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Comment Re:They don't answer the only question we care abo (Score 5, Informative) 176

The cytosine methylation signal along a strand of DNA is theoretically heritable, even though it has nothing to do with the actual sequence of bases.

There are vast stretches of junk DNA in the genome, some with old genes for ancient viruses or parasitic sequences like transposons, and the way the cell keeps those parts of DNA away from cell machinery is by methylating the cytosine residues. The methyl groups prevent RNA polymerase from transcribing the DNA and therefore it gets silenced.

When a cell divides, the methyl groups are only on the original strand; the new complimentary strand doesn't have any. The methylation signal has to be actively transcribed from one strand to another; an enzyme runs up the DNA feeling for methylated cytosine residues. When it finds some, it starts methylating any cytosine residues that might be nearby on the opposite strand, to make sure the troublesome regions all stay commented out. That's why it's heritable.

Comment North Korea is in the nineties (Score 1) 138

Hey Dan, ready for that public hanging of political prisoners? I'm just finishing up here with my new kayaking friends.

Kayaking friends on your computer?

Dan: Yeah, I just got North Korea online.

Sounds great. Listen, I can't go to the public executions today.


First my kids have to go to the library to read books on how great Our Leader is. Then I have to stand on a street corner and yell revolutionary slogans at complete strangers. And I have to contact my mother; she's making kayaks in a slave labor camp and gets executed tomorrow.

Hey, we can take care of all that before we go.

Yeah, right!

No, with North Korea online!

North Korea online can do all that?

How about sending your mother some nice flowers?

Comment Re:What we should really do. (Score 2) 70

Perhaps we could focus on saving the fauna we have now that is on the verge of going extinct from a variety of reasons.

I think we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

If any extinct species deserves a second chance it should be mammoths. They only went extinct because we arrived as an invasive species and killed them all ourselves.

Comment Re:Times change (Score 1) 192

Now, pardon me but I need to ask you some questions. Have I answered all your customer concerns about your fighter aircraft in a timely and satisfactory fashion today? Have I accurately and politely provided answers to your questions in a courteous and prompt fashion and offered good customer service? Thank you very much bye!

Comment Re:Not a nice way to die (Score 4, Informative) 429

Although it's an old technology, older than the 3.5 mm audio jack even, the ordinary mousetrap is humane, effective, reusable, and available in multiple sizes. They kill instantly; you'll never find a mousetrap with a live rodent wiggling around in it.

The glue boards, on the other hand, are pretty gross. The rat sticks to them and then you toss the thing into the trash, which always struck me as somewhat psycho. Sometimes people buy them without it dawning on them they're going to end up throwing a live mammal into the garbage. I knew one guy who came across a starving mouse wiggling in the glue, was overcome by an unexpected burst of empathy, and spent the next half hour making a mess outside with rubbing alcohol trying to pry it off without tearing any limbs.

Comment Re:Sellings eyeballs to the ad company (Score 0) 130

the fracking helps to release that stress early in a much smaller-than-it-would-have-been quake. The anti-oil folks should probably find a different row to hoe.

Yes, instead of a single huge quake happening several millenia from now, we're much better off having medium-sized quakes destroying houses every week.

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