Archive for May, 2009

Breaking news?

Below is a snapshot of BREAKING NEWS on!


Things must be okay if the top breaking news is about a singer in a TV show contest.  Or maybe it’s a distraction… the economy, Pakistan, nuclear weapons… just a few of the things in small font to the side.

May 30, 2009 at 3:10 pm Leave a comment

Ph.D. Food Gathering


May 26, 2009 at 9:06 am Leave a comment

Ph.D. Sustanance


May 26, 2009 at 9:04 am Leave a comment

Arpaio’s bad math

This tough man nonsense is actually putting us at more risk. We got rid of Bush, now it’s time to get rid of Arpayaso!

Continue Reading May 26, 2009 at 8:59 am Leave a comment

Ph.D. Perseverance Poster

Inspirational poster for those seeking their Ph.D.s!

Continue Reading May 22, 2009 at 4:24 pm Leave a comment

Happyhour in the genes

The newly discovered happyhour gene that goes with the cheapdate and hangover genes this lab found earlier. Yes these are the actual names, and they may help cure alcoholism!

Continue Reading May 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Historical irony

I like this story because it is ironic. I’m not taking any sides, but I wonder if the people in Sahuarita can see the historical irony as well!

Continue Reading May 21, 2009 at 11:22 am Leave a comment

Pastor Melissa Scott… I love this story!

This is a crazy story, but I like it. I first became aware of it on the following site before doing my own research into it.

Continue Reading May 21, 2009 at 9:08 am 15 comments

Why Finding the Best Isn’t Worth It

In the delightfully sophomoric movie Clerks 2, Randal tells Dante, “Odds are there’s someone out there who’s a better match for you than the girl you are about to marry.” Even if Dante engaged in the most thorough possible search for a wife (which he certainly didn’t in the movie), Randal’s statement is correct.

via Why Finding the Best Isn’t Worth It – Freakonomics Blog –

May 20, 2009 at 8:45 pm Leave a comment

Secret meeting of US billionaires

The richest people in the US gather… it was kinda cool to see Oprah Winfrey there with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett!

Continue Reading May 20, 2009 at 8:14 pm Leave a comment

You are what you eat

I put this together on Tuesday, with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It shows the price of different foods and beverages over the last three decades. The price of each food or beverage is set equal to 1 in January 1978, and the chart then shows how the price has changed since then.

The price of oranges, to take one extreme example (not shown in the chart), has more than doubled, relative to everything else. So if in 1978, a bag of oranges cost the same as one big bottle of soda, today that bag costs the same as three big bottles of soda.

via What’s Wrong With This Chart? – Economix Blog –

May 20, 2009 at 6:59 pm 1 comment

Rushing to conclusions

Let’s see if Limbaugh (or Hannity) can go a month without mentioning any of the following words:

Obama, Pelosi, Liberal, Socialism, etc… who exactly is it that makes their living off bashing the other party?

Olbermann and Maddow were strongly critical of Obama’s stance on torture… I don’t remember Fox News ever criticizing Bush.

Limbaugh also suggested that the network may not be able to withstand a ratings plunge if mentions of him were pulled from the network.

“Let’s see if you can run your little TV network for 30 days without doing a single story on me, and then let’s take a look your ratings during those 30 days and see what happens,” he said. “Because obviously MSNBC thinks they cannot get numbers without focusing on me.”

“I just want to see if they can survive on their own.”

via Rush Limbaugh challenges MSNBC: Don’t mention me

May 19, 2009 at 6:02 pm Leave a comment

Is secret service needed here?

Wouldn’t it be nice if they opposed certain issues instead of making the whole goal to attack the President no matter what? What happened to the patriotism? I wonder if this warrants a look by secret service…

Continue Reading May 19, 2009 at 5:50 pm Leave a comment

Mexican drug cartels in the US

I don’t know how to embed this since it’s an application, but the link below takes you to an interactive map of drug cartels in the US.

Continue Reading May 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

Robots are the new scientists

There’s something about the last paragraph in the excerpt I include below that doesn’t seem right… amazing technology, but still sticking it to the grad students!

Continue Reading May 17, 2009 at 9:56 pm Leave a comment

Getting drunk faster!


Contrary to the industry’s position that visible drink labels will promote responsible drinking, young people are, instead, using these visible standard drink labels to increase or even maximize the amount of alcohol they consume at the lowest cost possible.

According to a new study, young people in Australia have very high awareness of standard drink labeling. However, this was predominately to help them choose the drinks that would get them drunk in the shortest time possible. The labels also served as guides, ‘advising’ them on which drink would reduce the time needed to get drunk and the least amount they would need to drink – hence getting the best ‘value’ for their money.

via Youths Use Alcoholic Drink Labels To Choose Strongest Drink At Lowest Cost.

May 15, 2009 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

GOP was not always anti-abortion

We forget sometimes that the GOP was not always like this. Not that long ago, we had pro-choicers like Barry Goldwater. Or Ronald Reagan, Act One. Or George H.W. Bush, who was pro-choice before he was pro-victory.

The northeast quadrant of the country was once home turf to pro-choice Republican women from Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger to Barbara Bush. Now we are down to two female Republican senators from Maine who may yet be banned from taking communion with their fellow congressional parishioners.

This purge has led me to wonder what would have happened if the first abortion case to arrive at the Supreme Court were not Roe v. Wade. What if it had been brought by the woman who did not want an abortion?

Susan Struck was an Air Force captain, a nurse, when she got pregnant in 1970. Her commanding officer gave her two choices: abortion or resignation.

Struck picked a third: lawsuit. Ginsburg, then an ACLU lawyer, argued that the regulation banning pregnant women from service was sex discrimination. She also argued that Struck’s right to bear or not bear a child was her personal choice.

The case was heading to the Supreme Court when Solicitor General Erwin Griswold figured that he was going to lose. The solicitor advised the armed services to change the rules and the case became moot.

Today, it is mind-bending to think about how different the whole debate might have been if the first Supreme Court case arguing for the right to decide had been brought by a woman wanting to have a baby.

Would we have better understood this reality: a government that can force a woman to have an abortion is the same government that can force a woman to continue the pregnancy? Would it have changed a Republican Party that was traditionally so wary of government power grabs?

via A good time to recall Goldwater’s abortion view

May 15, 2009 at 4:07 pm 1 comment

Blood of Christ… denied!

The Blood of Christ can save lives and get you into heaven… but it can’t stop the spread of swine flu!

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas’s churches are offering hand sanitizer to their attendees along with holy water. I guess they finally realized that holy water wasn’t good for anything but spreading sickness:

Church officials are also not going to offer the communal wine during Mass. During the service, parishoners accepting Holy Communion drink from the same cup.

via Holy Hand Sanitizer

May 14, 2009 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

Supreme Court justice Napolitano?

Among those under consideration is Homeland Security Secretary and former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. Others are Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Appeals Court judges Sonia Sotomayor and Diane Pamela Wood. California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno is also under review by Obama.

via Napolitano reportedly among Supreme Court contenders | ®.

May 14, 2009 at 8:19 pm Leave a comment

Life a fundamental consequence of organic chemistry

He has solved a problem that for 20 years has thwarted researchers trying to understand the origin of life — how the building blocks of RNA, called nucleotides, could have spontaneously assembled themselves in the conditions of the primitive earth. The discovery, if correct, should set researchers on the right track to solving many other mysteries about the origin of life. It will also mean that for the first time a plausible explanation exists for how an information-carrying biological molecule could have emerged through natural processes from chemicals on the primitive earth

Scientists have long suspected that the first forms of life carried their biological information not in DNA but in RNA, its close chemical cousin. Though DNA is better known because of its storage of genetic information, RNA performs many of the trickiest operations in living cells. RNA seems to have delegated the chore of data storage to the chemically more stable DNA eons ago. If the first forms of life were based on RNA, then the issue is to explain how the first RNA molecules were formed

The spontaneous appearance of such nucleotides on the primitive earth “would have been a near miracle,” two leading researchers, Gerald Joyce and Leslie Orgel, wrote in 1999. Others were so despairing that they believed some other molecule must have preceded RNA and started looking for a pre-RNA world.

The miracle seems now to have been explained.

“My assumption is that we are here on this planet as a fundamental consequence of organic chemistry,” Dr. Sutherland said. “So it must be chemistry that wants to work.”

via Chemist Shows How RNA Can Be the Starting Point for Life –

May 13, 2009 at 5:53 pm Leave a comment

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  • "Prisons Are Not Fit for Human Occupation": San Quentin Prisoners Speak Out as Virus Deaths Reach 25
    California's notorious San Quentin State Prison is experiencing the worst coronavirus outbreak in the United States. At least 2,200 prisoners have been infected, and 25 have died. More than 260 staff members have also been infected. We hear from two people incarcerated at San Quentin about conditions inside and the punitive measures authorities have tak […] (Democracy Now!)
  • How the Pandemic Defeated America: Ed Yong on How COVID-19 Humiliated Planet's Most Powerful Nation
    As the world passes a grim milestone of 20 million coronavirus cases, we look at how the pandemic humbled and humiliated the world's most powerful country. Over a quarter of the confirmed infections and deaths have been in the United States, which has less than 5% of the world's population. Ed Yong, a science writer at The Atlantic who has been cov […] (Democracy Now!)
  • Lebanon's Gov't Resigns Amid Public Rage over Beirut Blast, But Protesters Demand Structural Change
    After days of protests, Lebanon's government has resigned following the devastating explosion at the Port of Beirut that killed 200 people and injured thousands. The port blast, the source of which was 2,700 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate left unattended in a warehouse for more than six years, occurred as Lebanon was already facing political, […] (Democracy Now!)
  • Headlines for August 11, 2020
    Lebanese Gov't Steps Down in Wake of Catastrophic Beirut Explosion and Mounting Protests, Trump Mulls Barring Americans from Reentry into U.S.; Coronavirus Cases Rise in Kids, Russia Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine; New Zealand Goes Back into Lockdown, Unrest in Chicago Sparked by Police Shooting Leads to 100+ Arrests, 16 People Arrested in Portland, OR […] (Democracy Now!)
  • Millions Facing Eviction and Joblessness Get No Immediate Help from Trump's New Executive Orders
    President Trump's latest executive orders to extend unemployment benefits and defer payroll taxes may be unconstitutional. Democrats had hoped to extend a program to give unemployed workers an additional $600 in weekly benefits and to extend a federal moratorium protecting some renters from evictions, but failed to overcome opposition from Republican la […] (Democracy Now!)
  • Is Trump Sabotaging U.S. Postal Service Ahead of Election as Part of His Attack on Mail-in Voting?
    Democratic lawmakers say the Trump administration is sabotaging the United States Postal Service ahead of the November election, when a record number of votes are expected to be cast by mail. Since taking office, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy — a major Trump donor — has instituted a number of cost-cutting measures that have slowed down the delivery of […] (Democracy Now!)
  • Lebanese Gov't Faces Collapse Amid Rage-Filled Protests over Blast, Economic Crisis & Corruption
    The Lebanese government may be on the verge of collapse amid protests over the massive port explosion that devastated much of Beirut and killed at least 200 people and injured thousands. At least four ministers and nine members of Parliament have resigned. "The dominoes are falling," says Dion Nissenbaum, a Beirut-based reporter for The Wall Street […] (Democracy Now!)
  • Headlines for August 10, 2020
    Lebanon Unrest Mounting as Death Toll from Catastrophic Port Blast Tops 200, Trump Signs Executive Orders After Coronavirus Bill Stalls, Dems Say They Are Unconstitutional , U.S. COVID-19 Cases Top 5 Million, with More Evidence of Infections in Children and Teens, Coronavirus Surging Across India, Brazil as Europe and Cuba Reimpose Containment Measures, Hong […] (Democracy Now!)
  • "The World's Most Dangerous Man": Mary Trump on Her Uncle, President Trump, & Why He Must Be Ousted
    "In my family, being kind was considered being weak," says Mary Trump, President Trump's niece, a clinical psychologist and author of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man." We spend the hour with Mary Trump, discussing her book the president doesn't want people to read, in which s […] (Democracy Now!)
  • Headlines for August 7, 2020
    Study Predicts U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Could Reach 300,000 by December, Georgia High Schoolers Suspended for Sharing Images of Unmasked Students in Crowded Halls, India's COVID-19 Cases Top 2 Million as WHO Warns of Worsening Outbreaks in Africa, Peru's Health System in Collapse as COVID-19 Death Toll Reaches 20,000, Congressional Talks on New Coro […] (Democracy Now!)

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  • We’re moving!!!! [Life Lines]
    You may be wondering why I have been so sentimental even though the year is not over yet. I am happy to inform you that it is not because I am retiring. On the contrary, I am packing up my virtual bags and moving this blog to a new site! Pardon the dust while we get…
    Dr. Dolittle
  • Last Post [Greg Laden's Blog]
    This is my last post at In the future I will be blogging at Greg Laden’s blog, located at its original home at I have a feeling that Scienceblogs will not last long without me. What do you think? 🙂 But seriously, I’ll be talking about the story of the current status and…
    Greg Laden
  • #1: Is there an evolutionary advantage to “being stupid”? [Life Lines]
    And the #1 blog entry published thus far in 2017 discussed whether there was an evolutionary advantage to being stupid: —- As I was looking through the scientific literature the other day, I came across an article published in 1973, “The Evolutionary Advantages of Being Stupid.” With a title like that, how could I not…
    Dr. Dolittle
  • The Last Goodbye [Starts With A Bang]
    What better way to say farewell than with a slew of costume pictures from this year’s (coming) Halloween? Goodbye, Scienceblogs, it’s been an incredible almost-decade. Hope to see you all in all our other endeavors!
  • #2: A Truly Extraordinary Octopus [Life Lines]
    Who could forget the second most popular blog post so far this year. Seeing an octopus walk never gets old! ——- I came across this amazing video on YouTube showing a species of octopus found in Northern Australia that is adapted to walk on land:
    Dr. Dolittle
  • #3: Zebra Finches Reward Themselves for singing well [Life Lines]
    The #3 post so far this year explored how zebra finches reward themselves for singing well: Dopamine is an important hormone released from neurons involved in reward pathways. Researchers at Cornell University wanted to know if dopamine signaling was involved in how birds learn songs. Their findings, recently published in Science, present evidence that neuro […]
    Dr. Dolittle
  • Comments of the Week: Final edition? [Starts With A Bang]
    “You endure what is unbearable, and you bear it. That is all.” -Cassandra Clare Well, the cat’s out of the bag. A little over a week ago, Scienceblogs announced to us writers that they no longer had the funds to keep the site operational, and so they would be shutting down. They asked us to…
  • #4: Komodo Dragons have antibacterial blood [Life Lines]
    Here is the 4th most popular post so far this year: Picture of a komodo dragon by CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons Researchers studying komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) at George Mason University discovered 48 previously unknown peptides in their blood that might have antimicrobial properties. Their findings were published in the Journal of Proteome R […]
    Dr. Dolittle
  • Back by popular demand: the Venezuelan poodle moth [Life Lines]
    It is hard to believe that I have been sharing my passion for comparative physiology and its application to human and animal health with you for over 7 years now! In reminiscing over the last 7 years, I thought it would be fun to look back at the most popular posts. So, here goes… The…
    Dr. Dolittle
  • Comments of the Week #180: From the planets Kepler missed to the NASA photos that changed the world [Starts With A Bang]
    “We do not realize what we have on Earth until we leave it.” -Jim Lovell Well, the Scienceblogs comments are still on the fritz, requiring me to manually un-spam them one-at-a-time, but Starts With A Bang! is still going strong with some fabulous stories based on the best knowledge we have! This next week is poised to…

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