Shared posts

10 Dec 10:10

When your semen carries another man's DNA

by Minnesotastan
Excerpts from an absolutely fascinating report in the New York Times:
Three months after his bone marrow transplant, Chris Long of Reno, Nev., learned that the DNA in his blood had changed. It had all been replaced by the DNA of his donor, a German man he had exchanged just a handful of messages with...

But four years after his lifesaving procedure, it was not only Mr. Long’s blood that was affected. Swabs of his lips and cheeks contained his DNA — but also that of his donor. Even more surprising to Mr. Long and other colleagues at the crime lab, all of the DNA in his semen belonged to his donor. “I thought that it was pretty incredible that I can disappear and someone else can appear,” he said...

Mr. Long had become a chimera, the technical term for the rare person with two sets of DNA. The word takes its name from a fire-breathing creature in Greek mythology composed of lion, goat and serpent parts. Doctors and forensic scientists have long known that certain medical procedures turn people into chimeras, but where exactly a donor’s DNA shows up — beyond blood — has rarely been studied with criminal applications in mind...

He added that patients also sometimes ask him what it means for a man to have a woman’s chromosomes in their bloodstream or vice versa. “It doesn’t matter,” he said.


But for a forensic scientist, it’s a different story. The assumption among criminal investigators as they gather DNA evidence from a crime scene is that each victim and each perpetrator leaves behind a single identifying code — not two...

In 2004, investigators in Alaska uploaded a DNA profile extracted from semen to a criminal DNA database. It matched a potential suspect. But there was a problem: The man had been in prison at the time of the assault. It turned out that he had received a bone marrow transplant. The donor, his brother, was eventually convicted...

In 2008, he was trying to identify the victim of a traffic accident for the National Forensic Service in Seoul, South Korea. Blood showed that the individual was female. But the body appeared to be male, which was confirmed by DNA in a kidney, but not in the spleen or the lung, which contained male and female DNA. Eventually, he figured out that the victim had received a bone marrow transplant from his daughter.
More worth reading at the link.
10 Dec 07:40

Bottles on the seashore: deathtraps for hermit crabs

by Minnesotastan


It seems one can't browse the 'net these days without finding yet another way that humans are devastating the natural world.  When a hermit crab climbs into a bottle, the surface may be too slippery for it to climb back out.  This report from the Washington Post:
Many of the bottles, cans and containers were not empty. Scores of hermit crabs, mostly dead, were trapped inside... They estimate 570,000 of the crabs have been killed on Cocos, which is composed of 27 islands, and that 61,000 more have died in a similar fashion on Henderson Island, located more than 8,000 miles away...

When a hermit crab dies, it emits a chemical signal to let others know that a potential shell has become available, Bond explained. Thus, a crab that dies after trying to make a home out of plastic sets off an insidious chain reaction: The smell attracts another who dies, and so on, generating an ultra-strong signal that leads even more of the crabs to an almost-certain demise.
10 Dec 07:34

Data Error

Cyanobacteria wiped out nearly all life on Earth once before, and they can do it again!
09 Dec 14:56

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Unique

by tech@thehiveworks.com


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
What if we are the Vogons? I mean, how would we know?


Today's News:
04 Dec 16:14

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Affection

by tech@thehiveworks.com


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Hovertext:
Wild orchids are nice but not all that impressive, so really it's a subtle insult.


Today's News:
03 Dec 11:08

Is it Christmas?

We've tested it on 30 different days and it hasn't gotten one wrong yet.
01 Dec 21:25

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Evolution

by tech@thehiveworks.com


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Hovertext:
Laugh all you want, but that moth is gonna have total choice of mates.


Today's News:
27 Nov 21:22

The Brassica cousins

by Minnesotastan

I knew they were related; didn't know they were selected in this fashion.  Interesting.  via.
21 Nov 08:06

Clever decal

by Minnesotastan

Available here, via BoingBoing.
21 Nov 04:08

The Time Before and After Land

According to Google, "the time for Beeland" is apparently whenever you're looking for delicious honey in Spillimacheen, British Columbia or a hexagonal chalet in the Savinja valley in Slovenia.
18 Nov 17:56

A "bleeding heart" dove

by Minnesotastan

One of the gallicolumbas.  "This genus includes the bleeding-hearts known from the Philippines. Most are named for their vivid-red patch on the breast, which looks startlingly like a bleeding wound in some species and has reminded naturalists of a dagger stab.

The image reminds me of some birds (seabirds? penguins?) that have patches on their breasts that chicks peck, but in this species the red patches are on the breasts of the males.  Via for the image.
14 Nov 15:20

Machine Learning Captcha

More likely: Click on all the pictures of people who appear disloyal to [name of company or government]
14 Nov 15:19

roasted cabbage with walnuts and parmesan

by deb

I began making variations on this dish about a year ago and since then it has become — and I’m sorry, I know how annoying unrelenting, gasping praise of every recipe that crosses your social media threshold can sound, despite feeling certain that here it’s warranted — everything. It’s a warm salad for cold weather. It’s Starter Cabbage for people who are cabbage suspect (savoy is lacier and less heavy than the white/red stuff). It’s a quick vegetable dish that’s not a salad or bland broccoli that my kids, by some rare miracle, agree to (they like the crispy crackly outer leaves). It’s even better from the tray (which keeps it hot) than it is from a plate, which is basically a reward for being as lazy as I prefer to be. With prep and even oven-warming, it takes exactly 20 minutes to make. Finally, it’s the kind of humble, economical dish that feels good at a time of year when we need to shell out for so many extra things.

Read more »

12 Nov 22:09

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Coffee

by tech@thehiveworks.com


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Hovertext:
This is how he has learned to love his commute.


Today's News:
10 Nov 18:46

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Abduction

by tech@thehiveworks.com


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Hovertext:
There's a good ten trillion word thinkpiece to be written about how all conspiracy theories are at their core delusions of grandeur.


Today's News:
09 Nov 09:53

Casual sexism

by Minnesotastan


Via BoingBoing.
06 Nov 19:51

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Destroy

by tech@thehiveworks.com


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Hovertext:
If you ever want to see some sheer brutality, watch an ecologist come across a nest of invasives.


Today's News:
03 Nov 21:27

To me, the top photo is more fascinating

by Minnesotastan

The images are "before and after" photos of the "El Castillo" step-pyramid at Chichen Itza.

The lower photo reveals the incredible workmanship and brings to mind the probably decades of human labor required to create this magnificent structure.  The upper photo shows how the natural world "reclaimed" the pyramid during a thousand years of rampant growth, giving just a hint of what can be accomplished given enough time.  Extend that to tens of thousands of years, or hundreds, and wonder how much of the "anthropocene" will be detectable in our planet's future.
01 Nov 22:33

Screen Time

These new Bluetooth socks are great, but it's troubling to learn that I average almost 14 hours of Shoe Time a day.
31 Oct 12:46

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Package

by tech@thehiveworks.com


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Hovertext:
I've also gotten reviews that say that my comics not meant for kids are, in fact, inappropriate for kids.


Today's News:

Thanks everyone! We hit #13 on all books on amazon yesterday. Hope you like your books!

31 Oct 12:45

Terminator: Dark Fate

I was sent here to stop the robot that was sent here to protect the human who was sent here to protect the human who was sent here to destroy the robot that was sent here to vacuum the floor.
29 Oct 22:06

Emulation

I laugh at the software as if I'm 100% confident that it's 2019.
29 Oct 22:04

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Science Advisor

by tech@thehiveworks.com


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Hovertext:
I am available for this job, TV.


Today's News:

Thanks, geeks!

26 Oct 07:47

Just when you think you know all the mammals...

by Minnesotastan

... someone posts a photo of a yapok (water opossum).
Being a marsupial and at the same time an aquatic animal, the water opossum has evolved a way to protect its young while swimming. A strong ring of muscle makes the pouch (which opens to the rear) watertight, so the young remain dry, even when the mother is totally immersed in water. The male also has a pouch (although not as watertight as the female's), where he places his genitalia before swimming. This is thought to prevent them from becoming tangled in aquatic vegetation and is probably helpful in streamlining the animal as well.
26 Oct 07:47

Rooster with an incredible tail

by Minnesotastan

Created by humans with selective breeding.
The Onagadori (Japanese: 尾長鶏, "long-tailed chicken") is a historic Japanese breed of chicken, characterised by an exceptionally long tail. It was bred in the seventeenth century in Kōchi Prefecture, on Shikoku island in southern Japan, and was designated a Japanese National Natural Treasure in 1952. It is one of the ancestors of the German Phoenix breed.

The principal characteristic of the Onagadori is its exceptionally long tail, which exceeds 1.5 metres, and has been known to reach 12 m. The tail consists of about 16–18 feathers, which under the right conditions never moult, and grow rapidly, gaining some 0.7–1.3 m per year.
26 Oct 07:46

White bellbird

by Minnesotastan

In the news recently for having the world's loudest birdcall.  Of more interest to me because of its unusual appearance...
Besides the screams, the male bellbirds display another weird trait the researchers suggest they evolved as a lure for females: long dangly nose ornaments called wattles, which make the males appear to be perpetually finishing up a lizard meal.
 More about wattles.
26 Oct 07:28

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Man on the Moon

by tech@thehiveworks.com


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Hovertext:
Failure is not an option because we no longer have a rocket large enough to attempt something we could fail at.


Today's News:
18 Oct 07:07

The Case of the Missing Sausage

by Minnesotastan

Discussed at the Funny subreddit.
18 Oct 07:05

Snow ravioli

by Minnesotastan

Or a raviolo, to be more precise.  Image cropped for emphasis from the original.
17 Oct 05:10

Percent Milkfat

"So what's dark energy?" "Cosmologists and the FDA are both trying very hard to find out."