Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wow, a free web-based Photoshop from Adobe. That's kind of cool.

Check it: Photoshop Express
posted by Josh at 5:23 PM | 0 comments
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
So Arthur C. Clarke died.

His most brilliant work? His third law from "Profiles of The Future", 1961:

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

That's just genius.

His fiction was good, too.

I always felt badly, though, once 2001 came and went. From now on it's seriously dated. Kind of like when August 29, 1997 happened and there was no Judgement Day that the second Terminator film promised.

Note to self: When I write a fantastic future story about killer computers, make sure to either not set a firm date for it, or set it significantly in the future. Like hundreds of years, because I'm sure in the 1960s 2001 seemed far away.
posted by Josh at 10:23 AM | 0 comments
Friday, March 14, 2008
I love stories like this. Part of me would love to have been a scientist and study mitochondrial DNA. Seriously. I find it fascinating.

The Associated Press
Indian DNA Links to 6 'Founding Mothers'
By Malcolm Ritter
March 13, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly all of today's Native Americans in North, Central and South America can trace part of their ancestry to six women whose descendants immigrated around 20,000 years ago, a DNA study suggests.

Those women left a particular DNA legacy that persists to today in about about 95 percent of Native Americans, researchers said.

The finding does not mean that only these six women gave rise to the migrants who crossed into North America from Asia in the initial populating of the continent, said study co-author Ugo Perego.

The women lived between 18,000 and 21,000 years ago, though not necessarily at exactly the same time, he said.

The work was published this week by the journal PLoS One. Perego is from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation in Salt Lake City and the University of Pavia in Italy.

The work confirms previous indications of the six maternal lineages, he said. But an expert unconnected with the study said the findings left some questions unanswered.

Perego and his colleagues traced the history of a particular kind of DNA that represents just a tiny fraction of the human genetic material, and reflects only a piece of a person's ancestry.

This DNA is found in the mitochondria, the power plants of cells. Unlike the DNA found in the nucleus, mitochondrial DNA is passed along only by the mother. So it follows a lineage that connects a person to his or her mother, then the mother's mother, and so on.

The researchers created a "family tree" that traces the different mitochondrial DNA lineages found in today's Native Americans. By noting mutations in each branch and applying a formula for how often such mutations arise, they calculated how old each branch was. That indicated when each branch arose in a single woman.

The six "founding mothers" apparently did not live in Asia because the DNA signatures they left behind aren't found there, Perego said. They probably lived in Beringia, the now-submerged land bridge that stetched to North America, he said.

Connie Mulligan of the University of Florida, an anthropolgist who studies the colonization of the Americas but didn't participate in the new work, said it's not surprising to trace the mitochondrial DNA to six women. "It's an OK number to start with right now," but further work may change it slightly, she said.

That finding doesn't answer the bigger questions of where those women lived, or of how many people left Beringia to colonize the Americas, she said Thursday.

The estimate for when the women lived is open to question because it's not clear whether the researchers properly accounted for differing mutation rates in mitochondrial DNA, she said. Further work could change the estimate, "possibly dramatically," she said.

On the Net:
PLoS One:

© 2008 The Associated Press
posted by Josh at 7:44 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I mean, I'd never heard the phrase "Superdelegate" before two months ago, and now it seems that every Tom, Dick and Harry is one.

Seriously, just saw Tom Daschle on Jon Stewart the other night, he's a superdelegate, and today I read that apparently hooker-lovin' governor of New York (at least, for the next day or so) Eliot Spitzer is one, too.

Is there a list somewhere? I mean, shit, I'm half expecting to get a letter from my grandmother mentioning that she's going to the convention this August!

Apparently the 2008 Democratic National Convention will have approximately 794 superdelegates, according to the NY Times.

I just googled the definition, which is "party officials seated at the convention as delegates without regard to primary or caucus results".

I mean, doesn't that seem rather undemocratic to you? I mean, this is a bigger scam than the electoral college ...
posted by Josh at 5:12 PM | 0 comments
Thursday, March 6, 2008
This is an odd article - Disney to Produce Animation in Japan.

Disney is starting some kind of deal to produce animation with three Japanese studios. One of them, Madhouse Co., will produce a TV program - "Stitch!" - based on Disney's "Lilo & Stitch" film.

Like I said, odd.
posted by Josh at 6:48 PM | 0 comments
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Oh this is awesome:

Vermont towns vote to arrest Bush and Cheney
March 05, 2008

WASHINGTON - Voters in two Vermont towns on Tuesday approved a measure that would instruct police to arrest President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for "crimes against our Constitution," local media reported.

The nonbinding, symbolic measure, passed in Brattleboro and Marlboro in a state known for taking liberal positions on national issues, instructs town police to "extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them."

Vermont, home to maple syrup and picture-postcard views, is known for its liberal politics.

State lawmakers have passed nonbinding resolutions to end the war in Iraq and impeach Bush and Cheney, and several towns have also passed resolutions of impeachment. None of them have caught on in Washington.

Bush has never visited the state as president, though he has spent vacations at his family compound in nearby Maine.

Roughly 12,000 people live in Brattleboro, located on the Connecticut River in the state's southeastern corner. Nearby Marlboro has a population of roughly 1,000.

(Writing by Andy Sullivan, editing by David Wiessler)

© Reuters
posted by Josh at 6:09 PM | 0 comments