Monday, April 24, 2006

Before this hits the 'Trash' folder....

` Since I seriously have no time to work on anything original, why don't I go back to my old standby favorite? Bits of E-mails I don't quite want to throw away! Of course! The best thing to do with those is to show them to all your friends!

` Photo by: NHM
and Alexander Kupfer
` These earthworm-looking things are baby caecilians, a type of amphibian, and they are doing something no one has seen before:

` The mothers of Boulengerula taitanus create a nutrient-rich fatty
outer layer of skin after laying their eggs. When their offspring hatch, the babies scrape this layer off with specialized teeth.
...The only other caecilians known to be born with teeth develop inside a womb, and eat the inside of their mother's oviduct before birth - a trick reported in Nature fifty years ago2.

Other amphibians, such as frogs and salamanders sometimes eat their own skin after it has shed, to recycle nutrients. This newly observed behaviour is similar to that, says Wilkinson, except the babies join in the shedding process....

...No one yet knows what is in this fatty layer, or how the young know when to stop eating their mothers' skin to avoid killing her. Wilkinson will leave these questions to others; he plans to look for more amphibians that show the same behaviour.

"It's a weird and wonderful thing," says Wilkinson, "It raises more questions than it answers."

` Yummy. Skin. Well, I suppose it isn't that bizarre, considering that birds shed their crop lining to feed their babies, and mammals exude specialized sweat for their young. Some mother animals just die and let the babies eat them!
` In another e-mail from Nature I find that growing a replacement bladder is now reality for children with defective ones!

Atala's team did this by slicing a postage-stamp-sized fragment of bladder tissue from each patient and encouraging the cells to proliferate. They spread a layer of muscle cells on the outside of a bladder-shaped, biodegradable mould of synthetic polymer and collagen, and added a separate layer of bladder urothelial cells on the inside.

The organ part grew in a soup of nutrients for several weeks before the team sewed it to the patient's bladder.
` Hooray for a technique that's better than grafting intestinal tissue into somewhere it doesn't belong! (It doesn't leak, you see.)
` Last up, I came across something I occasionally tell people, though here it is in the words of Cecil Adams:

...But to say astrology can be helpful doesn't mean it has any objective validity. Studies have shown that (1) astrologers trying to deduce someone's personality from his chart do no better than chance; (2) astrologers studying the same chart come to opposite conclusions as often as not; (3) the birth dates of people with occupations linked to certain signs (e.g., politicians, scientists, soldiers) are in fact randomly distributed throughout the zodiac; and (4) couples with "incompatible" signs get married and divorced at the same rate as compatible couples.

The fact is, people who want to believe in astrology will convince themselves it works no matter what. In one study of 22 astrology buffs, half were presented with their real horoscopes and half were presented with fake charts saying the exact opposite. Both groups said their horoscopes were 96 to 97 percent accurate.
` And to prove my point, I will say; "Guess my sign! Go on, guess it!" Only one person has done it so far, though I wasn't challenging them at all! Well, I must go for now, though don't forget to check out my camping post! Bye for now!


Galtron said...

Scorpio. Ya perv.

Bet you I'm wrong!!!

Laura said...

I'm a Pisces (or a Cock... depending on which chart you use). I will guess you are a Taurus???

stu said...

Ah, Straight Dope, my favorite newsletter thing. Tho I havent checked my email in a while I saw that one.

S E E Quine said...

` Yes, the revered Cecil is pretty thorough with his research. Not only that, but he tends to answer fairly interesting questions.

` And naturally, both of you are quite wrong about my sign. But I will tell you that I am the Year of the Dog.

Galtron said...

I'm fairly sure that I'm the Year of the Monkey, and an Hour of the Monkey. So, I'm twice Monkified.

I'm going to also guess again that you are a Leo.

S E E Quine said...

` Nope.

Laura said...

I guess Saggitarius

Galtron said...

Why didn't I think of it before? How about a Libra? You're always balancing things and being skeptical! That would actually be fitting!
Although you seem to be a strange creature, so a centaur would kinda fit as well.

S E E Quine said...

` Nope, not a centaur or a set of scales. And... what do you mean by 'balance things?' You mean, like, on my nose?

Galtron said...

D'oh! I mean... you weigh things! Evidence, to be specific!

S E E Quine said...

` That makes sense. I do, in fact, do a lot evidence - weighing.
` Still, no one has guessed what my sign is. And so, to make it infinitely easier, I'll give you a clue:

` My Horoscope for Today says that; 'The look on your face will be priceless when you find that forty-pound watermelon in your colon! Trade toothbrushes with an albino dwarf, then give a hickey to Meryl Streep.'
` Tell me; what do you make of that?

Galtron said...


I love that song, BTW.

S E E Quine said...


` By the way, the dwarf was really cute, though my encounter with Meryl Streep was a bit awkward.
` ...All I can say about the watermelon is that I was not a willing subject.
` I don't want to talk about it.

Galtron said...


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