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Immaculate Conception In a Boa Constrictor 478

crudmonkey writes "Researchers have discovered a biological shocker: female boa constrictors are capable of giving birth asexually. But the surprise doesn't end there. The study in Biology Letters found that boa babies produced through this asexual reproduction — also known as parthenogenesis — sport a chromosomal oddity that researchers thought was impossible in reptiles. While researchers admit that the female in the study may have been a genetic freak, they say the findings should press researchers to re-think reptile reproduction. Virgin birth among reptiles, especially primitive ones like boas, they argue may be far commoner than ever expected."

Comment Re:A Simple Solution (Score 1) 211

They didn't ask permission because it violates the copyright claims of the note writers. Yes, if you write a note in the margin of a text, the copyright of the note is inherently yours.

For Amazon to take those notes, and algamate them into something of a Clif's notes amounts to no less than copyright theiavry.

Amazon should have run this one by their legal team first as there should have been a lengthy legal notice and opt in.

Comment Re:-1 False Assumption (Score 5, Insightful) 976

"Why does this seem like guilt is assumed unless innocence is proven? Why can't they simply check the lights and rescind the tickets?"

A better question is why are we letting our letting our local government's treat it's citizens this way?
A private, for profit company should never issue traffic fines, officer reviewed or not. There is far too much room for abuse. The government should not look upon criminal penalties as a revenue system lest it turn all it's citizens into criminals.
Governments who treat the people as enemies of the state may find themselves the enemies of the people.

Comment License (Score 1) 367

If his code is really that great, and he really has such a huge chip on his shoulder about not getting any accolades for his time and effort writing it, then he shouldn't have put it under the GPL license. If his code is really worth having, he could use a more traditional software license and sell his product for the big bucks.

Comment The Farmers are Right (Score 5, Interesting) 376

In this case the farmers are right. The cattle are branded with a unique brand so the rancher knows who it belongs to. In addition, cattle are given an eartag so that the slaughter houses can tell where they came from. Cattle comes from two sources...large industrial like feedlots where the cattle are crowded into a small area and fed grain ...or on ranches where they go free range and graze on grasses. Since a large operation would have maybe 1000 head of cattle, it can be presumed that from the ear tags, if a slaughtered cow is found to have some disease at the slaughter house, it can be narrowed down to one ranch or feed lot.

Now, because of the close confines of the feedlot, it can easily be presumed that the sick cow came into close proximity with all the other cattle there. And so the new technology is just simply not needed, it's a wasteful expense.

For the rancher, equiping each of his hands with a scanner gets expensive. The data is instantly intrusive, as in "why didn't you pasture your cows this way" and in some instances could easily be used by overzealous groups (ie peta) to grief ranchers about their animal husbandry practices.

All in all, it's a lot of expense, a lot of trouble, and a lot of intrusion, for very little is actual gain. In the efforts at finding disease, relying on this system alone to reduce the number of animals tested could mean that positives slip by because they weren't tested as they didn't show up in the contact list for the sick cow.

Comment Meddlesome (Score 0, Troll) 467

"For all the hatred spewed at the direction of the USA, I've got to say there's quite an effort underway by normal citizens to help. There are people from all over the world trying to help, but I'd say a good number of them are from the USA."

Did it never occur to you or anyone else that this is exactly why the US is so hated?

People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk. We're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. --River Tam

This is why we are so hated. Yes, I believe in freedom of speech, fair elections, and democracy for all. But, we need to step back and respect countries enough to let them get there on their own terms.

Comment Not quite so crazy (Score 1) 472

Actually, this can make a lot of sense for Americans working overseas. Defense contractors (my brother in law works for one in Germany) get paid in dollars instead of euros. Depending on how the dollar is faring, some months they take a big hit in pay and are only able to afford the basic necessities after conversion. Other months they fare better. Instead of having their savings in either US dollars or Euros, if they buy gold during the good months, they could then cash it in when the dollar is weak and be able to maintain their quality of life. As opposed to savings being in dollars and having to exchange when the dollar is weak. Or having their savings in euros and when they come back to the states having to convert back in a weak euro market.

It wouldn't work out for everybody, but Germany has a very large foriegn military presence. So in some ways, it makes sense for people who get paid in one currancy, but need to exchange for something more useful. So if they can exchange for something that holds its value, they wont loose even more when they need to make a withdrawl from their savings.

As it turns out, exchanging currancy this way is a big market. A trader might only make fractions of a us cent on each dollar exchanged to what ever currency has less value than the dollar, but they trade tens of millions of dollars, wait until the currancy they traded into improves in value, then trade back and make a few million. pretty straight forward, but you need big bucks to make any real money in it.

Comment Re:Money Grab (Score 1) 793

"This tax, especially on foods and drinks that can kill you if not used in extreme moderation (apparently they aren't) is for the same reasons, no?"

Nobody else dies because you pigged out on doritos, watched three dvd's in a row, and then drove to the grocery store for a refill on both.

An individual smoking can make all the people around them sick. People driving drunk kill other people.

There are just as many skinny people as fat who enjoy the occasional junk food fest and a dvd marathon. This tax will not make fat people thin, it will not make people exercise more, it's about trying to control what people do with their lives. And since no one can really control someone elses dietary choices..its about extracting as much money from the populace as possible.

Comment This is needed. (Score 1) 416

Living in Tucson...
This train NEEDS to happen. Phoenix has most of the tech jobs but (if you want to buy) little housing that is affordable. Many of my friends live in places like Casa Grande, Tucson, or little stops in between. The interstate between Tucson and Phoenix is always crowded, even late at night, and very dangerous during the monsoon season. While I don't see half a million people riding this train a day, I could easily see 250,000 a day making trips on it. Especially if it went to the phoenix airport and especially during tourist season.

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