How birds drop ‘unnecessary’ genes can help us understand evolution

Humans, the latest tally suggests, have approximately 21,000 genes in our genome, the set of genetic information in an organism. But do we really need every gene we have? What if we lost three or four? What if we lost 3,000 or 4,000? Could we still function? Humans have variation in their genomes, but the […]

Source: How birds drop ‘unnecessary’ genes can help us understand evolution

Trump and his followers have weaponized Christmas. But the true spirit of the holiday holds other possibilities – Alternet.org

The Malthusian social-Darwinist Scrooge and his Republican Party continue to gut programs such as food stamps, assistance for the disabled, health care, and other remnants of the social safety net, while giving the very richest Americans trillions of dollars in tax cuts. Trump’s regime continues its assault on the rule of law, the Constitution and human rights.

Source: Trump and his followers have weaponized Christmas. But the true spirit of the holiday holds other possibilities – Alternet.org

Missouri bill redefines science, gives equal time to intelligent design | Portside

Each year, state legislatures play host to a variety of bills that would interfere with science education. Most of these are variations on a boilerplate intended to get supplementary materials into classrooms criticizing evolution and climate change (or to protect teachers who do). They generally don’t mention creationism, but the clear intent is to sneak religious content into the science classrooms, as evidenced by previous bills introduced by the same lawmakers.

Source: Missouri bill redefines science, gives equal time to intelligent design | Portside

Lice-Filled Dinosaur Feathers Found Trapped in 100-Million-Year-Old Amber | Portside

Anyone who’s had to deal with a lice infestation knows how annoying the persistent little pests can be. But humans are far from the first animals to suffer at the expense of these hair- and feather-inhabiting parasites. As far back as the Cretaceous period, insects that resemble modern lice lived and fed on the bodies of dinosaurs. 

Source: Lice-Filled Dinosaur Feathers Found Trapped in 100-Million-Year-Old Amber | Portside

The Expanse: A Mind Matters TV Series Review | Mind Matters

I love the deep mystery surrounding the show’s central narrative device, the proto-molecule. It is somewhat sentient and is desperately trying to figure out what happened to the civilization that created it and was then wiped out while it lay dormant in our solar system for millions of years.

Source: The Expanse: A Mind Matters TV Series Review | Mind Matters

Amidst the Climate Emergency Nature is Still Revealing Its Secrets 

The United Kingdom’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in southwest London is an internationally important botanical research and education institution and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to its website: “Biodiversity loss, climate change, rapidly-spreading pests and diseases combined with a soaring human population and fragile food security are negatively impacting communities around the world.

Source: Amidst the Climate Emergency Nature is Still Revealing Its Secrets | Portside