Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The body of Copernicus has been identified.
Researchers said Thursday they have identified the remains of Nicolaus Copernicus by comparing DNA from a skeleton and hair retrieved from one of the 16th-century astronomer's books.
The findings could put an end to centuries of speculation about the exact resting spot of Copernicus, a priest and astronomer whose theories identified the Sun, not the Earth, as the center of the universe.
Polish archaeologist Jerzy Gassowski told a news conference that forensic facial reconstruction of the skull that his team found in 2005 buried in a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Frombork, Poland, bears striking resemblance to existing portraits of Copernicus.
Photo of DNA gel by Flickr user Spanish Flea used under a CCL
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
A study published in PLOS Medicine shows that Republicans are preventing research in critical areas such as HIV.
The first organ transplant of an organ grown entirely from stem cells was done in Spain. Five months later the patient is thriving.
The Woolly Mammoth genome has been compiled.
Asian poaching rings are getting more complex, suggests a recent bust.
Photo by Flickr user Hey Paul used under a Creative Commons License.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The number of axolotls (pronounced ACK-suh-LAH-tuhl) in the wild is not known. But the population has dropped from roughly 1,500 per square mile in 1998 to a mere 25 per square mile this year, according to a survey by Zambrano's scientists using casting nets.
It has been a steep fall from grace for the salamander with a feathery mane of gills and a visage reminiscent of a 1970s Smiley Face that inspired American poet Ogden Nash to pen the witticism: "I've never met an axolotl, But Harvard has one in a bottle."
Millions once lived in the giant lakes of Xochimilco and Chalco on which Mexico City was built. Using four stubby legs to drag themselves along lake bottoms or their thick tails to swim like mini-alligators, they hunted plentiful aquatic insects, small fish and crustaceans.
Legend has it that Xolotl — the dog-headed Aztec god of death, lightning and monstrosities — feared he was about to be banished or killed by other gods and changed into an axolotl to flee into Lake Xochimilco.
The axolotl's decline began when Spanish conquerors started draining the lakes, which were further emptied over time to slake the thirst of one of the world's largest and fastest-growing cities. In the 1970s, Lake Chalco was completely drained to prevent flooding. In the 1980s, Mexico City began pumping its wastewater into the few canals and lagoons that remained of Xochimilco.
Hopefully the captive animals in the United States and elsewhere could be used in the future to replenish wild supplies, but first the non-native predators would have to be exterminated, so it does not look good for the little axolotl.
h/t and photo by ecov ottos (Xian)
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Lincecum received 23 of 32 first-place votes and 137 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks got four first-place votes and finished second with 73 points.
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, tiny by today's standards for a big league pitcher, Lincecum defied detractors -- and the laws of physics -- by firing 97 mph fastballs past one hulking slugger after another.
Butch the tortoise, who gets around, is back home in Cupertino.
The 150-year-old reptile turned up Monday morning in the front yard of his home, following a mysterious six-week disappearance that left his owners, Penny and Chuck Carle, shell shocked.
The Carles suspect that someone snatched Butch from the yard and then returned him when the reptile began growing lethargic, as tortoises do as winter approaches. But they don't know for sure, and Butch isn't talking.
Monday, November 10, 2008
(1) Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total before he is inaugurated.You cannot say both are from the Onion.
(2) According to a CNN exit poll, 42 percent of voters said that the nation's financial woes had finally become frightening enough to eclipse such concerns as gay marriage, while 30 percent said that the relentless body count in Iraq was at last harrowing enough to outweigh long ideological debates over abortion. In addition, 28 percent of voters were reportedly too busy paying off medical bills, desperately trying not to lose their homes, or watching their futures disappear to dismiss Obama any longer.
The Onion or Hindrocket?
From Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Obama's Chief of Staff.
It has bipartisan agreement in the House and Senate. It's something President-elect Obama expects to see. Second would be [ending current restrictions on federally funded] stem-cell research. And third would be an economic recovery package focused on the two principles of job creation and tax relief for middle-class families."
Emphasis mine but glad to see the rest of the country will be joining California and the World in being able to perform good stem cell science. This was a backwards thinking ban and I could not be happier to see it be one of President Obama's first priorities.
Photo of stem cells differentiating into neurons by me.
Friday, November 07, 2008
“There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic, but on the other hand our preference is to get a shelter dog, but obviously, a lot of the shelter dogs are mutts like me,” Obama said. “So, whether we are going to be able to balance those two things I think is a pressing issue on the Obama household.”
It would be great if they went with a shelter dog, but I understand the need for more hypoallergenic breeds.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
"Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House."
Can I recommend a Boston Terrier?
Photo by the gf
Exercise your right to vote! Come by the shop and show us what an awesome citizen you are. California State law requires that your employer give you up to 2 hours paid time off to vote if you are not able to vote before or after work. Lines are long even here in California so get out there.
Adding ... I vote by mail, but usually drop my ballot off that my precinct location. Zara and I went this morning where they actually let her come into the church hall with me to sign the drop-off sheet. Her first election is a historic one.
Photo by Flickr user √oхέƒx™ used under a Creative Commons License.