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n2doc

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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

World's Longest Snake Has Virgin Birth



Virgin birth has been documented in the world's longest snake for the first time, a recent study says.

An 11-year-old reticulated python named Thelma produced six female offspring in June 2012 at the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky, where she lives with another female python, Louise. No male had ever slithered anywhere near the 200-pound (91-kilogram), 20-foot-long (6 meters) mother snake.

New DNA evidence, published in July in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, revealed that Thelma is the sole parent, said Bill McMahan, the zoo's curator of ectotherms, or cold-blooded animals. (Read: "'Virgin Birth' Seen in Wild Snakes, Even When Males Are Available.")

"We didn't know what we were seeing. We had attributed it to stored sperm," he said. "I guess sometimes truth is stranger than fiction."

Virgin births have been observed in other reptiles before, including other pythons and snake species, said James Hanken, a professor of herpetology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

more

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141023-virgin-birth-pythons-snakes-animals-science/

Comet smells like rotten eggs, horse urine, alcohol, bitter almonds, vinegar

Rotten eggs, horse urine, alcohol, and bitter almonds: this is the bouquet of odours you would smell if a comet in deep space could be brought back to Earth, European scientists say.

An instrument aboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft has detected some intriguing chemical signatures from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G) since their rendezvous in deep space in August, the scientists said.

Molecules detected include ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen cyanide and formaldehyde.

"If you could smell the comet, you probably wish that you hadn't," said the team wryly in a blog posted on the European Space Agency (ESA) website.

The device, called Rosina-DFMS, is a mass spectrometer.

more

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-24/comets-smell-like-rotten-eggs/5837806

Texas Health Workers Use Tabasco to Help Train for Ebola

As Texas health workers prepare two new biocontainment units to help treat any future Ebola patients the state might have, they're are using one piece of training equipment from a neighboring state that may surprise you: Tabasco sauce.

At the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where one of the units is being established, the staff has been practicing treating fake patients who have been sprayed at random with the peppery sauce as a stand-in for Ebola virus-laden fluids. Doctors and nurses practice dressing and undressing in their protective gear to avoid contamination, but if they feel the tingle of Tabasco on their skin, they know they've been contaminated.

"In a way, it gives feedback immediately," said Dr. Bruce Meyer, an executive vice president at the hospital, giving credit to the hospital's director of infection prevention, Doramarie Arocha, for the idea.

Tabasco sauce is made by Louisiana-based McIlhenny Co. from red peppers called Capsicum frutescens, which are made spicy by the chemical capsaicin. When skin comes in contact with this chemical, the brain's pain and temperature receptors get activated at the same time, causing that tingly, hot feeling. The hot pepper chemical has also been used in other medical settings, including dermatology and neurology for pain and itch relief.

more

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/texas-health-workers-tabasco-train-ebola/story?id=26385702

Armed police called in - to be confronted by Klingons at superhero-themed party

Armed police were called in after reports of a man in camoflage gear carrying a rifle.

But after responding to the call they were met with assorted stormtroopers, Klingons and Captain America lookalikes - attending a superheroes-themed party.

That was one of a series of fancy dress-related call-outs reported in the Cleveland Police area since January 2013.

Elsewhere, a man wearing a horse’s head and carrying a rifle was just one of 30 surreal fancy-dress related incidents reported over the period.

That mysterious occurrence was logged in July this year after a witness took fright at the sinister sight.

However, it transpired that the person in question was on his way to a fancy dress party and was not, in fact, a nightmarish criminal.

more

http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/armed-police-called---confronted-7992241

Darrell Issa's latest issue: Ebola

As the Obama administration works to calm public anxiety over Ebola, congressional Republicans will take fresh aim Friday at its missteps in responding to the disease and its strategy for containing the virus.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee inquiry comes after lawmakers have already berated the administration, registering their outrage at its refusal to ban travel from African nations afflicted by Ebola and its failure to stop a nurse infected with Ebola from boarding a commercial airline in Texas.

The hearing also will begin one day after a new case of Ebola was diagnosed in a New York City doctor who had recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, one of the three countries hit hardest by the outbreak in West Africa.

The proceeding is expected to get particularly heated. And the chairman of the oversight committee is San Diego-area Republican Darrell Issa, an unyielding critic of the administration. Issa has used the chairmanship to take the lead, sometimes to the dismay of his GOP colleagues, on some of the most politically incendiary investigations of the last few years. His inquiries into the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the targeting of conservative nonprofits by the IRS loom large in the bitter partisan divide that paralyzes Congress.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-issa-ebola-hearing-20141023-story.html
The Ebola hearing will be among Issa’s last as chairman of the committee. As is custom in the House, he is soon relinquishing the gavel after three years in the high-profile post.

Friday TOON Roundup 3 - The Rest

Ebola





Race




Religion









Palins




Clintons



Chrispie





Economy





USA




Nobel






Football




Friday TOON Roundup 2 - Election Season















Friday TOON Roundup 1 - Northern Terror













Joan Quigley, astrologer who advised Reagans, dies

Source: SF Gate

Joan Quigley, a San Francisco socialite and writer who became famous as the astrologer who advised President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan in the 1980s, has died. She was 87.

Mrs. Quigley, who was fashionable and social but had a flinty stare, spent seven years as the White House astrologer, advising the Reagans on everything from when to schedule Air Force One takeoffs to the best time for summit meetings and surgeries. She also took credit for reshaping the president’s views on the Soviet Union, recommending a conciliatory rather than confrontational tone. It was Mrs. Quigley who urged President Reagan to stop using the term “Evil Empire.”

“Sometimes I would talk with Nancy for three hours a day,” Mrs. Quigley said in 1995, living at the time on Nob Hill with her sister, Ruth Quigley. She added, “I was hired in May of 1981 to protect the president. This was after he had been shot. I really timed everything the Reagans did. For seven years I worked with them, sometimes 10 hours a day.

“Reagan was the only Aquarian president who didn’t die in office,” she added.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Joan-Quigley-astrologer-who-advised-the-Reagans-5843140.php

Gov. Brownback’s folly: How Dan Doyle’s business and 191,000 others don’t pay Kansas income taxes

BY BARBARA SHELLY

Dan Doyle is so amazed by his new status as a tax-exempt Kansan that sometimes he’ll bring it up to complete strangers.

Like at a store or the bank. He says the conversations go something like this:

“Do you pay income tax to the state of Kansas?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t.”

“Oh yes you do.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Why not?”

“Sam Brownback says I don’t have to.”

Doyle is a partner in an Overland Park law firm, one of about 191,000 “pass-through” businesses that are the luckiest recipients of the radical tax overhaul that Brownback and his GOP-dominated Legislature engineered three years ago.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/barbara-shelly/article3326556.html
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