Tag Archives: the unknown

Things that I’ve seen but wish I hadn’t…My eyes! The burn!

There are certain things in this world that are not meant for human vision.

Photo by Lynn Kelley via WANA Commons

Photo by Lynn Kelley via WANA Commons

The Plumber’s Butt–on a Motorcycle

Look away from that new moon while the nice man fixes the sink. But what do you do when the sight is directly in front of you while driving?

The motorcycle passenger was wearing the black-lace thong and muffin top. I don’t have anything against muffin tops or black lace, but the combination with the new moon…*shudder*

Hope they turn and go a different way. If they don’t, you must take a different route or risk being scarred for life.

The Shirtless Jogger

I’m so glad people are out jogging.  That’s wonderful! If you don’t mind, put on a shirt. I don’t want to see a half naked, gorilla man or a woman wearing a sports bra. I don’t care how fit or unfit they are. Maybe, don’t.

The Fly

Seriously. If you’re going to be drunk enough to dance like a dork with your friends at a NBA basketball game (where you risk being seen by 20,000 people if you make the jumbotron), please have the courtesy to zip your fly. Awkward!

At least you’re too drunk to remember it later (the bad dancing and your XYZ). I, on the other hand, won’t be able to get rid of the image even after gouging out my eyes.

There you have it.  Three things that my eyes wish they hadn’t seen this week.

Have you ever seen something that you wished you could unsee? (Keep it PG, please.)

Advertisements

When Distant Relatives Visit

It’s the holiday season, and people visit family and friends.  How do you prepare for those…uh, distant relatives who come to visit?  You know the ones I’m talking about.  They are difficult to accommodate and have strange eating habits.  Don’t even think about the Neanderthal-like hygiene practices. *shiver*

Where are these nine-feet (or taller, even) cousins going to sleep?

I think I’ll rig up an extra large hammock between the trees in the backyard.  No, that won’t work because the winter seedlings are slowly working their way up.  I wouldn’t want our guest to step in the garden.  Maybe, we’ll have to borrow a huge tent.

If the thought of preparing meals for the crowd everyday starts to overwhelm, we can think about the edibles we have growing outside.  I don’t mean the seedlings and baby broccoli which barely survived housing the offspring of negligent, flighty parents.  (They could’ve at least waited for the caterpillars to hatch before they flew away somewhere to whatever it is butterflies do after they lay eggs on baby broccoli.)

No, these guests require a special diet.  They don’t like any processed foods–everything must be natural.  It’s a good thing that our yard has a variety of dandelions and clover.  The neighborhood has lots of wild rabbits, too–our newest family members will feel right at home.

(Note to self: Warn the neighbors to bring in their cats.)

Put out the best towels.  On second thought, hide the best towels and put out all the old ones, even the ones that we use to dry off the dogs.

(Note to self: Board the dogs at a kennel for the weekend.)

So who are Cousins George, Bob, and Fred that I fear for my furry kids’ lives?

Bigfoot.

If they are anything like Harry from Harry and the Hendersons, then I’d worry more about my house.

What a great holiday card!

What a great holiday card!

These are the mythological creatures of forest wildernesses.  They are our close relatives.

Their DNA proves it. Yep.  Some scientists in Texas have sequenced the DNA of bigfoot. Their findings are controversial though.  (Ya think?)   They claim human females cross-bred with unknown primates.  Some 15,000 years later, those descendants should have human rights.

Hmmm…  Well, it seems we will have to wait for more conclusive evidence and test results before we need to give Fred, Bob, and George voting rights or a place at the holiday dinner table.

Their cousins from Everest are getting a lot of attention, too.  It seems the Sasquatch is mighty elusive.

For other interesting ideas, go check out what Debra Kristi says about Bigfoot at her blog.  There are other interesting links to read, too.

I’d love to see mermaids in real life, too–maybe from a distance.  Oh, wait!  Mermaids are half human.  Does that mean….

Nevermind.

What do you think about Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti stories? Are they close relatives, stuff made of myth, or seriously clever creatures?

That is Not a Fuzzy Elephant

It seems that we keep intersecting with science fiction in our real lives, and I keep finding DNA and clone stories.  (You can read the one about glow-in-the-dark cats here.)  I’ve put together a clone mashup for you.  I still can’t believe that I didn’t post this this morning!

It must be Tuesday.

A Mammoth project and the half-life of DNA…

A month ago, Russian scientists announced that they found “well-preserved woolly mammoth fragments” in Siberia. They are testing the bone marrow, hair, and soft tissues to see if there are any living cells left.

Did anyone read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton?  How about the movie based on the novel by Steven Spielberg?

Yes, I know that mammoths are not anything like the carnivorious Tryannisaurus Rex.  (Thank you, Captain Obvious.) And, yes, it would be very cool to see a real, live fuzzy mammoth walking around on the frozen white tundra somewhere.  I’d like a free lunch as much as the next person, but we all know that there’s always a cost when science meddles.

by Shannon Esposito via WANA Commons

Interestingly enough, Nature.com posted an article earlier this month about a study that has determined the half life of DNA is 521 years, which means 6.8 millions years is the maximum length of time DNA might hold together.

That means no Tryannisaurus Rex clones running wild on an island in a “safe” enclosure, since they died out ten times as many years as that.  Whew!  *wipes brow*

The mammoths could still be a possibility, but we won’t know for months if the scientists find anything viable.  With no clear purpose, I’m not sure what kind of life a cold-loving animal would have in our world today.  Where are they going to keep it?  Won’t it be sad all by itself?  (I saw Ice Age--that animated mammoth wanted a family.)

Cloned horses with a purpose…

To bring it a little closer to home, check out this news video about cloned competition horses in Texas.   😀

One of the horses was a clone of a competition horse that couldn’t be bred (the reason wasn’t given), so the clone will give the horse’s qualities to its own offspring.  What?!

The cloned horse will mother the children of the parent horse.  Huh?!

The identical twin clone horse will be bred to have the equivalent offspring of the identical twin donor horse.  I think, maybe.  Sort of.

To their credit, they recognized the clone horses as different from the “parent” horses.  And the horses are all gorgeous.

But wait there’s more…

Multiplictiy film poster

One more thing (I promise I’ll leave cloning alone for a little while).  Everytime I joke that I need a clone, I always think about the silly movie that starred Michael Keaton (after he was Batman): Multiplicity.

It’s a great reminder that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Every new clone was exponentially less intelligent (more stupider?) than the last clone.

Needless to say, he gets into crazy trouble when his clones get him fired and make his wife mad at him (she doesn’t know about them…she just thinks he’s crazy).

Of course, my own clones would be smarter than that. (Just nod your head in agreement.)  They would do the stuff that I don’t want to do.  I’ll keep working and doing family stuff.   Do you see the flaw in my logic?

If my clones are really me, then wouldn’t they hate avoid doing windows (or bathrooms or toilets) just as much as I do?  They would completely ignore the spiderwebs way up in the skylight because a step ladder isn’t tall enough to help reach them.  Their piles of “stuff” on any available horizonal, flat surface would probably lead to clonicide.  That would probably be a really big mess that I’d have to clean up, since I bet the clones wouldn’t vaporize into dust like Spider-Man’s poorly made clones did.  Ewww.

No more dreams about cloning myself.  I’ll just have to wait around to see if any woolly mammoths get recreated.  Perhaps their purpose could be to wash my windows for me. Or, they could use their long trunks to get down those spiderwebs in the skylight.  Hmmm….

I’d love to hear what you think.  The comment box is always open.  🙂

 My quick #ROW80 update:

  • The back garden beds are still waiting for clean up.
  • Work out and eat better.  Food does not define me.
  • I’m a NaNoWriMo Rebel–finish the WIP and start editing. 15-20K is the goal.
  • Blogging class is in full swing (WANA International).  The Logline class was awesome–I highly recommend it.

A Forever Pet…Not So Much

A little over a decade ago, Texas A&M University cloned a cat.  That cat, appropriately named Copy Cat, is still alive and well (at least at the time of the report when she turned 10 years old).  She has a great life and a great home.

But was she a carbon copy of her donor mother cat?  Not at all.  She looks nothing like her “mother.”  You can read the AP article here.

It’s Tuesday, so that means TINSTAAFL Tuesday.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Check out my other TINSTAAFL Tuesday posts about DNA manipulation: Welcome to Gattica and Tracking Pooch’s Poo.

When animal cloning seemed to be on the horizon, many people wanted to store tissue samples of their beloved pets so they could recreate that same animal later after the dog or cat passed over the rainbow bridge.  The company called Genetic Savings & Clone (catchy, huh?) were ready to store genetic material and eventually produce clones for $50,000.  Keep in mind, there is no promise that the resulting cat will be anything like the original.  It might look the same, but it probably won’t act the same.

Um, hello, there are some pretty incredible shelter cats that would love to have nice homes at a fraction of the price. My sister-in-law found two adorable kittens that need homes now.

The company closed in 2006 due to the lack of demand for cloned cats.  Evidently, the business was not sustainable.  Well, no surprise there.

I just found this other article about cloned cats that glow!  South Korean scientists modified the DNA of cloned cats so they glowed red in ultraviolet light.  More recently in the US, a cat was cloned–he glows green.  Take a look at this video:

Much of the latest research that is going on now is in the direction of cloning endangered animals, rather than resurrecting dead pets.  I’m not sure how making them glow has anything to do with saving a species, but I have a great idea for a science fiction story in the works now.

Just remember:  There is no such thing as a free lunch.  😉

Welcome to Gattaca

Here at Mermaids Don’t Do Windows, I’m introducing a theme for Tuesdays: “TINSTAAFL Tuesday.”

TINSTAAFL is an acronym for “There is no such thing as a free lunch” and is a common theme in science fiction literature.  It was the favorite theme for one of my SF literature professors.  Everything has a cost, which has little to do with money.  (Unless you’re Bill or Ted on an excellent adventure, and then there are no consequences).   Nothing is for free.  In SF, if it seems to good to be true, then that isn’t a good sign.  Payment will be due.

An article called “Genetically engineering ‘ethical’ babies is a moral obligation, says Oxford professor” creeped me out.  The geneticist insists that we are morally obligated to screen fetuses for imperfections and make them better people by tweaking their genes.

“Welcome to Gattaca” is the first thing I thought.  Gattaca is a 1997 SF film that stars Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Jude Law.  If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about.

The film is set in future Earth when eugenics determine every aspect of people’s lives.  Vincent (Ethan Hawke) was naturally conceived and born, and as  a result has imperfect vision and a heart problem.  His parents decide to give their second son a better life, and he’s perfect and picks on his older, weaker brother often.

The government catalogs everyone in a DNA database and conducts regular screenings.  DNA dictates which kinds of jobs people were allowed to have. The children who are naturally born are considered lowerclass and physically flawed and, as a result, limited to certain menial jobs.  Vincent dreams all his life of joining Gattaca and going into space, but He is trapped in his place in society.

Jerome (Jude Law) is perfect in everyway except an accident left him paralyzed.  Jerome provides Vincent with his fingerprints, blood,
urine, hair samples, and even a heartbeat–everything Vincent needs to take on Jerome’s identity.  With one DNA scan Vincent is accepted into Gattaca—the database thinks he is Jerome (absolutely flawless).  If you haven’t seen the movie, I won’t give the rest away.  It’s pretty intense.

That recent article brings up many questions about morals and ethics–whose definition of these terms is this geneticist using?   His own agenda makes it sound as if he is offering utopian people.  Well, we all know how utopias end.  Stories about them now are called dystopias–let’s call it what it is.

TINSTAAFL, I say to the idea of eugenics.  No one knows what the unintended consequences could be.  What’s the geneticist going to say if he mistakenly screens out the gene for friendliness because his hand twitched?  “Oops, sorry, your kid isn’t going to be friendly, but she’ll be a genius and will be able to swim across the Pacific Ocean.”

Sure, he’s implying that the procedure could weed out psychopaths and other undesirable character flaws and make the world a better place.  That just begs the question of nature vs. nuture, doesn’t it?  I don’t see a free lunch here.

Let’s say he creates all these happy, friendly, smart, caring people who don’t have any negative feelings or emotions.  I wonder if these eugenic people would be able to function in society.  “Oh, it’s okay, my teenaged-daughter, you can stay out until 3 am, because I trust everyone has been eugenicized.”  Creeeepy–borderline Stepford Wives (which deserves a TINSTAAFL Tuesday all to itself).

If given the chance to alter a future child’s DNA before birth, would you do it to the extent of Gattaca?   Are we adding another layer of science fiction meets reality to our lives?  Are you as bothered by this “obligation” as I am?

Say It’s All True or Not

Odd news seems to attract my attention.  Sometimes I read odd stories and shake my head in disbelief.  Other times I think it would be fantastic if the stories were true.  One thing that is always true: Some people take it all at face value and others are complete skeptics.

Who knows?  Maybe these stories are true.  They could be in a parallel universe.  Or not.  Now for some fun.

Nessie Lives!

Recently, I found this article about sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.  Yes!  Finally, someone took a picture of a creature swimming in Loch Ness.  As usual, nay-sayers don’t believe it and the believers do.

In all seriousness, it’s a big lake.  Humans have a lot of hubris, don’t we?  Who’s to say there isn’t a creature that lives in that lake whose species has never been cataloged?   (No, I do not think it could be a mermaid.)

We are discovering new animals and plants everyday.  This possibly non-mammal, manatee-like creature could be next.  They better name it after Nessie!

image

I imagine the Nessies are this cute.

UFOs Have Technology We Could Use!

In July, the UK government released UFO documents. Over 6,700 pages of data, most of which was explainable.  Sort of.  At least until an official said that it would be nice if we had the technology to move that way.  Our planet is the only one in the infinite universe to have intelligent life?  I can’t believe that.

I watched the TV show V (yes, both versions that aired) and the numerous other shows and movies that have portrayed aliens as probing, unemotional, human-eating, scary monsters.  I’m not saying that’s not a possibility, but I’d like to believe there are life forms out there who feel and love as much as we Earthlings do.

Crop Circles Created!

Less than a month ago, a wheat farmer in Washington State discovered crop circles in his field.  This crop circle and others have been discovered mostly without any witnesses or explanation.  Some people call them hoaxes, others believe they are created by aliens, and still others think they are a natural phenomenon.  I did a search on them and thought my head would explode from all the information that’s out there.  I can’t explain them, but I think some are gorgeous. No matter how they were created.

Mysterious Shipwreck (or Something)!

When shipwreck hunters came across an anomaly at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, they were baffled by the size and shape of the object in the sonar images–amazing imagesimaginations.

Who knows how they came up with this rendition (the Halloween movie-sounding music probably doesn’t help), but why does it have to be alien in nature? How do we know it’s not really ancient in nature?

Think about the things we’ll leave behind.   What off-the-wall stories will our descendants create about the head of the Statue of Liberty in a million years when they find it at the bottom of the sea and there are no records to give them hints?

The statue was:

  • The representation of an ancient goddess.
  • The image of the wife of the first President of the United States.
  • The first woman President of the United States.
  • A look of what woman wore in America in the Twenty-First Century.
  • An enigma with no plausible explanation that anyone could agree on (like the Sphinx).

The mysterious is so, so, well, mysterious.  *rolling eyes*

That’s what is great about these things.  Everyone can have their own opinion, science, or conspiracy theory about them.  Are they true?  Did someone make them up and put them out there for other imaginations to believe and perpetuate?  Or not?  Do you have a favorite myth, hoax, or conspiracy theory?