Now that is a cover!

Chris is clearly trying to drum up support among My People*.


*My People. You know, godless nature lovers who like turtle sex. We're a  h u g e  demographic.

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I thought you might like that one, PZ.

While my old, clunky, gerbil-powered mySQL database gets over whatever little coronary it seems to be suffering over there that's preventing me from putting ordering info for that issue online, I thought I'd stick some of that info here. Here's some of what the gerbil is trying to publish:

This issue will be on the stands in about a week, so you might check this list of North American magazine retailers to see if one of our outlets is near you.

If not, or if you'd rather see us get something closer to the full cover price as opposed to the thirty-nine cents or so we get from each newsstand sale, send five dollars American per copy to:

Audrey Webb, Associate Publisher
Earth Island Journal
300 Broadway, suite 28
San Francisco, CA, 94133.

Specify that you'd like a copy of the Winter 2006 issue of the Journal, and (please!) include your name and mailing address. we'll eat the poostage, but if you feel like tossing a bit more our way to cover it we wouldn't say "no."

[end gerbilectomy]

This of course presumes that you've already set up your subscription to Seed, the fine publication created by PZ''s new blog hosts. I know I have.

Not only is that dramatic but pretty much encapsulates in one image most of my suspicions when it comes to wholesale, US-approved destruction of the environment.

Great. There are four different shops near me that carry it. I'll be sure to pick up a copy.

By Tara Mobley (not verified) on 13 Jan 2006 #permalink

well, between that issue and the iSpecies link PZ posted yesterday, I already can see how much dissertation writing is going to get done this weekend :).

Incidentally, that sea turtle story has nothing to do with sex among sea turtles, and more to do with the controversial Mexican campaign against using turtle eggs as aphrodisiacs whose public - um - face is the Argentine cheesecake model Dorismar. The article is written by Winona LaDuke.

I just don't want anyone to be disappointed at the lack of hot turtle sex.

Jeebus that's sweet!

The rapture can't happen fast enough

$.39??? Wow. What do you get on a typical subscription deal? I had no idea that my habit of newsstand purchasing was just enriching the middle layers of our fine capitalist machine, and not the hardworking and eloquent writers and editors.

And thanks for bringing some more of the environmental community over here to the land of truth and light where religion is seen as the evil empire it really is. I always get a little concerned when someone wants to save the forests because it is 'God's' bounty.

By Sage Donkey (not verified) on 13 Jan 2006 #permalink

Speaking of religion, you may want to go send some of your priests. . . err I mean open-minded orthodix neo-Darwinian biologists to bring this heretic back to the party line:

He's only the guy who proved that the life-cycle of retrovirii involves the copying of viral RNA back into cell DNA - obviously a know-nothing rightwing Christian nutjob with a fundamentalist axe to grind!

OK, I'm convinced, $5 for hot turtle sex... I'm licking the envelope already! (And I'll join -- I need a treehugger organization too on my N-400 form).

By Alopex Lagopus (not verified) on 13 Jan 2006 #permalink

Chris, how much would it cost to get it sent to outside North America?

By Kristjan Wager (not verified) on 13 Jan 2006 #permalink

I second Kristjan's question. Outside of North America means to northern Europe.

By Magnus Malmborn (not verified) on 14 Jan 2006 #permalink


Telepathic cells! Far out, man!

I don't get why it's called a review, but he talks of a study they did, but presents no statistics on the survival of the supposed mutants. Maybe old age is catching up to the distinguished professor.

I will assume that Matthew Cromer is simply expressing frustration with what he percieves as closed-mindedness on the part of many scientists. I believe that science is a process, not a position, as his blog proclaims.

However, I think the allegation that "neo-Darwinian biologists" are "priests" rather than open-minded scientists represents a grave misunderstanding of what open-mindedness is (or should be) in the sciences.

A few-specific issues though...

People change, and even if and even if somebody (like Miroslav Hill) were a great scientist it is possible that they have lost some part of their abilities. Alternatively, the person may be speaking outside their area of expertise. With that said, reputation is clearly important. I know the characteristics (rigor, creativity, etc.) of many investigators and I consider my opinion of those investigators when looking at their publications. Most working scientist do this (at least to some degree). So reputation is a factor to consider, but it isn't everything.

Furthermore, Hill did NOT prove "that the life-cycle of retrovirii involves the copying of viral RNA back into cell DNA". David Baltimore and the late Howard Temin did this (and it netted them the Nobel Prize). There is an excellent review online at NCBI. Hill and Hillova (1972) [Virology 49: 309-313] showed that total DNA from Rous sarcoma virus tranformed cells could be used to transform cells and cause cells to produce intact retroviruses when it is transfected into uninfected cells. The Hill and Hillova paper looks like a great paper, but to say that Hill is "the guy who proved that the life-cycle of retrovirii" is incorrect. He made an important contribution, but it was a part of a larger effort.

Finally, the biggest problem with citing Hill's work as a problem for neo-Darwinism is that it really doesn't address the central aspects of neo-Darwinism. Is the exact mechanism of mutation or the distribution of mutations in the genome important to neo-Darwinism? I would say that the modern synthesis can accomodate any among locus variance in the rate (or spectrum) of mutations. The idea that mutations are random makes sense given known mechanisms of inheritance. But epigenetic phenomena are known - and they do not invalidate evolutionary theory in any way.

Based upon my (admittedly very cursory examination of the Hill paper) perhaps a mechanism similar to that in reversion of Arabidopsis hothead mutants could explain the "telepathy" (see the blog entry at de rerum natura, though note that Reed Cartwright proposed an alternative to the RNA cache hypothesis) - but if the RNA cache hypothesis is true and animal cells do something similar one could invoke a (admittedly very speculative) model with necessary RNAs secreted by resistant cells and taken up by non-resistant cells.

The experiment Hill did (unless I misunderstood) was to separate cultures into two, one of which is eventually subjected to the selection. As the cells in the selected media died they were replenished by those from the non-selected. The kinetics of resistance mutant accumulation then differ from expectation under a random mutation model. The model I proposed could explain the effect, and is more plausible than some sort of quantum entanglement persisting at physiological temperatures.

I would stress that I won't buy the mutant accumulation until it is better documented in the literature. But even if it is correct it does not invalidate a critical part of neo-Darwinism. In fact, it might make Darwin's acceptance of some inheritance of acquired characters (cf. chapter 24 in Darwin's "The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication") a bit closer to reality. Overall, integrating epigenetics into the modern synthesis will be fascinating, but I strongly suspect that core aspects of evolutionary theory will remain as well corroborated by the data as they are today (and I would assert that the corroboration of the core aspects of evolutionary theory by the data available today is VERY good - as good as ANY theory in science).

I wonder why the Indians didn't develop resistance to smallpox _before_ the Europeans arrived. Must be a distance and/or relatedness limit on the quantum connection...

Dear Dr. Edward Braun,
your quote ("...As the cells in the selected media died they were replenished by those from the non-selected...") is misleading. You have to correct it as follows, page 213 bottom: "A cell line was grown from small inocula in a culture medium containing no selection agent. At each passage, one or more cell samples were withdrawn and seeded into separate flasks (instead on a depleted monolayer) containing the selection medium."
Sincerely, Dr. Miroslav Hill

By Miroslav Hill (not verified) on 09 Feb 2006 #permalink