boring old corn dna, new york mist, fear good pleasure bad

Fruit flys and corn DNA, why would anyone want to study such silly things, Corn researchers discover novel gene shut-off mechanisms

University of Delaware scientists, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Arizona and South Dakota State University, have identified unusual differences in the natural mechanisms that turn off, or “silence,” genes in corn. The discovery, which was made by comparing the impact of inactivating a gene that occurs in both corn and in the much-studied laboratory plant Arabidopsis, provides new insight into how one of the world’s most important crops protects itself from mutation-causing mobile DNA elements and viruses.

Corn is America’s largest farm crop. We use it to feed people and what was once that hamburger you had for lunch. We get most of our sugar ( sweeteners) from corn, not the environmental catastrophe known as sugar cane – cola drinks are sweetened with corn syrup. Pet food has or can have lots of nasty meat by products, but its mostly composed of corn – America spends about $40 billion dollars a year on pet food. America doesn’t just produce enough corn for us, but produce over 40% of the world’s corn. All corn varieties are descended from the corn crops cultivated by native Americans over 5000 years ago. If you know how to turn a corn gene – specifically RNA that repress repetitive sequences in this case – on and off you’re a little closer to being able to turn off disease causing genes in animals.

new york mist

Socialists: Obama no socialist

John Bachtell, the Illinois organizer for Communist Party USA, sees attempts by Sen. John McCain’s campaign to label Obama a socialist as both offensive to socialists and a desperate ploy to tap into fears of voters who haven’t forgotten their Cold War rhetoric.

[  ]…”Obama is about as far from being a socialist as Joe The Plumber is from being a rocket scientist,” said Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution. “I think it’s hard for McCain to call Obama a socialist when George Bush is nationalizing banks.”

And this from Bruce Carruthers, a sociology professor at Northwestern University: “Obama is like a center-liberal Democrat, and he is certainly not looking to overthrow capitalism. My goodness, he wouldn’t have the support of someone like The Wizard of Omaha, Warren Buffet, if he truly was going to overthrow capitalism.”

There’s the school of thought that when you’re a victim of freakish accusations to respond rationally with facts. In a way you don’t have much choice, but the accusations are not about facts , they’re about what people want to believe.


Curious use of local censorship, ‘Zack and Miri’ Banned in Utah

Utah Jazz and Megaplex Theaters owner Larry Miller has refused to book the film. The chain’s spokesman Cal Gunderson expressed concerns about the film with The New York Post, citing the film’s “graphic nudity and graphic sex” and that it was “too close to an NC-17.”

The company’s standards seem a little odd considering that the chain had no problems screening ultra-violent fare like “Saw V,” which features beheadings and explicit self-mutilation.

Not a big fan of torture porn like Saw, but banning it would have little benefit for society. ‘Zack and Miri’ have flashes of nudity with ‘strong’ language’. The combination of which will turn your eyes into burning coals and your ears to dust. Most humans, just esthetically speaking look better clothed, but even the plainest nude person has more visual appeal then a beheading. Maybe that’s the key, feeling fear and revulsion are seen as good, but feeling pleasure from light entertainment is seen as unhealthy. Fear good, pleasure bad. In a thousand years, if we still have cultural anthropologists, they’ll get a kick out our cultural norms.