Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Squid Invasion Followup

Dispatches from the cephalapod wars.

I'm far too amused that one of the squid experts is named Dr. Zeidberg.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Breaking our arbitrary laws.

Mule gives birth, biologists neenered and hounded.

I myself got stuck somewhere between the nutshell and the voluminous truth about how an alleged sterile mule might give birth, but suffice it to say, the genetic code of organisms is more plastic than our narrow familiarity with the animal wing of life may suggest. Bacteria, fungi and plants routinely run afoul of convention genetic understanding, so when an animal like a mule, which is already crossing over steep species barriers gives birth, it really shouldn't be too terribly surprising.

Still, maybe the gal just found a clever loophole out of being a pack animal.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Invasion has begun

Giant squid launch shock and awe campaign.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is like heaven on earth, I can see why they'd attack there first.

That is all.

Back from the Infarct Grave

Protein patch shown to regenerate heart tissue.

With heart disease still reigning supreme as the top killer of Americans, this kind of research ought to pick up some steam if it shows to carry its therapeutic effects from the rodent to man.

Heart attacks basically cause veins of tissue to die in the heart, and the healing process produces less useful scar tissue. If this protein patch can address that kind of problem, it's a big win for the home team. If it can go on to reverse problems for adults and help children with congenital issues, whoa boy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Redefining snuggly

Angier has a new take on lab's best friend.

I've always had a soft spot for rats, which is why I raised many as pets during my college years. The heaps of rat anecdotes I possess are legion, but the most amusing could possibly be when Goya, my favored albino, had a staring match with my wife. Unfortunately, she didn't care for the fact the little furball knew how to get out of her cage.

Rats have personalities, and they can be glum or cheerful depending on their upbringing and circumstances. One study showed that rats accustomed to good times tend to be optimists, while those reared in unstable conditions become pessimists. Both rats will learn to associate one sound with a good event — a gift of food — and another sound with no food, but when exposed to an ambiguous sound, the optimist will run over expecting to be fed and the pessimist will grumble and skulk away, expecting nothing.

Too true. A rattle of potato chips was enough to drive my broods into quivering frenzy.