Nov 09,2007 00:00
On a polar expedition, begin with a clear idea of which pole you are aiming at, and try to start facing the right way. Choose your companions carefully - you may have to eat them.
- Scottish Humorist W.C. Sellar (1898-1951)
Here's a test in two parts. First, you must fill in the missing letters inside the parentheses to complete two four-letter words, read left to right. Second, the parenthetical letters must spell a six-letter word, read right to left.
Answer: T(ARO GNA)T. The 6-letter word being ANGORA.
2. S(N_s&8211;s&8211;s&8211; S)K
3. O(R_s&8211;s&8211;s&8211; D)E
SURELY YOU'RE JOKING
A female is a male with iron added for greater strength, ductility and magnetism. (If you don't get this, check your Periodic Table.)
BRAIN SWEAT ANSWER
1. S(LAT ROP)E = PORTAL
2. S(NAP MAS)K = SAMPAN
3. O(RAL LOD)E = DOLLAR
In Persia, a gentleman was expected to marry a woman of equal social stature. However, if he wanted to marry a woman of lower social standing, he could "hire" her on a 99-year lease, according to Stephen Arnott, author of "Eating Your Auntie is Wrong."
POETRY FOR SCIENTISTS
Tom Edison thought he was bright.
He invented the electric light.
Then, to his chagrin,
When turning in,
His wife said, "I'll be reading tonight."
Why is it considered necessary to nail down the lid of a coffin?
Comb-mounted Hair Analysis Gauge
U.S. Patent No. 3,459,197
Apparently, one of the stresses of having tresses is always wondering what's in your hair. In 1969, inventor Ray Wilson came up with an answer.
Wilson affixed a small stress gauge to an ordinary comb. As the user drags the comb through his or her hair, the gauge records how much the comb bends. The more the comb flexes, the more stuff is in your hair and the sooner you should reach for a nice, clarifying shampoo.
Or maybe just a different comb.
HOW GREEN IS MY TALLY
Researchers at the Carnegie Institution have looked at a species of algae called Chlamydomonas and seen themselves. Well, a distant relation, anyway.
Geneticist Arthur Grossman of the Carnegie Institution and colleagues sequenced the genome of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and discovered that the tiny, single-celled organism contains not only genes that date back to the earliest plants, but also genes associated with functions in animals, including humans.
That makes Chlamydomonas - affectionately known as Chlamy - a nexus of plant-animal ancestry, a sort of kin to both.
The alga is found in soil and freshwater environments. Like plants, it performs photosynthesis, but it diverged evolutionarily from flowering land plants about 1 billion years ago.
Chlamy's relationship to animals is even more distant. That split occurred 1.6 billion years ago. Nonetheless, the alga retains hairlike flagella that are the equivalent to cilia and centrioles in animal cells.
Further analysis indicated that 35 percent of the proteins found in Chlamy are also found in flowering plants and humans. An additional 10 percent are shared with humans but not flowering plants.
"Just 20 years ago, no one would have guessed that an alga would have retained many of the functions we associate with humans and would be useful for developing a basic understanding of certain human diseases," said Grossman.
WHAT IS IT? ANSWER
It's a chitinozoan, though scientists aren't sure exactly what that means.Chitinozoans are a group of flask-shaped, organic walled marine microfossils produced by an as-yet-unknown, long-gone animal. The prevailing theory is that they are either eggs or the juvenile stage of the animal.