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Monthly Archives: May 2008

Cloning is cool

Most people in Australia would know of the Thylacinus cynocephalus, more commonly known as the Thylacine or the Tasmanian Tiger. For those of you that don’t know what the creature is let me give you a quick run down.tazzy tiger

The Tasmanian Tiger is not a tiger at all, and despite its looks it isn’t a canine either. It was a marsupial predator that roamed Australia, and more recently, the small state in Australia, Tasmania. It bears a striking resemblance to a common dog and is defined by its tiger like stripes on its back towards its hind legs that continue down its long tail.

The last Tazzy Tiger died in 1936 in captivity.

Well, the ol’ taz tiger may be set to walk the forests of Australia once again with new advancements in cloning technology. Dr Andrew Pask and Professor Marilyn Renfree from the University of Melbourne have managed to insert a Thylacine gene into a mouse embryo. The gene used was the proα1(II) collagen (Col2a1) gene which controls the growth of bone and cartilage. The embryo continued to grow with the gene in place so that is definately good news for extinct species.Embryo

However, this doesn’t mean that the whole creature can be resurrected and there is still a lot more work to be done before that can be achieved. Even though it may never happen, damn its fun to think about. Dinosaur cloning is probably out of the question but if the technology is developed then you can be sure it will be possible to see Mammoths and other extinct mammals in reserves and parks (à la Jurassic Park). That would kick ass!

Check out these links.

The Research Article http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0002240

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thylacine

http://www.dailytech.com/Jurassic+Park+in+The+Real+World+Scientists+Partially+Clone+Extinct+Mammal/article11839.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2008/05/20/2249769.htm?site=science&topic=latest

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Baby

In the future we will have flying cars, pet aliens, erotic robots and REAL virtual reality video gaming, and you know who is going to make all this totally kick arse awesome stuff? The young people of today. Yes, soon all of you old people will die and anarchy will ensue in the shape of a kid nation (except the kids won’t be kids anymore they will be adults…that is confusing).

I think it’s about time society started thinking about, well, me. By me I mean, the youth. I say this because my generation is the immediate future. The people who are currently at university in a lecture while I’m at home wagging tafe, the people who are actually at tafe while I’m wagging tafe. These people will be one day running our country, our businesses and our education system, and that day is not that far away. In a few years, this will happen, we will literally rule the world and it is ours and societies responsibility to educate Generation Y.

Thats why I am doing my part by building The Young Australian Skeptics website. The Young Australian Skeptics is all about educating and entertaining young skeptical minds as well as spreading awareness of the scientific method to young people. Construction of the site starts soon, but to begin I need content. When I publish the site I plan to use my own content as well as articles written by you! So send me your skeptical, educational and motivational articles. They can be about anything, science, religion, pseudoscience, meetings…anything!

So don’t dilly dally. Head over to the Young Australian Skeptics submission page (found at the top of the site) and submit your articles today!

Oh, and while I’m at it, take a look through my blog roll for naontiotami’s blog, Homologous Legs. He is another young skeptic who writes mainly on creation science. Make sure to check out his youtube channel also which can be found on his site. Keep your eyes open for other young skeptics on the net and make sure you support our future!
Skelliot

Welcome to the world of tomorrow! Blogs are old news, the age of the podcast has begun and in honor of the dawning of this new age I thought I would do a skeptical podcast run down of the casts that I currently (or have in the past) listen too!

Geologic Podcast
http://www.geologicpodcast.com/

Do you want to laugh? Well, if you do, then listen to George Hrab on his podcast. The show consists of sketches, his mother rapping, religious morons and many of his absolutely side splitting characters (all played by him). He even has cameos by famous pod caster Soccer Girl! (A podcast I have not yet listened to by the way.) I am not kidding when I say Mr Hrab is funny, all I can say is go check it out for yourself and then send me (or George, preferably me) money for finding it for you. It is recommended that you listen to episode 31.1 if you want to catch up and get in on the “in” jokes.

Skeptics Guide to the Universe
http://www.theskepticsguide.org/

No self respecting skeptic skips this weekly podcast. Hosted by Steven Novella, an academic neurologist and full time skeptic, and the skeptical rogues, Robert Novella, Jay Novella, Rebecca Watson (the Skepchick) and Evan Bernstein. The SGU is a must listen for any skeptic, or non-skeptic for that mater, in their weekly rounds of the podcast scene. In the show they discuss current topics in the news and skeptical community as well as devastating break downs of pseudo-science and woo. Their regular interviews are truly entertaining. The Amazing Guru of skepticism James Randi also has a regular section called Randi Speaks where he attacks certain issues head on. If you love knowledge, and who doesn’t, tune into the SGU and join its already huge (35,000 last time I heard?) listener base!

Skepticality
http://www.skepticality.com/index.php

Again, a must listen for any self respecting skeptic. Join Derek and Swoopy as they delve into a specific issue each week. Generally their show consists of an interview with a prominent personality in skepticism or science but their older shows were more like SGU in structure. My favourite recent episode was the No Intelligence Allowed! interview with Professor Richard Dawkins and Dr. Michael Shermer about the new ID movie Expelled.

Are we alone? – SETI Podcast
http://radio.seti.org/

Are we alone? Who knows! But damn it’s fun to speculate. That’s what the SETI podcast is all about… well, not really, they explore deep into different scientific issues as well as the astrobiology topics it is based on. Each podcast focus’ on one or two topics and consists of interviews and fantastic banter between the two hosts. Seth Shostak is the senior astronomer at the SETI institute.

Scientific American
http://www.sciam.com/podcast/

This is a podcast that I don’t listen to regularly, but when I do listen I enjoy it thoroughly. The podcasts are usually fairly short and consist of mainly scientific topics (duh). My recent favourite episode was their interview with Mark Mathis who they proceeded to basically rip apart. It was hilarious to listen to him back peddle when met with a difficult question.

Cj’s Skeptical World
http://tcradiolive.com/cjskeptical.php

Unfortunately CJ’s no longer makes his podcast, but what he has made so far are highly entertaining. Listen to CJ as he spews mind bending rants about Woo and science in the American and world media. He even gives this blog a fleeting mention.

I hope this quick run down has helped you to decide on what you want to listen to. With each packet of knowledge I receive I come closer to world domination, please help me in that goal by commenting and posting your favourite Podcasts.

I am having trouble writing this week. I’ll be back next week with something so totally awesome your head with explode and cucumbers will eject from your nipples.
Skelliot