Pharyngula

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Friday Cephalopod: When in Seattle…

One must acknowledge the Giant Pacific Octopus.

My arrival in Seattle

First thing when I landed at SeaTac: it started raining, as I’d hoped. Second thing at the airport: we were taking a shuttle bus, and this guy started talking at his friend. I learned many things. It’s obvious that cell phones cause cancer. They radiate energy. Energy causes cancer. QED. The only reason we don’t…

I repeat: Octopuses are NOT aliens

Jebus. The stupidity of the media is maddening. Here are two articles now out there: Don’t freak out, but scientists think octopuses ‘might be aliens’ after DNA study and Octopuses ‘are aliens’, scientists decide after DNA study. These reporters are embarrassing. Not to freak you out or anything, but scientists have just revealed that octopuses…

Well, cool. We’ve got preliminary analysis of the octopus genome, and it’s full of tantalizing goodies, but it’s very preliminary, and the Nature news and comment left me unimpressed. One of the things they seemed to think was a big deal was that Octopus has more genes than we do. Surprisingly, the octopus genome turned…

The paper leaves no room for ambiguity. Note that there’s nothing at all wrong with this — the use of fetal tissue in these kinds of experiments, and many more, is ubiquitous, and it is not obtained by magic, but by the ethical donation of fetal material from abortions and miscarriages and stillbirths. I don’t…

Botanical Wednesday: I need!

We’re leaving for the West coast on Friday, and of course my creaky old joints are lancing me with stabby excruciating pain. I have seen my doctor. I have pills. Because I must restore myself with red cedar, Sitka spruce, sea stacks, tide pools, banana slugs, great herds of sea urchins, and the ocean and…

Amanda Marcotte rips into stupid gotcha by Marco Rubio. When Rubio appeared on CNN after Thursday night’s Republican debate, he kept insisting that this vague entity called “science” has declared that human life begins at conception. (Actual biologists, for what it’s worth, argue that life is continuous and that a fertilized egg is no more…

I saw this video and that description, and my first thought was “siphonophore”. Got it in one.

What’s going on, Scotland?

Scotland is going to formally ban the cultivation of genetically modified crops. Apparently, this was an easy step for them to take, because it’s the scientists who are explaining that this is a foolish move, and everyone knows you can just ignore the scientists. I also think it’s a matter of fearing the unknown. Scotland…

Those sneaky gingers pop up everywhere

I have a brother with red hair. I also have a son with red hair. Once upon a time, my beard and mustache contained many red hairs among the dominant browns. If you’ve ever wondered how these gingers appear all over the place, Petra Haak-Bloem offers a good explanation (although it needs some editing: how…