bornavirus an intelligent designer, barley field wallpaper, high altitude energy

I have a lot of questions for the all powerful invisible friend in the sky, who some have taken to calling the intelligent designer. Though for today let’s just stick with why he/she/it seems prone to jerry-rigging so much of the mechanisms of biology,  Human Genome Is Part Bornavirus

Bornaviruses, a type of RNA virus that causes disease in horses and sheep, can insert their genetic material into human DNA and first did so at least 40 million years ago, the study shows. The findings, published January 7 in Nature, provide the first evidence that RNA viruses other than retroviruses (such as HIV) can stably integrate genes into host DNA. The new work may help reveal more about the evolution of RNA viruses as well as their mammalian hosts.

“Our whole notion of ourselves as a species is slightly misconceived,” says Robert Gifford, a paleovirologist at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, affiliated with Rockefeller University in New York City. Human DNA includes genetic contributions from bacteria and other organisms, and humans have even come to rely on some of these genes for basic functions like fighting infections.

Viruses are in and of themselves are difficult to define. They’re not plant or animal. They’re very host dependent. Though since they seem to play an integral role in human survival and/or at least good health, some of the time, they’re not microscopic shiftless parasites. Some scientists think viruses actually helped increase genetic diversity. But they are so varied as are their effects they are not exactly reliable. Where as genes themselves direct billions of essential life sustaining biological functions every minute in the average mammal. So the  intelligent designer reached into ye old creation bag, threw in some viruses like craps with millions of virus dice, and was thus pleased with the result. Not in my KJV, but maybe the author(s) felt the story too tedious to tell.

barley field wallpaper

Google Seeks License to Buy and Sell Energy

The company’s green energy czar, Bill Weihl, told the New York Times that Google hopes to bring its culture of innovation to bear on three technology areas that could boost renewable energy: concentrated solar thermal, enhanced geothermal and high-altitude wind.

There are appropriate places for wind energy, but such land use ( and other problems) becomes an issue in a world where the human population is pushing 7 billion and is currently predicted to peak at about 9 billion by 2040. Space at even low altitudes seems like a great solution. The Japanese seem seriously intent on harvesting solar energy from space and beaming it down.

energy from space. this illustration is from the 1950s. i’m not sure what the original intent was, but the story gave me a nice excuse to use it.

Bill O’Reilly assures Glenn Beck that being a serial liar is OK and not to pay attention to his critics. Bill says he just ignores people like Media Matters and Daily Kos. Ignore generally means to be oblivious to, to overlook or if you like 70s slang, to tune out. O’Reilly regularly complains about his critics – the fact checking, posts about O’Reilly’s hypocrisy, lack of ethics, relentless spin and so forth. What Bill does is called whining, complaining, sniveling or bellyaching. Bill in no reasonable interpretation of the word, ignores his critics. His buttons are so easy to push it shouldn’t surprise anyone that when he dies the pathologists find he’s part robot.