Every now and then I bump into a brand new science blog that immediately grabs my attention for some or other aspect of total coolness (or is it ‘hotness’ these days?). And then I want to promote, promote, promote until everybody and their mother reads that blog. Here is the latest brilliant discovery I made – FYI: Science!
Check out some of the first posts, for instance:
Of pedigrees and people
….But those mutations have to come from somewhere… specifically, my parents.
So my parents had to know about all of this. I sat them down and explained everything to them. I drew them a pedigree of our family history. And, for the first time that I can remember, my mom looked at me and said, “So this is why that biology degree is useful.”
To make a long story short, my dad is a carrier of a mutated gene (meaning he has 1 copy) and my mom also has two copies of the mutated gene. She’s being treated for some of the issues that go along with hemochromatosis and is doing well. I explained everything to my sister, who promptly went to her doctor’s office bearing a copy of the pedigree I’d drawn. (He loved it – he said it was the first time a patient had ever brought him a pedigree.) She, like my dad, is a carrier – she has 1 copy of the gene. Neither my dad nor my sister will have issues with the disease. My mom and I will be monitored, and hopefully that will be enough to let us lead long, healthy lives….
…..Their hamburgers arrived, and as they were chatting, Brad noticed a large fly some distance away. (Being an entomologist, he noticed these things.) They continued to chat and eat, and he found his eyes darting back to the fly every few seconds. The fly was heading towards them, and as it neared, he found himself impressed by the size of the fly. It was large even for Australian standards. As he lifted the hamburger to his mouth for another bite, the fly flew straight towards him. When it was about a meter away, the fly actually turned around midair – and a giant stream of maggots shot out of the fly’s rear end towards his hamburger.
The Australian scientist was amused, but not as startled as Brad! He explained that this species of fly needed meat in which to lay its eggs. If it did not find meat in time, the eggs would hatch inside the mother’s abdomen and begin eating her from the inside out. This resulted in a certain desperation on the mother’s part, so she’d aim them at anything that gave off the scent of meat…..
…..In this era of “CSI” and other crime investigation shows, many people think that forensic science is easy, fast, and available for every crime. Of course, this isn’t the case. Forensic science is neither easy nor fast, and DNA evidence just is not always possible… there aren’t always nice neat bits of bodily evidence that can be used to track down a suspect or victim.
When there is bodily evidence, though, what exactly is it that investigators do with it? Sometimes there is just a tiny bit of blood, DNA, or hair – certainly not enough for investigation, and it’s certainly not as if you can just run to Target to get more DNA!….
So, go there, look around, bookmark and subscribe. It looks like great fun!