Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rogue Monkey invades GOP convention city

A rogue macaques wandered 100 miles from a forest along the Silver River to create a spectacle and just a bit of chaos in Tampa just in time for the GOP National Convention there. Okay, actually he has been there three and a half years... waiting for his moment. As Vernon Yates, a wildlife specialist, said of the animal that roams from St. Petersburg to Tampa and around the bay area: "“It’s an amazing feat, when you think about his travels.” This critter has become known as "The Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay" and has his own Facebook page. The animal's "the monkey’s lone-wolf, fugitive lifestyle" has inspired Floridians... the revolution will not be televised, brothers. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bees attack Hillary Clinton

What the Secretary of State does not realize is that the bees have their own state of affairs. While bees have often been used as allegorical animals for social organization, in this case the animal state is unhappy with humans. An eye witness in Malawi explains "“There was a slight panic as the bees winged across the airport. People could be seen running away to keep cover as the Secretary of State swiftly boarded her plane to avoid any stings.”

Thursday, August 2, 2012

We are not alone in the universe... and we are not who we think we are

A nice interview with Jill Tarter on the search for alien life. It is a fine interview. A nice moment is when she looks at how we ourselves are not of this world:
"We are made out of stardust. The iron in the hemoglobin molecules in the blood in your right hand came from a star that blew up 8 billion years ago. The iron in your left hand came from another star. We are the laws of chemistry and physics as they have played out here on Earth and we are now learning that planets are as common as stars. Most stars, as it turns out now, will have planets."

"If a modern human female was giving birth to a hybrid baby, part Neanderthal, could there have been obstetric problems?"

Chris Stringer author of the recent book Lone Survivors discusses cross-breeding between various branches of humanoids, " We’ve had the genomes of Neanderthals reconstructed, and yes, indeed, it shows that people outside of Africa have, on average, about 2.5 percent of an input of Neanderthal DNA in them. And, of course, it’s led to a rethinking of our relationship with them; clearly there was viable interbreeding." The various cross-species breeding is most evident with Neanderthals but recall there are a lot of players in the mix: "if we went back 100,000 years, which is very recent, geologically speaking, there might have been as many as six different kinds of humans on the earth."

Stinger gives a few more details: "Western Asia becomes a critical area for this possibility of interbreeding. It could have been 25 Neanderthals mixing with 1,000 modern humans. It doesn’t have to be a lot of Neanderthals, but clearly there might have been interbreeding somewhere like Israel or Lebanon or Syria — all possible places where we know Neanderthals lived, and at times modern humans also lived."

Why does this matter? Well, it changes how we think about what it means to be human.

Jelly Fish to the beachhead

It is not D-Day but ....
Thanks to Natasa Kovacevic for turning me on to this news story in which the jellyfish take on the 1%. They invade the beaches of Cannes looking to sting the rich and famous when they are most exposed.