Daily Archives: December 4, 2007

Jesus-based Cultism lead to murder, suicide

The suicide of a young man and the murder he committed before he killed himself are being blamed on a cult led by his mother.

Also disturbing, former members who spoke to CNN say they witnessed Ricky Rodriguez having sex with his mother, Karen Zerby, the leader of the sect now known as “The Family International.”

The sect’s activities and history are detailed in a newly released book, “Jesus Freaks.” The sect was founded in California in the 1960s by David Berg, who referred to himself as “Mo,” short for Moses. Berg was a self-proclaimed prophet.

Former sect members tell CNN Berg encouraged adult-child sex. More often than not, they say, the chosen child was Rodriguez, the son of Karen Zerby, who Berg called his queen. Zerby became the leader of the sect when Berg died in 1994.


NYT covers Kristine Comer’s Resignation

After 27 years as a science teacher and 9 years as the Texas Education Agency’s director of science, Christine Castillo Comer said she did not think she had to remain “neutral” about teaching the theory of evolution.”It’s not just a good idea; it’s the law,” said Ms. Comer, citing the state’s science curriculum.But now Ms. Comer, 56, of Austin, is out of a job, after forwarding an e-mail message on a talk about evolution and creationism — “a subject on which the agency must remain neutral,” according to a dismissal letter last month that accused her of various instances of “misconduct and insubordination” and of siding against creationism and the doctrine that life is the product of “intelligent design.”

Read the whole sordid story here.

Topi or not Topi …

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchGo to any bar and you’ll see a lot of males standing and sitting around not mating. I’ll bet you would have guessed that the reason they are not mating is that no females will mate with them for one reason or another. But there is the distinct possibility that they are very inconspicuously resisting mating opportunities. It turns out that males can do this …. avoid mating without conspicuous resistance … more easily than females. For obvious reasons.This could be why what has become (inappropriately) known as “reversed sexual aggression” often goes unnoticed, and a recent study of the African antelope Damaliscus lunatus (a.k.a. “topi”) explores this possibility. Continue reading Topi or not Topi …

Science News Tidbits

Kids of depressed moms more prone to behavioral problems and injury from PhysOrg.com
Young children whose mothers are depressed are more prone to behavioural problems and injury, suggests US research published in Injury Prevention.[]

Matrimony inhibits Polo kinase from PhysOrg.com
Suspended animation is something we only associate with Sci Fi programs, but something remarkably similar actually occurs in unfertilized egg cells, in the ovaries of animals as different as humans and fruit flies. In an article published online this week in the open-access journal PLoS Biology, researchers from the Stowers Institute describe the two proteins that provide “Sleeping Beauty’s Kiss” to the long-dormant egg cells.[]

Why do high school seniors drink? from PhysOrg.com
Most high school seniors drink because they want to experiment with alcohol, some drink for the thrill of it, and others because it helps them relax. A new study finds that a fourth group of high school students share all those reasons for drinking, but they also drink to get away from problems and to deal with anger or frustration issues.[]

Bacteria Modify DNA in a way previously unobserved

Researchers have discovered a form of DNA modification not previously known to occur in nature. Lab scientists often use the addition of sulfer to the DNA sugar-phosphate backbone to make the DNA resistant to nucleases (DNA-cutting enzymes) in order to use the DNA for other (i.e. theraputic) purposes. This was assumed to be something invented by scientists. IT turns out that bacteria do something like this in nature. Continue reading Bacteria Modify DNA in a way previously unobserved

Prairie Grasses Can Run Your Car

This topic is being discussed elsewhere, so I thought I’d post something on it:

Back to the future: Prairie grasses emerge as rich energy sourceMixtures of grasses make best source of biofuel By Deane MorrisonDec. 8, 2006With shrinking glaciers and other signs of global warming upon us, the search is on for alternative fuels to stem the release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.This week a new contender burst on the scene: diverse mixtures of native prairie grasses. A University team led by David Tilman, Regents Professor of Ecology, found that these grasses yield more net energy than either ethanol from corn or “biodiesel” fuel from soybeans. Grass-based fuel can even lead to a net decrease in atmospheric carbon dioxide, whereas ethanol and biodiesel increase it.The study is based on 10 years of work at the University’s Cedar Creek Natural History Area. Written by Tilman, postdoctoral researcher Jason Hill and research associate Clarence Lehman, it is the cover story in the Dec. 8 issue of the journal Science.[source]

Girls Smash Glass Ceiling

NEW YORK – Girls swept a prestigious high school science competition for the first time Monday, winning top prizes of $100,000 scholarships for their work on potential tuberculosis cures and bone growth in zebrafish.It was the first time girls had ever won the grand prizes in both the team and individual divisions of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology….The Siemens competition was begun in 1998 to recognize America’s best math and science students. Finalists were chosen at regional competitions and flown to New York for a weekend that included bowling and a Broadway show before Monday’s awards ceremony. The contest has also been known as the Siemens Westinghouse Competition.

[source][hat tip: CMF]