Giant Cannibal Squid: The Invasion Has Begun!

Well not really. But according to this some species of squid engage in cannibalism:

Now Bruce Deagle of the University of Tasmania, Australia, and his team have analysed the gut contents of a male giant squid caught by fishermen off the west coast of Tasmania in 1999. Among the slurry of macerated prey, they found three tentacle fragments and 12 squid beaks. The beaks could not be unequivocally identified, but all of the squid DNA in the slurry, and the tentacle fragments, was found to be that of A. dux (Journal of Heredity, vol 96, p 417). “This strongly suggests cannibalism,” says team member Simon Jarman of the Australian Antarctic Division in Kingston, Tasmania. The only other prey species identified was a fish, the blue grenadier.

And at the most inopportune times:

“The male giant squid has to use a puny 15-gram brain to coordinate 150 kilograms of weight, 10 metres of length and a 1.5-metre-long penis,” he says”He physically plunges this penis into the female’s arms, which are rather unfortunately right next to her beak. Because he is coordinating so much with so little, I think occasionally bits get chewed off when they inadvertently get too close to the beak.”

I was looking forward to our squid overlords but if they are going to be biting penises, er, phalluses off I’m going to have to rethink that!

Mainstream Media Sucks Used Kitty Litter: Part Two

Here we go again. According to Eschaton The New Media Rules:

It looks like Republicans have learned a new trick in the media. If you give exclusive stories to journalists with the condition that no Democrats are to be allowed to comment on the story, journalists think that’s a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Not only that, but they won’t even bother to do any additional research for the story.

Go here and here for more.

From Media Matters:

Under a purported embargo, which the Post said prevented reporters from revealing the administration’s decision until midnight — “too late” to contact Democrats for a response — staff writers Peter Baker and Charles Babington quoted anonymous White House officials spinning the decision regarding the documents(emphasis mine – afarensis). But while other contemporaneous print media reports noted Democrats’ previously stated arguments for full disclosure of the documents, the Post omitted them for the second day in a row.

Form Kos:

Turns out Roll Call writer Lauren Whittington got the story from the GOP with the ground rule that she not call anyone else for the story.

After reading this article I couldn’t help but ask myself which media outlets in West Virginia were going to be running these advertisements. I called up Lauren W. Whittington (columnist for the Roll Call) to ask her if Brian Nick went into any specifics pertaining to his comment that stated: “The initial buy, which will be concentrated in the large media markets in the state.” I was interested in finding out, in specific, which television stations or “large media markets” Brian Nick was referring too. Whittington told me that Nick did not go into any specifics other than what she had presented in the article for “security reasons,” security as in they do not want Democratic operatives finding out this type of information.

Security reasons? WTF?

It would be nice if these were isolated incidents – but they are not:

Days after financial services giant Morgan Stanley informed print publications that its ads must be automatically pulled from any edition containing “objectionable editorial coverage,” global energy giant BP has adopted a similar press strategy.

According to a copy of a memo on the letterhead of BP’s media-buying agency, WPP Group’s MindShare, the global marketer has adopted a zero-tolerance policy toward negative editorial coverage.

Another magazine executive who had not heard about BP’s policy or of Morgan Stanley’s said his company has unwritten guidelines with advertisers from several industries, including auto, airlines and tobacco, to pull their ads if related negative stories are in the issue. These cases, the executive said, occur more with news magazines than lifestyle ones.

Go here and here for more info.

Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable indeed!


the Cutting Edge

(52% dark, 43% spontaneous, 33% vulgar)

your humor style:

Your humor’s mostly innocent and off-the-cuff, but somehow there’s something slightly menacing about you. Part of your humor is making people a little uncomfortable, even if the things you say aren’t in and of themselves confrontational. You probably have a very dry delivery, or are seriously over-the-top. Your type is the most likely to appreciate a good insult and/or broken bone and/or very very fat person dancing.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: David Letterman – John Belushi

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on dark

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on spontaneous

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on vulgar

Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid

Dinosaur Embryos

Dinosaur Embryos Posted by Picasa

The above is a dinosaur embryo belonging to a species called Massospondylus carinatus which is believed to be an ancestor of the giant sauropods. It (the embryo) was discovered in 1978 and just recently exposed by scientists. Apparently, according to this article enough were discovered that they could work out growth rates and changes in bodily proportions, surprisingly:

That growth pattern turned out to be highly unusual. The hatchling had a huge head and forelimbs as long as its hind legs. As the animal grew, its neck stretched dramatically, while its head got increasingly smaller relative to its body. Its hind legs grew more than twice as long as its forelimbs.

An adult Massospondylus had a head that was only 8 inches (20 centimeters) long. Its upper limbs were only half the size of its thighbones. It grew to be about 16 feet (5 meters) long, with a beanstalk-like neck and an 8-foot (2.4-meter) tail.

The earliest sauropods may have also developed with quadrupedal proportions, like their Massospondylus cousins. But these early sauropods retained their four-footed stance into adulthood.

The growth pattern of the Massospondylus could therefore provide clues about how the giant sauropods evolved.

“These animals are essentially predecessors to those large sauropods,” Reisz said.

Forgive Me for I Have Sinned…

No, I have not gone and got myself all religified. I’m still the same cynical smartass who thinks we are descended from monkeys!

You see, I have realized I have done wrong – that is I have spelled a bloggers name wrong. I am refering, of course, to evolgen. I had been spelling it Evolgen, but apparently this is incorrect, so I have corrected it in my blogroll.

I am particularly apalled since a lot of people mispell my name (it’s “afarensis” not Afarensis – let’s be taxonomically correct) and here I go and do the same darn thing to another blogger.


Wells and Cancer: More Evidence He’s Wrong

I have written several posts on this before. They can be found here and here.
From Well’s paper on TOPS:

TOPS then explicitly rejects several implications of Darwinian evolution.
These include: (1a) The implication that living things are best understood from
the bottom up, in terms of their molecular constituents. (1b) The implications
that DNA mutations are the raw materials of macroevolution, that embryo
development is controlled by a genetic program, that cancer is a genetic disease,
etc. (1c) The implication that many features of living things are useless vestiges
of random processes, so it is a waste of time to inquire into their functions.

On Science Daily I stumbled across this paper on Multi-Species Genome Comparison Sheds New Light On Evolutionary Processes, Cancer Mutations

A team of researchers from the United States, France and Singapore studied the chromosomes of eight mammals. The mammals are humans, mice, rats, cows, pigs, dogs, cats and horses. Some interesting results emerged:

Using sophisticated computer software to align and compare the mammals’ genetic material, or genomes, the team determined that chromosomes tend to break in the same places as species evolve, resulting in rearrangements of their DNA. Prior to the discovery of these breakage hotspots, the prevailing view among scientists was that such rearrangements occurred at random locations.


In their paper, researchers report that the chromosomal abnormalities most frequently associated with human cancer are far more likely to occur in or near the evolutionary breakage hotspots than were less common types of cancer-associated abnormalities. Researchers theorize that the rearrangements seen near breakage hotspots may activate genes that trigger cancer and/or inactivate genes that normally suppress cancer. However, they emphasize that far more work remains to be done to clarify the relationship between cancer and the breakage hotspots. One thing researchers have determined is that the regions immediately flanking the breakage hotspots contain more genes, on average, than the rest of the genome.

Note the cause of chromosome instability has nothing to do with:

Centrosomes that are too numerous or too large would produce too strong a polar ejection force, damaging chromosomes and leading to chromosomal instability.

As Wells tried to argue.

It is interesting to note that the cancer aspects of this research was done within an evolutionary paradigm:

“Science tells us that the most effective tool we currently have to understand our own genome is to compare it with the genomes of other organisms. With each new genome that we sequence, we move closer to filling the gaps in our knowledge,” said Dr. Ostrander, who is chief of the Cancer Genetics Branch in NHGRI’s Division of Intramural Research.

The multi-species comparison published in Science also yielded surprising results about the rate at which chromosomal evolution occurs. Based on an analysis that included a computer-generated reconstruction of the genomes of long-extinct mammals, researchers found the rate of chromosomal evolution among mammals dramatically accelerated following the extinction of the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago.

Before the sudden demise of dinosaurs and many other types of animals, which is thought to have resulted from a massive comet or asteroid striking Earth, mammals shared fairly similar body plans and also fairly similar genomes. Researchers speculate that the mass extinction opened new ecological niches for mammals, spurring their diversification and the emergence of new mammalian orders. This situation would have facilitated opportunities for the isolation of mammals into more distinct breeding groups, speeding the development of species-specific chromosomes.

“This study has revealed many hidden secrets on the nature and timing of genome evolution in mammals, and it demonstrates how the study of basic evolutionary processes can lead to new insights into the origin of human diseases,” said Dr. Lewin, who is director of the Institute of Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois.

Once again proving that nothing in biology makes sense without evolution and incidentally proving wrong, yet agian, those who say evolution has nothing to offer the field of medicine.

To learn more you can go to:

National Human Genome Research Institute

Mainstream Media Sucks Used Kitty Litter

This is absolutely despicable. Yet, the mainstream media keeps wondering why people are abandoning them in droves. It concerns a missing pregnant woman from Philadelphia.


CRAMER: I think we got to focus on this ratings issue for a second, because I don’t think people—we all—we all understand this because we’re in the business. I didn’t get.

If you can get a huge number of people watching a particular story, it gives you the license to do a lot of other stories. Now, some people abuse the license by going to Aruba every single night, as far as I’m concerned. But I have to—I—I—I love programing that gets watched.

CARLSON: Yes. I do, too.

CRAMER: So, I’m not going to damn this kind of story.

CARLSON: I’m not either.

MADDOW: No. And the media makes decisions based on what is going to sell advertising. And so, what is going to…


CRAMER: It’s commercialism.

And a little later:

MADDOW: But it’s the per—again, it’s the perception. We’ve got a woman who has been missing for nine days. She’s pregnant. She’s a young mother. It has all the components of the other stories that get covered. But because of the race, because she’s from West Philly, it’s not getting covered.


MADDOW: So, people are trying to drive…


MADDOW: … the media…


CARLSON: But the truth is, we are covering it. It was on our air today. And it’s on our air…

MADDOW: Because of an enterprising blogger.


CRAWFORD: Where would you rather vacation, Aruba or West Philly?

MADDOW: West Philly has…


CRAMER: Forty-second and Baltimore is nothing like Aruba.



CRAMER: I know that area.


So a white woman disappears in Aruba and the Mainstream Media loves it cause it brings great ratings and black woman (forgot to mention that) disappears and it is cause for laughter.

Pitiful, just pitiful.

New Species of Fly

Hybrid Fly Posted by Picasa

According to National Geographic News the above is a relatively new species of fly that formed as a hybrid of two existing species:

The Lonicera fly evolved as a hybrid of two existing U.S. species, the blueberry maggot and the snowberry maggot, according to the study. The newfound species is named after the honeysuckle plant (scientific name: Lonicera), which the insect’s life cycle revolves around.

Apparently, speciation by hybridization takes place in fish too:

German researchers have studied cichlids (a type of tropical freshwater fish) living in tiny volcano-crater lakes in Cameroon, West Africa. Their studies have shown that at least one cichlid species started off as a hybrid.

Among cichlids this process likely takes thousands of years. The Lonicera fly’s evolution, however, has occurred only in the 250 years since its honeysuckle host plant arrived in North America.

You can also go here for more info.

What Democrats Need to Do

Athenae at First Draft has a perceptive post about Democrats and the need to not allow others to define us:

But what we have do, Will my love, is not “come to terms” with what our opposition says we are and promise, really promise, the American people we’ll change. What we need, Will, is not some national apology session in which we say we regret opposing a war that was in fact wrong and that we did in fact lose. What we need is not some sort of press conference to announce that we’re sorry we hurt all those segregationists’ feelings all those years ago by opining timidly that perhaps police should not turn hoses on peaceful protestors and that we should all just drink out of the same fountain. Because when you talk about protest culture, Will, that’s what you’re talking about. That’s what they’re really mad about.

Go read it, it’s great!

Tuesday Monster Movie Blogging

Although it sounds pretty cheesy (the science aspects suck), this is actually a first rate movie. Seems to be a low budget film and I don’t recognize any of the stars. It was released in 1953 during the era of the “invaders from outerspace” but veers off in a different direction from most (another exception being “I Married a Creature From Outer Space”).
The movie starts with some communications engineers trying to track down the source of a mysterious disturbance in their radio frequencies. They meet a lady who, along with her husband and a friend, has just been attacked by a strange person wearing what appears to be a deep sea divers outfit. Several other deaths occur and an oil refinery is blown up before it is realized the stranger is, in fact a visitor from outerspace who crashed on earth. From here the movie turns into a sensitive portrait of the alien’s attempt to survive a hostile atmosphere and evade capture. Unfortunately, the protagonists realize too late what is going on and the alien dies (he is unable to survive in earths atmosphere for very long without his breathing apparatus).
Most of the films from this era dealt with horrible alien invaders hellbent on kidnapping earth women for deviant alien sex (one wonders if this would be the alien equivalent of bestiality?) and this film is a notable exception. Anyone with an hour to spare should check it out!