Conservationist, continued

“It is not restoration to introduce animals that were never here,” says University of Washington anthropologist Donald K. Grayson.

“Lions would be a harder sell, particularly to the elk herds that already live there.
‘Lions eat people,’ Mr. Donlan, the Cornell graduate student, says. ‘There has to be a pretty serious attitude shift on how you view predators.’ “

Lions on the plains would alter order of the food chain�-�Nation/Politics�-�The Washington Times, America’s Newspaper – Beasts of both worlds: Scientists propose ‘rewilding’ – Beasts of both worlds: Scientists propose ‘rewilding’:

“What North America needs is a few good saber-toothed tigers and a couple of mastodons and mammoths — like in the good (very) old days.”

Interesting. What’s to keep people from hunting them back to extinction, and how will they affect the ecosystem as it exists now?

Bush Remarks Roil Debate on Teaching of Evolution – New York Times

 “Mr. Bush was pressed as to whether he accepted the view that intelligent design was an alternative to evolution, but he did not directly answer. ‘I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,’ he said, adding that ‘you’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.'”

Bush Remarks Roil Debate on Teaching of Evolution – New York Times

ummm, no.

[EDIT: To clarify, I agree that people should be exposed to different ideas, and open to changing their opinions.  The problem, however, is that intelligent design theories are arguments by authority, and not based on “the scientific method.” 2014-02-05]

YoungFemaleScientist [another good point]

And another thing:

“I’m wondering if this is the real reason people do 9-year postdocs: how else do you learn whether to market yourself as a pharmacogeneticist or not? Or is that what they’re doing for the last 6 years of postdoc- making themselves ridiculously qualified for positions nobody could possibly be qualified for? Where are all these people? I’m thinking most of them must be MDs, because I have yet to meet any postdocs who work in the fields I’m seeing advertisements for now. “


YoungFemaleScientist [Favorite blog of the day]

“I really do think that every lab should have a couch, if not several, a kitchen and a living room for breaks. There should be a television so we can watch the news- I have horror stories about people who went to work on 9/11 not knowing what happened because they never turn on a radio or tv, nevermind reading a newspaper. “


Favorite blog of the day.



[EDIT: Read through this before you accuse me of anything.  I’m not as serious about “eugenics” as all that.  2014-02-06]

Eugenics could be a powerful tool if used properly, and there is no need for anybody to die, or become sterilized, or be restricted from mating. If you breed for desireable traits and act lassez fair towards what everyone else is doing, it may take longer, but those desireable traits should come through. Or at least that’s how I understand it.

Before you decide to hate me forever for suggesting such a thing, I just want to note that my interest in such an experimental program was first piqued by reading Heinlein, where everyone has the option (given enough money) to live as long as they wish through rejuvenation (and an ample supply of replacement parts from a personal, non-thinking clone). These aspects are most entertainingly approached in “The cat who walked through walls,” which has little social commentary that I am aware of besides the fact that it allows a small group of people to travel through time willy-nilly, albeit for the purposes of ‘good.’ But most of the book is good rip-roaring fun–and humorous as much as it contains action. I would highly recommend it. The one Heinlein I absolutely hate is “Stranger in a strange land,” called by some the best science-fiction novel ever written, but in my opinion does not ask the right questions about how to form the sort of Utopian society that Heinlein repeatedly advocates.

Back to my point on Eugenics. Positive eugenics would work by the repeated breeding of humans with genetic traits deemed desireable by whoever was running the experiment–in Heinlein the most important factor was originally longevity, as dictated by a group which was prepared to offer good money to members of the ‘families’ to marry and reproduce within a certain (extended) group of people whose ancestors had been long-lived.

Sadly, I doubt such an experiment would work in the real world, mostly because people are people, they often object to experiments such as this, love finds a way, and the important fact that such a long-term project would be inconceivable to most sources of funding.

I edited this post because I realized I was linked to (albeit incorrectly, sorry Rob) by Rob Loftis’ blog, and I decided he would not want me to write such a thing as I stated in the first paragraph without explaining my intentions further, so that there would be no chance of negative misunderstanding.

Articles on Eugenics and Darwinism, by the way, can be found in Steven Jay Gould’s book “Dinosaur in a Haystack”


and closing again

Something I am sure Jenny would appreciate:

“The rest of the 200 features don’t fall into any one visionary category; they’re an assortment of tweaks and upgrades that pile up like something out of Gilbert and Sullivan:

The Safari browser now subscribes to R.S.S. news feeds,
And its “private browsing” mode conceals the tracks of online deeds.
There are archives now, and log files, when you send or get a fax;
You can make the pointer bigger on those Jumbotron-screened Macs.
You can start a full-screen slide show from some photos on demand;
And the voice that reads the screen aloud can lend the blind a hand.
There’s a password-phrase suggestor meant to make yours more secure,
And the Grapher module draws equations simple and obscure.
Then the Automator program is a geeky software clerk –
You just choose the steps you want performed, and it does all the work.
There’s a lot of miscellany, lots of spit-and-polish stuff,
But it works and doesn’t slow you down – and these days, that’s enough.”





“Diamicton is a descriptive term referring to a deposit that is usually massive and poorlysorted, containing clasts of many sizes. The clasts range in size from clay to boulders and are of varying compositions. The previous description sounds like a till, however the term diamictonshould be used when the origin of a deposit is not known. The term till implies a glacial origin and would therefore be inappropriate if the origin is nonglacial. The term glacial diamicton or till shouldonly be used when the origin of the deposit is known to be glacial.”