Dream of the Dragon

Tag: snowball

Poison Gets Palatable

by Justin

The focus of the Gulf spill damage has understandably been upon the crude drifting on the surface – it takes no expertise to recognize the dying marine life and the swells of copper and black floating along or lashing the shores. The effects are immediately visible and visceral to communities of both people and local wildlife.  Statistics are always useful in gauging the scale of disaster, but the photographs of Deepwater Horizon’s wake have been especially stirring. There’s no lack of material, but the Boston Globe’s website killed it yesterday with its Big Picture account of recent events. The copper tendrils are really quite beautiful, if ultimately terrible, in photos like the one below – more painting than ecological catastrophe. Please follow the link. It’s incredible work.

Unreal. The amazing revelation today in the NY Times, however, is that the poison ballooning onto the surface may have the opposite effect in the abyss below. Read the rest of this entry »

Resurrecting Mammoths

by Justin

Hold on to your butts. University of Manitoba professor Kevin Campbell has ushered in an era of “virtual scientific time travel” by recreating the hemoglobin of the long extinct woolly mammoth. And if that immediately reminds you of Jurassic Park, it’s only going to get more uncanny:

Campbell and his team were able to extract DNA from three woolly mammoths preserved in the Siberian permafrost. And because mammoths are so similar to elephants, he was able to modify living elephant DNA, letter by letter, to make working mammoth genes. He inserted those genes into e. coli bacteria.

Then, Campbell says, “the e.coli simply followed the recipe” and made mammoth hemoglobin that did “everything it would have done if it had been inside a mammoth.”

That’s taken from the NPR All Things Considered story about this latest bit of science fiction. Read the rest of this entry »

Trade deficit?

by Justin

China reported its first trade deficit in six years, meaning that during March they actually spent more money on imports than their cheap labor and goods generate from exports. At first glance this led me to believe that their economic growth could be slowing or transforming somehow. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Read the rest of this entry »