A Directory of Randomness

I sometimes regret tethering this blog so tightly to the activities of the ICR – it means it’s harder for me to talk about what I want (not that I’m very good at that). After all, moments of hilarity and craziness are by no means limited to this one organisation. And science itself is cool too, I suppose. Anyway, here are some vaguely-relevant things I have read recently: Continue reading

Disposable DNA

Skip ahead to the ENCODE stuff if you don’t care for the Tomkins posts.

For his blog post for this week (or last, depending on how you look at it) Jeffrey Tomkins wrote Deleting “Junk DNA” – Does it Matter? I’ll let him explain some of the background:

Does deleting “Junk DNA” in laboratory studies, such as in mice make a difference? Interestingly, a colleague of mine just recently pointed out a paper in which exactly this type of research was undertaken. In fact the study is a few years old, and was done in 2004. However, after a search of the literature, I have not been able to find anything similar.

Because this paper, however, shows up prominently on the web as some sort of proof for “Junk DNA”. I felt that a brief review of the facts that were actually discovered in the research are in order.

I don’t think I’d ever come across the paper – Megabase deletions of gene deserts result in viable mice (pdf) – before, actually. But it does look like it could be useful in future. Let’s see if Tomkins can persuade me against it, shall we? Continue reading

Pre-emptive Strike: Neanderthal Double-Think

Neanderthals: Human, yet differentDoing the science blogosphere rounds is a paper in PNASEffect of ancient population structure on the degree of polymorphism shared between modern human populations and ancient hominins, pdf available here – that claims that the observed differences in genetic similarity with Neanderthals between Eurasians and Africans can be explained entirely by the population structure of ancient Africa and without recourse to interbreeding between Neanderthals and humans leaving the continent. This has received a fair bit of flack from said blogs – first because the media were allowed to publish articles on the paper some time before it was actually released, but later on the grounds that the paper was “obsolete.” Continue reading

It’s Dinofuz!

So, as I predicted in my DpSU Predictions post only a few days ago, Brian Thomas of the ICR has indeed written an article on the subject of the Mesozoic feathers preserved in Amber, called Have Scientists Finally Found ‘Dinofuzz’? Here’s a picture of what we’re talking about, which you will have already seen if you read the predictions post – go here for some more, even better ones.

Bird feather in amber A bird feather in amber. Now Read On →

DpSU Predictions – September 20

Today’s DpSU – Design in DNA: Flexibility Is Just Right – is pretty boring. The flexibility of DNA is just right – too little and it would break, too much and it wont return to its shape (or something like that) – blah, blah, blah. If you really need me to explain exactly how this is all B.S. email me. Don’t worry – I wont tell anyone.

So – what else to do? Not wishing to repeat  the Star That Should Not Exist debacle with so many obvious creationist targets flying around this week, I intend to list all the recent science news that I think I’ll find myself writing about soon, along with anything else interesting and vaguely relevant. That’s right: I intend to predict the future!

An astrological clock in Venice. Remember kids: astrology is B.S. too, but that doesn't mean I can't have some fun with it. An astrological clock in Venice. Remember kids: astrology is B.S. too, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun with it. Now Read On →