Nerd Blurbs: Life Edition

The news-sphere was alive today, September 21st, 2013, with many reports pertaining to things living (and fairly finally dead). We’ve got sequences and atrocities and discoveries, oh my! Just goes to show that reality has way more going on than fiction and you can’t make this stuff up. We start with tiger sequencing after the break.

Biggest Cat Gets Probed by Science, Sequencing

from "The tiger genome and comparative analysis with lion and snow leopard genomes" on http://www.nature.com; per Creative Commons.

Brings new meaning to the question, “Are you a man or a mouse?”

Website io9.com reports that an international team of scientists have genetically sequenced the Siberian tiger, having compared it to the DNA structures of six other species (humans, housecats, mice, dogs, possums, and giant pandas (I think those last two were just because they could)) and finding discrepancy mostly lacking. Of the over 14,000 genetic similarities there are only 103 differences genetically between you and Mr. Whiskers. If that’s disconcerting, the graph also explains that we’re mice to big cats, which is something that Roy Horn is keenly aware of.

Thankfully though, we’re at the top of the food chain as is evidenced by our next blurb:

PETA Video Exposes Maine Plant is Killing Crustaceans Inhumanely

As reported on CBSNews, a Maine lobster and crab processing plant dismantles their crustaceans while they are still alive. The guy’s face has been blurred and the audio has been slowed but it’s pretty obvious the demo guy is not the brightest lobster in the pot. I don’t eat lobster, and there’s a whole debate whether crustaceans can feel pain – I do know that all living things fight to be alive, so it can’t be comfortable to have your limbs torn off and then your head ripped from its place: at least change the sequence up. Or, you know, electrify the poor bastards before butchering them.

On a personal note, I think this story is particularly in my craw because I just heard a conversation in the elevator on my way to work. Yesterday, while riding an elevator with three men that had been to a party the night before, one of the guys missed lobster tails, which were served right after he left. The guy seems disappointed, though I wonder if he would have been had he seen this video.

As it stands now, though, we’ll only have to remain cruel on this one world as the New York Times reports, we’re probably alone in the solar system as the evidence suggests:

Life Appears to be Absent on Mars

Not that Mars.

Or this one.

Stop it.

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA02004

There we go. Thanks, NASA, for ending my Wiki Commons Search!

NASA scientists have been searching for the presence of methane gas on Mars with the Curiosity Rover and to this date have found none on the planet; the importance of methane being a bi-product of many a microbe. Without evidence of the gas on the planet, the likelihood of identifying little lifeforms (and big lifeforms for that matter) become increasingly difficult. I mean, look, we can barely find everything on our own planet, we’re supposed to find it on another?

New Species of Legless Lizards Discovered at LAX

Remember: it may have a friendly face but it’s still cold-blooded.

As reported on Discovery.com on the 18th of September, scientists in California have discovered four distinct species of the legless lizard spanning from Los Angeles International Airport, the San Joaquin Valley, Bakersville, and the Mojave Desert, telling us either there’s a 500-mile wide mutation event going on or these legless reptiles have been around for a while, so long that they’ve developed differential evolutionary tracts for their individual zones of habitation. The fact that the lizards were around long enough to be discovered is astounding to me.

Think about how scientists got the clearance to check the airfield in LAX. It’s an international airport – presumably workers at LAX saw what they thought were snakes on the field and went ahead and called someone to come check it out, probably exterminators. Exterminator sees them, says they ain’t snakes. Somewhere in chain these guys get called in and either say, “What the hell is that?” start looking and find three other species or else say, “Oh sure, we’ve got those in Bakersville too.”

It instills one with the sense that crustacean-maiming notwithstanding, human beings are all right and learn something still from just observing their environment. So long as life keeps ticking here, we’ll always have something new to learn, even if other planets are holding out on us. And after all is said and done, we’re not that different from everything else.

This has been Nerd Blurbs, this is WorldsAsMyth – thanks for reading with.

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