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Friday, May 29, 2009

Today in the News (29 May 09)

Evolution:
Sometimes while searching for news to report here, I am amazed at the places that do indeed have news that I otherwise have heard nothing about. In this case, it's The Hindu News Update Service with this story on some possible additional functions of "junk" DNA. Basically, the repeated sequences help with rapid environmental changes.

I got a kick out of this article where they equipped robots with fins at Vassar, and simulated evolution. While it may not give us insights into exactly how things were back 540 Million years ago, it does give us insights into the process. Especially as they model more and more complex interactions.

I also saw this article on humans being evolved to actually care about long term things like the environment. I guess this only means that about half of Americans have had this genetic trait bred out of us?

Finally, this article about how so few people actually understand evolution really hit home. It is amazing how many misconceptions there are. It's so difficult to defend something, when the detractors have absolutely no idea what it is that they are opposing!

Autism/Vaccines:
Today there are two more articles on the whole "Vaccines causes Autism" war. The Public Library of Science, a peer-reviewed open access journal has this article about bridging the gap of trust and fear between parents and scientists. I was disheartened to see the author say that this silly autism/vaccine link is an "evidence resistant theory", meaning that no matter what someone says, people will insist on believing what they want to believe, and damn the consequences.

That's why I was also very interested in this article dealing more on the ethics side of the debate. I was particularly amused byt this quote: "If you're not willing to do your part for herd immunity, you need to take responsibility for staying out of the herd." It got the savage part of me wondering if I could help cull the herd of some "mistakes" in behaviour. Although the body count would probably be prohibitive to the survival of the species.

2 comments:

  1. Neat website guys!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Cheyenne. Still fine tuning it. Could use help from the blogging department if you're game.

    ReplyDelete

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