Life Science

The Discovery Institute doesn’t understand the protein folding problem. I mean that literally: they don’t understand the problem. Scientists don’t know the answer, but they have a clear understanding of the problem. PNAS published a “Perspective” article, “The Nature of Protein Folding Pathways,” by S. Walter Englander and Leland Mayne. Unsurprisingly, they try to approach…

The image below is a phylogram, illustrating the degree of variation in a sequence of mitochondrial DNA. The concept is fairly simple: if two DNA samples are from individuals that are evolutionarily distant from one another, they’ll have accumulated more differences in their mitochondrial DNA, and will be drawn farther apart from one another. If…

Creationists and Ebola

The title of this article by Answers In Genesis is a good question: Where Did Ebola Come From? *shrug* Look, I love making fun of Creationists, but this is a great question! Ebola is not ‘supposed’ to be a human pathogen. Like many emerging infectious diseases, the natural reservoir for ebola is bats. Specifically, fruit bats.…

I have to admit that my first response to these reports out of Britain that stem cells had been successfully used to repair a complete spinal cord transection was skepticism — incredulity even. They’re reporting that a man with a completely severed spinal cord at level T10-T11 is able to walk again! The Guardian gushes!…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Zombies!

Browse this list of images…all of them of real, live, genuine zombified organisms. Just in time for Halloween!

What, this is a thing?

A paper that made extravagant weight loss claims for green coffee beans has been retracted. This study had been touted by Dr Oz, of course — no fraud is to ludicrous for him — and rebutted by Scott Gavura, and I’m generally suspicious of any dietary supplement that promises weight loss without reducing calories or…

Friday Cephalopod: UNFOLLOW

I just learned that the Blogess has “giant squid phobia”. Several people are aware of my severe giant squid phobia and lovingly (?) sent me this video of a giant squid attacking a Greenpeace submarine, and that’s unsettling enough, but WHY IS THERE ANOTHER SQUID BEHIND IT SPITTING OUT FIRE?  Is that a real thing?  Because I…

Can pets contract ebola?

According to a new statement from the CDC, while Ebola is deadly to humans and animals, it is very difficult to catch. Therefore, they concluded that pets are not at significant risk of Ebola in the US. Moreover, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming ill in Africa. For more information, visit…

I have. So I surfed the web and found this neat video from Smithsonian that explains it all.

An Open Memo on Ebola and Water

As input to the ongoing discussions about how to meet and overcome the spreading risks of Ebola, here are some summary thoughts about the water-related components of U.S. efforts. Specifics about the operations and effectiveness of water treatment or supply technologies, or the medical and health implications of their use must be verified by the…