Science News Tidbits

Tattoo’ed Penis Photograph Scandal; Songbirds Clue us in on Human Brains; Japan To Stop Hunting Humpbacks; Serpentine and Earthquakes — there’s a link; China’s Glaciers Melting; Antiviral Genes have Complex History.

Doctor faces sanction over ‘hot-rod’ penis photo: clinic from PhysOrg.com
A doctor at a prestigious Arizona clinic faces disciplinary action for allegedly photographing the tattooed penis of a patient during surgery, officials confirmed Thursday.

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Songbirds offer clues to highly practiced motor skills in humans from PhysOrg.com
The melodious sound of a songbird may appear effortless, but his elocutions are actually the result of rigorous training undergone in youth and maintained throughout adulthood. His tune has virtually “crystallized” by maturity. The same control is seen in the motor performance of top athletes and musicians. Yet, subtle variations in highly practiced skills persist in both songbirds and humans. Now, scientists think they know why.

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Japan Halts Humpback Hunt from PhysOrg.com
(AP) — Humpback whales are safe – at least for now. Giving in to U.S. pressure and worldwide criticism, Japan’s government on Friday announced a whaling fleet now in the Southern Ocean for its annual hunt will not kill the threatened species as originally planned. The fleet will, however, kill some 935 minke whales, a smaller, more plentiful species, and 50 fin whales.

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Soft, green rock plays role in earthquakes: study from PhysOrg.com
A dark green, unusually soft layer of rock known as serpentine, which coats tectonic plates, plays a key role in the emergence of powerful earthquakes, a US-French study said Thursday.

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Global warming causing China’s glaciers to melt quickly: survey from PhysOrg.com
Global warming has caused some of China’s glaciers — a source for many of Asia’s greatest rivers — to have melted by more than 18 percent over the past five years, state media reported Friday.

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Gene neighbors may have taken turns battling retroviruses from PhysOrg.com
A cluster of antiviral genes in humans has likely battled retroviral invasions for millions of years. New research by Sara Sawyer, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow in the Basic Sciences Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, now finds that in addition to the previously identified TRIM5 gene that can defend against retroviruses like HIV, a related gene right next door, called TRIM22, may have participated in antiviral defense.

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Comments

  1. #1 Norman Sperling
    December 22, 2007

    “Funniest Scientific T-Shirt” Contest Extended to December 31st

    The Journal of Irreproducible Results invites entries for anything from a T-shirt, from any branch of science, medicine, or engineering, from any source. Nothing rated “X”, please. Tell the source of the T-shirt (as much as known). Recollections of old T-shirts are acceptable. You do not have to send the T-shirts themselves; sketches or written descriptions are OK. Photos are better, but will be judged for the funniness of the T-shirt, not the figure of its wearer.

    Wishful thinking category: We also invite entries for “Ought to be on a T”.

    Entrants must be from Earth or its immediate vicinity. JIR’s judging, however arbitrary and capricious, will be final. Winners will be featured in the magazine, anthologies, and http://www.jir.com, and receive a 3-year subscription.

    Entries must be received on paper (or cloth) at JIR\T, 413 Poinsettia Avenue, San Mateo, California 94403, by December 31, 2007.

    Best wishes,
    Norm Sperling, Editor
    nsperling@california.com