"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dead Mammals, Occasionally Not 

A new study of extinctions and climate suggests that the Earth's 'wobbles' may cause the periodic mammal extinctions seen in the fossil record. That is, of course, assuming that the fossils weren't just put there by the Flying Spaghetti Monster to test our Faith, in which case we could guess that His Noodly Attention Span is about 2.5 million years.

Humans have a way of helping many species go extinct especially very soon after they colonize a new area. Researchers in Cyprus have found a surprising survivor there: a new species of mouse. Well, actually it's an old species - a survivor from before humans came to Cyprus, and a nice link to the evolutionary history of mice (and maybe men).

It's unlikely to make humans go extinct, but a study suggests that having red hair genes may raise your risk of cancer. This goes for just being a 'red carrier' - that is, with only one copy of the gene so you don't have red hair - as well as being a full redhead. Interesting.

Humans also do pretty well at trying to make themselves extinct, by trying to kill lots of other humans. Thus far in dubya's Iraq war, more than 650,000 Iraqis have been killed - that's about 425,000 in excess of previous death rates! And we still don't have any indications that it's gonna get better anytime soon. All this so Americans can drive Hummers.

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