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Japan Orders Military To Strike Any New North Korea Missiles

the biologist Re:Sounds good! (107 comments)

No, he's saying that the North has been holding the South hostage to get what they want. They might threaten to bomb the South if Japan knocks down one of their 'peaceful test' missiles.

about two weeks ago
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Scientists Publish Letter Saying, "We Need More Scientific Mavericks"

the biologist Re:Hire/promote dont just complain (126 comments)

As someone going through a PhD program in biology you don't know what the hell you're talking about. The only institutional line that matters is, "Bring in grant money!".

The rest of it is pretty much spot-on, but not really any different than in business or anywhere else. You've got to convince your bosses to keep from firing you, after all.

about a month ago
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First Look At the Animals of the New Hebrides Trench

the biologist Re:Atmospheric pressure (40 comments)

Pressure bothers us because we have internal air spaces, which get compressed. If you were full of nigh-incompressible water, the depth isn't so much of a problem.

about a month and a half ago
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Asteroids Scarred By Solar System's Violent Youth

the biologist Re:Wow (31 comments)

Academic jobs are rarely describable as 'cushy' and require lots of work all the time to simply justify their existence. This doesn't mean there are no crackpots, but it does mean your general perspective on academic life as depicted here is flawed.

about 3 months ago
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Monogamy May Have Evolved To Prevent Infanticide

the biologist Re:NO (256 comments)

You do realize that you're full of shit here, right? I'm not entirely sure you realize this because you're not posting as AC.

about 9 months ago
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Ohio Zoo Attempts To Mate Female Rhino With Her Brother For Species Survival

the biologist Re:Never released in the wild (272 comments)

There have been many successful reintroductions, but the general criteria for them is that the habitat has to exist. In the case of black rhinos, the habitat is still being abused by poaching/etc, so reintroducing the animals won't help the population. The successful reintroductions tend to be with smaller species that never got the attention of poachers/collectors, but that were harmed incidentally through our actions.

about 9 months ago
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Ohio Zoo Attempts To Mate Female Rhino With Her Brother For Species Survival

the biologist Re:Live hand of Darwin (272 comments)

The reason we care about extinction is that we probably caused them. The reason the police care about the death of a person you were arguing with is because you probably caused it.

A reason we care about extinctions that we cause is that interesting and potentially valuable species are casually discarded. We don't care about the extinction of the smallpox virus because it was an intentional process because of the incredible harm it caused us. If the Sumatran Rhino had a habit of killing everyone in any village it came across, we would be less concerned about their extinction. Instead the rhino peaceably goes about its life and we humans kill it out of spite, or to make our erections bigger, or other stupid short-sighted selfish reasons.

about 9 months ago
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Ohio Zoo Attempts To Mate Female Rhino With Her Brother For Species Survival

the biologist Re:I'd just like to know... (272 comments)

The point of no return for a biological species is a complicated concept. If you have one male and one female, then they can survive... but they will probably be more susceptible to the pathogenic organisms that can evolve faster than them. If you have one female of a parthogenic species, that species can survive. The low genetic diversity only impacts the likelihood of long term evolutionary survival, not their "viability" as a species.

In the case of "Lonesome George", it was only a hopeless cause because he no longer had any interest in sex. If he had lived another twenty years, we would probably have cloned him and generated females for him and thus preserved the species for repatriation to the island he came from. Should we just have made soup out of him when we realized we couldn't find any others like him?

Cheetahs show evidence of an evolutionarily recent extremely severe population bottleneck. Skin grafts can be made from one animal to any other random animal and have a decent change of success. Should we just kill off the cheetahs because there's no hope for them genetically?

The point of having a bunch of animals is that they have their own life and evolutionary trajectory to follow. If they're sickly, then selection will rapidly sort out the unhealthy versions of genes and the species will move along.

about 9 months ago
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Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts

the biologist Re:Fear leads to Hate, Hate leads to Measles (668 comments)

The "dealing with it" is the necessary testing part of medical science. It could be throat cancer, or a wasp stuck in her throat, or a magical fairy that doesn't like her, or a herpesvirus infection of the controlling nerve, or radiation damage from a neighbor's death ray experiments, or Bell's Palsy. Without any testing to validate the opinion, the opinion means absolutely nothing at all about what is actually going on in the medical issue.

Doctors will initially diagnose and treat for the common causes of a problem, because that will help the majority of people. The only way to know that a more complicated scenario is unfolding is to notice the standard treatment did nothing to help (or even made it worse). If the disorder is very rare, such as partial paralysis of a vocal chord, there will be no common cause to guide their treatment.

about 9 months ago
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Breaking Up With MakerBot

the biologist Re:That is true of all cheap 3D Printers (185 comments)

There are sensors in the aorta and carotid arteries which detect the gas levels, not in the brain. It is the level of CO2 which leads you to think you have to breath. If the O2 levels go down, your heart/breathing rate will increase to compensate, but you won't register a need to breath unless CO2 increases at the same time. If you're breathing in Ar gas, or any other inert gas, you won't realize you're in trouble until you pass out (and then promptly die).

about 9 months ago
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The DNA Data Deluge

the biologist Re:Oddly... I have a clue about this stuff lately (138 comments)

I agree, CNVs are really easy to detect if you have the read depth. I've been using the samtools pileup output to show CNVs in my study organism. However, to make the results mean anything to most people, I've got to do a few more steps of processing to get all that data in a nice visual format.

If you don't have the read depth, you lose the ability to discriminate small CNVs from noise. Large CNVs, such as for whole chromosomes, are readily observed even in datasets with minimal coverage.

about 10 months ago
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Industrious Dad Finds the Genetic Culprit To His Daughters Mysterious Disease

the biologist Re:The power of love (204 comments)

Look up Tale-Nucleases.

They're still in the research phases, but they're the sort of technology needed to do targeted alterations as you suggest. The difficulty in the human case would be to get the protein into every single cell... but you might be able to get away with altering a batch of stem cells, which would then added back into the heart/etc to ameliorate specific clinical pathologies.

about 10 months ago
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Hacker Exposes Evidence of Widespread Grade Tampering In India

the biologist Re:not even hacking just URL typing with fixed ID (304 comments)

Actually it does mean you have permission to do so. It doesn't mean the owners meant to give you permission, however.

about 10 months ago
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GMO Wheat Found Growing Wild In Oregon, Japan Suspends Import From U.S.

the biologist Re:Postapocoliptic Nightmare (679 comments)

DDT leads to a thinning of eggshells in raptors, but not chickens/sparrows/crows/dugs/etc., via its metabolite DDE. There were LOTS of studies on this topic back before the general scientific consensus had been reached. Researchers stopped studying this topic because they lost interest in it.

Bald Eagles eat primarily fish. The particular fish eat primarily other fish and bugs. Perhaps you're thinking of Golden Eagles, which do primarily eat mammals on the size range of rabbits and prairie dogs. I don't know what an "American Eagle" is.

about a year ago
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Cockroaches Evolving To Avoid Roach Motels

the biologist Re:This could be good (315 comments)

Another aspect of the success of the German cockroach (mentioned in article) is that they're colonial animals. If the food source runs out, they will simply eat each other and keep breeding... resulting in a slowly shrinking colony. Eventually the colony will starve itself out of existence, but generally the humans living near by will have accidentally given them some food that isn't the colony... resulting in the colony rapidly growing again.

about a year ago
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What Professors Can Learn From "Hard Core" MOOC Students

the biologist Re:What "challenge of math"?? (141 comments)

It really is too bad that you have to get to the very high end of math studies before you realize the advancements are made by completely non-linear thinking.

about a year ago
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Uptick In Whooping Cough Linked To Subpar Vaccines

the biologist Re:Prosiner's dilemma (273 comments)

Your model would give you the worst of both scenarios. First you don't vaccinate them, such that they're at risk from all those diseases during childhood (when most of those diseases are most problematic). If they survive that gauntlet, then you vaccinate them, such that they're at risk for the damage from the vaccine. Your perception of the dilemma is not a rational one.

about a year ago

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