Meatsacks. That’s All You Are

Pharyngula: Reproductive history writ in the genome

We don’t have any fossilized placentas, but we know that there was an important transition in the mammalian lineage: we had to have shifted from producing eggs in which yolk was the primary source of embryonic nutrition to a state where the embryo acquired its nutrition from a direct interface with maternal circulation, the placenta. We modern mammals don’t need yolk at all … but could there be vestiges of yolk proteins still left buried in our genome? The answer, which you already know since I’m writing this, is yes.First, a little background. It’s not that surprising to find traces of yolk proteins in our genomes, because we also have the evidence of embryology that shows that our embryos still make a yolk sac! Below is a series of diagrams of the human embryo over the last several weeks of the first month of pregnancy, and you can see the large sac hanging from the embryo; it’s a useless fluid filled space that contains no yolk at all, but is homologous to similar structures that form in birds and reptiles.

Nothing but a bunch of meatsacks. Real organisms are made of steel. Like Superman.

Google Is One Of Us

Slashdot | Google Patents Detecting, Tracking, Targeting Kids

“A newly-issued Google patent for Rendering Advertisements With Documents Having One or More Topics Using User Topic Interest describes how to detect the presence of children by ‘using evidence of sophistication determined using user actions’ and tracking their behavior using the Google Toolbar and other methods to deliver targeted ads. Which is interesting, since the Google Terms of Service supposedly prohibit the use of Services by anyone ‘not of legal age.’ The inventor is Google Principal Scientist Krishna Bharat, who is a co-inventor of another pending Google patent for inferring searchers’ ethnicity, reading level, age, sex and income (and storing it all).”

The question becomes, Who Are We?

Jet Swords Will Conquer You. Bow Down Now and Save Time

A Deeply Impressive Bit of Kit; World’s Biggest Subsea Robot – Technology – redOrbit

HISTORY repeated itself yesterday as a subsea company unveiled the latest pioneering piece of Tyneside technology.SMD, a leading designer and maker of specialised underwater robot vehicles, is setting up a new base at the Turbinia works site at Davy Bank in Wallsend, which will be officially opened on April 25.

This is where, from 1898, the steam turbine inventor Sir Charles Parsons worked on his engines and Turbinia, then the fastest boat afloat.

Yesterday SMD loaded UT1 (Ultra Trencher 1), a remote controlled submersible robot (ROV), on to a ship for delivery to CTC Marine Projects. The pounds 10m machine will be the world’s largest ROV which is capable of self propelling and supporting its own weight in water.

Weighing 50 tonnes and the size of small house, it is designed to bury largediameter oil and gas pipelines laid on the ocean floor.

It does this by “flying” down up to a mile deep below the surface using powerful propellers.

It then lands over the pipeline and deploys a pair of “jet swords” either side of the pipe which inject high pressure water to “fluidise” the surface.

You’ll get fluidised all right.  As mentioned, bow before the jet swords of doom.  This is your last warning.

Follow Me Off This Cliff, dangit.

Book Details U.S. Pressure On Allies Before War –

UNITED NATIONS — In the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration threatened trade reprisals against friendly countries who withheld their support, spied on its allies, and pressed for the recall of U.N. envoys that resisted U.S. pressure to endorse the war, according to an upcoming book by a top Chilean diplomat.The rough-and-tumble diplomatic strategy has generated lasting “bitterness” and “deep mistrust” in Washington’s relations with allies in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, wrote Heraldo Muñoz, Chile’s ambassador to the United Nations, in his book “A Solitary War: A Diplomat’s Chronicle of the Iraq War and Its Lessons,” set for publication next month.

He sure showed them.

As we slowly take over.

Lampshade that knits itself – Boing Boing

Nadine Sterk’s Sleeping Beauty lamp is on exhibition at a show of design school projects, on display at the Design Huis in Eindhoven, The Netherlands — it’s “a lamp that develops like a living organism: switch it on and it slowly starts growing by knitting its own lampshade at a speed of three rotations per hour.”

Never mind the self-replicating lamp in the corner.  It means no harm to you.


Stuff White People Like – White People Are Funny

Stuff White People Like

Normally if someone were to wake up at 7:00 in the morning, take the day off work, and get drunk at a bar before 10:00 a.m., they would be called an alcoholic, and not in the artistic, edgy way that white people are so fond of.On March 17th, however, this exact same activity is called celebrating St. Patrick’s day. This very special white holiday recognizes Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland who helped to bring Catholicism to the Emerald Isle. His ascetic life is celebrated every year by white people drinking large amounts of Irish-themed alcohol and listening to the Dropkick Murphys.

One of my favorite drinking games in call Whiskey In The Mornin’.

If you know the name, you know how to play.


True Dat. PCs are Bombs. And International Media Nodes.

Alex St. John: “Consoles as We Know Them are Gone”

S So certainly Intel is producing a new generation of chips that have CPU and GPU on the same die which share access to the cache—the L1 cache—coming out in maybe 2009. Those chips should have two interesting capabilities. They should theoretically, in terms of traditional Direct3D performance, be maybe five to ten times faster than the current chips on the market, but they may also have some graphics capabilities that don’t exist anywhere on the market because of the change in architecture.

Because unifying the GPU with the CPU can produce dramatically faster vector processing and shared rendering performance between the CPU and GPU, so guys like Tim Sweeney will probably have to build their game engines, or may increasingly build their game engines, in entirely different ways than they used to in order to take advantage of the different architecture.

And Intel and AMD are planning on putting those chips into their mainstream consumer laptops, and although it’s going to take a year or two for that to happen, it’s still going to happen in an era in which the existing generation of consoles are well obsolete, they’re slow, they haven’t improved in performance in five years, they’re nearing the edge of their lifespan, and consumer PCs shipping in that area, including the laptops, could have equal to or superior gaming capabilities. So you can say that certainly the intention appears to be in the right place.

And sometimes a single computer is an entire galaxy. I know mine certainly has been a number of times. Hell, my computer has simulated the history of our civilization a thousand times over.

Soon your average laptop will be like an XBOX 1080 and 2 years before MS’s next mass DRM-box.

Gaming/Life The Difference Is Illusion (and battery power)

‘Mind Gaming’ Could Enter Market This Year

Several other companies – including EmSense in Monterey, California; NeuroSky in San Jose, California; and Hitachi in Tokyo – are also developing technology to detect players´ brainwaves and use them in next-gen video games.The technology is based on medical technology that has been around for decades. Using a combination of EEGs (which reveal alpha waves that signify calmness), EMGs (which measure muscle movement), and ECGs and GSR (which measure heart rate and sweating), developers hope to create a picture of a player´s mental and physical state. Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), which monitors changes in blood oxygenation, could also be incorporated since it overcomes some of the interference problems with EEGs.

You ever see that video of the nutty-looking scientist using a computer on a rat to control its brain….

…yea, that’s you.