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Tue, Aug. 2nd, 2011, 05:16 pm
This Week in Terrifying Science: Of Supermice and Men

This Week in Terrifying Rodents
In this week’s slice of What Hath Humanity Wrought, common house mice with immunity to the pesticide warfarin have turned up in Germany.
As in total, serve-me-up-a-pot-of-warfarin-fondue-because-the-only-way-to-make-it-tastier-is-to-add-cheese immunity.
The interesting thing about that if you’re a biologist is that it seems to have happened via horizontal gene transfer, which has only been observed in microbes before; those ordinary-looking house mice were secretly packing a heaping slice of Algerian mouse DNA.
The interesting thing about that if you’re not a biologist is that there’s a population of mice – inevitably a growing population – that is laughing until their plague flea-covered bellies shake at one of our most common pesticides.
And they will be breeding. And traveling.
The German house mice and the Algerian genetically immune mice got to be special new close friends by hitching rides with human travelers, which is how the new supermice will inevitably be spreading all over the world. Unless we can keep them out of cargo holds by spreading around some… Wait a minute. Damn.
Grit your teeth and purchase some high-end seafood. It’s time to start sucking up to the cat.
No, wait. forget sucking up to the cats. They’ll most likely size up the situation and make a separate treaty with the mice, figuring they can survive on birds and fish until the Great Work of the Philosopher’s Can Opener is finished.
The important thing here is to figure out how to head off Total Mouse Domination.
Unless you like the idea of coming home to find your furniture rearranged into a maze and drinking your evening cocktail out of a poorly cleaned sippy bottle.
That better mousetrap idea you were kicking around? Now is the time. Try to make it better than the humane mousetraps I bought years ago that were humane in the sense that they were convenient places for the mouse to drop by for food and then cheerfully leave at its own convenience, but left a little to be desired in the trapping department.
Since the new gimme-a-pesticide-of-fries-with-that mice will inevitably be exchanging DNA with stronger, faster, and smarter mice, whatever you’re working on should involve lasers, guard towers, and maybe a sarlacc pit.
On the upside, fans of pesticide-resistant bedbugs will be delighted to learn that their little naptime pals will soon have new indestructible playmates.
And even though we have a scrabbling-and-pellet-intensive future ahead, the human world will be getting into much better shape. The mice will eat up our snacks and we will all be doing some punitive time on The Wheel.
This Week in Terrifying Cetaceans
But if you were planning on fleeing to the oceans, just forget it. We’ve had yet another unsettling discovery that adds yet more evidence to the pile suggesting that dolphins are just waiting for the seas to rise high enough for them to swim up, eat our lunches, and take our smart phones away.
Science Daily posted a happy-yet-disturbing article on dolphins’ amazing healing powers.
No, not that thing your New Age friend keeps talking about where she went to swim with the dolphins – please don’t do that – and one of them looked right at her with such wisdom and when it spouted she suddenly felt the missing pieces of her soul return and that’s why she was able to find the self-esteem to open her Etsy sponge painting store.
The kind of healing I’m talking about was reported in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, which someone needs to make into a series of Young Adult novels immediately.
Dolphins can heal themselves to a degree that I can only describe as creepy, shaking off huge, gouging shark bites with very little blood, an “indifference” to pain, no infections, and minimal lasting damage. At one point the Science Daily article describes it as “less like human healing and more like regeneration.”
OK, I’m on record as being pro-dolphin, but we’re hitting territory I’m not comfortable with. They’re social, have something akin to language, and now they can just Wolverine themselves up some new flesh any time the mood strikes them?
What the Marinara Trench else have they been hiding from us all this time? Telepathy? Weather machines? Duct tape?
I think we’re getting played.
Every time we come close to noticing that they have a vibrant, active space program, the dolphins whip out some happy chatter and tail walk backwards and we primates go “Ooh!” and applaud and go blissfully home to put a few more macramé planters up in the Etsy store.
Meanwhile, the dolphins are tinkering with cold fusion and stepping up their winged megamouse breeding program.
Be afraid.
Ali Davis is donating her book royalties through the end of the month to Truth Wins Out. She calls it “Books Against Bachmann.” You can help irritate the Bachmanns in paperback or on Kindle.

Sun, Jul. 24th, 2011, 03:11 am
Hot Slut Of The Day!

Patches, a 17-year-old pooch from Australia who would've been sniffing the ass of the dog angels in haven't if it wasn't for his stirring rendition of Happy Birthday!

I really can't with this story... But obviously, I can, because I'm writing about it and naming Patches Hot Slut, which he is. So the day Patches elderly owner died was a chaotic one. I guess paramedics were going in and out of the house, and he somehow ended up getting shuffled off to the pound. When Patches' family realized his hairy ass was nowhere to be seen, it was too late. Patches was sitting in jail and it was only a matter of time before he got a lethal kiss to the veins. Patches' family searched everywhere for him and called every pound, but the time on his life cock was quickly running out.

One of Patches' relatives then got the idea to ask shelter workers to sing Happy Birfday to dogs matching Patches' description. Before Patches owner died, they used to sing that song together and it was the dog's favorite. One dog rescue worker came across a fur baby at the Mildura Pound who matched Patches description and she started to sing to him. Patches' ears twitched, the look of impending death washed away from his face and he started to howl. Bitch thought his next song would be sung to the Grim Ass Reaper. Patches' version of Happy Birthday sounded something like this:

Yeah, it's a totally shitty, off-key and lazy version of Happy Birthday, but when you sing that song does a doggy cheat death? I thought so. And maybe I've been watching way too many scenes from Sommersby on basic cable before bedtime, but are we sure that's the REAL Patches? Are we sure that this just isn't some dog who looks like Patches and learned the song so he could assume his identity? I have a feeling a "YOU ARE NOT MY PATCHES!!!!" kitchen scene is coming on.

via The Herald Sun

Sun, Jul. 24th, 2011, 03:08 am
Chile president to introduce civil unions bill

Chile President Sebastian Pinera is expected to introduce a bill legalizing civil unions for gay and lesbian couples this coming week.
The bill legalizes unions – known as Non-Marital Cohabitation Agreements – for both gay and straight couples who have lived together for over a year.

According to OnTop Magazine, the introduction of the bill comes after MOVILH, the largest gay rights group in Chile, demonstrated against Pinera’s lack of support for the civil union bill earlier in his term.
Pinera told El Mercurio, that with this measure he seeks to “safe guard the dignity” of couples who live together, “whether of opposite sex or even the same sex.”
In Latin America, Argentina has legalized gay marriage, and Mexico recognizes gay marriages, which are legal in Mexico City.  Uruguay has proposed a gay marriage law.

Wed, Jul. 6th, 2011, 10:30 am
Why So Subdued, Nancy?

When Casey Anthony was given the go ahead by the jury to make up for 3 years of hard partying, my first reaction was to cover my ears and take cover under a table, because I just knew pieces of Nancy Grace would come flying through my window at any second. Because if anybody was going to gnaw their fingers off and then spit the bits in the face of the jury out of disgust, it was going to be Nancy Grace. Because whatever is left of Nancy's sanity has been a speeding White Bronco throughout this entire trial.

So I was a little surprised, disappointed and looking for a refund when I watched Nancy's reaction to the verdict. Why didn't Nancy sprawl her legs out on the desk, give birth to a Lady Justice replica made of her internal organs and then repeatedly punch it in the face? Why didn't Nancy do this?! My only explanation is that Nancy was exhausted, because her head popped off her body, flew all the way to The Soup studios in L.A. and landed on Joel McHale's lap.

Oh, fucking well. We'll be able to witness a real Nancy Grace meltdown when Casey inevitably joins the cast of Dancing with the Stars, and when she gets paid six figures for a spread in Hustler Magazine, and when she releases a tell-all/cocktail recipe book, and when she becomes one of Charlie Sheen's goddesses, and when she shoots a Skinemax movie with Lindsay Lohan...

via Mediate

Mon, Jul. 4th, 2011, 02:33 pm
This Week in Terrifying Science: Give Yourself a Hand

This Week in Our Terrifying Oceans
This week’s biggest development was that science got terrifying for the non-dork community as well, as news of the report from the International Programme on the State of the Oceans began to seep into the mainstream media.
And the mainstream media, when it realized what it was reading, began to soil itself with fear and wonder if it could have done another story or two on simple ways to reduce one’s environmental impact and maybe a couple fewer shows heavily implying that you can get a TV series of your very own no matter how horrible and abrasive your personality is if only you are willing to pump out between seven and twenty children.
Long story short, we’re on the brink of mass extinctions “unprecedented in human history.”
When were extinctions on such a gargantuan scale, not to mention these exact oceanic conditions of heat, acidity, and lack of oxygen precedented, you ask? Oh, ‘round about the end of the dinosaur age. Other than the ones running around disguised as chickens, have you noticed how many dinosaurs you see nowadays?
And by “on the brink,” IPSO doesn’t mean within a few hundred years, they mean within a generation or two. Or within the next couple of decades. You, personally, may find yourself filling the evenings when the Flying Self-Organizing Deathbots are in a self-replication lull by trying to describe to a kid what fish tasted like.

Unless you are an actual crocodile, just go ahead and start spreading cheese doodles and cookie crumbs around your kitchen. You need to start sucking up to your cockroaches now so you can ask them for survival tips.
At least no one can accuse humans as a species of being lazy ever again. Because a lazy species would have disastrously overfished or polluted or put the whole planet on a Bunsen burner.
We, however, have pulled off a poor-foresight hat trick. Suck it, pandas.
And don’t give all the credit to those headline-grabbing oil spills, either – turns out the perfumes and phosphates in our detergents have slowly, load by brighter, whiter load, been creating vast “dead zones” where only the hardiest algae – if anything at all – can survive.
Our oceans make turkey vultures feel pretty and demure. Our oceans make the Lorax feel like things are going pretty well, topside.
Our oceans make Keith Richards’ kidneys feel glad to be themselves.
So even though we may be past the point where we could pull ourselves back from the precipice, we should all, every last one of us on this beautiful blue planet, give one last heroic effort to save 70% of the Earth’s surface.
…Except the United States will not be helping out because we have an entire political party dedicated to screaming that Jesus weeps when we suggest that people could re-think taking the Hummer limo to the corner mailbox or mildly inconvenience our Captains of Industry by regulating the amount of toxic waste they are allowed to store in municipal swimming pools.
But you other countries go ahead, OK? Thanks!
And, really, other than figuring out how to get that tasty, quivering lab-grown meat cooking to stave off global starvation, what do we, as a species, have to worry about?
It’s not like pissed-off sharks can just leap out of the water and – HOLY ROWS AND ROWS OF MISMATCHED TEETH, THEY TOTALLY CAN.
The wonderful @ClayRivers, in his ongoing quest to rob me of my sleep and peace of mind, pointed me to this National Geographic photo gallery entitled – hang on to your meaty parts – “Sky Sharks,” featuring 2,000-pound sharks leaping up to ten freaking feet out of the water.

Photographers Chris and Monique Fallows hilariously refer to the breach-and-bite combos as “feats of athleticism” instead of potent reminders of Nature’s most important rule: Never get cocky about where you are in the food chain.
Nature’s second most important rule has just become relevant to us all: You’re going to need a bigger boat.
This Week in Terrifying Research
But why dwell on our fit-for-only-zombies oceans when there is so much to turn us into gibbering wrecks on land?
For example, New Scientist ran a story on an amusing device that the University of Tokyo and Sony Computer Science Laboratories are developing. It’s a simple cuff and some electrodes that you put on your forearm so you can allow it to take control of your hand and move your fingers whether you want to or not.
The researchers are calling it, for real, PossessedHand.
Great Pazuzu’s wings, scientists, don’t you even want to pretend not to be evil? Just to make it a little more sporting?
The PossessedHand, which will soon be giving you wedgies, TurboNoogies and Stooge pokes while defying all attempts to turn it off or remove it, is programmable, so you can pre-set it to move your fingers in specific sequences and rhythms.
It’s expected to be useful for learning fingering patterns for musical instruments, practicing sign language, or realizing all too late that you’re the victim of the creepiest murder plot ever as your own hand types out an incriminating message and then crawls its way toward your throat, pausing occasionally to make you give yourself the finger just to mess with you.
But hey, at least you’ll know you didn’t waste those precious seconds learning how to play “Chopsticks” by yourself!
Be afraid.
Ali Davis is a writer and performer in Los Angeles. You should buy her book in paperback or on Kindle before your electronically possessed hand does it for you. Warning: Wear protective masking. Your laughter will only help the sharks triangulate your location.

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