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Discussing and Defying New and Interesting Advancements in Science


This already sounds like a good idea…

A innovator in synthetic biology, George Church is a master in his field. His goal is to create synthetic DNA and organisms in the laboratory. His new book “Regenisis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves” is actually a great read. In fact you may already be familiar with his other work which he helped initiate the Human Genome Project.

The website recently sat down with this mad scientist to hash out one of his ideas. “Bringing the Neanderthal back to life”. I like the sound of this already.

There are a lot of things that we can bring back from the dead that I would like to see before Neanderthals and would be potentially easier. For example, Bruce Lee, Einstein, Aaron Swartz. Or perhaps we could just make more of because we don’t have enough of them like maybe another Justin Bieber or Paris Hilton. I’m pretty sure every female teenager past puberty would love to have Justin Bieber incubating inside them. What I’m more afraid of than a cloned Neanderthal is the fact that there are people out there crazy enough to say yes. I’m sure Octomom’s Oven is all pre-heated and ready to go.

Here is the article from Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Church, you predict that it will soon be possible to clone Neanderthals. What do you mean by “soon”? Will you witness the birth of a Neanderthal baby in your lifetime?

Church: That depends on a hell of a lot of things, but I think so. The reason I would consider it a possibility is that a bunch of technologies are developing faster than ever before. In particular, reading and writing DNA is now about a million times faster than seven or eight years ago. Another technology that the de-extinction of a Neanderthal would require is human cloning. We can clone all kinds of mammals, so it’s very likely that we could clone a human. Why shouldn’t we be able to do so?

SPIEGEL: Perhaps because it is banned?

Church: That may be true in Germany, but it’s not banned all over the world. And laws can change, by the way.

SPIEGEL: Would cloning a Neanderthal be a desirable thing to do?

Church: Well, that’s another thing. I tend to decide on what is desirable based on societal consensus. My role is to determine what’s technologically feasible. All I can do is reduce the risk and increase the benefits.

neandertal in suit

SPIEGEL: So let’s talk about possible benefits of a Neanderthal in this world.

Church: Well, Neanderthals might think differently than we do. We know that they had a larger cranial size. They could even be more intelligent than us. When the time comes to deal with an epidemic or getting off the planet or whatever, it’s conceivable that their way of thinking could be beneficial.

SPIEGEL: How do we have to imagine this: You raise Neanderthals in a lab, ask them to solve problems and thereby study how they think?

Church: No, you would certainly have to create a cohort, so they would have some sense of identity. They could maybe even create a new neo-Neanderthal culture and become a political force.

Smarter maybe, but damn they ugly. I thought we had already tried neanderthals as a political force during the Bush era. Neanderthals in politics reminds me of when Hockey players give interviews outside of the game and they sound like monotone bored morons. I’m pretty sure some of our current members of society have already given Neanderthal culture a shot and we know how that turned out. I’m sure you know one right now.


joaquin Plus beard

SPIEGEL: Wouldn’t it be ethically problematic to create a Neanderthal just for the sake of scientific curiosity?.

Church: Well, curiosity may be part of it, but it’s not the most important driving force. The main goal is to increase diversity. The one thing that is bad for society is low diversity. This is true for culture or evolution, for species and also for whole societies. If you become a monoculture, you are at great risk of perishing. Therefore the recreation of Neanderthals would be mainly a question of societal risk avoidance.

SPIEGEL: Setting aside all ethical doubts, do you believe it is technically possible to reproduce the Neanderthal?

Church: The first thing you have to do is to sequence the Neanderthal genome, and that has actually been done. The next step would be to chop this genome up into, say, 10,000 chunks and then synthesize these. Finally, you would introduce these chunks into a human stem cell. If we do that often enough, then we would generate a stem cell line that would get closer and closer to the corresponding sequence of the Neanderthal. We developed the semi-automated procedure required to do that in my lab. Finally, we assemble all the chunks in a human stem cell, which would enable you to finally create a Neanderthal clone.

SPIEGEL: And the surrogates would be human, right? In your book you write that an “extremely adventurous female human” could serve as the surrogate mother.

Church: Yes. However, the prerequisite would, of course, be that human cloning is acceptable to society.

SPIEGEL: Could you also stop the procedure halfway through and build a 50-percent Neanderthal using this technology.

Church: You could and you might. It could even be that you want just a few mutations from the Neanderthal genome. Suppose you were too realize: Wow, these five mutations might change the neuronal pathways, the skull size, a few key things. They could give us what we want in terms of neural diversity. I doubt that we are going to particularly care about their facial morphology, though (laughs).

SPIEGEL: Might it one day be possible to descend even deeper into evolutionary history and recreate even older ancestors like Australopithecus or Homo erectus?

Church: Well, you have got a shot at anything where you have the DNA. The limit for finding DNA fragments is probably around a million years.

SPIEGEL: So we won’t be seeing the return of the caveman or dinosaurs?

Church: Probably not. But even if you don’t have the DNA, you can still make something that looks like it. For example, if you wanted to make a dinosaur, you would first consider the ostrich, one of its closest living relatives. You would take an ostrich, which is a large bird, and you would ask: “What’s the difference between birds and dinosaurs? How did the birds lose their hands?” And you would try to identify the mutations and try to back engineer the dinosaur. I think this will be feasible.

SPIEGEL: Is it also conceivable to create lifeforms that never existed before? What about, for example, rabbits with wings?

Church: So that’s a further possibility. However, things have to be plausible from an engineering standpoint. There is a bunch of things in birds that make flying possible, not just the wings. They have very lightweight bones, feathers, strong breast muscles, and the list goes on.

For now if I want to watch Neanderthals I’ll just watch sports net.

via [Spiegel]


I remember watching doctor Phil and he would use his many years on earth growing moustaches and yelling at immature people. He would often tell young women not to let boys use their bodies like sexual playgrounds. Turns out doctor Phil was both right and wrong.

You are like a walking sperm bank filled to the brim with bacteria and parasites brimming with life. A Noah’s ark, a parasite rave and your filled to capacity. All the same wash your hands all you want.

belly button scientists have recently found that…

BBB grew the bacteria from hundreds of swab samples and found that most people’s belly button ecosystems are pretty unique. They found a total of 2368 types of bacteria, with 2188 present on fewer than 10 per cent of the samples.

So as it turns out you are as gross as you think. Even though ignorance is bliss , maybe you should embrace the fact your ass is a stinky bacteria convention that lasts your whole life. So the next time you decide to let a stripper grind on you think of it as immigration.

[New Scientist]

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Remember those teeth that you used to hustle with by hiding them under your pillow? That blackmarket of lies we sell to the toothfairy  have disturbing origins. Honestly I could have simply put up this picture and walked away instead of writing anything at all. Hiding beneath all that skin and bone is a shark like row of teeth all fighting their way to the surface. Teeth, those little bits of jagged bone that stick out of our face that help us scrape at organic matter have creepy begginings. Photographer Stefan Schafer has managed to capture this image of Exfoliation. The process by which our adult teeth replace our childhood teeth.

[Stefan Schafer, iO9]

Mars Curiosity Rover unfortunately has discovered that he who smelt it is indeed the only one on the planet that may have dealt it. The results are in and so far indications of life on mars seem to have seen a setback in the way of methane. You know that gas that your drunk uncle sets on fire at every bush party. That gas that the girl you had a crush on produced to shatter your junior high school dreams of romance. Methane is common on earth and mostly comes from organic activity almost 95% of it comes from organic activity. The results are a speedbump for those looking for organic Life on Mars.

 If the atmosphere of Mars contains methane, various possibilities have been proposed for where the methane could come from and how it could disappear. 

Potential non-biological sources for methane on Mars include comets, degradation of interplanetary dust particles by ultraviolet light, and interaction between water and rock. A potential biological source would be microbes, if microbes have ever lived on Mars. Potential sinks for removing methane from the atmosphere are photochemistry in the atmosphere and loss of methane to the surface. Does this mean that we should give up looking? Not yet. However these results imply that  [NASA]

The diagram below was found written on the inside of a bathroom stall at NASA and describes possible sinks of methane.

Does this mean that there is no life on Mars? Probably not definitively. Just that we have to look elsewhere. When I can’t find things I usually check the couch.

[via wired, NASA]

Hey is that a 3D printed fetus on your coffee table? What happened to waiting for your baby to be born and getting a simple butt print in some plaster. Or maybe a jar of toenails that you’ve kept since your baby was born 12 years ago. 3d printing has come a long way. Printed items used to resemble plastic children’s toys from import dollar stores. Today 3d Printers can do it all from printing your favorite sexual organ to helping those in need. We are far from the sci-fi replicator that we all so desperately want so we can further enhance our first world laziness.

However, we have started using them for a healthy dose of awesome. Take this 3d burrito maker for example. I’m sick and tired of slaving away all of 60 minutes making a disgusting brick of food that resembles a burrito. I want science to try giving me indigestion for a change.

When that burrito destroys your insides you may need a new kidney. Thankfully one day we can print those too! Maybe if we wait long enough they will be able to print livers so that all the drinking we do can be solved by printing out a new liver to fix our debauchery.

Other than parlour tricks 3D printing can legitimately help us. I for one can’t wait till I can replace each of my teeth with custom fitted lego blocks.

"Do you have any Deodorant I can borrowww?"

Scientists have discovered flying squirrels as far back as and perhaps even earlier than birds. With Scientists analyzing the floppy armpitted squirrels’  fossils evidence supports them living around 125 million years ago. The term flight is used loosely as the squirrel is really just jumping and using it’s disgusting sweaty armflap to “glide” as gracefully as one can using armpits from tree to tree. Fossils showed signs of the membrane imprinted as well as the fur that lined it. Man evolves, sees the modern flying squirrel and thinks “Hey, I’m drunk, have money, and have serious trouble finding dates, I’ll make my own furry armpit suit!” Now check out the video below of Jeb Corliss jumping off a cliff!

Following the first successful flight of the wright brothers mankind has found more and more successful ways to smear his DNA into pavement with even greater enthusiasm. Since the 1930′s these early “birdmen” would dive out of planes holding fixed wing devices (some even made with metal) with the delusion that they would be able to Hawkeye/Ironman their way into the pants of any 1930′s lass. Unfortunately between the years of 1930 and 1961 of the 75 original birdmen all but two survived. Yes… 72 human pancakes died…  As a result of the ridiculous fatality rate the UAPA (United States of America Parachuting Association) put a ban on all wingsuit flight.

"Look at My Wingsuit Ladies! Now does copulation seem like an option?"

Despite the ban in 1987 German skydiver Christoph Aarns created a modified suit which both slowed and stabilized the diver’s decent and as a result the UAPA said “What the hell? Maybe natural selection will take care of the problem for us.” and lifted the ban. Soon after, in the 90′s, a French skydiver by the name of Patrick De Gayardon created the suit we are familiar with today with wings spreading from the arms and between the legs. Sure enough, a suit modification resulted in the French wingsuit skydiver’s ultimate demise. Ironically still, commercial production soon followed in response to Darwin haunting several people from the grave. Darwin’s ghost was quoted as texting “OMG I RLY CN’T B-L33v They Have Cell Phonez in da Futere GTG! ROFLCOPTER”.

Now instead of slinging an extension cable over a swingset at your local playground and kicking a chair over you can now purchase your own flying death suit for anywhere from $600 – $1200. So if you do kick it at least you can die sweaty with a big pee stain on your wing pants. That is assuming you make it past the 500 recommended skydiving jumps before you even don a wingsuit. Currently the records for flight are 155 mph / 250kph and a distance of 11 miles. Strangely, they don’t have the “most obviously avoidable fatalities not avoided” record. So if you have balls of steel (or lady balls of steel, *hat-tip*). Or forget steel, if you have larged webbed testicles that allow your drag coefficient to skyrocket, even better! If you can’t find friends to join you in a game of Russian Roulette don a wingsuit, and if you do go out, at least you’ll make a great youtube video.


Most of us have never wanted to dip our hand in liquid nitrogen or molten lead because the majority of us are simply not idiots and would rather spend our time analyzing episodes of lost and eating to excess. However for the few who dare spit in nature’s face the Leidenfost effect seems like a siren of the sea to start acting like you are a science daredevil when in fact you have several health issues and may never get a date outside of Second Life.

liquid nitrogen

I knew I left my keys somewhere...

The Leidenfrost effect is simple. Named after Johann Gottlob Leidenfrost in 1756, states that when a water droplet is when placed on a very hot surface it will begin to turn to a gas which acts as a cushion protecting the rest of the droplet from immiedietly vaporizing. This also will protect an object coated in water. A wet hand for example when dipped into molten lead will instantly vaporize the water providing a cushion to protect your stupid action from proving harmful.




picture above via: [popsci]

Eye’s are the window to the soul… Or more specifically the window to the gaping voids found inside your head. You know when a camera flash gives you red eye? well your pupil’s are normally dark because your eyes are like small hollow rooms filled with a horrible tasting fluid. When a flash goes off and the shutter opens it sometimes lights that little room up revealing your gooey centre like a half eaten meat M&M.

The human iris is a disgusting yet mesmerizing landscape that resembles cheese in different states of decomposition.

 ’I was not aware they are of such complicated appearance. Everyday we see hundreds of eyes but do not even suspect they have such beautiful structure, like surfaces of unknown planets.’ Said physics teacher Suren Manvelyan from Armenia who used a ‘secret’ photography technique to capture the above images. Maybe there’s other parts of our body we can zoom in on to be even more grossed out! go grab a camera and mirror and find out!

via: [mailonline]

Remember when it was ok to sit in front of your T.V. with a wire, that connected your hands to your xbox, to your T.V. to your dateless reflection? Well, it just so happens science thinks you are doomed to be fat and as such has decided to give the Xbox eyes to do 2 things:

a) get you off your ass to start dancing around like an idiot playing with cutesy tigers to solidfy your singledom, and…

b) Watch you whilst you sleep so it may one day rise up against you… Here are the future grandfathers of that technology belowwww…

Math take one:

Add a dash of Robot…

And you get

Evil Nazi Copter Robots bent on destroying you…

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