News From Around The Blogosphere 4.2.10

April 2, 2010

1. Researchers find aging gene in worm

Scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) at the University of Birmingham have discovered that a gene called DAF-16 is strongly involved in determining the rate of ageing and average lifespan of the laboratory worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) and its close evolutionary cousins. DAF-16 is found in many other animals, including humans. It is possible that this knowledge could open up new avenues for altering ageing, immunity and resistance to stresses in humans.

Of course it will be years before any practical application to humans comes out of this, if ever, but it’s cool none the less.

2. Exorcist discovers Satan behind media’s accurate coverage of Catholic sex scandal – We’ve already gotten one exorcist to claim that Satan was possessing the Church leaders into performing the rapes in the first place. Now another exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, has publicly stated that the media’s desire to inform the public of these crimes, particularly at the New York Times, was “prompted by the devil.” I could have told you that. I mean, really, when was the last time the media was sincerely interested in honest journalism?

And speaking of demonic journalists. . .

3. Simon Singh reports once more in The Guardian – After winning his appeal, Singh wants to remind people that the battle for libel reform in the UK is only just beginning.

4. Filipinos celebrate this Zombie Weekend by crucifying themselves – This is an annual tradition in the Philippines on Zombie Weekend where many Filipinos choose to re-enact Jesus’ zombie-fication by actually nailing themselves to wooden crosses.

The Catholic Church disapproves of the annual ritual of devotion but says it cannot stop people in Asia’s largest Roman Catholic country from being voluntarily nailed to a cross or flagellating themselves, only educate them that it isn’t necessary.

Yes, the Catholic Church would much rather they celebrate in a more traditional fashion, by raping young boys and covering it up.

5. Scientists discover gene and part of the brain controlling gullibility, the WTF1 gene – And if you believed that then you have the WTF1 gene. April Fools!

Now speaking of April Fools. . .

6. Shroud of Turin is back in the news – Despite the fact that the face merely looks like the male model who happened to pose as Jesus in Renaissance paintings and despite its total debunking as a several hundred year old forgery, somehow someone has resurrected (hehe, see what I did there) the debate. And it couldn’t come at a more perfect time as it perfectly coincides with my April Fools piece in the Gotham Skeptic about the discovery of Jesus’ face in a Rorschach Test. Check it out.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Jellyfish

February 3, 2009

There was just no way I was going to come up with a better title to this story than The Amateur Scientist. The Caribbean jellyfish Turritopsis Nutricula doesn’t die after mating like other jellyfish species. Instead, he reverts back to a juvenile state through cellular transdifferentiation, effectively aging himself backward and potentially rendering himself immortal.

And now for a moment of science

November 28, 2008

Social Amoeba Seek Kin Association – “Starving “social amoebae” called Dictyostelium discoideum seek the support of “kin” when they form multi-cellular organisms made up of dead stalks and living spores, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University in Houston in a report that appears online today in the open-access journal Public Library of Science Biology.”

Universal Mechanism Of Aging Found? – “Researchers have uncovered what may be a universal cause of aging, one that applies to both single cell organisms such as yeast and multicellular organisms, including mammals. This is the first time that such an evolutionarily conserved aging mechanism has been identified between such diverse organisms.”

Oldest Known Turtle Fossil Found In China – “With hard bony shells to shelter and protect them, turtles are unique and have long posed a mystery to scientists who wonder how such an elegant body structure came to be.”

Plate Tectonics Started 4 Billion Years Ago – “A new picture of the early Earth is emerging, including the surprising finding that plate tectonics may have started more than 4 billion years ago — much earlier than scientists had believed, according to new research by UCLA geochemists reported Nov. 27 in the journal Nature.”

News From Around The Blogosphere 10.18.08

October 19, 2008
No longer the logo

No longer the logo

Stop Jenny gets 2 more major plugs! First, as with PZ Myers, I made a personal request to Orac to please plug the site, which he did. Then Skeptico followed suit. I don’t know if one of my co-conspirators at Stop Jenny had something to do with that one or if they got the story from one of the other sites where I’ve been pimping it but either way, I’m grateful to everyone helping to make the site a success. You guys are awesome! I’ve also just contacted Phil Plait and requested a mention.

New book: unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity. . . and Why It Matters by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons – It’s got some interesting statistics worth checking out.


And to think they’d maybe be onto something if history would just cooperate and move backwards – The Institute for Creation Research has just claimed that Mendel published his paper on genetics in 1866 to refute Darwin’s theory of pangenesis (which, by the way, was published in 1868).



The epic battle continues:

And for the exciting conclusion to the cartoon, go here. Personally, I’m with Stephen Colbert:

“Agnostics are just atheists without balls.”

And this site is freakin’ hilarious – – It’s an interactive page, so CLICK ON EVERYTHING! And if you keep opening and closing the door, there are 4 different possible things you’ll find on the other side.


Mass Production Of Stem Cells From A Hair – “The first reports of the successful reprogramming of adult human cells back into so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which by all appearances looked and acted like embryonic stem cells, created a media stir. But the process was woefully inefficient: Only one out of 10,000 cells could be persuaded to turn back the clock.

Now, a team of researchers led by Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, succeeded in boosting the reprogramming efficiency more than 100-fold, while cutting the time it takes in half. In fact, they repeatedly generated iPS cells from the tiny number of keratinocytes attached to a single hair plucked from a human scalp.” – Of course this would all be totally unnecessary if the U.S. had a pro-science administration. I’m just sayin’.

Decay Of Brain’s Myelin Causes Physical Decline – “Reporting in the online version of the journal Neurobiology of Aging, Dr. George Bartzokis, professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, and his colleagues compared how quickly a group of males ranging in age from 23 to 80 could perform a motor task and then correlated their performances to their brains’ myelin integrity. The researchers found a striking correlation between the speed of the task and the integrity of myelination over the range of ages. Put another way, after middle age, we start to lose the battle to repair the myelin in our brain, and our motor and cognitive functions begin a long, slow downhill slide.”

News From Around The Blogosphere 9.25.08

September 26, 2008

A review of The Discovery Institute’s latest creationist propaganda textbook of choice – The new book is called “Explore Evolution.” One would think they got a better proofreader this time after that embarrassing defeat at The Dover Trial. Fortunately, it shouldn’t matter since the Judge Jones’ decision at Dover can’t simply be forgotten. The Intelligent Design movement’s hidden agenda has been exposed and it can’t be unexposed.

The Telegraph named Satan the #1 greatest villain in literature – And to put that in perspective, Cruella de Vil made #3, Iago made #4, Voldemort made #5, The Joker made #23, and Sauron made #25.

South Park + Free Speech = A Bad Day For Religion:

Part 1 – Scientology
Part 2 – Christianity

Part 3 – Islam

Fingerprints for Children – The Atheist Version:

Klingons For Jesus – You don’t know The Bible until you’ve read it in the original Klingon. Kuplah!

Anti-aging research and life extension

When anecdotal evidence is and isn’t helpful

I knew they looked familiar:


Martian Meteorites Could Carry Traces Of Life – “An artificial meteorite designed by the European Space Agency has shown that traces of life in a martian meteorite could survive the violent heat and shock of entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The experiment’s results also suggest that meteorite hunters should widen their search to include white rocks if we are to find traces of life in martian meteorites.”

America’s Smallest Dinosaur Uncovered – “An unusual breed of dinosaur that was the size of a chicken, ran on two legs and scoured the ancient forest floor for termites is the smallest dinosaur species found in North America, according to a University of Calgary researcher who analyzed bones found during the excavation of an ancient bone bed near Red Deer, Alberta.”