There have been a few news stories that have caught my attention during the last week.
First, we have the story of a Florida golfer who was attacked by an alligator. Fortunately, he was not seriously hurt, and it doesn’t sound like the whole thing turned out to be that big of a deal. I bring it up here, though, to point out once again that you have to be really, really dumb to be attacked by an alligator. Seriously. They are not very aggressive creatures, and will only come after you if you make yourself a very inviting target. In this case, the guy ignored a “Beware of Alligator” sign, and walked right up to the edge of the pond and stuck his arm in. So, props to the gator on this one.
Up second is the story of giant penguin fossils found in South America. I’m not actually a huge fan of penguins – as animals go, they’re no alligators – but I’m always intrigued by giant prehistoric versions of common animals. Unfortuantely, the article doesn’t say exactly how big they were. Piecing together clues from my own research, though, I’ve managed to estimate their size relative to the Sears Tower in Chicago.
Finally – I found this one thanks to Conservapedia – comes news of the latest struggle in the right-to-life wars: chimeras. As I understand it, this latest scientific develpoment has the right-to-life movement in quite a bind; they’re against chimeras, but once a chimera embryo is created, they’re opposed to destroying it. Makes sense, I guess, as long as you’re completely unwilling to see the logical limit of pro-life rhetoric.
But what I really want to know, and what the article doesn’t tell us, is what kind of animal/human hybrid scientists want to create. This is basic reporting, people! You have to name the animal! Otherwise, it might be easy to get the impression that there aren’t really any solid plans to create these things in the first place and that the whole thing is a fake controversy designed to scare the faithful into opposing stem-cell research in particular and biological research in general.
But, I guess we’ll see. I’m hoping for turtles, personally.