Posts

October 20, 2014

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5:30 PM | Autocatalytic Network: A Step Closer To Creating Artificial Living Systems
How did life originate? And can scientists create life? These questions have always occupied philosophers and scientists interested in the origin of life, and they impact technology of the future also. If we can create artificial living systems, we may not only understand the origin of life - we can also revolutionize the future of technology. Protocells are the simplest, most primitive living systems, you can think of. The oldest ancestor of life on Earth was a protocell, and when we see, […]
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2:00 PM | Richard Dawkins and Nightwish
October 2012, I got to see Nightwish at a small venue in OKC. 1– This was one of the first nights Floor Jansen was officially the New Singer for Nightwish. She blew me away. 2– This was a *tiny* venue. Nightwish fills huge stadiums and auditoriums all over the world, but OKC? Teeny venue. And that…
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1:30 PM | Wonderful Things: The Starry Night Beneath the Caribbean Sea
One of the most astounding events of my life was immediately preceded by one of the scariest: I turned out my dive light in the ocean at night. -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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9:16 AM | Selection and evolution of causally covarying traits
Michael Morrissey. Evolution 68(6): 1748-1761 DOI:10.1111/evo.12385. Selection and evolution of evolution of causally covarying traits This was not the paper I was expecting, but it was a paper I enjoyed. Morrissey argues that we can use path analysis to tease apart the evolution of different aspects of species’ traits, and I think he makes a very good […]
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9:00 AM | 'Obstetric dilemma' skeptic has c-section and remains skeptical ... & ... Why my c-section was natural childbirth
This is a new kind of Tale for me. The rock'n'roll's turned way up, and every couple sentences I have to stop typing to twirl a blue hound dog, a bear holding an umbrella, a Flying Spaghetti Monster, and other oddities that I strung up to hypnotize this little guy into letting me type one thought at a time:The thing that needs to be hypnotized.Or the three wise monkeys say: The thing that makes it impossible to create or to dwell on the negative. (e.g. his birth by c-section)That young […]

October 19, 2014

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10:38 PM | Sex? It all started 385 million years ago (w/ Video)
Sex began 385 million years ago and stopped the evolution of intelligence in its tracks. Continue reading →
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5:00 PM | First Sex Happened Between Square-Dancing Fish
What was the first sexual intercourse like? A new study finds it involved fish and looked a lot like a square dance.
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2:30 PM | Apoptosis Evolution: Cellular Self-destruction Has Been Around Almost As Long As Cells Have
It seems counter-intuitive that in order to survive best as a species, not everything can live forever, but some cells in our bodies are fated to die, and a Mission Impossible-style auto-destruct program insures they do. This elaborate cell death program, known as apoptosis, got a little more insight with a study on the evolution of caspase-8, a key cell death initiator molecule that was first identified in humans. By performing the most extensive evolutionary analysis of the Casp8 protein […]
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8:19 AM | A week of links
Links this week: Was the paper proposing that mice can pass their fears onto their offspring and grandchildren via epigenetic mechanisms too good to be true? Neuroskeptic comments (and read the comments to Neuroskeptic’s post).  And my favourite epigenetics statement of the week: “Women too can succeed in business. Because epigenetics.” What are agent based […]

October 18, 2014

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7:39 PM | Morsels For The Mind – 17/10/2014
Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur […]
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7:39 PM | Morsels For The Mind – 17/10/2014
Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur […]
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9:17 AM | A nineteenth century view on classification
The principle upon which I understand the Natural System of Botany to be founded is, that the affinities of plants may be determined by a consideration of all the points of resemblance between their various parts, properties, and qualities ; that thence an arrangement may be deduced in which those species will be placed next […]

October 17, 2014

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3:27 PM | Sage Grouse and Oil Drilling Can Co-Exist, Says New Report
Conservation groups and energy-development companies have been at odds the last few years over an odd, dancing bird called the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). These land-based birds... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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2:25 PM | New books party: Books that arrived recently | @GrrlScientist
After my bookgasm (book-buying binge) at last weeks Frankfurt Book Fair, Ive got a mountain of wonderful books to share with you -- a project that will take place over the next few weeks.When I get new books, I like to share them with people. Unfortunately, since you all are so far away, I cannot host a book party in my crib where you can look over them, so Ill do the next best thing. Ill host a book party on my blog each Friday of the week when I either purchase books, they are given to me or […]
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12:30 PM | How Mitochondria Began - Parasitic Coevolution Gets A New Wrinkle
Parasitic bacteria were the first cousins of mitochondria, the energy factories in our cells – and first acted as energy parasites in those cells before becoming beneficial, according to a University of Virginia study that used next-generation DNA sequencing technologies to decode the genomes of 18 bacteria that are close relatives of mitochondria.read more
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10:50 AM | Quand Nadine Morano s’énerve gare de l’Est
Hier, à la gare de l'Est, l'eurodéputée et ex-ministre de Nicolas Sarkozy, Nadine Morano, sort de son TGV lorsqu'elle aperçoit une femme voilée portant un niqab, tenue qui masque tout le corps et le visage à l'exception des yeux. Le scandale n'attend pas : elle demande à la femme d'enlever son voile, puis ameute des policiers pour la faire obtempérer. Ceux-ci ne donnent pas suite à sa requête, la jugeant […]
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3:00 AM | Planet of the Bugs: Evolution and the Rise of Insects
By Scott Richard Shaw Synopsis: Dinosaurs, however toothy, did not rule the earth—and neither do humans. But what were and are the true potentates of our planet? Insects, says Scott Richard Shaw—millions and millions of insect species. Starting in […]
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12:29 AM | Terror skinks, social skinks, crocodile skinks, monkey-tailed skinks… it’s about skinks (skinks part II)
October 2014 continues – for no particular reason at all – to be Lizard Month here at Tet Zoo and right now it’s time for more skinks. The previous article is a sort of general introduction to the... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

October 16, 2014

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10:36 PM | ‘paleo’ diet? or paleofantasy?
The 'paleo' diet story on Campbell Live tonight spurred me to finish my review of one of the most entertaining popular books on genetics that I have read for some time. Entertaining, and informative, in equal measure. I wonder...
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4:52 PM | Prehistoric crocodiles’ evolution mirrored in living species
Crocodiles which roamed the world’s seas millions of years ago developed in similar ways to their modern-day relatives, a study has shown. Fresh research into a group of prehistoric marine crocs known as Machimosaurus reveals key details of how and where they lived. Fresh research into a group of prehistoric marine crocs known as Machimosaurus … Continue reading →
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4:44 PM | Earliest-known lamprey larva fossils unearthed in Inner Mongolia
Few people devote time to pondering the ancient origins of the eel-like lamprey, yet the evolutionary saga of the bloodsucker holds essential clues to the biological roots of humanity. Scientists now have a description of fossilized lamprey larvae that date back to the Lower Cretaceous — at least 125 million years ago. They’re the oldest … Continue reading →
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12:09 PM | Aw Shucks! What Are They Doing to Corn Now?
By Susan Cosier Corn was once so tough that you had to hammer it with hard objects to get to the 10 or so kernels inside. And for all that effort, it tasted like dry, raw potato. But that was 9,000 years ago. We’ve been engineering crops and livestock for millennia, selecting for traits that make food bigger, healthier, and more delicious. Corn is now 1,000 times larger, 3.5 times sweeter, easy to peel, and so juicy that when you crunch down on a cob […]

October 15, 2014

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7:38 PM | A Wild Idea: Save Tasmanian Devils While Controlling Killer Cats
Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) disappeared from mainland Australia centuries ago, probably not long after humans first brought dingoes to the continent. A new plan could bring the infamous,... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:00 PM | A Flood of Borrowed Genes at the Origins of Tiny Extremists
We love origin stories. When we see successful groups of animals and plants, we wonder where they came …
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3:07 PM | Life, um, finds a way
The LA Review of Books has just posted my review of Unnatural Selection: How We Are Changing Life, Gene By Gene—a highly accessible book about how insect pests, weeds, disease organisms, wildlife, and even cancer cells evolve in response to … Continue reading →
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1:00 PM | Scientific American Online Now Speaks Spanish
In 1845, when Scientific American was founded, the name was aspirational for a young country in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. Before the 1800s were out, however, it launched an edition in... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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8:06 AM | Evolutionary Theories of Obesity
Obesity, evolution, medicine, theories, population, genetics, genome
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8:06 AM | Evolutionary Theories of Obesity
Obesity, evolution, medicine, theories, population, genetics, genome
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12:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Rebecca Stefoff
Special thanks to Rebecca Stefoff for answering 5 questions about her recently featured book – The Third Chimpanzee for Young People: On the Evolution and Future of the Human Animal I’m Rebecca Stefoff, the author of […]

October 14, 2014

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11:30 PM | The History Of Genetically Modified Tomatoes
What's not red and about the size of your thumb? Tomatoes, before ancient scientists set out to make them patabale.  This genomic history of tomato breeding, based on sequencing of 360 varieties of the tomato plant, has vaulted beyond the first tomato genome sequence completed just two years ago. It will lend insight into science for people who believe genetic modification only began happening during the Clinton administration. Analysis of the genome sequences of these 360 varieties and […]
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