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The Denisova genome

Started by Adriana. Last reply by Tom Sarbeck Apr 23. 7 Replies

Remember the 40,000 year-old Denisova finger bone that yielded sufficient DNA to…Continue

Tags: evolution, human, genome, DNA, hominin

Do You Need The Universe To Have Had A Beginning?

Started by Tom Sarbeck. Last reply by Tom Sarbeck Nov 19, 2016. 31 Replies

Many if not all human societies have origin myths and they differ greatly.Several years ago a San Francisco-born-and-raised woman told me she is a materialist.An hour ago a woman who was raised a Jehovah Witness and has left that faith told me the…Continue

Tags: cosmology, cosmogeny, evidence, need, universe

Florida schoolgirl charged with felonies for science experiment

Started by Neal. Last reply by Chris Sep 27, 2016. 3 Replies

No science for you woman! Photo: FreeLearningLife - FlickrWednesday, May 1, 2013 -…Continue

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Mandating Scientific Discovery Never Works But politicians can’t seem to grasp that.

Started by Neal. Last reply by Chris Aug 31, 2016. 4 Replies

GOP decides that research should be legislated. Usual nonsense.By Lawrence Krauss|Posted Friday, June 21, 2013, at 7:30 AM…Continue

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Science Bits, News, Videos

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This discussion is to have a recurrent thread for science news, tidbits, quick…Continue

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Tully Monster

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Solving the mystery of the Tully MonsterPosted: 16 Mar 2016 12:13 PM PDTThe Tully…Continue

Super weeds in the US

Started by Davy. Last reply by Chris Aug 18, 2014. 1 Reply

New York (AFP) - The United States is facing an epidemic of herbicide-resistant "superweeds" that some activists and researchers are blaming on GMO's, an accusation rejected by industry giants.According to a recent study, the situation is such that…Continue

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Platypus Godzilla.

Started by Davy. Last reply by Davy Nov 20, 2013. 5 Replies

And you thought the platypus was a nice, cuddly little monotreme. You would not have thought so 5 to 15 million years ago. Palaeontologists have uncovered the fossil of a platypus that looks as though it is on steroids.  The platypus dub the…Continue

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Aussie algae fuel green oil hope

Started by Davy Oct 20, 2013. 0 Replies

Aussie algae fuel green oil hopeDespite the claims of some, commercially viable fuels from algae have not yet been developed. But newly trialled native algae species provide real hope, a Queensland scientist has found.Dr Evan Stephens and the team…Continue

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Mystery moss rediscovered

Started by Davy. Last reply by Davy Oct 20, 2013. 2 Replies

News from James Cook University. Mystery moss rediscoveredA botanical puzzle more than 150 years old could soon be solved, thanks to a discovery by a second-year botany student in Queensland’s far north.James Cook University student Megan Grixti…Continue

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Comment by Adriana on March 15, 2011 at 12:05pm
Specter of a an Artcic ozone hole looms (link)
Comment by A place called Doone on March 15, 2011 at 11:23am

From the Big Picture


Every time there is a major crisis, I get asked “What should investors do Now?

My answer is always the same:

The time to look for the emergency aisles and where the exits are located is before takeoff, not after the wings fall off the plane. You must have a plan in place to deal with unanticipated events, a just-in-case things head south scenario.

Ideally, you put this plan together when you are objective and unemotional and calmly contemplative — not when things are figuratively and literally melting down.

The people claiming you cannot anticipate an Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear accident are missing the point: We can anticipate disruptive events, as they come along all too frequently in history. Consider the following list, via Doug Kass of those 100-year flood/once in a lifetime events.  These occur far more regularly than most people believe:


Black Swan events over the past decade

• Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon;
• 78% decline in the Nasdaq;
• 2003 European heat wave (40,000 deaths);
• 2004 Tsunami in Sumatra, Indonesia (230,000 deaths);
• 2005 Kashmir, Pakistan, earthquake (80,000 deaths)
• 2008 Myanmar cyclone (140,000 deaths);
• 2008 Sichuan, China, earthquake ( 68,000 deaths);
• Derivatives roil the world’s banking system and financial markets;
• Failure of Lehman Brothers and the sale/liquidation of Bear Stearns;
• 30% drop in U.S. home prices;
•  2010 Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, earthquake (315,000 deaths);
• 2010 Russian heat wave (56,000 deaths);
• 2010 BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill;
• 2010 market flash crash (a 1,000-point drop in the DJIA);
• Surge of unrest in the Middle East; and
• Thursday’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Do you have an emergency plan ready for when things get dicey . . . ?

Why not?

The time to do drills is before the blitz, not after.


Comment by Adriana on March 15, 2011 at 9:12am
@doone: The Birth of the animal Kingdom is what I posted in this discussion above :-)
Comment by A place called Doone on March 15, 2011 at 8:56am

Japan Open Thread

The latest update on Fukushimi Daiichi is that the fire is out at the #4 unit spend fuel cooling pond and that there’s no more evidence of breach of the torus or suppression pool in the containment structure in reactor #2. The core of the #2 reactor was fully exposed for hours yesterday, but now the water level is up to half of the core height.

NHK TV is reporting that the fuel rods for reactor 4 were removed from the core and stored in a holding pond in the building. The explosion and fire there blew two 8 meter square holes in the side of the #4 reactor building. The last reported temperature in the pond was 84 degrees C (up from a typical 40 degrees). It sounds like issues with the cooling ponds are manageable, but who knows if the skeleton crew left at the plant can manage the pools and the issues with the 3 reactors.

The BBC is reporting that the IAEA has upgraded the scale of the event to level 6, one below the worst, Chernobyl level of 7, and the second worst nuclear disaster in history.

Comment by A place called Doone on March 15, 2011 at 8:54am

Crisis Deepens in Japan

I’m going to be traveling for the bulk of today and won’t be able to keep up with the latest developments in Japan, but as of this morning the nuclear situation has darkened considerably from where it was eighteen hours ago. The Union of Concerned Scientists’ All Things Nuclear blog is a useful source of informed information, including the fact that the level of radiation leakage happening at Fukushima considerably exceeds the design limitations imposed by the American Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC itself also apparently has a blog where they’re doing updates that may be of interest.

One of my neighbors is an NRC seismologist, as it happens, and they have a fact sheet on seismic issues and American nuclear reactors that may be of interest. Earthquakes, obviously, are quite rare in the US outside the West Coast, but as the factsheet indicates they have happened on occasion and “in 1811–1812, three major earthquakes (Magnitude 7 to 7.7 on the commonly used Richter Scale) shook much of the [Central and Eastern United States].” My read of that is that nuclear power plants may be some of the only infrastructure in this part of the country that actually has been designed with earthquake resiliency in mind.

Comment by A place called Doone on March 15, 2011 at 7:29am


Carl Zimmer in the New York Times:

15animals-popupLurking in the blood of tropical snails is a single-celled creature called Capsaspora owczarzaki. This tentacled, amoebalike species is so obscure that no one even noticed it until 2002. And yet, in just a few years it has moved from anonymity to the scientific spotlight. It turns out to be one of the closest relatives to animals. As improbable as it might seem, our ancestors a billion years ago probably were a lot like Capsaspora.

The origin of animals was one of the most astonishing and important transformations in the history of life. From single-celled ancestors, they evolved into a riot of complexity and diversity. An estimated seven million species of animals live on earth today, ranging from tubeworms at the bottom of the ocean to elephants lumbering across the African savanna. Their bodies can total trillions of cells, which can develop into muscles, bones and hundreds of other kinds of tissues and cell types.

The dawn of the animal kingdom about 800 million years ago was also an ecological revolution.

Animals devoured the microbial mats that had dominated the oceans for more than two billion years and created their own habitats, like coral reefs.

More here.

Comment by A place called Doone on March 14, 2011 at 10:01pm

NASA's Hubble Rules out One Alternative to Dark Energy

ScienceDaily (Mar. 14, 2011)— Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have ruled out an alternate theory on the nature of dark energy after recalculating the expansion rate of the universe to unprecedented accuracy.

Comment by A place called Doone on March 14, 2011 at 6:47pm

The deadly earthquake that struck Japan last week has been upgraded from an 8.9 to a 9.0-magnitude, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced today (March 14).

This magnitude places the earthquake as the fourth largest in the world since 1900 and the largest in Japan since modern instrumental recordings began 130 years ago, according to the USGS.

The USGS often updates an earthquake’s magnitude as more data become available and more time-intensive analysis is performed. Japanese scientists had already upgraded the earthquake from an 8.8 to 9.0. The USGS noted that different agencies use different techniques to measure the magnitude of earthquakes.

Comment by A place called Doone on March 14, 2011 at 6:13pm

Nature And The Gods


Mark Vernon examines Hokusai's famous print, "The Great Wave of Kanagawa":

It's a religious image, representing the very different approach that Shintoism has towards nature, compared with Christianity. In Christianity, human beings are at the centre of nature: creation is for humanity, along with other creatures, and it's humanity's task to care for it. Hence, in part, the offence we feel when nature turns against us.

In Shintoism, nature is recognised as infinitely more powerful than humankind - as in the wave - and that humankind is in nature with the permission of the gods but with no particular concern from the gods.

Comment by Michel on March 14, 2011 at 3:29pm
My best female teacher was Mme Dulong. She was teaching French Litterature and We got her for three years in a row. She was an fascinating storyteller and had the art of adding memorable details or trivia throughout her teachings. She's the one that opened my mind to the art of thinking.

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