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Science

Dear God, don’t these people ever stop to think?

The tree of life has unfolded in staggeringly beautiful and diverse directions over the last four or so billions of years, yielding creatures that swim and soar, shape shift and change color, metamorphose into new forms. More than two million species of organisms have been identified on our planet; the estimates of how many actually exist are far higher. When we scale back our perspective, we begin to understand that the story of nature is one of continuous change—life adapting and evolving into new iterations and expressions over time.

As a trans woman, transformation has become the lens through which I view everything.

Where’s the fucking editor?

Evolution works through reproduction. The one thing you’ve just cut yourself off from by slicing your balls off.

Jeez, there’s thinking you look better and a skirt and then there’s abject stupidity.

Err, no

Flowers ‘giving up’ on scarce insects and evolving to self-pollinate, say scientists

Anyone who’s saying something so damn stupid isn’t a scientist.

Those flowers which do self-pollinate are producing more of the next generation than those which use insects. Got to get evolution the right way around. It’s not “in order to” it’s always “because they did”.

Unparalleled projection

Reindeer’s blue eyes act as night vision goggles to help them find food in winter
Animals’ eyes change colour as colder months approach to enhance UV sight, helping them spot lichen vital for their survival

OK. We also know that blur eyes in humans are a recent genetic advance/deviation, so too is human colonisation of the Far North.

So and therefore, right?

Idiots

The most crucial factor in any semiconductor is size, or the ability of manufacturers to cram ever more computing power into the same amount of space. On this scale, the size of transistors on the chip are measured in nanometers and the smallest are the most powerful. (A single nanometer is equal to one-billionth of a metre.)

The chips going into Apple’s newest iPhone models, made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, use a four nanometer processor.

Previously, China was thought to have only mastered 14-nanometer chips at best, while US sanctions restrict the company to importing 16-nanometer technology from the West.

However, Huawei Mate 60 Pro’s small central processor uses a 7-nanometer chip. TechInsights, an American firm that took apart the device to analyse it, said the Huawei phone’s chip was the most advanced it had ever seen from a Chinese manufacturer.

Washington is now scrambling to figure out how the company engineered such a coup.

If you know that something is possible then you can engineer it. Maybe late, expensively and inefficiently, but you can. This means you can keep a step or two ahead, but you can’t stop the others advancing.

This isn’t so

Humankind struggled to survive during a 100,000 year period during the early Pleistocene, according to researchers who used a computer model to discover a severe population bottleneck in our species’ ancient past.

The bottleneck occurred between 813,000 years ago and 930,000 years ago, and reduced an ancestral human species to less than 1,300 breeding individuals. The issue persisted for 117,000 years, and aligns with a chronological gap in the African and Eurasian human fossil records in that period. The team’s research on the bottleneck was published today in Science.

That’s not something DNA can tell us.

It can – OK, it could – tell us we’re all descended from those 1,300. But it can;t tell us that there were only 1,300. Could have been vast populations all of whose descendants got wiped out.

Not saying that my idea is true, only that it’s possible, given the way that studying current DNA works and what it can tell us. It can tell us who our ancestors were. But not our not ancestors.

I have a cruder suggestion here

The wider availability of foods from around the world and an increase in the number of birch trees being planted are two of the factors behind the doubling of hospital admissions in England for life-threatening allergic reactions in the past 20 years, the UK’s leading allergy charity has said.

Amena Warner, head of clinical services at Allergy UK, the leading national patient charity for people living with all types of allergy, told the Guardian the rise was “hugely worrying”.

In earlier decades those with significant allergies to the world would already be dead.

Now they’re not because treatments exist. Therefore there are more to be treated. Darwin’s Sieve has been thwarted on this particular one.

Idiot nonsense

Time is running out for Britain’s orcas – and we have ourselves to blame

Blather

Entire pod of whales dies in worst mass stranding in Britain
Survivors from group of 55 mammals washed up on Isle of Lewis have to be euthanised after attempts to refloat them fail

There are more strandings, more corpses floating around because there are more whales. Not hunting them was both a good thing and also the reason why there are more. As apex – hmm, not necessarily apex predators but – mammals it’s really only starvation, stranding or old age that gets them.

It really is true that a – note, a – reason for more rotting whale corpses on the beaches is that there are more whales.

An interesting number

The researchers found same-sex behaviour in males was 6.4 per cent heritable, the first evidence of homosexuality being genetic in primates.

Strict homosexuality is, of course, not directly heritable (although there’s always that argument aht gay uncles provides some benefit).

But this 6.4%. In this field is that a big number or not? Compared to, say, blue, brown eyes? Or height. Or, that thing we keep being told isn’t heritable, intelligence?

No, no, no, get evoution the right way around

In humans, the testicles hang outside the body to remain about 3C cooler than body temperature for optimum sperm production. Elephants’ testicles sit within their bodies, keeping them hotter than is ideal for sperm production and increasing the risk that the DNA in the sperm will be damaged. Vollrath argues that elephants evolved to produce multiple copies of the p53 gene to repair the DNA damage in their sperm.

Nothing ever evolves “to”. Those who did not have the extra copies did not produce children, therefore the population became dominated by those who did.

Fascinating

No, really, it is:

Harvesting electricity from the air
Dr Yao said: “What we realised after making the Geobacter discovery is the ability to generate electricity from the air – what we then called the ‘Air-gen effect’ – turns out to be generic.

“Literally any kind of material can harvest electricity from air – as long as it has a certain property.

“It just needs to have holes smaller than 100 nm (nanometers) – or less than a thousandth of the width of a human hair.”

This is because of a parameter known as the “mean free path” – the distance a single molecule of water travels in air before it bumps into another.

The researchers found they could design an electricity harvester based around this number made from a thin layer of material filled with nanopores smaller than 100nm.

New possibilities
They would let water molecules pass from the upper to the lower part of the material.

Each pore is so small they would easily bump into the edge as they pass through – meaning the upper part would be bombarded with many more charge-carrying water molecules than the lower.

It creates a charge imbalance, like those found in a cloud, as the upper part increased its charge relative to the lower part, creating a battery.

Excellent.

And now the question not answered here. How much? Sure, a cloud can produce lightning and that’s a lot. But clouds are also pretty big. So, how much usable power can we get here? Inswhatever it is we use to measure power, watts, amps, grannies or stones?

But this is the thing about science

The QAA guidance suggests that professors should note that “some early ideas in statistics were motivated by their proposers’ support for eugenics, some astronomical data were collected on plantations by enslaved people, and, historically, some mathematicians have recorded racist or fascist views or connections to groups such as the Nazis”.

The corect answer to that is “So fucking what”? Liebnitz was a German – you know, they produced the Nazis – Newton invented the cat flap which makes him an animal oppressor and Einstein was a Jew for goodness sake. Calculus still works tho’…..

Science either is or isn’t and who found out that it is or isn’t doesn’t matter a damn. It’s the is or isn’t that does.

Rilly? Have you?

A genetic feature of the Sars-CoV-2 which makes it so infectious, but has not previously been seen in other coronaviruses, has been identified in the wild by Chinese scientists for the first time.

Before the pandemic, a “furin cleavage site” had not been identified in a bat coronavirus, leading some to suggest that it had been artificially inserted in a lab.

Now scientists working for the Chinese Center for Disease Control have identified two betacoronaviruses – a class of virus found in bats and rodents – with furin cleavage sites and other genetic features similar to Sars-Cov-2.

Gosh. How interesting.

We believe you. Totally.

Genetic sequencing was performed on the stomach contents of 112 bats collected from caves in Hainan Province, China between 30 March and 1 April 2021, according to a study published in Science Direct last week.

Samples collected after the pandemic started then. Hmm.

Well, that proves it then, doesn’t it?

A senior World Health Organisation scientist, who concluded it was “extremely unlikely” Covid-19 leaked from a Chinese laboratory, has been dismissed for sexual misconduct.

The UN agency said Peter Ben Embarek, a Danish scientist, was removed from his post last year.

Dr Embarek said he contested the accusation of harassment and was challenging his dismissal.

As we all know even the accusation of grip on titty means that everything the man has ever done is wrong, is an anathema.

Therefore it was indeed a lab leak, right?

Lessee now

Early woolly mammoths were fluffy with big ears, study finds

So, elephant things, so big ears. And they’re called woolly, so fluffy, yes.

Science just advances so quickly, doesn’t it?

Holy shit

A recent paper by the scholar Patrick Nash suggests between 38 per cent and 59 per cent of British Pakistanis marry first cousins; Alison Shaw, a professor of social anthropology at Oxford, has noted the rate may be rising.

Sure, I knew it happened, but that rate?

One of those problems that will solve itself in three or four generations.

Also known as winning

A serial sperm donor who has fathered 550 children is being sued amid accusations his prolific donations increases the risk of accidental incest.

True, winning at evolution is perhaps better described as achieving grandchildren but he’s certainly increased the odds there, hasn’t he?