Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

SCIENCE! MOSTLY. EVOLVING CRABOIDS, ELECTRIC MUD, HUMAN ALIEN HYBRIDS, UNCRUSHABLE BEETLES AND WHO’S WATCHING US?

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One trump note to start, then on to science. At least it was a far more substantive debate than the previous yelling match. That’s about all that can be said about it. Trump reached dizzying new heights on the BS meter, almost everything he said was what the old folks called lying. Back when America was great, presidents didn’t lie through their teeth quite so constantly.  Just saying. Doesn’t matter, if Trump said it, it must be true. Trump has truly turned the GOP, or his core at least, into something pretty much indistinguishable from a religion. If Trump said or promised it, they believe. Like Trump’s health care plan to replace Obamacare, promised it during his 2016 again, now he’s promising it again. Or Trump’s Covid-19 plan. Lies and empty promises, well, it worked in 2016. Even using the same promises. Sigh.

Moving right along, a whole concept I’d never heard of before. Carcinization. This is when an arthropod evolves into something like a crab. It’s happened no less than five times. Yes, parallel evolution is a thing, but five different times, that’s special. God likes crabs? No, it’s obviously a highly effective animal design in certain habitats, so it’s evolved repeatedly. It’s proved to be a great way to study evolution. Yeah, probably only of interest to the biology nerds: Animals Keep Evolving Into Crabs, Which Is Somewhat Disturbing. I just think it’s neat that there’s a specific word for it. Carcinization, going to be a challenge to fit into daily conversation.

And in more biology, electric mud! News to me, I can’t keep up with everything. Hell, so much new is being discovered these days, that no matter how much one tries, there’s more to learn every day. Anyhow, about ten years ago, in a freak experimental discovery scientists found out there are bacteria that form electrical circuits so to speak. Allowing them to perform biological functions over a distance. It was so weird it was disbelieved at first, but now two species have been discovered and it’s definitely real. I mention it because it’s interesting, and a wonderful example of how science is self correcting. This discovery will require rethinking a lot of things about, well, mud. Here’s the article for the suitably nerdish: ‘Electric mud’ teems with new, mysterious bacteria.

It’s more or less common knowledge now that while Neanderthals have been extinct for some 30,000 years, a lot of their DNA (possibly as much as 20% of it) remains mixed into human DNA, because humans and Neaderthals cross bred. Slightly less known, the Denisovans, another recently discovered extinct human ancestor that cross bred with humans, thus some of their DNA also survives in human populations as well. Well, studying modern human DNA scientists have discovered DNA that’s neither human, Neanderthal, or Denosivian. They don’t actually know what it’s from, Homo erectus is the best guess so far. Pfft, sometimes scientists have no imagination. It’s clearly alien DNA, I mean they had to be doing something with those probes:  Mystery ancestor mated with ancient humans. And its ‘nested’ DNA was just found. Helpful illustration above. People just love to have sex. And not even necessarily with other people.

Speaking of aliens, ever look up at the sky and wonder if anyone was looking back? Well, scientists wondered if aliens using the same technology we use to discover exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars) would be able to see Earth? They found about sixty nearby G-type stars that could conceivably detect Earth, and in fact they could likely tell a fair amount about Earth. I wonder if the SETI people will give them a good look, if they can see us it stands to reason they might try to contact us. Or worse: Aliens From These Worlds Could Be Watching Us Right Now

In more news to me, there’s a type of beetle that can survive getting run over by a car. It’s called a diabolical ironclad beetle. That’s a pretty neat trick, normally cars running over bugs is a quick trip to that great windshield in the sky, or wherever bugs go after they die: The diabolical ironclad beetle can survive getting run over by a car. Here’s how. Obviously this might well have practical applications, keeping things from getting crushed is always a good thing.

Lastly, in the “humans have issues” file, I found out what happens to items returned to Amazon. I would have just guessed they were returned to inventory and sold to someone else. Nope, for the most part they get trashed: Hidden cameras and secret trackers reveal where Amazon returns end up. It bugged me, seems like such a waste. Certainly another indication of how inherently worthless most things are in the modern world. I realized what bugs me though. If they are just going to throw it out because it’s cheaper than restocking it, why not just cut the cost further and have the consumer toss it? Wouldn’t that be the greener and cheaper solution?

And once again I wish my friend Peter was still alive to ask him of this, he was a world class economist. What a strange world we live in. Even before  Trump and Covid-19 it was weird, now, well, that’s why I blog every day. 2020 America, books will be written. Stay safe and have a great weekend everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Best free image I could find of a Neanderthal. I wonder what they would have to say about the times. Lost forever I guess. Credit: Stefan Scheer Used legally, the various legal stuff here.)

Written by unitedcats

October 23, 2020 at 7:43 pm

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