Monthly Archives: March 2008

Minnesotans: In case you were wondering where Mark is these days:

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The University of California Board of Regents today (March 27) voted unanimously to appoint Mark G. Yudof, current head of the University of Texas system and a recognized leader in American higher education, the 19th president of the University of California.The appointment was made during a special meeting of the board following a search committee’s recommendation last week. Yudof will succeed Robert C. Dynes, who last August announced his intention to step down by June 2008 after nearly five years in the position.Yudof’s appointment will become effective this summer, with the exact date to be determined.”I am deeply honored by this appointment,” said Yudof. “The University of California stands as a model for the world, creating tomorrow’s leaders and innovators and helping to solve many of society’s most pressing problems. I can think of no greater personal privilege than to have the opportunity to lead this remarkable institution.”Yudof, 63, has served as chancellor of the UT system since 2002. He heads one of the largest university systems in the country with 15 campuses, 194,000 students and an annual operating budget of $10.7 billion. Yudof previously was president of the University of Minnesota and a longtime faculty member, dean and provost at the University of Texas at Austin.

Gene Genie #24

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Welcome to Gene Genie #24: with a heavy emphasis on Personal Genetics

The previous Gene Genie was hosted at DNAdirect Talk and it is still fresh, so go have a look if you have not already. The next Gene Genie will be hosted at My Biotech Life. By the way, the Gene Genie logo was created by Ricardo at My Biotech Life — see the other award winning artwork here.

If you wish to submit a post for the next Gene Genie, you may use the handy-dandy submission form.

And, now, on with the show:

Continue reading Gene Genie #24

Saving the Red Breasted Goose

Branta ruficollis is endangered. The Red Breasted Goose International Working Group (RbGIWG, which is unpronounceable) has a new species action plan to save this critter.Here’s some info from Redbrested Goose Central:i-f11d8e6c4dd1f42ff3d5f77a12ab7e1e-rbgoosewhite.jpg

Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis) is a charismatic globally threatened species highly dependent on wetlands and farmed areas. In the last 50 years, the distribution of the breeding and wintering grounds of Red-breasted Goose has changed dramatically for unknown reasons.This species has a small wintering range with 80-90% of the population concentrated in just five roost sites covering less than 20 000 km2 and the remainder occurring in a few other areas.The European wintering population is estimated to be more than 27,000 individuals, but this has fluctuated wildly.It is markedly lower than during the period 1970 -1990, but after remaining stable from 1990 to 2000, significant reductions have recently been observed. For these reasons, in 2007, Branta ruficollis was up listed to Endanger.[source]

And here is a cool goolge map thingie that lest you monitor the geese on their flyway. Continue reading Saving the Red Breasted Goose

Brightest Gamma-Ray Burst Evah!

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NASA astronomers were blown away last week by what was far and away the strongest gamma-ray burst (GRB) ever observed. GRB 080319B, shown here in x-ray [left] and optical/ultraviolet [right] views captured by the Swift satellite, burned so brightly that its afterglow was briefly visible to the naked eye from its origin 7.5 billion light-years (or half a universe) away. If placed side-by-side with the brightest supernova ever seen, the burst would still outshine it by a factor of 2.5 million, researchers calculated. GRBs typically occur when the explosion of a dying star gets channeled into twin high-speed jets. Astronomers are mystified why this one shined so intensely. The burst may simply have been extra powerful or its very narrow jets may have pointed directly at Earth.

More photos of this event and other interesting stuff here.