Has Artificial Life Been Created?

Greg Laden says:

I think it has been created over the last few months but the announcement is delayed for obvious reasons … nobody wants the equivilant of “Cold Fusion” tacked to your resume.

Surely that will get you to follow the read it all link!

You will find this gem and many more cool science oriented posts at the current edition of Tangled Bank hosted by The Other 95%.

Even More is Melting

I don’t think this will surprise anyone who has been marginally alert for the past few years:

Joining the growing list of places on this planet that are melting, Antarctica is losing about 36 cubic miles (150 cubic kilometers) of ice every year, scientists reported Thursday.
However, computer models run in 2001 predicted that Antarctica would gain ice during the 21st century due to increased precipitation in a warming climate. The new study, based on satellite measurements between 2002 and 2005, shows the opposite.
Antarctica is twice as large as Australia. The ice sheet, which covers about 98 percent of the continent, has an average thickness of about 6,500 feet — more than a mile.

It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to spend lots of money on infrastructure and structures in areas that are going to be underwater a few years down the time line.

You Are What You Eat

We are not quite as restrained at Modulator as they are at Marginal Revolution. Here are a few quotes from this article cited by Tyler in his ongoing Markets for Everything series

:….there is no polite way of describing Guo-li-zhuang.
Situated in an elegantly restored house beside Beijing’s West Lake, it is China’s first speciality penis restaurant.

They aren’t kidding. You will want to examine closely the photograph depicting:

A dish combining the male organs of an ox and a snake

Is there more to this than just being very exotic?

“This is my third visit,” said one customer, Liu Qiang. “Of course, there are other restaurants that serve the bian of individual animals. But this is the first that brings them all together.”
In China, you are what you eat, and The Daily Telegraph’s nutritionist, Zhu Yan, said the clients were mainly men eager to improve their yang, or virility.

Yep, kill enough animals, eat the right parts and you can really be a dick.

Ecological Oxymoron

This house was built using the latest ‘green’ construction techniques and I laud the owner, designer and contractor for that effort:
This is also, in case you can’t tell from the picture, a large house:

This hilltop site in Corte Madera was once home to the late rock impresario Bill Graham.
Today it holds what its designer says is probably the largest “green” – ecologically correct – house in America.
Designed by Inverness architect Sim Van der Ryn and under construction for more than five years, the 15,000-square-foot house was built for owner Michael Klein, a passionate environmentalist and board member of the Rain Forest Action Network. It replaces the Graham house, which has been razed.

Exactly why is a passionate environmentalist building a 15,000 square foot house? Yes, he can afford it but surely a wealthy passionate environmentalist would set an example for both commoners and his wealthy peers. He would use green building techniques and also build a home appropriate to a human family in the 21st century. I do not believe a case can be made that all 6,492,046,339 of us (as of 01/18/06 at 00:09 GMT) should be living in homes this size as nuclear familys.
It may be a great show place for green building techniques but unless it is to be the home of 30-40 people there is little about it that is ecologically correct.

Via Knockin’ On The Golden Door via Grateful Dead News.

Price Gouging?

Post Katrina gas prices maybe went up 10-15% depending on where you lived and in most cases they have rolled back down. Nevertheless, cries of price gouging were rampant and continue. But that is gas. If it is some other good like, say, oysters then it is a feel good story:

With two-thirds of Louisiana oyster beds wiped out by the Aug. 29 storm, prices of Pacific oysters have soared as Gulf Coast processors scour for alternatives thousands of miles away. That’s allowed Taylor Shellfish to raise its prices 38 percent in the past month to $40 per gallon of oysters.
“It’s the strongest demand that I’ve ever seen for oysters,” says William Taylor, ……
Prices have surged as much as 50 percent since the hurricane, according to the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, giving the Northwest growers some relief, even as they sympathize with the hurricane victims 2,000 miles away.

Imagine the outcry if gasoline prices had gone up 50%!
Seems like so-called market forces working the way they should in both cases. It can, though, be a bit hard to tell if the market is really working in the extensively regulated and subsidized oil and gasoline business.