Scientists tracking a giant sea turtle off the coast of Mexico were disappointed when its radio collar stopped transmitting last March. Four months later, reports New Scientist, they learned its fate: the turtle was the guest of honor at a Baja barbecue, where it reportedly fed about 100. Opined one researcher: “It’s kind of a drag to track a turtle for months and find out someone ate it.” Although, he did not add, not as big a drag as for the turtle.
Let Dolly the sheep be a warning to celebrities everywhere. According to the BBC, a San Francisco company is urging stars to copyright their DNA before some mad scientist clones them against their will. The bad news: ear residue left on a celeb’s cell phone (yech) could provide a would-be Dr. Frankenstein with everything he needs to clone an army of famous look-alikes. The worse news: that phone could belong to Pauly Shore.
The Chicken and the Egg
For a less traumatic image, the U.S. National Institute of Science and Technology has a different vision: mass-producing cloned chicken eggs, yielding thousands of identical fowl per hour. New Scientist reports that researchers are still seeking the perfect poultry prototype-that single chicken that will taste more like chicken than any other chicken.
The much-touted health benefits of red wine may be so much backwash, reports HealthScoutNews. A team of Danish researchers found that people who drink red wine are healthier, wealthier and wiser-or at least better educated-than those who don’t. The scientists conclude that socioeconomic status-not the grape itself-may explain past studies that link red wine to a healthier heart. They also threw in some bad news for beer drinkers: “On scales concerning personality, psychiatric symptoms, and health-related behaviorsbeer drinking was associated with sub-optimal functioning.” D’oh!
Longing for the beach, but stuck at the computer? Pasadena-based Dalilab is creating a distributed-computing cybersea. The virtual ocean is home to cyberfish, each sporting its own “virtual genome,” who mate and evolve. According to BBC News, Daliworld members will be able to create their own species, which then migrate to fellow members’ computers over a peer-to-peer network à la Napster. But unlike Napster, Metallica has no objections-although no word yet from Billy Ocean.
Last week: Bulls, Bears and Bots