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August 30, 2007

A few links
Posted by Avram Grumer at 06:50 PM * 26 comments

Comments on A few links:
#1 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 07:09 PM:

Re: the lateral gene transfers, it sounds a lot like one of the plot elements of Janet Kagan's Mirabile stories.

#2 ::: Greta Christina ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 07:34 PM:

The Gorey Tribble thing is the best thing ever!

#3 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 07:41 PM:

The tribble thing is gorgeous.

So is Herb Lubalin's card--I wonder if that's the same Herb Lubalin who was a colleague of my father's? (It looks as if it were.)

#4 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 07:53 PM:

The lateral gene transfer article was interesting, to say the least.


Childish of me, but I can't but notice they didn't dare to say "Dr." W. Ford Doolittle.

#5 ::: Phil Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 08:16 PM:

The folks studying seam carving have finally discovered the a way to allow the jilted to remove their ex-lovers from photographs without having to resort to scissors. We are entering the age of Orwellian romance.

And, yes, Tribbles ala Gorey was the best thing ever.

#6 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 08:35 PM:

Drat my workplace overlords and the restrictions they place on my computer (ab)use. No BoingBoing, no YouTube, etc. Sigh.

Obviously there are fun things to see when I get home tonight.

#7 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2007, 11:59 PM:

That thing about the genes is not surprising. After all, the parasites survive by not alarming the host's immune system enough for the immune system to search and destroy them.

People and parasites/bacteria/etc. have done along evolutionary dance that makes sure everyone has their niche and survives fulfilling their place in the dance.

#8 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 12:00 AM:

Beware the Wugly-ump! You will be assimilated!

#9 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 12:27 AM:

Scientists at U Rochester recently found a parasite’s entire genome tucked inside its host’s DNA.

Somewhere Octavia Butler is smiling.

Re: The Great Lower East Side Pickle War:

I've had pickles from the Pickle Guys on Essex Street. It certainly grabs my attention to read that there are rival claimants with possibly even better pickles.

#10 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 01:15 AM:

Lateral gene transfer may be more common than previously thought.

Scientists at U Rochester recently found a pickle’s entire genome tucked inside its host’s DNA. Such large-scale heritable gene transfers may allow species to acquire new genes and flavors extremely quickly, says Jack Werren, a principle investigator of the study. If such genes provide new abilities in species that cause or transmit deliciousness, they could provide new techniques to deli sandwich-makers. "Imagine if the pickle flavor was present in the meat," he says. "Think about it."

"This study establishes the widespread occurrence and high frequency of a process that we would have dismissed as science fiction until just a few years ago," says W. Ford Doolittle, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Microbial Genomics at Dalhousie University, who is not connected to the study. "This is stunning evidence for that old parable: you are what you eat."

Guss's may be the most prolific pickle in the world—a "pandemic," as Werren calls it. The pickle invades a member of a species, most often a New Yorker, and eventually makes its way into the host's eggs or sperm. Once there, the Guss's is ensured passage to the next generation of its host, and any genetic exchanges between it and the host also are much more likely to be passed on.

Werren doesn't believe that the Guss's pickles "intentionally" insert their genes into the hosts. Rather, it is a consequence of cells routinely repairing their damaged DNA. As cells go about their regular business, they can accidentally absorb bits of pickle into their nuclei, often sewing those foreign genes into their own DNA. But integrating an entire genome was definitely an unexpected, if delicious, find. It's possible Guss's pickles may follow in the path of mitochondria, eventually becoming a necessary and useful part of a cell.

"In a way, Guss's pickles could be the next mitochondria," says Werren. "A hundred million years from now, everyone may have a Guss's organelle."

"Well, not us," he laughs. "We'll be long gone, but Guss's pickles will still be around."

Even as the beloved, traditional Jewish food establishments of the Lower East Side seem to be locked into an irrecoverable downward spiral, this news has ignited a controversy over who has the rights to this suddenly lucrative pickle line. Several claimants have arrayed themselves, but none have a clear claim.

"I've been a pickle fan since I was a kid," says Edward Gorey.

#11 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 01:39 AM:

Heresiarch @ 10

So just as for the last billion years or so we've all had extra-cellular genetic material, in the future we'll have extra-sour genetic material?

#12 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 02:22 AM:

Joel, #1: We can only hope! I'd love to see a new Mirabile collection...

#13 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 02:32 AM:

Heresiarch @ #10

"Edward Gorey went home last night
and put a pickle to his head."

apologies to S&G

#14 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 07:15 AM:

Heresiarch #10: Lovely!!

#15 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 07:18 AM:

Heresiarch #10: Lovely!!

#16 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 09:37 AM:

me @ 11

Posting late at night can be hazardous to your meaning. I should have either said "extra-nuclear" or maybe "intra-cellular", but combining the two wasn't the best idea my fingers have had this week. Come to think of it, maybe "peri-nuclear" makes the most sense.

#17 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 10:41 AM:

Heresiarch (#10): The pickle invades a member of a species, most often a New Yorker, and eventually makes its way into the host's eggs or sperm.

Hard-boiled eggs, deli style.

#18 ::: Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 11:46 AM:

"Herb Lubalin’s business card"

It looks more like a "visiting card" - there's no reference to his business.

Pretty, though. Made me want one just like it.

#19 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 11:56 AM:

Avedon @ 18

He was a graphic designer (also typefaces). The whole card was a business reference.

#20 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 12:07 PM:

Heresiarch #10: You have accidentally written a Daniel Pinkwater story.

#21 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Re: lateral gene transfer:

I deny everything! I was framed! It wasn't me and no one can prove otherwise!

#22 ::: melissa ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 09:51 PM:

The Gorey Tribble is so wonderful on so many levels...

#23 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 12:58 AM:

Thanks all! It was fun. And really, why toss together a random set of links unless you WANT someone to pastiche them?

#24 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2007, 10:10 PM:

Oh wait, oh wait until they start unlocking and unblocking dormant strands... (where's my pen?!)

#25 ::: Dan S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2007, 01:25 AM:

"Heresiarch #10: You have accidentally written a Daniel Pinkwater story."

And if I remember correctly - and one should probably assume that I don't, as those years are a bit fuzzy - Shaenon was a big Pinkwater fan . . . and so we come full circle . . .

#26 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2011, 02:32 PM:

We could hijack this thread if people get too nervous about Open Thread 151 hitting the Dread 1K....

(I was shooting for my 50th birthday, but that one's comments are turned off.)

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