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Today's menagerie of useless information

Earliest Gunshot Victim in New World Is Reported

Forensic experts at the University of New Haven, in Connecticut, confirmed the violent nature of the deaths. Albert B. Harper, executive director of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the university, said, “We tried to rule out all kinds of causes of the hole — a rock from a slingshot, spear, sledgehammer.”

An examination of the skull with a scanning electron microscope detected the otherwise invisible iron traces, Dr. Harper said, sealing the verdict of death by a musket ball fired from a range of perhaps 100 feet.


I know a colleague of the Forensics expert that they mention and he is coming this year to give a talk at our summer workshop. This will be a neat thing to talk to him about.

Also interesting in the world of science:

If you think sex is kinky, wait till you see the alternatives.

Still, the process hadn't been proved in sharks or mammals. And there seemed to be a good reason why. An egg that fertilizes itself makes two identical sets of chromosomes, including sex chromosomes. In birds, snakes, and most lizards, two identical sex chromosomes make a male. That allows parthenogenesis to function as a DNA survival mechanism, since an isolated female—close your ears, kids—can produce a son and mate with him. But in sharks or mammals, this wouldn't work, since two identical sex chromosomes—XX—make a female.

...

For explaining everyday life—babies, puppies, puberty—the mommy-daddy story of procreation works fine. But at life's edges, conventional biology, like conventional physics, breaks down. As you approach the speed of light, time slows and distances shrink. And as you approach extinction, genes find new ways to pass themselves on. Scientists call it "reproductive plasticity." A Komodo dragon manufactures a mate. A shark's got to do what a shark's got to do.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
houses7177
Jun. 20th, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC)
That is positively awesome. Thanks for the tidbits!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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