Why We Don’t Bark

Not that you didn’t know that we aren’t dogs, science has proof of that fact. In the drawing below are the 23 chromosomes of a dog. The amount of color in each represents the amount of genes that we and dogs have in common.

  
My y-chromosome is less like a dog’s which is why I had children, not pups.

Yet the reason I bring this artistic representation to your attention is to show how dull and perhaps unfamiliar data can be represented artistically to not only pique interest, but also to explain the concept more thoroughly than mere numbers can.

Here is the video associated with this concept.

http://youtu.be/dvM4JPGsmVw

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To my dear friend……

As I settled down with a cold beer and a lot of time I decided to check in on my favorite blogs. I too have not been in the blogosphere lately. I come here, only to read the news from our friend Laci.

I first met Patrick here the same time I met the likes of Mudrake, Laci, EOK, and others. Needless to say, we didn’t all hit it off tremendously, LOLOL. Maybe it was the company that I kept on my blog. Maybe it was because I came off as a brash, young punk. But Patrick reached out to me via e-mail. We had numerous conversations through that medium that I will always cherish. After learning a little about his younger life, I think it was that brash, young, punkish behavior that drew us together. LOLOLOL

As it turns out, Patrick and I had a lot in common. We loved the same music. I introduced him to some new stuff, and boy did he introduce me to some new artists. We had exercise in common. I helped with some weightlifting issues, and he helped me with cardio issues. There were a lot of times I hated him for that, LOLOLOL. But I am a healthier young man today, because of Patrick. And we definitely shared the same love for third party politics. I have always thought it was the only way to change our political landscape, Patrick agreed and even endorsed it on his blog.

But the true magic that Patrick held, was his ability to really put your beliefs to the test. He made you question everything. He even argued the benefits of nationalized healthcare on my blog. He did that as a favor to me. And he preached to an audience of ultra conservatives. I warned him beforehand of the Conservatives that followed my blog, and the shit that he would most likely get. But he didn’t care. I think in the end Patrick was one of those men that felt, if he could change just one life, open just one mind, it was worth it…… And that he did! Patrick made me a more tolerant man. He made me a more understanding man. He helped make me a better Father and Husband. He truly made me a better person.

I will forever be grateful to have met and talked to him. even if on a computer. The one regret I will always have is that I never got to shake his hand and give him a hug. The logistics were never there. Patrick knew that one of my bucket list wishes was to go to the Wacken music festival in Germany. He always said, “If you ever make it there, we will fiqure out a way to meet”. Well Patrick, this will be the year, and I will drink a beer in toast to you. Most likely when Sepultura starts their set….. This song is dedicated to you

Rest peacefully my dear friend….You will forever live in my heart, and soul….

Your friend, Jon O’Brien

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I hope I am wrong, but

it appears that Microdot is no longer with us on this mortal plane.  I haven’t been in the blogosphere much lately, but I have been on facebook.Patrick Howe

I knew he had been seriously ill, but I didn’t know about his passing until a post landed on my newsfeed this morning.  From what I gather, he died on the 18th.  He would have been 65 on the 25th.

I have to admit a lot of shock about this since I thought he was pretty healthy.  As I said, I knew he had been seriously ill earlier this year.

But, it’s really shocking to find out about someone’s passing from facebook post.

RIP Microdot (AKA Patrick Howe).

P.S. Forgive the blogpost, but I was in a bit of a shock even though I knew he has suffered a serious illness in March.  I thought he had gotten over it, but I was wrong.

It sucks to get this sort of information through a facebook newsfeed.

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We are Not the Happiest People

The U.S. Often brags, “We’re number one!” But in happiness, we’re number 15. So says the ‘happiness index” of the United Nations. (can you just hear some old fart grumble about the UN as he watches this story on Fox!)

The U.N. happiness report, published every year since 2012, shows that happiness and well-being are critical indicators of a country’s economic and social development, according to a statement from the SDSN. What’s more, the 2015 report, released Thursday (April 23), serves as a guide and reminder that world leaders should consider the happiness of their citizens whenever they make policy decisions, the U.N. statement said.
Not surprisingly, nations in the EU topped the list. The Swiss were #1. “The aspiration of society is the flourishing of its members,” said a member of the panel. How “flourishing’ is the U.S.? 

  

Most of the differences in happiness among countries could be explained by six factors: levels of gross domestic product (GDP), life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom and level of corruption, the researchers found.

Seven of the top 10 are from Europe where health care is universal. Where education is free or low-cost even to university. Where social benefits are generous. Sadly,  we in the U.S. bitch about taxes (or are led to such complaints by big-money interests) and, as a result, we lack this social safety net- the one enjoyed as routine elsewhere above us.

As long as the paid propagandists continue to misinform the masses, and as long as our citizens refuse to enlighten themselves about the issues, we will remain out of the top 10. As a result, we all suffer together.

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Audi Invents Fuel Made From CO₂ and Water

An Audi research facility in Dresden, Germany, has managed to create the first batches of diesel fuel with a net-zero carbon footprint — made from carbon dioxide (CO2), water and renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power.

Germany’s government has welcomed the new technology, created in partnership with a greentech company called Sunfire. Johanna Wanka, Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and Research, even test drove the fuel and called it, “a crucial contribution to climate protection and the efficient use of resources,” according to an Audi press release.

http://time.com/3837814/audi-environmental-protection-green-energy-climate-change-cars/

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Do You Live in an Earthquake Zone?

  

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Jumping Genes

No, not jumping jeans. We’re talking DNA not dancing music. Horizontal DNA transfer is a booming field of evolutionary science which is hot on the trail of explaining large leaps in evolution. H-DNA transfer can occur between species and, in fact, between the plant and animal kingdom. It also can occur between viruses and other species as well as between bacteria and higher forms of life. We’re not just talking infection but gene/DNA transfer into the other species.

Take the lowly sweet potato. Sweet potatoes from all over the world naturally contain genes from the bacterium Agrobacterium. Researchers from UGent and the International Potato Institute (CIP) published this discovery on the website of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America). Interestingly, the sweet potato is one of the most important food crops for human consumption in the world. Because of the presence of this “foreign” DNA, sweet potato can be seen as a “natural GMO.”But, it was ‘modified’ by bacteria, not lab scientists.

  

                                                                   Photo courtesy of Science Daily

This gene transfer is most common in a group of organisms which scientists have labeled prokaryotes- organisms which do not have a defined nucleus to envelop its DNA materials. An article in Aeon by Ferris Jebr states:

‘What scientists have seen is just a little tip of an immense iceberg,’ says Antonio Teixeira, a biologist at the University of Brasilia. W Ford Doolittle, a biochemist at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, agrees: horizontal gene transfer, he wrote recently ‘is far more pervasive and more radical in its consequences than we could have guessed just a decade ago’. Researchers have now discovered so many examples of gene transfer between species and kingdoms of life – with many more surely to come – that they have to adjust their understanding of how evolution works. Standard evolutionary theory does not account for the possibility of complex organisms suddenly acquiring genes from other species, let alone how those foreign genes might change a creature for better or worse. Think of it this way: if the genomes of living species are flowers on different branches of the great evolutionary tree of life, horizontal gene transfer is a subversive wind whipping pollen from one part of the tree to another.

What about us? Well, if we put on our Thinking Caps, we might be able to imagine that we are big clumps of composite DNA which got transferred into us from non-human sources along our evolutionary trail. In other words, we may be the at the top of evolutionary heap, having acquired bits and pieces of ‘stuff’ from creatures lower in the pile. Not exactly what Genesis says especially the part about being made in the image of God.

For an interesting read about how the fern stole the DNA from the hornwort visit http://aeon.co/magazine/science/how-horizontal-gene-transfer-changes-evolutionary-theory/

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