Baseless Hypothesis

Scientists are still unsure what caused the massive extinction that killed off the dinosaurs. They know that at least one major impact with a comet or asteroid helped things along, but dinosaurs still survived for thousands (millions?) of years afterward. There are additional hypothesis on what other things may have contributed to the final downfall, but I wonder if an imbalance in gender had something to do with it.

We know that slight variations in temperature can effect whether certain species of fish and reptiles are born male or female. Global Warming is causing fish in South America to be born predominantly male.

A small increase in water temperature among sensitive fish like the South American pejerrey can result in a population that is 98% male.

…in some finned species, like the Atlantic silverside — as well as in many reptiles — sex is determined not by genetics but by temperature: the undifferentiated embryo develops testes or ovaries on the basis of whichever option conveys evolutionary advantages for that particular environment. Now, in a study published in the July 30 edition of the scientific journal Public Library of Science, Natalia Ospina-Alvarez and Francesc Piferrer have gone a little further in explaining how that mechanism works. In laboratory tests, they have demonstrated that higher water temperatures result in more male fish.

If you have an imbalance in the number of males or females born, or surviving to reproductive age, you can have an evolutionary pressure to either correct the imbalance, or a slow (or not so slow) push toward extinction.  If some post impact or even pre-impact environmental pressure was causing an imbalance in male/female survival, you could get a slow decline in population, especially if it is a disproportionate number of males to females.

I would guess this has been considered and investigated by the scientific community, but I haven’t had time to research it yet.  The fish article just got me thinking.

I’ve Never Meme’d

Via: No Minivan

Ever played “I have never”? It’s a drinking game. One person says something like “I have never been to Greece” and if you’ve been to Greece, you have to take a drink. It can get pretty raunchy with the right crowd and you can find out a whole lot you didn’t need to know about your friends, but it’s good fun.

So I, the Meme Whore, suggest a meme of a blog version. List 10 things you have never done and invite your readers to respond to your list with their own experiences.

I have never…

  1. [deleted — this is a family blog after all.  And I came close one time.]
  2. [oops — Mike reminded me that in fact I had. ]
  3. [crap –I did that too]
  4. [damn –I forgot about her. ]
  5. [oh yeah — and him]
  6. [I’ll think of one soon.  Does it count if we didn’t get caught?]
  7. Eaten cow tongue or monkey brains.
  8. Snow skied in the buff.
  9. [oh I give up]

Do you need to take a drink for any of those? Leave a comment below (even anonymously)!

Blog Shorts…

  • I’m now on twitter (  Still trying to figure out how/why to use it.
  • I’m also on LinkedIn incase anyone uses that.
  • I found an interesting group blog discussing alternative energy.  It has lots of good information on the pros and cons of different energy options and gives you a good insight into what the researchers think.
  • To Do: Send an email to Barack Obama urging him to drop support for Corn based Ethanol.  Of all of the alternative enery options, Corn Ethanol is one of the least appealing (increased food cost, low energy yield, wasted farm land).  I’m hoping that he is only supporting this to help get the infrastructure in place for other bio-fuels that have higher yields and make more sense, although the cynic in me believes pork barrel politics is a lot more likely.

Your Share

  • Tech Writer (TW): I read that the mortgage bailout is going to cost like 800 Million dollars.
  • Me: I think you mean 800 BILLION.  800 Million wouldn’t even be news worthy at this point.
  • TW: You are probably right.
  • Me: Still, a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
  • TW: Anyway it said that with that with this year’s deficit, the national debt will be close be 10.6 Trillion.
  • Me: $10,600,000,000,000.00 seems like a lot of money to me.
  • Me: Let’s do the math…
  • Me: It says here, the population of the US is about 304 Million.
  • Me: Let’s see… 10,600,000 M divided by 304 M
  • Me: Your share of the debt is $34,868.
  • TW: Are you telling me that I’m $35,000 more in debt than I thought.
  • Me: No, $70,000.  You forgot about your wife.
  • TW: Damn her.
  • Me: Well assuming you get a decent interest rate, you can pay $420/month for the next 30 years and your share will be paid off.
  • Me: If I pay off my family’s portion, the bill would be $1049/month.

Monday Mosquito Eater

This week we have a European version of the Mosquito Eater.mosquito_eater_3.jpg

Once again, I managed to find a photo of a Mosquito Eater in its natural surroundings.   In contrast, most mosquito eater photos tend to look like this: