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Bill Noble
Worked at In rough order, naturalist, physics tech, ornithological curator in two world-class research collections, wilderness leader and Outward Bound practitioner, hod carrier, swamper, successful small farmer, cab driver, ED, board member and entrepreneur of a wide variety of environmental and literary nonprofits, and likely several things I've forgotten or should avoid mentioning.
Attended Harvard '60
Lived in Marin County CA
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Bill Noble

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the best little note about rotifers I've ever read! Thank you, John.
The toughest animal on the planet

A rotifer is an animal that lives in water and sweeps food into its mouth with small hairs.  There are many kinds, most less than a millimeter in length.  They can eat anything smaller than their head.

The toughest are the bdelloid rotifers.  These can survive being completely dried out for up to 9 years!  When they dry out, they sometimes crack.  Even their DNA can crack... but when they get wet, they come back to life!

Thanks to this strange lifestyle, their DNA gets mixed with other DNA.   Up to 10% of their active genes come from bacteria, fungi and algae!!! 

Scientists have found DNA from 500 different species in the genes of a rotifer from Australia.  "It's a genetic mosaic. It takes pieces of DNA from all over the place," said one of the study's authors. "Its biochemistry is a mosaic in the same way. It's a real mishmash of activities."

Perhaps because of this, bdelloid rotifers don't bother to have sex. 

Their ability to survive dry conditions makes them great at living in desert lakes and mud puddles that dry up.  But they also use this ability to beat some parasites.  When they dry out, the parasites die... but the rotifers survive!

On top of all this, bdelloid rotifers can survive high doses of radiation.  My guess is that this is just a side-effect of having really good genetic repair mechanisms.

Puzzle 1: what does 'bdelloid' mean?

Puzzle 2: what other words begin with 'bd'... and why?

Here's the paper that found 10% of active genes and 40% of all enzyme activity in bdelloid rotifers involve foreign DNA:

• Chiara Boschetti, Adrian Carr, Alastair Crisp, Isobel Eyres, Yuan Wang-Koh, Esther Lubzens, Timothy G. Barraclough, Gos Micklem and Alan Tunnacliffe, Biochemical diversification through foreign gene expression in bdelloid rotifers, PLOS Genetics, 15 November 2012,

The  animated gif is from here:

#spnetwork #bdelloid #rotifer doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003035
35 comments on original post
Malthus John's profile photoJohan Sundström's profile photoAbhishek Saxena's profile photoMusah Mohammed's profile photo
+Bill Noble - I'm updating some circles today and came across your page.  Is this a coincidence (it happens with other people too) or are your last posts before this one dated Dec 17, 2014, and Dec 31, 2013?  Or does G+ somehow show me only certain posts you've made?
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Bill Noble

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Heads up. BitDefender is repeatedly telling me that the petition page has malware. It probably doesn't, but someone managing the petition needs to figure out what the problem is.

Meantime, the text (visible on this page)  is simple, and easy to print out for your household or your workmates to sign en masse, and then drop off at a store.
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Bill Noble

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This Strikes Me as a Very Big Deal Indeed

. . . and in a wearyingly familiar pattern, has been almost unreported in the US (Google turned up only the Sacramento Bee so far among significant media), but is widely reported in China. What does it mean? Likely that California will lead the Western World in renewable energy and adaptive technologies, partnering with the giant polluter that is also the world's largest researcher and investor in climate tech.
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Bill Noble

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Fossil Logic

Subsidizing school lunches is wrong. Subsidizing solar is wrong. Subsidizing anyone poorer than you is wrong. But oil? The International Monetary Fund calculates that the total US subsidies to fossil fuels is half a trillion dollars. PER YEAR.
Adam Young's profile photoHugh Geenen's profile photoWilliam Prescott's profile photoRanjeet Kumar's profile photo
This is a bombshell somehow?
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Bill Noble

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At today's press conference, news of the strongest, most detailed evidence yet that Mars had a period when conditions for life were favorable. We're rapidly arrowing in on the key question: in the Universe at large, does life ignite whenever it has appropriate conditions? Or not?
Brenda Schouten-Beckett's profile photoBill Noble's profile photoAlan Bombria's profile photoDavid Grigg's profile photo
At this point, it would be surprising not to find evidence for life on Mars. If the conditions were suitable for a long enough period, even if life didn't evolve there, it seems highly unlikely that it wouldn't have been seeded by transfer from Earth. We know meteorites have been transferred between the two bodies via impact.
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Bill Noble

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We lament the science illiteracy of Americans as we struggle with population-level understanding of climate, energy, evolution, health, vaccines and many other issues. Rightly so.

But the economic illiteracy of Americans is equally awful, and that fact paralyzes politics and the general public dialog and leaves us at the mercy do sharks and charlatans.

Watch this clear, factual presentation of data.
The argument about raising tax revenues on top earners may be received differently, if the public weren't so terribly misinformed about the reality of the wealth distribution in America.
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Bill Noble

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Looking to give the world a gift during the holidays? Here's a promising project -- a completed documentary of worldwide approaches to change, protest, and nonviolent civil disobedience, and an in-process, ongoing, online toolkit. I was moved by its playful, practical tone, and by its potential to empower citizen movements. They have 6 Kickstarter days to go. They need your support.
Help us change the world through spreading creative non-violent protest methods on our cross-media platform!
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Hi hel
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Bill Noble

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Three major publications on climate have come my way in the last week. Each is sobering. Together, they feel apocalyptic:

1. New cloud modeling suggests that warming by 2100 is likely to be 4 degrees C rather than 2. (And that, of course is just the part that will have happened by then of an already committed much larger change -- all of Greenland's ice and most of Antarctica's gone within a few more centuries.)

2. The shutting down of ocean circulation because of the diminishing temperature differential between the equator and the poles: a 30% decline in bottom life in the North Atlantic by 2100. (And the end point, of course with further CO2 is anoxia for most of the oceans, a great reduction in atmospheric O2 and a surge of H2S -- the mechanism that caused all but one of earth great extinctions.)

3. A major Nature article suggesting that we have reached the limits of increased productivity from industrialized agriculture, and that decline has already begun -- just as we need to double food production over the next five decades or so. (I'm inclined to believe that genetic engineering may well buffer another few decades, but no more.)

As we arrive at 2014, how does the scale and import of all of this figure in the decisions we will each make over the rest of our lives, knowing that, every day, we are the biggest beneficiaries of the status quo, and are deciding the fate of lots and lots more of life than just us?
Anna Erishkigal's profile photoRodrigo Mesa (Motorod)'s profile photoBill Noble's profile photoTravel Birding In Colombia's profile photo
We are the largest operator of travel for birding in Colombia, which as I'm sure you know, has 1900 species of birds, almost 19% of all who inhabit the planet. Here on a journey of between 10 and 15 days can reach up to 1200 to observe bird species, which can not get anywhere else in the world. 

We want you to visit us in odretours. com /avistamientos-de-aves/ to know our travel schedule for birdwatching. Also let you know that in the month of February 2015 will be held in Cali, Colombia International Bird Fair and we are making you the kind invitation. 

a hug
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Bill Noble

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Gabrielle Giffords

90% of Americans, in multiple polls, supported the very modest gun-control measures in the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey BILL. So did 4 brave GOPers. But four Democrats, "Red-Staters," made the Republican filibuster work. The hero who stood up in the Senate Gallery and shouted "Shame on You!" spoke for all of us.

Democrats are unlikely to reclaim the House in the next decade -- right-wing gerrymandering seems nearly bomb-proof. That being the case, what's the value of a Democratic-led Senate that does something like this? And little else.

Democrats, end the filibuster.  Or lose the Senate, because lots of us out here will simply abandon funding the worthless charade of Congressional politics.

If you haven't read Giffords' passionate denunciation of the vote, here it is:
HASSAN EL GHACHAOUI's profile photoLi Gardner's profile photo
as to representing many political interests; yes i agree NRA do; but i am not so  sure it does have the hearts and souls of the majority of lpeople
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Bill Noble

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The 10th Anniversary of a Great Lie

I've just read this linked letter, on the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the US invasion of Iraq, and wanted to send it on. It says what should have been said, by millions of us, ten years ago.

It's striking how powerful the social agreement is that normal, essential moral judgments aren't applied to those of great wealth or power. No senior figure of the financial industry has been called to account for their crimes. Not one, despite the millions of Americans who lost -- and are still losing -- their homes. And these two men -- Bush and Cheney -- will probably not travel outside US borders much for the rest of their lives for fear of being arrested for war crimes. But that's about the only consequence they will suffer for the human tragedies Tomas Young lists below. Not for those, nor for the moral degradation of our country into one where torture is tolerated or even defended, and the violation of every single protection of the Bill or Rights is shrugged off as just a casual cost of the "War on Terror."

Anne G. Woodhead's profile photoIain Macadair's profile photoCarlos Codina's profile photoJim Ault's profile photo
I am with you 100%, Tessa.
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Bill Noble

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To endure, democracies need to deal head-on, and always, with their relationships to money and power. The US in 2013 is a near-perfect example of poor attention. And corn, as it turns out, could be a great way to focus our attention. Would you have guessed that, in terms of its ability to FEED people, the US corn industry is less productive than Bangladesh or Egypt? The reasons for this are a case study in the (ailing) arts of democracy.
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Bill Noble

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Can you name them? They're up there in honor of their post-Presidential achievements: Nixon (avoiding jail), Ford (golf), Reagan (don't remember), HW Bush (golf, skydiving), W Bush (not being invited to the 2012 Republican National Convention).
and then there is the back side of Mount Rushmore

Now can you name them all?

Happy Presidents Day!

Bill Noble's profile photoKenneth Borre's profile photoTomas Navratil's profile photoJames Meier's profile photo
I don't know, I'd describe Nixon as a full-assed catastrophe.
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Have him in circles
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Caregiver, writer
  • In rough order, naturalist, physics tech, ornithological curator in two world-class research collections, wilderness leader and Outward Bound practitioner, hod carrier, swamper, successful small farmer, cab driver, ED, board member and entrepreneur of a wide variety of environmental and literary nonprofits, and likely several things I've forgotten or should avoid mentioning.
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Marin County CA - Berkeley CA - Stanburne Nova Scotia - Arroyo Hondo NM - Toronto Ontario - Pittsfield MA - Cambridge MA
I'm a poet, writer and editor, and mostly now the full-time caregiver for my wife, Cristina Kessler Noble, who is fighting Alzheimer's with radiant joyfulness. Desiree Storch, my partner of ten years, and I are continual co-creators and sustaining resources for each other. I may be more interested in birds than you are, or I may not.
Bragging rights
I begin with my most august title: Great-Grandfather. I have four magnificent children, three grandchildren, and two great-grandsons. I suppose I could throw in a national poetry prize, Pushcart nomination, the Cable Car Award, an award-winning erotic video biography, a major local environmental award, and some awfully good tomatoes.
  • Harvard '60
    biology & physics
  • UC Berkeley
  • Pittsfield High School '56
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