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Stephen Brown
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Stephen Brown

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The punk rock turtle with a bright green Mohawk, which is actually algae growing on his head
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Stephen Brown

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The wildest dreams of many palaeontologists and recreational dino-philes were crushed this week when a study from The University of Manchester killed the Jurassic Park theory of recreating dinosaurs from elegantly extracted dino DNA released from amber-entombed mosquitos. The paper, published this week in PLoS ONE, attempted to identify the ancient DNA (aDNA) of bees preserved in copal, a precursor of amber. According to first author Dr David Penney, an amber expert, he and the rest of the group lead by Professor Terry Brown, an aDNA expert, have shown that though, “Intuitively, one might imagine that the complete and rapid engulfment in resin, resulting in almost instantaneous demise, might promote the preservation of DNA in a resin entombed insect, … this appears not to be the case”.

For many years it appeared the extraction of aDNA from fossils trapped in amber was a reality, as several studies from the early 1990s to today have purported to recover aDNA from mostly bacterial species, and a few insects and plants. These studies were primarily based on identification of aDNA through polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR is the process of synthesising more DNA from existing DNA. In this technique, the DNA is not directly extracted from the sample and sequenced, but instead the quantity of DNA is increased through successive rounds of synthesis and then the amplified bits are sequenced. Unfortunately, PCR will preferentially amplify more abundant and undamaged modern DNA over degraded aDNA. This suggests that any contamination in the sample will be overrepresented and possibly hide any true aDNA.

These results effectively end the idea that amber-entrapment is effective in DNA preservation. Since aDNA was not detected in the young copal then results in even older amber stand to be the same or worse. The authors have had previous success isolating aDNA from Mycobacterium tuberculosis in human bone, as published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and archeological plant remains from charred cereal grains, as published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, so it is tough to disregard the most recent results. In the words of Dr Penney, “Unfortunately, the Jurassic Park scenario must remain in the realms of fiction”.

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0073150

http://www.siriscientificpress.co.uk/Pages/DavidPenneyresearch.aspx

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/dinosaurs/10303795/Jurassic-Park-ruled-out-dinosaur-DNA-could-not-survive-in-amber.html
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A #longread  on the recent proof of the odd Goldbach conjecture, computer assisted proofs, and simulation versus analytics for theorists and modelers. The curse of computing is building quick heuristics, examples, or verifications at the expense of a slower and deeper understanding.

#TheEGG  /cc +Niel de Beaudrap+Sina Salek, and +Jacob Scott
For over twenty-three hundred years, at least since the publication of Euclid's Elements, the conjecture and proof of new theorems has been the sine qua non of mathematics. The method of proof is a...
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Stephen Brown

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This is the first image taken by an updated APEX camera. The camera called ArTeMiS, a new wide-field submillimetre-wavelength camera, was installed and can bring more in depth details to the images. The telescope is a 12 meter diameter telescope located high in the Atacama Desert. It operates at millimetre and submillimetre wavelengths which is between infrared light and radio waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. The image you see her is of the Cat Paw nebula which hosts some of the brightest and massive stars in our Milky Way.

For more information you can read my blog post here: http://www.brownspaceman.com/first-images-from-new-apex-camera/
Or check out the official press release: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1341/
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What a fucking fat fuck fucker. Governor Chris Christie: my sincerest hope is that you die writhing in pain. The sooner, the better. Let's toss in a bunch of other politicians, just for good measure. Nothing like a good start. All the smart people will laf and have a party. You are irredeemably loathsome. Just…
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http://blog.digg.com/post/45355701332/were-building-a-reader

Good to know there will be a host of Reader replacements once the (silly, really silly) decision of Google's to shut down Reader takes effect in a few weeks.
Like many of you, we were dismayed to learn that Google will be shutting down its much-loved, if under-appreciated, Google Reader on July 1st. Through its many incarnations, Google Reader has remained...
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Have him in circles
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YouTube - Simple Minds - Dont You Forget About Me (8-Bit Remix)
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