Should we clone a Neanderthal? No, really, should we? Recently, Archeology magazine considered the scientific, legal, and of course ethical challenges of doing just that. Researchers from Roche’s 454 Life Sciences and genetics firm Illumina are collecting bits of Neanderthal DNA to sequence the genome of a 30,000-year-old Neanderthal woman from Croatia. Once the genome is complete, making a clone is no easy task. But as the article explains, it’s within the realm of possibility. And what happens if there’s success? (via BoingBoing)
From Archeology: Hawks believes the barriers to Neanderthal cloning will come down. “We are going to bring back the mammoth…the impetus against doing Neanderthal because it is too weird is going to go away.” He doesn’t think creating a Neanderthal clone is ethical science, but points out that there are always people who are willing to overlook the ethics. “In the end,” Hawks says, “we are going to have a cloned Neanderthal, I’m just sure of it.”
This same story was reported in Discover a year or more ago, and I know I’s talked my sister’s ear of on this subject, but this new article is much more interesting and comprehensive. What a strange and exciting world the decades will bring.
You’re probably thinking, “whoa cowboy, nothing’s better than SPAM.” And until yesterday I would have never agreed, but now I don’t agree even more. There’s an old saying about American indians using every part of the buffalo. It’s usually trotted out to illustrate how wasteful American culture has become but it’s time to retire that ridiculous idea. Here’s 69¢ worth of evidence, three ounces to a can.
Unlike the other food products available to the modern grocery shopper, Libby’s brand potted meat food product boasts:
With concert of flavor the first four ingredients offer it’s a wonder that they have to add flavorings including spices and flavorings. But don’t doubt the cooks at Libby’s! They’re a part of the family! You wouldn’t doubt the good people at Carnation who put milk in a can would you? Or how about Toll House chocolate chips? Nestlé is responsible for those family classics and your new favorite potted meat food product is theirs too. Nestlé quality IS potted meat food product quality.
Previous to my arrival on Siapan I’ve had a pretty strict vegetarian diet. So perhaps you’re thinking, “Kevin is really getting behind this meat food product, he must be a fan.” You’re right, I am a fan. Now you may think, “how does it taste?” Well, let me just say, modestly, I’m glad that I never have to find out. That’s because seven years ago someone else survived a taste test and you can read all about it on his site.
The next time your stomach is growling, try the food product you know will be satisfyingly pink and creamy: Libby’s potted meat. It hits a spot.
EDIT: This post deserves a little more explanation.
Certain mornings I feel compelled do a little dance to shake off sleep. The fella in the video is a much more accomplished and coordinated dancer than I am but the commitment to goofiness he demonstrates herein is the common thread. Try a morning dance some day, right after you get out of bed. You’re morning routine made less routine. (Just don’t pull anything.)
PJ and my trip to Forbidden Island took us down into the green hillside into a beautiful sea cave. A short walk up over a small ridge brought us through a low carpet of mangrove-like plants. The trail abruptly ends inviting sandalled hikers to find their own way over ragged and jagged edged boulders up to a wide gap in the cliff.
There you’ll find a triangular opening sitting like an manhole between you and an orange (ancient reef) wall. It’s easy enough to shimmy about ten feet down into the cool still air of the dim chamber. On the far end of the room the stone is salamander smooth and lit by lively slithering reflections off the small pond in the floor.
In a place like this it’s hard to avoid thinking mythically or at least cinematicly. Dreamy shafts of sunlight brighten the underground pool. Hikers move under the mountain from jungle to seaside grotto then back to the heat and bright of day. The moment I was in I had the feeling of familiarity but not quite deja vu. It reminded me of the Mayan Actun Tunichil Muknal caves in Belize. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one and that others have felt the same way about it.
We never actually set foot on the island (it is forbidden after all) but the expedition was a resounding success. The Forbidden Island resembles a handsome hat tilted playfully to one side. It’s flat top is a perfect lawn of green grass where sea birds are safe to lay their eggs in the open, as if for an elementary Easter hunt. Its surrounded by rough black cliffs on all visible sides.
To get there take the fork in the road at Kagman’s natural edge and follow Forbidden Is. Rd. for a mile or so. Keep an eye out for cars parked at the trail head, the small brown sign has been taken by the jungle and easy to miss.
The trail, a slim, clay track, is patrolled by hundreds of red-helmeted millipedes, each tiny armored body carried afloat by hundreds of rolling legs. Pick your way through the vine choked forestland (be thankful Saipan is snakeless) to an outlook with a perfect view of the rocky coast. A ragged strip of beach, scattered with jagged boulders, tips into the deep blue Pacific water. Reefs have shaped the edge-water landscape into raised plates and sandy channels teeming with the UV blue an neon pink bodies of coral biting fish.
PJ and I brought our masks, so as soon as we got to Forbidden Island’s shallow pools we slipped into the easy water for some fish spotting. My favorite was the orange-spine unicornfish. This beautiful seal-gray animal has lightning blue stripes racing down its back and four dreamcicle thorns way back on its tail. From above the spot before it’s tail looks like a clown-fish swimming the other way. Have a look for yourself, they are amazing.
Mark the time. As of this post’s publication I’ve been on island for thirty days. From my perspective it feels like no time has gone by at all, or like all the time in the world has past. It’s been an absolute blast so far. My friends have asked me as I was nearing the four week mark what impression I’ve made of this place. My answer stays the same, it’s absolutely amazing here and I can only look forward to the next sixty days with enthusiasm.
But what will time bring my way? Work? Travel? Something approaching a tan? Whatever life has in store for me here I’m sure the weather will be beautiful.
Also, the Facebook thing
On another note, I’d like to thank everyone who clicked my new Facebook like button in the rightmost column on this page. It’s a little something new I’m trying out. By clicking the “like” button your photo is added to the box and you become a lker of the kvncsy.com sister page on Facebook. Eventually I’d like to integrate FB’s comment system with my own, and adding the little box there is a start. (I’d welcome links or advise from any crack shot Facebook/WordPress programmers on how to do that.)
Here’s a short film my good friend Gene Alexander put together way back when I was living on Aotearoa, that other island. Gene and I worked together at the Paramount, a great movie theater downtown Wellington. We filmed this over a few weekends and off-work evenings. Unfortunately I was in Helena before the project was done, that left Gene and his editor without much to work with. “It reads more like a trailer,” Gene wrote in an e-mail to me.
I hope you enjoy the show!
Those Old Machines
Watching this again brought me right back to my last weeks in Wellington. The projectors at the Paramount were so much fun to work with. We we’re the only theater in town that could run reel to reel, so just like the old days you had to watch for the “cigarette burns” to que to for a changeover. (I never heard another projectionist call them cigarette burns, always “que dots” or “changeovers”.) A changeover takes place when you fire up the second projector just as the reel of film on the first runs out. The projectionist’s goal is making as smooth a transition as possible, no gaps, no overlaps.
I’m missing my baby nephew Bannack a lot. But getting to see him grow up through the eyes of his parents is a pretty cool consolation. Chris and Sara keep their own blogs, don’t ‘cha know, and have been posting some pretty adorable photos of my stunning nephew.
Taleff O’Casey is their joint space. My sister started it before her wedding, to keep in closer touch with all the family and friends they were reconnecting with at the time. She continues to keep up to date, but I especally love the continuing series of Bannack’s growth from a little bean to the wide grinning old man he is constantly becoming. (I smile just as wide whenever I look at these photos.)
Chris posts there too, but he’s just launched his own site at his personal domain: christaleff.com. You’ll notice right away that we’re sharing the same template, but his site will give some insight into the life of a new father and student of architecture. I can’t wait to see and read more from both of them.