Monthly Archives: September 2013

Low-Hanging Fruit: Consider the Ant

But first, arachnids.  Some spiders somehow fly by using silken threads.  They’ve been detected at altitudes over 4 km, and more than a thousand miles from land.  The usual notion is that these threads catch air currents, but that may … Continue reading

Posted in Low-hanging Fruit | 36 Comments

Open niches

When I first learned that  mitochondria (and chloroplasts) have their own  DNA and their own personal DNA replication mechanism, I wondered if they had their own viruses that hijacked that replication mechanism.   It was a long time  coming, but it … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 29 Comments

Redneck Psychiatrists

It has been said that schizophrenia strikes without regard to sex, race, social class, or culture.  Whoever said that must be crazy: it’s far from true.  Schizophrenia is more common in men than women – about 1.4 to 1.  It’s … Continue reading

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Hunter-Gatherer fish and game laws

I don’t think that there are any. But  then how did they manage to  be one-with-the-land custodians of wildlife?  Uh…. Conservation is hard.  Even if the population as a whole would be better off if a given prey species persisted … Continue reading

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Their Lying Eyes

Once upon a time, I read a book on parasitology. In the the introduction, the author mentioned a copepod that settles on the eyes of a particular kind of fish, eventually leaving that fish blind.  He mentioned that naive grad … Continue reading

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Younger Dryas Meteorite

It has been suggested that a large meteorite was responsible for an odd  climatic twitch from about 12,800 to 11,500 years ago (the Younger Dryas , a temporary return to glacial conditions in the Northern Hemisphere) and for the extinction … Continue reading

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I hate every ape I see

Chimpanzees, although expensive,  are really useful for medical research, since they’re much closer to humans than any other experimental animal. Yet the Feds are phasing out chimp research, and are sending them off to Club Chimp.  Francis Collins, director of … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 113 Comments