Archive for the 'Anomaly' Category

The Anti-Sociopath

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

The New York Times has an interesting article on Williams Syndrome, which concludes by contrasting sociability without intelligence to intelligence without sociability.

Christmas in Jurassic Park

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Seema alerted me about the reptile virgin birth coming this Christmas. Life will find a way…

You may already be a downer, too

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

The BBC is back with more downer news. (See You may already be a downer for the previous mad cow disease news.) Though the headline is about blood transfusions, there’s no evidence in the article that the newfound risk of subclinical mad cow disease is restricted to human-to-human transmission. Up to 90% of people who have chowed on mad cows in the past could be sleeper cases right now.

It puts my crazy British coworker in a whole new light, it does…

The Gene that Dare Not Speak its Name

Monday, August 22nd, 2005

Way back in The Disease that Dare Not Speak its Name, I blogged about the disease theory of (male) homosexuality. GeekPress has linked a recent Globe article about the state of research into the elusive gay gene, indicating that environmental factors in the womb may be the answer.

Return of the American Chestnut

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

See GNXP for the exciting tale of the return of the American chestnut tree, Castanea dentata, wiped out by chestnut blight over 50 years ago. They say they’re “breeding” a new blight-resistant strain, but I wonder if genetic engineering is also involved.

If you’d like to help restore the King of the Forest, consider a donation to The American Chestnut Foundation.

The Real Pop Secret

Friday, April 15th, 2005

There’s nothing like GeekPress for news of the weird, such as: Scientists Discover the Secret of Popcorn’s Popability.

Return to the Planet of the Shrews

Monday, April 11th, 2005

Here’s a pretty picture I came across through Slashdot that shows just how much genetic material we retain from the Mother of all Mammals, our latest common ancestor. This blog entry at Corante discusses the possibility of resurrecting the Shrew Eve.

Lamarck Rises From Dead

Thursday, March 24th, 2005

I saw this on Slashdot yesterday, but Wired has a nicer article. Basically, watercress has been found to have an error-correcting genetic code - some plants managed to undo the “hothead” mutation, reverting to the normal genes of their cressy grandparents.

The scientists suspect an RNA mechanism; I would have guessed it had something to do with polyploidy. The most common form of watercress is diploid, but there is a tetraploid variety.

[Update] The Chicago Sun-Times mentions the species, Arabidopsis thaliana, a.k.a. “mouse-ear cress.” Although A. thaliana is diploid now, it may have been polyploid 200 million years ago.

Hobbit Abuse

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005

Thanks to GNXP for the latest on the hobbits: the Indonesian kidnapper has returned the hobbits’ severely damaged remains to the Aussie discoverers.

The Hockey Stick

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005

Pretty link of the day: Susan Kare, a Classic Mac icon maker.

I read about the hockey-stick climate graph on Slashdot, so I’m not entirely sure what it’s about. The Slashdotters are concerned about the closed-source nature of the original results and are pretty hush-hush about the global warming issue.

Here’s an overview by the not-so-warm camp and a counterattack from the global-warming side. There is one thing both parties agree on—using WordPress.