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Only technology will save us

The New York Times has a scary but numerically rich piece on the impending pension crisis in Europe. As in the days of yore Greece looks to be a pioneer. Here’s an interesting pair of numbers: According to research by Jagadeesh Gokhale, an economist at the Cato Institute in Washington, bringing Greece’s pension obligations onto…

I remember Craig Venter talking about synthetic life in the fall of 2007 with Carl Zimmer. Last summer he said that we’d have the first “synthetic species” by the end of the year. I haven’t heard about it in 2010, have you? Anyone have info on what’s going on here? No surprise that project deadlines…

Two papers on Ancient DNA

Reviewed by other ScienceBloggers: Prehistoric DNA reveals the story of a Pleistocene survivor, the muskox Ancient DNA Isolated from Fossil Eggshells May Provide Clues to Eggstinction of Giant Birds

Walking & racing to modernity

Two quantitative facts of note from When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order: From page 33: Although the passage to modernity universally involves the transition from an agrarian to service-based society via an industrial one, here we find another instance of European exceptionalism.…

Disqus and Echo

I’m starting to see Disqus and Echo all over the web. Anyone else notice this? I wasn’t happy when I had to move Gene Expression Classic off Haloscan, so the whole “death of comments” fad isn’t something I’m a fan of. But it seems like Facebook’s creation of a successful private web is now driving…

Vitamin D & T cells

I have mentioned before the current fad in vitamin D related papers in the medical literature. It’s also broken into the pop culture Zeitgeist as well, I regularly get forwards on the topic. Here is a Google Trends chart for the United States: The history of medicine is, unfortunately, rather similar to the history of…

On content redundancy

Felix Salmon, Link-phobic bloggers at the NYT and WSJ: The problem, here, is that the bloggers at places like the NYT and the WSJ are print reporters, and aren’t really bloggers at heart. I discovered this a couple of weeks ago, after I posted a long and detailed blog entry on the court case between…

The odds of knowing your cousins: 23andme Part 1: Bizarrely, Jonathan Zittrain turns out to be my cousin — which is odd because I have known him for some time and he is also very active in the online civil rights world. How we came to learn this will be the first of my postings…

Iceland tells them to shove it

Icelanders reject deal to repay British and Dutch: The outcome of the referendum had not been in doubt since Iceland had recently been offered better repayment terms than those contained in the deal on which residents were voting. Partial referendum results from around a third of the cast votes showed 93 percent opposed the deal…

Billion year contract

This is funny: Raised as Scientologists, Christie King Collbran and her husband, Chris, were recruited as teenagers to work for the elite corps of staff members who keep the Church of Scientology running, known as the Sea Organization, or Sea Org. They signed a contract for a billion years – in keeping with the church’s…