has no plans to conceive any time in the future, this doesn't really affect me, but it is an interesting trend to follow.
semiotic_pirate: (kitty tp unrolling - evil laugh)
Domesticated cats - or domesticated dogs??

CATS!



DNA traces origin of domestic cat
Domestic cats around the world can trace their origins back to the Middle East's Fertile Crescent, according to a genetic study in Science journal.

They may have been domesticated by early farming communities, experts say.

But the study suggests the progenitors of today's cats split from their wild counterparts more than 100,000 years ago - much earlier than once thought.

At least five female ancestors from the region gave rise to all the domestic cats alive today, scientists believe.

The earliest archaeological evidence of cat domestication dates back 9,500 years, when cats were thought to have lived alongside humans in settlement sites in Cyprus.

However, the new results show the house cat lineage is far older. Ancestors of domestic cats are now thought to have broken away from their wild relatives and started living with humans as early as 130,000 years ago.

The researchers focused on DNA in the mitochondria, the "power plants" of cells which supply energy and have their own genetic material.

Comparison of the genetic sequences enabled researchers to determine the relationships between different cat lineages.

The scientists found the cats fell into distinctive genetic clades, or groups.

The results show that, apart from accidental cross-breeding, European wildcats are not part of the domestic moggy's family tree.

Neither are the Central Asian wildcat, the Southern African wildcat, or the Chinese desert cat.

But domestic cats formed a clade with some wildcats from the Middle East, suggesting that today's moggy stems from the wild felines of this region.

Rodent catching

Experts believe cats originally sought out human company, attracted by rodents infesting the first agricultural settlements.

The early farmers of the Fertile Crescent - present-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Israel - would have found the animals extremely useful for protecting their grain stores - an association that continues to this day.

"The Felidae family is well known as a successful predator - very deadly, very ferocious, very threatening to all species including humankind," said co-author Stephen O'Brien, of the US National Cancer Institute.

"But this little guy actually chose not to be that," he said. "He actually chose to be a little bit friendly and also was a very good mouser."

The study included researchers from the UK, the US, Germany, Israel, Spain and France.


**Domestication of the dog is placed at approximately 14,000 years ago.
semiotic_pirate: (scrat eye twitching)
2.22222222222x10^-5

Okay, I could go through my previous posts... but I won't right now. Long long ago, right here on this journal, there was a bit of a panic attack on this asteroid when it was first discovered. Before it had a name - which I think was thought up by a Stargate SG1 fan - its chance of hitting the Earth fluctuated from 1/500 to about 1/45,000 which is where it is now.

PS: For all my science geek friends, there is a $50,000.00 reward for the best plan on tagging this rock with tracking devices. I thought a rocket that would boost out of orbit, conserving all other fuel for attitude jets to adjust in transit while the main transit power source (non-course-adjusting) could be a deployable solar sail. After all, this thing isn't due to hit until 2036. OH GOGS! That's only 29 years from now! Damn, there is a 1/45,000 chance that a city or region somewhere on this globe will be a big pool of melted crust and gigantic crater.

What kind of primary, secondary, and tertiary effects would result? Somebody... my brain will not compute.

Scrat is appropriate, isn't he?
semiotic_pirate: (Reading Topless)
First, neuroscience gave us the God Machine... Now, we are hearing about Mirror Neurons. Fascinating, eh? Monkey see another monkey doing something and understands how they are doing it and then Monkey do. We always had that Monkey see Monkey do saying, now there is science supporting what we already knew was true. It also gives credence to the saying that you can't understand someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. Empathy.

I was listening to a story about the source of human creativity. There was a significant portion about the link between what is now described as mental illness, manic-depression specifically, and levels of creative thought. A singer-songwriter named Johnston was mentioned specifically along with several other brightly burning stars. Poets were said to be expecially sensitive to these illnesses because of the need for introspection in the creative process. Virginia Woolfe and many other poets, especially those with products of deep melancholy were discussed.

Mirror neurons, let's get back to those pesky, wonderful things. A man named Ramachandran was being interviewed. He originally was looking for the creative drive of humans within our brains. Instead, he found mirror neurons.

In humans, mirror neurons are found in the inferior frontal cortex, close to Broca's area, a language region. This has lead to suggestions that human language evolved from a gesture performance/understanding system implemented in mirror neurons. Mirror neurons certainly have the potential to provide a mechanism for action understanding, imitation learning, and the simulation of other people's behaviour. The fact that mirror-neuron activity is impaired in autistic children fueled the speculation about the importance of mirror-neurons for social cognition.

Studies also link mirror neurons to understanding goals and intentions. Ramachandran thinks that these neurons were responsible for each of our technological leaps throughout history. All it takes is one person to create a new technique. This is why I think a hands-on learning process should be implemented more often in school curriculum. Yes, it is very easy to learn about a concept and how something works. I also think this is why we have universal-type gestures that we can communicate through when conversing with people of another language. This may also be where and how we process body language signals, though I may be overstepping there. Here's a great primer on our little helpful buddies.

What is that saying about imitation and flattery? However, when we think of imitative learning through observation, we must also consider violent video games and violence on television as well as pornography when thinking about mirror neurons because no matter how we FEEL about a particular set of motions, those neurons will continue to work regardless. So yes, we learn violence by observing it. There's your link people. Objectification via mirror neuronal action.

Some people are referring to it as mind reading although they aren't referring to telepathy.

WTF?

Nov. 28th, 2006 07:45 pm
semiotic_pirate: (eyeball)
Just in from the BBC... Wouldn't scientific studies on how microwave ovens work in general be used as evidence? How does it take a whole YEAR to figure out about this? Couldn't a CSI type lab worker just put a series of fleshy objects in a microwave and then examining them forensically work for this?

US baby 'murdered in microwave'
A US woman has been arrested on suspicion of murdering her newborn baby by burning her in a microwave oven.

China Arnold's daughter had high-heat internal burns, but no outside marks, Ken Betz from the county coroner's office in Montgomery, Ohio, said.

"We have some forensic evidence that is consistent with our belief that a microwave oven was used," Mr Betz said of baby Paris Talley's death.

The mother denies the charge, which comes over a year after the girl died.

Paris Talley, who was one-month-old, was already dead when Ms Arnold took her to hospital in August 2005.

The mother was briefly arrested at the time and later released while the authorities continued investigating.

The investigation proved tricky because "there is not a lot of scientific research and data on the effect of microwaves on human beings," according to Mr Betz.

Ms Arnold's lawyer, Jon Paul Rion, has denied that his client microwaved the baby.

"China - as a mother and a person - was horrified that such an act could occur," Mr Rion told the Associated Press.

Ms Arnold claims that the night before the baby was taken to hospital she had been left for a short time with a babysitter.

Ms Arnold says that neither she nor the baby's father suspected that there was anything wrong with the child until she was found unconscious the following morning.
semiotic_pirate: (masked wine taster)
I was reading a post of [livejournal.com profile] sunfell's today and fell to wondering about the infinite mysteries. The pendulum of science and religion that continues to swing also came to mind.

Given the fact that every time mankind has been confronted by reason and logic, most especially that which displaces us as being the center of the universe and at the forefront of the consciousness of whatever possible creator(s) the universe has... that every time mankind is disrupted by this it goes through the throes of denial, whereupon whoever thought up this penultimate blasphemy is persecuted (or most likely killed) along with anyone who supports their idea. The sun does not revolve around us, neither does the galaxy our world resides in, nor the wider universe itself. Women are not made to revolve around men, and yes, we are descended from "lower forms of life" just like all the other life forms on this planet.

Each time a major breakthrough is made in science this backlash occurs. The Enlightenment was followed by Romanticism, was it not? Most people fear change and change is what will occur, sometimes in spades, when a new discovery is made that displaces us even further from that imagined center. We begin our lives as the (perceived) center of attention, the center of our mother's/parent's lives. Heck, if you think of gestation, we literally ARE existing at the center for a while. Displaced by birth, displaced over time to lonely individuality, displaced by the ever increasing dearth of knowledge about everything.

Cognitive dissonance. That is what we are faced with as a species. Every time change occurs in our lives, in our perception of that life and in everything else we experience the jarring jangle of dissonance. We are under the impression that we actually control anything, because by relating ourselves to the universe in some supreme way we think that we ourselves are supreme in some mystical way. Too much cognitive dissonance and you will get a backlash.

There will always exist a spectrum, however, it is the existence of too many people at the extremes of this spectrum where we encounter problems. Right now the spectrum is heavy on the fanatic religious belief side. Moreover, those religions are ruled by "laws" that say "if you aren't with us, you're against us" and those Others MUST be destroyed or converted. Fear of Others goes hand in hand with fear of change. And this fear of change is why people who feel they are backed into a proverbial corner will react viciously to any challenge to their beliefs, their perceived authority and anything else that they consider ordained or sacred.

Because this spectrum will always exist, railing against it and trying to expunge it will only increase the self-righteous defense of the extreme positions on that spectrum. There is also the built-up power structures that exist in support of the extremes... actually there are power structures existing across the spectrum but they too go through waning and waxing periods of strength in that power. That power is given willingly by people who only ask to be protected from any changes that they are terrified of.

Again, there is also our relatively short lifespans that come into play. This is why the pendulum can swing to either extreme within a couple of generations. We don't think long term enough to consider the full weight that change, that new innovations and new technologies and so forth represent. We only think of the immediate effects to our selves. Because we exist for such a short period of linear time, unless we have considered leadership that knows our weaknesses as a species and who hold the best interests of the species as a whole higher their own individual interests we will only progress in little spurts of back and forth movement where, hopefully, the net movement is forward.

Of course, watching five episodes of the BBC's Torchwood series is bound to start me thinking about the wider consequences of our collective actions.

Your thoughts? Opinions? Disagreements? Come forth and discuss!
semiotic_pirate: (spock & kirk)
Okay, with the word panspermia... I keep picturing little space sperm floating throughout the universe and planets (like the Earth) hanging out like eggs. I know, that is what the theory is supposed to make you think. Very silly if you ask me. What would be another name for it? Anyone? Bueller?

This also reminds me of what we have found recently about the bacteria that exists below the crust, deep below it that is. Existing on energy released by radiating particles. Could these bacteria be employed in cleaning up our radioactive waste? Like bacteria that is used to help clean water in water treatment plants. Hrm.

One worrying bit, could the red rain in India be a result of this deep earth bacteria being erupted out of a volcano? Since bacteria has been around the longest, it only makes sense that it would have evolved to survive in any environmental conditions. Do you suppose the deep earth bacteria was the original anaerobic bacteria from the beginning of life on earth could've burrowed into the earth when the atmosphere started changing?

Searching for 'our alien origins'
By Andrew Thompson
BBC Horizon


In July 2001, a mysterious red rain started falling over a large area of southern India.

Locals believed that it foretold the end of the world, though the official explanation was that it was desert dust that had blown over from Arabia.

But one scientist in the area, Dr Godfrey Louis, was convinced there was something much more unusual going on.

Not only did Dr Louis discover that there were tiny biological cells present, but because they did not appear to contain DNA, the essential component of all life on Earth, he reasoned they must be alien lifeforms.
Read more... )
semiotic_pirate: (SVU flashlight-search)
Have any of you heard of mirror image molecules? I did really well visualizing them in organic chemistry long long ago and while looking at some information about both the aforementioned diseases.

with bipolar (spectrum) disorder, the amygdala is smaller than "normal"
with autism spectrum disorder, the amygdala is larger than "normal"

both the bipolar brain and autist brain are "wired" differently, and therefore function differently than the "normal" brain. Associations in learning are different, are made differently over time because different portions of the brain are larger or smaller...

In the autist: By age ten, their brains are at a normal size, but "wired" atypically. "The brain is most complex thing on the planet," says Dr. Minshew. "So its wiring has to be very complex and intricate. With autism there's accelerated growth at the wrong time, and that creates havoc. The consequences, in terms of disturbing early development, include problems within the cortex and from the cortex to other regions of the cortex in ways that compromise language and reasoning abilities."

For bipolar all you really need to do is replace or REVERSE the assumptions; with bipolar there is decellerated growth at the wrong time... there are more connections made through the cortex than in a typical brain, which is why you have mania because the brain seems to "work faster" though faster does not always mean better, or understandable to "normal" people.

SOOOOO.... Bipolarism and Autism are both Spectrum Disorders, they aren't chemical imbalances like depression or anything like that, they are developmental differences within the brain itself. Interesting.

Another interesting note an Autist brain:

Minicolumns, which are small structures within the cortex, are also different among autistic people. Dr. Miguel Casanova, a researcher at the University of Kentucky, has found that autistic people have more minicolumns which include a greater number of smaller brain cells. In addition, the "insulation" between these minicolumns is not as effective as it is among typically developing people. The result may be that autistic people think and perceive differently and have less of an ability to block sensory input.

Says Dr. Minshew, "Autism really impacts behavioral function in the brain very broadly. It effects sensory, motor, memory, and postural control -- anything that requires a high degree of integration of information. The symptoms are most prominent in social interaction and problem solving because they require highest degree of interaction." In fact, she continues, "They're socially/emotionally far more delayed than anyone ever thought, even if they have a high IQ. Temple Grandin, a well-known speaker and writer with autism, says she's emotionally about 7 - 10 years old."

While social and communication skills may be compromised by unique wiring in the brain, other abilities are actually enhanced. For example, says Dr. Minshew, "Autistic people have a really stellar ability to use the visual parts of the right side of the brain to compensate for problems with language processing. This may be the basis for detail-oriented processing -- and may be a decided advantage!" In fact, as she describes it, "Control children can't find Waldo. Autistic children can."

"I think treatments are coming. Functional underconnectivity studies show that there are increased neuronal fibers; these studies are consistent. Now we need to find out whether, if we do a certain cognitive paradigm, we increase connectivity. It probably can be done. But these will be very different cognitive therapies than ABA. There's a time for behavioral therapy, and a time for stopping that -- to shift from learning rules to being flexible and acquiring interactive circuity. In autistic brains, circuitry is developing into adulthood -- but it's not developing in the right way, and it stops developing too soon. With the right treatment, though, it can be pushed."

of course, this brings to mind the argument: what is normal?

More to be posted here later (edits over time) as I do more research... and I think one of the problems with the mental health field is diagnosing people like it is an accusation - especially since mental illnesses (are they illnesses or injuries?) is still very stigmatized and persecuted.
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
Found this article while sipping my mug of Chamomile tea... very weird, but I'm loving it.


Chamomile Tea May Have Medicinal Value
By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter



FRIDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDayNews) -- Chamomile tea, long touted as a cure-all for the sick or the stressed, may relieve a wide range of health problems, including colds and menstrual cramps.

Elaine Holmes, a chemist with the Imperial College London, and her team used German chamomile, also called manzanilla, whose flowers and leaves are brewed as a flavorful tea. Fourteen volunteers each drank five cups of the tea daily for two weeks.

"There have been many studies on the effects of individual ingredients of chamomile in animal models, but there have been very few studies on the effect of chamomile on human metabolism so far," Holmes said.

Daily urine samples were collected and tested before, during and after the study. A significant increase was found in urinary levels of hippurate, a breakdown product of plant-based compounds known as phenolics. Some of those have been associated with increased antibacterial activity, and this might explain why the tea seems to fight infections associated with colds, the researchers said.


Drinking the tea was also linked with an increase in urinary levels of glycine, an amino acid that has been shown to relieve muscle spasms. That might be why the tea seems to ease menstrual cramps, the researchers said. Glycine also can act as a nerve relaxant, perhaps explaining the tea's sedative value, they added.

Holmes' group found that the levels of both hippurate and glycine remained elevated for up to two weeks after the subjects stopped drinking the tea, so the compounds might work their magic for some time. Oxford Natural Products, a pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and technology company, funded the study.

The report appears in the Jan. 26 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

In other research, scientists have found that tea may have anticancer properties and may help lower cholesterol, among other health benefits.


"Other types of tea may work as well," Holmes said. "We don't know as yet." The chamomile appears to be altering the gut microflora, which leads to an increase in urinary hippurate and glycine, she explained.

"One of the most interesting findings was that the effect of the chamomile tea lasted at least two weeks after the volunteers had stopped drinking the tea," she noted.

The findings are probably a true reflection of the science, said Hasan Mukhtar, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin who has studied green tea and its role in stemming the spread of prostate cancer.
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
I did a research paper on embryonic stem cell research back in 1997 for a Biology paper - it was at least 15 pages long. I've been watching this technology very closely, the possibilities are enormous. ::fascinated::

Point: I do not suport the use of fetal brain tissue... pluripotent embryonic stem cells, yes, which they could find a way to differentiate into cells similar if not identical to fbt.


Technique for replenishing missing neurons called a milestone, but not yet ready for humans
Betterhumans Staff
1/3/2005 6:20 PM

Read more... )
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
Well, after having quite a scare of it the other day, as the odds dropped all the way down to 1 in 37 chance of being hit... The newest calculations have us at a 99.9962% chance of being MISSED by the asteroid. That's right folks, unless we are truly unlucky, statistically speaking, we will see the dawn of 2030 and more. Of course, they haven't said how close it is going to miss us by and if that will cause adverse effects. ::shrugs:: Would it be better to be missed but to have such cataclysmic meteorological and seismic effects that we are screwed anyway? What do you think?


I'm glad I'll be mostly off the grid by then and living as efficiently as possible. (At least that is the plan.)
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
There's a 1-in-300 chance that a recently discovered asteroid, believed to be about 1,300 feet long, could hit Earth in 2029, a NASA (news - web sites) scientist said Thursday, but he added that the perceived risk probably will be eliminated once astronomers get more detail about its orbit.


    BEIJING, Dec. 26 (Xinhuanet)-- A recently discovered 1,300 feet long asteroid --  2004 MN4 --has a slim chance of hitting Earth in the year 2029, according to the statements of NASA.


    2004 MN4, whose sightings are rarely available has been given an initial rating of 2 on the 10-point Torino Impact Hazard Scale used by astronomers to predict asteroid or comet impacts, said Donald Yeomans, manager of the Near Earth Object Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

    No previously observed asteroid has been graded higher than 1. 


    "2004 MN4 is now being tracked very carefully by many astronomers around the world, and we continue to update our risk analysis for this object. Today's impact monitoring results indicate that the impact probability for April 13, 2029 has risen to about 1.6%, which for an object of this size corresponds to a rating of 4 on the ten-point Torino Scale. Nevertheless, the odds against impact are still high, about 60 to 1, meaning that there is a better than 98% chance that new data in the coming days, weeks, and months will rule out any possibility of impact in 2029." said the Dec. 24 update statement from NASA.


    On Friday, April 13, 2029, "we can't yet rule out an Earth impact," Yeomans said. "But the impact probability, as we call it, is 300-to-1 against an impact."


    2004 MN4 was discovered in June and spotted again this month. It is about a quarter mile wide.


    That's bigger than the space rock that carved the Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona, and bigger than one that exploded in the air above Siberia in 1908, flattening thousands of square miles of forest. If an asteroid the size of 2004 MN4 hit the Earth, it would do considerable localized or regional damage. It would not cause damage on a global scale.

    Scientists project an asteroid's future travels based on observations of its current orbit around the Sun. On computer models, the future orbits are not lines but rather windows of possibility. The orbit projections for 2004 MN4 on April 13, 2029 cover a wide swath of space that includes the location where Earth will be. Additional observations will allow refined orbit forecasts — more like a line instead of a window.


    "This is not a problem for anyone and it shouldn't be a concern to anyone, but whenever we post one of these things and ... somebody gets ahold of it, it just gets crazy," he said. 

    "In the unlikely event that it did hit, it would be quite serious. We're talking either a tsunami if it hit in the ocean, which would be likely, or significant ground damage," Yeomans said.  Enditem
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
Well, at least, that is the song I am singing to myself as I update here.


The first thing that I want to make everyone aware of - I found a NEW SUSHI place! Yay! They just opened up down the street a ways - less than five minutes away. Only $4.00 a roll; they had my three favorite rolls, salmon skin roll, spicy tuna roll and spicy crab roll... and the seaweed salad was awesome! This is their grand opening week. They are going to have in house all you can eat sushi for $20 per person... AND every sunday you can be taught the art of sushi making (I think the hours were 12-2pm) for $50 per person - and I had just talked to my Mum earlier today about taking a class to learn how to make the great sushi. Yes. I absolutely LOVE finding great new places to eat.


The next item of business is a continuation of one of my earlier posts here. It is an article that was posted through The Washington Post. An article, mind you, that I was able to read in the passenger seat of the car on the way home from NH using my new giftie PDA/phone combo! Yay! So: Bring on the Re-Pet!





Cloned Cat Sale Generates Ethics Debate

By Paul Elias
The Associated Press
Thursday, December 23, 2004; 12:09 AM



SAN FRANCISCO – The first cloned-to-order pet sold in the United States is named Little Nicky, a 9-week-old kitten delivered to a Texas woman saddened by the loss of a cat she had owned for 17 years.

The kitten cost its owner $50,000 and was created from DNA from her beloved cat, named Nicky, who died last year.
Read more... )


Glad everyone in the great white north liked their gifties! ;-)

And now for something completely different. )
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
All I gotta say is.... So, I could theoretically protect my skin by wearing my skin? So weird, I don't know if I can handle it. Wonder how long it will take for this to happen.

http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,65248,00.html

and... just in case the link eventually dies:
Read more... )
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
.... Okay, so there is no "Fluffy" and the poor thing isn't dead either... (Schroedinger would get in on this action I'm sure.)

But if there _were_ a Fluffy, you could now, with the power of "Re-Pets" bring the little critter back! NO, not like that Cujo fiasco... This isn't no mystical mumbo jumbo living dead zombie cat. It's honest to goodness human ingenuity!





.........................................................VERSUS







It's time to start freezing those hairball messes and hanging onto them like umbilical cords. After all, pets are like FAMILY for most of us.

Cat Fancier sponsored show in NYC, as covered by NY Times...

Read more... )

----------------------------------------------------------------------


So, when will our friendly neighborhood best friend to man beast be up for cloning? One only has to wait, it is inevitable. Along with everything else having to do with cloning.

On another note.. not so far from the original. This new step in the cloning process may allow us to once and for all solve the nature vs. nurture debate that has been knocking around for ages. That should be an interesting debate to follow.


The interesting thing.. (Going off on a SCI-FI bent here) is that I can just imagine that Noah's Ark was really a space ship.. maybe a generation ship, maybe an automated type.. or one that is piloted by a small crew that puts itself in cryo. With all this talk of creating genetic banks of animal DNA I can picture a menagerie floating through space, waiting to be birthed upon arrival of the new "homeworld." Okay, it's kinda hokey, but I've always been intrigued by those theories that we come from "out there."
semiotic_pirate: (Default)




I was actually thinking about this for real the other day. I had been doing research about how dairy farms are using Ultrafiltration to come up with all those neat new yummy tasting dairy based products we've been seeing coming out. It uses pressure to drive out the wanted elements through a membrane barrier and keeps behind the unwanted elements. YES, I've been contemplating it as a subject for my thesis/research paper for my masters degree. (sighs with the weight of it) Anyways, back to the main point. All of a sudden I thought... Since this filtration method can get very tiny particles out of whatever (including macromolecules if you set it for something like that) out of the starter mixture... What if we used that to filter the AIR? I mean, here we have all around us some of the worst situations (take for instance Los Angeles or Mexico City) where due to pressure waves of air flow and topography, you have trapped in pockets, these clouds of filthy polluted air. Air that is full of particles that are bigger than the molecules that the air is made up of (nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc..) What if we were able to set up some sort of Ultrafiltration system for these untenable air pockets?

It's not that I truly expect anything like this to happen. But, it is an interesting exercise for the mind to imagine. Floating air scrubbers. (Starts to laugh in a maniacal fasion like a mad scientist whose creation has just come to LIFE!)

Yeah yeah, some sort of George Jetson dreams I have.

(Image designed by kenn brown and chris wren, illustrators for Wired Magazine... Those guys are GREAT!)
semiotic_pirate: (Default)
Look out! Mt. St. Helen is gonna let loose again! Gotta love that volcanic action.


Watched the debate last night with my sweety. Faithfully watched it from my favorite PBS station, so that I wouldn't have to deal with idiot talking heads from the networks... ESPECIALLY foxnews, sheesh. What a farce! Did you see the look on poor ole Dubyas face every time Kerry mashed his face into the poo he's put this country into?? He looked just like a perturbed Capuchin monkey! I swear!

"When the networks (flouting the debate rules) cut to Mr. Bush while Senator John Kerry was speaking, the president had the hunched shoulders and the peevish, defensive look of an incumbent under heavy attack... The cameras demonstrated that Mr. Bush cannot hear criticism without frowning, blinking and squirming (he even sighed once). " New York Times

That sourpuss face was just too much. Next thing I expected was for him to start rolling his eyes like some spoiled little rich kid brat. At least I got to hear him stumble (read: crash and burn yet again) over the word nuclear. You could tell Kerry was baiting him, talking about proliferation and disappearing WMD and so on. When Bushie first said it he blurted it out really fast, as if we wouldn't notice it wasn't pronounced right. Then he settled into it and figured, he didn't hear murmuring from the crowd that he would practically drawl it the next time. Heh. Didn't say it again for the rest of the night though.

I knew it would be a great broadcast when I got a look at the SINGLE moderator, NPR/PBS guy Jim Lehrer, along with the set-up that neither candidate had any prior knowledge of the questions to come. And what questions they were! Heh.

And of course, there was my favorite line of the whole night: "The future belongs to freedom, not fear." (Kerry, of course.) Followed by our incumbent scuttling off the stage.

Ahhhh. I love the smell of fear and loathing in the evening.

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