Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Weird Science

You can't make this stuff up.

Serial Killer Amoeba.

Here is another phenomena related to Global Warming. Brain eating amoeba. Watch for more of them in warm waters near you.

PHOENIX - It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die.

Even though encounters with the microscopic bug are extraordinarily rare, it's killed six boys and young men this year. The spike in cases has health officials concerned, and they are predicting more cases in the future.

"This is definitely something we need to track," said Michael Beach, a specialist in recreational waterborne illnesses for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better," Beach said. "In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."

According to the CDC, the amoeba called Naegleria fowleri killed 23 people in the United States, from 1995 to 2004. This year health officials noticed a spike with six cases - three in Florida, two in Texas and one in Arizona. The CDC knows of only several hundred cases worldwide since its discovery in Australia in the 1960s.

Froggy Goes A Courtin'

For those opposed to having to dissect frogs in class because it is cruel to animals. You now have the genetically modified alternative. Gives a broader meaning to GMO; genetically modified organism. Wait a minute folks opposed to dissection are also opposed to GMO's.

Photo in the News: See-Through Frog Bred in Japan

Masayuki Sumida, a professor at the Institute for Amphibian Biology at Japan's Hiroshima University, bred the frog to be a humane learning tool.

"You can watch organs of the same frog over its entire life, as you don't have to dissect it," Sumida told the news agency Agence France-Presse. The scientist announced his research last week at an academic meeting.

Dissecting animals for science has sparked controversies worldwide, even prompting some companies to create computer simulations as cruelty-free alternatives.

Researchers bred the sheer creature—a type of Japanese brown frog—for two recessive genes that make it pale.

Though not yet patented, the frog is the first four-legged, see-through animal to be bred by scientists. Some fish species are also clear.

See Through Frog Video.

Genetically modified frogs also occur outside the lab.

The growing number of deformed frogs in recent years is caused at least partly by runoff from farming and ranching, new research indicates.

Nitrogen and phosphorous in the runoff fuel a cycle that results in a parasitic infection of tadpoles, resulting in loss of legs, extra legs or other deformities, according to researchers led by Pieter Johnson of the University of Colorado, Boulder.

But not to worry if frogs die out there is an alternative being developed by those clever Japanese.

Researches at the University of Tokyo developed a robot that can jump like a frog.

Reptiles Prove Two Heads Are Better Than One

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Which do we go?

Unique Conjoined Two-Headed Turtle Goes On Display

Norristown, PA (AHN) - A rare two-headed turtle is on display at a Pennsylvania pet store. A unique example of a conjoined-twin birth, the turtle's heads are on opposite ends of the reptile's shell.

Jay Jacoby, manager of Big Al's Aquarium Supercenter in East Norriton told the Associated Press that he bought the tiny 2-month old turtle from the collector for an undisclosed price and would now keep it on display.

The turtle, known as a red-eared slider, was most likely to die if it had not taken care of as it moves awkwardly in two directions. It has two heads sticking out from opposite ends of its shell, along with a pair of front feet on each side. But there is just one set of back feet and one tail.

The owner of the pet store says he doesn't plan to sell the turtle that seems healthy. The species can live 15 to 20 years, Jacoby said adding he has yet to give a name to the exotic animal.

The turtle is rare but not 'unique' there are other two headed turtles and two headed reptiles. Like amphibians reptiles show the ability to regenerate.

Two heads are better than one when it comes to attracting visitors to Fred Lally's tent at the SEMO District Fair.

Lally set up shop this week at the fair grounds to display his exhibit of several reptilian oddities including a pair of two-headed turtles, a two-headed western diamondback rattlesnake and a two-headed albino black rat snake named Golden Girls.


Lally began handling reptiles as a child in Louisiana when he would collect turtles, fish and snakes to sell for extra money. He started buying and selling snakes out of country singer Tex Ritter's old tour bus in the 1970s and joined the fair and carnival circuit in 1992.

He started looking to buy his first two-headed reptile in the 1980s.

"It's not pollution," Lally said. "Everybody's real quick to jump on that."

The scientific explanation for a two-headed reptile is the same as a Siamese twin: It's simply two eggs that unsuccessfully tried to separate, he said.

"All the books say it's not genetic," Lally said. But just as human families have a preponderance of twins, he believes reptiles do as well.

Surprisingly what we know about reptile biology is very limited.

Meanwhile in Indonesia the Hawksbill turtle is endangered by humans. Garbage, pesticides, PCB, all that environmental junk of expanding capitalism, globalization means death to indigenous peoples and animals.

Hawksbill turtles fight losing pollution battle in Indonesia


Fountain of Youth

Blonde Lobster, No Joke

Mad Science; Fluorescent Pigs

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