Dec 14, 2008

You know you should get rid of your car when...

I have a really old car and I've kept it for a lot longer than I should have. I've put a lot of money into it, when I shouldn't have and I think I've replaced every conceivable part inside of it. I just don't want you to make the same mistakes as I did so as a public service announcement, I'd like to give you some advice as to when you should dump that heap.

You know you need to get rid of your car when...
  • ...the call operator at AAA and you, are on a first name basis.
  • ...the mechanic where you usually take the car to, is so thankful for the business you give him, that he always drops you home after you drop the car off...and buys you fresh cut flowers for the holidays.
  • find yourself parking far away from other cars so that your spot is tow-truck accessible.
  • stopped locking your car overnight back in 2003.
  • ...the gas tank lever is busted and you've perfected getting gas at a self-serve to an art form. (What I do jam the car keys underneath the lever inside the car and then rush outside to the gas tank and open it before the lever slips. I have about 3 seconds to do this)
  • ...the gas tank gauge flickers between empty and full constantly and you've actually been stranded on the side of a highway without gas.
  • rotate and replace your bicycle tires a lot more often than your car tires.
  • actually have a special prayer which you recite before you turn the ignition.
  • the winter, you climb in through the passenger door at the back because the front doors just don't open
  • ...the trunk key needs to go in at a highly precise angle if you want it open. And you have only 1 shot at it.
  • ...the car keys are more twisted than a Hitchcock film as you've used to them to open letters, beer bottles, the bathroom door, and the bathroom tiles.

Dec 13, 2008

Let's bring back the Woolly Mammoth

A collaborative effort by scientists at Penn State and some other notable institutions, recently released their findings on sequencing the DNA of the mammoth. According to their study, they have determined about 4 billion bases of the mammoth of which 3.3 billion nucleotide bases belong to the woolly mammoth species. The DNA is fragmented and imperfect, but could they bring the mammoth to life? Yes, they say, for $10 million...
There is no present way to synthesize a genome-size chunk of mammoth DNA, let alone to develop it into a whole animal. But Dr. Schuster said a shortcut would be to modify the genome of an elephant’s cell at the 400,000 or more sites necessary to make it resemble a mammoth’s genome. The cell could be converted into an embryo and brought to term by an elephant, a project he estimated would cost some $10 million.
Some of the opinion pieces I've read are not in favor of bringing the animal back. The NYTimes editorial wrote...
The first mammoth would be a lonely zoo freak, vulnerable to diseases unknown to its ancestors. To live a full and rewarding life, it would need other mammoths to hang out with, a mate to produce a family and a suitable place to live. The sort of environment it is used to — the frigid wastes of Siberia and North America — are disappearing all too fast.
The Chemical and Engineering News editorial was also not in favor of the idea....

I have qualms about bringing back woolly mammoths. I hope it doesn't happen because, not only are mammoths extinct, the world they inhabited is extinct, too. There is no place for them, and it seems cruel to bring them back just so we can stare at them.

Instead of resurrecting species our ancestors helped drive to extinction, I think we should be working desperately to curb the mass extinction we ourselves are driving today.

Of course it is cruel on some level to bring back a woolly mammoth to life, but who says it has to be lonely? Bring back 2 of them, a male and a female, for example. I feel the pros outweigh the cons. Think of all one could learn from the process of resurrecting an extinct species. I think it would be a marvelous scientific achievement. We are trying our best to save dying species currently, so why don't we try bringing back an extinct species? Let's be realistic here. The experiment is not going to be some out of control 'Jurassic Park' type scene, where 'nature finds a way' to reproduce within the time span of a ridiculous movie and start attacking children at the gift shop. It's going to be heavily monitored and if successful, could give us clues along the way as to how we can improve our lives and the the lives of dying species around us.

Who wants to look at cave drawings anyway. Let's bring the mammoth back...

Dec 8, 2008

Poll results: Wendy's fries don't measure up to McDonalds...

..and I have no idea why. I really do not like the fries at the McD's. They're thin and too crunchy. But the people hath spoken, and I must accept and publish the results of this non-scientific, utterly useless, waste-of-time survey.
There were 9 votes for Wendy's however, (most of them probably being me from different computers) so at least Wendy's is second best in my highly skewed, completed BS, useless poll of the month.