The Coat In A Jar?

The New York Times reports today, but Boing-Boing got there a few days ago–a recent art exhibit at the MoMA had to be… euthanized. A coat made of “living leather”, a growing garment of mouse stem cells, was growing too fast and had to be put down. Yeah, it’s worth following the links and reading.

My mom complained I grew too fast–
Or else, my clothes were shrinking.
I couldn’t make my clothing last,
Until I did some thinking.
I couldn’t make a coat to fit
With any fancy sewing,
And so I got a science kit
And started something growing–
A leather coat (size extra small)
From stem cells of a mouse,
With stylish collar, sleeves and all,
To wear around the house.
At first, it seemed a simple task
(They all do at the start)
I’d use the erlenmeyer flask
In which I grew my heart.
But all too soon, a snag arose:
My coat grew much too fast!
No more would I outgrow my clothes–
It’s me that would not last!
My coat grew larger all the while,
I really don’t know why;
So out of safety, not for style,
The garment had to die.
I pulled the plug, then stood and watched,
Expecting it to give.
But some procedure I had botched
Allowed it still to live!
The flask I’d used, I now surmise
(I did not, at the start)
Contained some cells–surprise, surprise!
My coat had grown a heart!

So now, I’m hiding from my coat
Behind a stockroom shelf;
If you should chance to find this note,
Just run! Go! Save yourself!

Image from Boing-Boing.

Platypus Dreams

Buried in all the cool news about the Platypus last week was a little item that struck me. It seems that we do not look at the Platypus just for its DNA, but for another three letters as well. The Platypus dreams; it has REM sleep.

Jerry Siegel, a neuroscientist at UCLA, says he became interested in the platypus because he believed it would help explain how sleep evolved in humans. One theory is that rapid eye movement (REM) sleep evolved recently in humans as our brains got bigger and more complex. It was initially thought that the platypus didn’t have REM sleep cycles, so Siegel went to Australia with modern technology to do more testing.

“And what we saw is that in the platypus, the REM sleep is absolutely unequivocal,” he says.

So, this one is for my dear friends in the land of Oz…

The Platypus lives in the rivers and streams
On the Easternmost edge of Down Under.
Now scientists tell us these critters have dreams–
But what do they dream of, I wonder?

The Platypus dreamtime is strange and bizarre,
We can tell by the R.E.M. sleep.
But of course, we can’t tell what their thoughts really are
From electrodes, and things that go “beep”.

Perhaps it’s a world where a stick that gets thrown
Doesn’t swing back and aim at your head;
Or a place where some nine out of ten snakes aren’t known
To be experts at making you dead.

Or maybe they dream of a spot on the shore
Where it’s sunny, with plenty of worms,
Where it’s nice and it’s cozy, and who could want more
Than a picnic that wriggles and squirms?

A platypus nightmare, I cannot conceive,
From my opposite side of the Earth–
“It was horrible, really! You wouldn’t believe
What came out of me when I gave birth!”

“Not the leathery shell of my nice, normal eggs
But a monster, all hairless and pink!
It was wiggling, and moving, and kicking its legs–
Could it get any grosser, you think?”

Australia, of course, is already so weird;
When a Platypus goes for a snooze,
When the strange world Down Under has all disappeared,
What alternate world would you choose?

Hang The Bastards!

In one of those internet polls we know and love so well, the StarTribune asks the musical question, “Did school officials react properly to the students who did not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance?”

As of this writing, 2399 people have voted that the punishment should have been more severe.

I hope I can presume to speak on their behalf.

How dare these children fail to stand!
This is the great and sacred Land
Of Freedom; They should all be sent
To prison as their punishment!
Good, decent folk, like you and me
Display our love of liberty
By joining in the chanting crowd
To pledge allegiance right out loud;
To fail to join the droning throng
Is unAmerican, and wrong!
These kids, these traitors to the flag
Just make me sick! They make me gag!
They should be whipped; they should be beaten,
Their entrails taken out and eaten!
They should be torn from limb to limb
For this unpatriotic whim!
This is my land! I have the right
To make them buckle to my might,
Conform to the majority
And say the pledge along with me!

America, the beautiful,
Your citizens are dutiful,
And constitutionality
Comes second to morality;
And if we trade democracy
For out-and-out theocracy
(It seems we are susceptible)
That’s perfectly acceptable.

While I’m in the majority
Don’t question its authority.

A Guest Post

Commenter Anfractuous, who has previously shown incredible skill with limericks, provided the following as a comment to my previous post. It is so good, I thought I’d put it here on the front page (since not everyone reads the comments–go figure).

Dear Cuttles,

Of course you’re not moral; that comes from above!
Morality’s only for those those in whose glove
Resides a steel rod that will punish the sin,
Which comes from the garden and now lives within.

It’s true because Satan’s words came first to Eve.
Because she was “woe-man,” the one to believe
That she, in defiance, could just disobey
The Word she’d been giv’n on the very first day.

Because she was uppity, thought she could know
What knowledge of evil and good might bestow
Upon her and Adam, cooped up in that place,
Where only obedience’s choking embrace…

Kept them from knowledge that freedom would bring.
If they used free will, they’d cut God’s puppet string.
The meaning of good or of bad was not given,
So how could she know that from grace they’d be riven?

God made the decision to make us this way,
To give us free will so that we’d disobey.
That way he could punish to His heart’s content,
To show us just what His omnipotence meant!

It’s God’s will that we must conform for all time.
He set up the rules and then watched with sublime,
Sadistic amusement, on seeing us squirm.
He knows how remote our real chance to confirm…

His ridiculous rules that we have to obey.
(Besides, His omniscience predicted we’d play.)
So now, by His Rules, your morality comes
From worship of Him, only under His thumbs.

Good works do not count – they’re from dumb libruls’ minds.
They work only IF abject worship He finds
And then only IF you will also excise
Any thoughts of equality for those other guys…

Who might love the “wrong kind,” or those who might think
That women should be anywhere else but the sink,
Or in a man’s bed, though their bodies are evil.
They’re here for their wombs, (but their minds are medieval.)

If men are allowed to observe female skin,
They’ll turn into beasts (their control is that thin!)
But it’s not the men’s fault. That resides upon her.
It’s her evil skin to which men’s minds refer…

In lust and in sin – but just “boys being boys.”
The female form’s only just one of their toys.
So it’s moral to bomb all those places of sin
Where those evil women “do God’s babies in.”

God loves it when X-tians do mean things to gays,
Or lesbos or libruls – set atheists ablaze.
It’s moral to castigate anyone “other,”
But don’t take our guns or make black folks our brother.

Morality’s not what those atheist folks do.
It only comes from a strict Biblical view.
So now you all know how the God system works
If you have any questions, just ask X-tian jerks!

More Than Skin Deep…

The New York TImes has a story of the stereoscopic atlas of the human body. With a slide show of some of the images (sadly, not in 3-D). And I am terribly sorry, but the link to the text article is not working for me right now–it is worth the visit, though, on the Science page of the New York TImes online.

Carefully, warefully,
Bassett, anatomist
Dissected bodies and
Prepped their insides

Then called for Gruber, who
Rendered them timeless on
Viewmaster slides.

Beautifully, dutifully,
eHuman industries
Hopes to make public the
Atlas once more;

Wonderful news for the
Students, or those who just
Really like gore.

Dinosaurs, Flagella, Jews, and Haeckel (No, Really!)

How wonderful! Somebody actually noticed my little blog, and thought it worthy of commenting, with links and everything, to a whole lot of wishful thinking! For those of you who don’t read comments, just look at the sort of things you might miss! (You might want to fasten your seatbelts–there are some sharp turns ahead.)

Ojalanpoika has left a new comment on your post “Friday Limericks: Expelled!”:

Though this comment, of course, is sublime,
It’s not written in meter, nor rhyme
On these threads, it’s the norm
To use limerick form—
But I’ll let you get off, just this time

I wish an analogous documentary film was made concerning the DINOGLYFS or dinolits:

It seems that the ancient man not only saw but also documented the last megafauna (gigafauna, I should say).

”Do you see that cloud, that’s almost in shape like a camel?” HAM, III ii 393

Though it’s common, it nonetheless shocks
When a cloud can look just like a fox
Or a man, in euphoria
Digs up sea-zoria
Dragons where others see rocks

(Among your pictures was an Indian lithograph of a buffalo, labeled as a picture of a triceratops. In the words of Roy Zimmerman, “you can call a toad a cocker spaniel; that won’t warm your heart when he licks your nose.”)

It is absolutely true that if you look for dinosaur pictures, you will find them. What is equally true is that if you look for alternate, non-dinosaur explanations for these pictures, in the artistic traditions of the artists, you will also find those. The moral of the story is, don’t stop looking for evidence just because you found something that agrees with your preconception. Gather all the available evidence, and then draw conclusions.

Bruce Alberts it was who first accepted from his post as the president of the National Academy of Sciences USA that the biological machinery can be called as such, machinery, without asserting to metaphora. He gave the students that license in 1998. Other animations on the tiny cellular machineries apart from the Expelled movie can be seen in here:

Wow–you ought to give a little warning before shifting topics so abruptly!

You’d think you’d be sitting in clover
Watching videos over and over
But to see there what we see
Find transcripts of Behe
Under oath in Kitzmiller V. Dover

(You gotta love a flagellum. Take out just one part and… well, you have something that functions perfectly well. But Behe did not feel the need to actually look at what it might be. Once he had concluded goddiddit, there was no more reason to investigate. But it’s all there in the transcripts. Very much worth reading.)

It is interesting that it is the People of the Book who once more are the initiative spectators who have the balls to question the ambient amen and go against the loudy majority. Not the first time. Here’s some statistics and charts regarding the success of the Jews in science and technological innovations when the others were too stubborn to change their minds:

Again with the topic shift!

So the Jews, in heroic defiance
Of the mainstream, have put their reliance
In books and in learning
Fulfilling their yearning
For knowledge by leading in science!

(your links there certainly seem to show that the Jews are the superior race—no way that anyone could ever suggest that the holocaust was Darwinian if they saw what you report there! No way… and yet…)

This conference poster of mine shows how profoundly the continental, Haeckelian type of evolutionism drived not only the racial World War II but also the nationalistic World War I:

And yet another shift. Your grandfather sounds remarkable—I don’t quite get his connection to everything else, but you are right to be proud. As for the rest, I see one glaring omission—your opening statement claims that Haeckel’s drawings are still used in textbooks, but you do not cite any! Are you tilting at windmills?

The embryos Haeckel did draw
Which seem so to stick in your craw
Are a mere bit of history
Now, a new mystery:
Why battle men made of straw?
Biochemist, drop-out (Master of Sciing)

Digital Cuttlefish, Ph. D. anonymous blog verse-writer.

Friday Limericks–Spring!

Oh! I had forgotten all about the Friday Limericks! Woke up, saw actual sunshine, realized I had porch repairs, lawnmower repairs, trash to haul, trees to plant, a garden to plan, a dog to walk, papers to grade…. it must be Spring. So what other topic could there be?

The sun’s showing off all its powers
For the first time in months, I see flowers!
It’s the time when we know
That we will not see snow–
At least for a couple more hours!

It’s the time of the year that won’t fail ya
With stories of birds they’ll regale ya
The days getting longer
And light getting stronger–
We’re stealing the sun from Australia!

Gotta run–I think I will plant onions today… have fun!

An Earth Day Verse

By chance of birth
We’re here on Earth,
More lucky than we know
With such a brain
As can explain
The way these things must go

That life began
Not with a man
Named Adam, and his Eve
But molecules
In tidal pools
That replicate and cleave

To replicate
It is their fate
And thus to reproduce
The Earth revolves
And life evolves
And all this, we deduce

Recycled star
Is what we are
With everything we see
This view of things
Amazement brings
At least, it does to me

Some future day
I know we may
Be swallowed by the sun
For what it’s worth
Protect the Earth–
We’ve only got the one.

How Chromosome Numbers Change

If you want the real answer, PZ explains it here.

Mine is just an example.

Two Haikus

I once wrote a pair
Of Haikus, related, but
Willing to fuse–please

Don’t ask me how one
Limerick now replaces
The Haikus in twos

A Limerick

I once wrote a pair of Haikus
Related, but willing to fuse
Please don’t ask me how
One limerick now
Replaces the Haikus in twos