when researchers get bored, you get a dozen useless facts. yay, boredom!

001 additional proof that our cat charles bronson is indestructible: according to the national cancer institute, black cats could have an evolutionary edge.
Black cats might be better able to hunt at night, [Dr. Stephen O'Brien] noted, "but there is another fascinating aspect which I noticed because I work with the Cancer Institute".

For instance, his team found that a gene called MC1R makes jaguars black when mutated. Humans also have an MC1R gene that, when mutated, gives some people red hair.

It is in a family of genes called 7-transmembrane receptors. A receptor acts as a doorway into cells and is often used by bacteria and viruses to infect cells.

"HIV enters cells through a 7-transmembrane receptor called CCR5," Dr O'Brien said. "So perhaps the selective pressure that allowed these mutations to survive in cats may not be to camouflage."
the whole study ("molecular genetics and the evolution of melanism in the cat family," from an '03 issue of current biology) is surprisingly interesting. it's probably led to more and scarier experiments with black cats, but i'm trying to ignore that.

002 contrary to popular belief, our three-legged rumpy cat might not be cursed; according to most geneticists,
The Manx allele is a dominant trait with variable expression from complete lack of tail (rumpy) to a foreshortened tail (stumpy). The allele has been referred to as a prenatal homozygous lethal (meaning M/M cats die in the womb) - but this is being questioned by Manx breeders. The Manx allele has been associated with several spinal cord anomalies.
...but ours is heterozygous and spinally sound - go jude go!

003 via popbitch, a list of every book art garfunkel has read in the last 30 years, along with his favorites. perfume and uncle tom's cabin are both on the short list, which frightens me more than a little.

004 per the IMDb, mischa barton's favorite book is a confederacy of dunces. if you believe that, i've got a bridge i'd like to sell you.

more to follow as the boredom progresses.


pica pica said...

Garfunkel's favorites #82-85 make a pretty mind-blowing sequence, I have to say. Wonder if he ever finished Proust? Or just hated the last two books?

tom said...

The fact that Art took 2 years + between installments stands to reason.

Bonus: he could probably kick ass at, and provide needed publicity to, the All-American Summarize Proust Competition.


sara said...

i'd like a bridge. at least i wouldn't have to water it or keep it trimmed or worry about what the cats would do to it when i'm not around to supervise...

how much?