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Molly Cule
156648.  Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:16 pm Reply with quote

And here is a picture....

First successful insertion of picture by me. Horaay! Thanks James and Jenny.

156688.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:28 am Reply with quote

Ooh - red rag to a bull time! :-D
Flagellums (flagella?) are used to refute the idea of evolution - the design is so perfect that it must have come into being all of a piece.

The word 'used' there implies that there is some kind of cogent or successful argument going on on the part of the creationists, appealing to 'irriducible complexity', which there isn't, as I hope we appreciate.
...and about a gajillion other places on the web.

Still, it's an incredible piece of kit. Some flagella have become exapted into micro-injection devices:
For example, the bubonic plague bacterium Yersinia pestis has an organelle assembly very similar to a complex flagellum except that it functions as

156716.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:50 am Reply with quote

This wheel generates electricity by rotating at huge speeds (up to 100 times per second),

So, coming back to the discussion elsewhere about popular units of measurement, how many cups of tea could you make with the amount of electricity a bacterium generates in its lifetime? Can we use them as a cheap fuel source?

157237.  Fri Mar 16, 2007 6:08 pm Reply with quote

I'd like to find a slightly more kosher source for this, but it's a good gag.

The Russian physicist Lev Landau once attended a session of the Russian Academy of Sciences at which the notorious agronomist Trofim Lysenko (the founder of "creative Darwinism") gave a lecture on the so-called inheritance of acquired traits. When the talk was over, Landau asked a penetrating question: "You argue that if we will cut off the ear of a cow, and the ear of its offspring, and so on, sooner or later the earless cows will start to be born?" "Yes, that's right," Lysenko replied. "Then," Landau continued, "how do you explain the virgins that are still being born?"

Landau, Lev Davidovich (1908-1968) Russian physicist, Nobel Prize recipient (Physics, 1962) [noted for his pioneering work in low-temperature physics and the quantum mechanical study of condensed states]

157270.  Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:46 am Reply with quote

Lovely story - but does it really need a firm source? As soon as you call something an anecdote, you’re more or less saying “This might be apocryphal,” aren’t you? (Especially if you’re Stephen Fry.)

Molly Cule
160302.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 5:49 am Reply with quote

The first modern human being was called "Handy Man" or homo habilis, the first of the homo genus.

160415.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:22 am Reply with quote

Poor old William Sidis was a rather sad character despite his intelligence, as the Wikipedia article about him makes clear. He also died in 1944, so there may be aspects of the 2LTD and entropy that weren't clear at that date. Also, although he certainly was staggeringly bright, by that stage he was working at menial jobs and focusing mainly on his hobby of collecting streetcar transfer tickets. He wrote a book about the latter, which somebody described as 'the most boring book in the world.'

160424.  Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:03 am Reply with quote

Surely an Ennui link there...

160721.  Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:57 am Reply with quote

Watch this from the simpsons, quite similar to my fave ever music video by fatboy slim.

160731.  Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:25 am Reply with quote

Excellent. I saw that yesterday - doesn't take long to get around. Very similar to the Guinness advert too.

Molly Cule
161120.  Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:04 am Reply with quote

The Wallace Line is rather QI. It's a notional line between Borneo and Sulawesi which separates the fauna of Asia and Australasia, reflecting the stage at which continental drift separated the two continents. i did know about it but I had forgotten and I think it's interesting.

Alfred Russel Wallace, the so-called father of animal geography, formulated his ideas on evolution by natural selection while observing and collecting wildlife in the islands of Southeast Asia. He was particularly impressed by the sudden difference in bird families he encountered when he sailed some twenty miles east of the island of Bali and landed on Lombok. On Bali the birds were clearly related to those of the larger islands of Java and Sumatra and mainland Malaysia. On Lombok the birds were clearly related to those of New Guinea and Australia. He marked the channel between Bali and Lombok as the divide between two great zoogeographic regions, the Oriental and Australian. In his honor this dividing line, which extends northward between Borneo and Sulawesi, is still referred to today as Wallace's Line.

161293.  Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:20 pm Reply with quote

Here, in fact:

I like the indisputable fact that South America, Australia and Antarctica were once joined together, as shown by the fact that there are marsupials in South America.

Presumably, when all the ice on Antarctica melts, we'll find lots of exciting new marsupial fossils lying about...

161513.  Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:44 am Reply with quote

Evolution link to Elephants:

Sri Lankan elephants have many problems - but not ivory poaching. Due to a genetic fluke, or else to natural selection by earlier hunting, few Lankan eles have tusks.

S: Scigliano.

161569.  Fri Mar 30, 2007 9:44 am Reply with quote

I wonder if it's because they live in forests, where tusks would just be inconvenient, catching on the undergrowth. Forest elephants in Africa have tiny tusks too.

Malta, along with a few other Mediterranean islands, used to have dwarf elephants:

161581.  Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:02 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
dwarf elephants

Seems to defeat the whole object, doesn’t it? Like decaffeinated coffee.


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