Cool Links

In dioecious species you have males and females, and males do not directly produce offspring. The increase of the population is constrained by the number of females in such lineages (male gametes are cheap). There is no such limitation in asexual lineages, where every individual can contribute to reproductive “primary production.” Additionally, the mating dance is another cost of sex. Individuals expend time and energy seeking out mates, and may have to compete and display for the attention of all. Why bother?
The answer on the broadest-scale seems to be variation, says Razib Khan...
America is a 'melting pot', it used to be said - everyone adds their own stuff but it's part of the same dish.   In the 1970s, partly due to elitism and partly due to idealism, that began to change and multiculturalism took hold.  America was not a melting pot, proponents said, it was a salad bowl and each part needs to remain whole.  People who dislike foreigners happily embraced that progressive idealism.
In China, collagen is not just for ridiculous fake lips.  For those women who think facelifts and Botox are just not enough, they can now buy collagen-enhanced drinks.  

"Take a collagen drink for 30 days and have skin as soft as a baby's"

One 22-year-old enthusiast in the Guardian says her skin is "super smooth" after a six-month course.  Well, it's a little easier at 22, isn't it?  
Rajendra Pachauri is staying on as chairman of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) but it agreed to make some other changes to try and prevent future mistakes in its widely watched climate-science reports, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Communicating Astronomy with the Public journal (CAPjournal) #9 is up and focused on cultural astronomy and how historical or cultural aspects to science pieces can help communicators to engage with a wider audience.  

During IYA2009, many countries ran projects that can be classed as “Cultural Astronomy”. The activities described focused on indigenous astronomy,  the history of astronomy and the inclusive nature of astronomy — as a hobby that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere. Activities included public events that combined telescope observing with storytelling, new learning modules for school  children, theatre productions and cultural astronomy exhibitions.
Are you a "Blade Runner" fan?   It's one of few science-fiction movies that 'holds up' over time instead of looking dated and that makes it something of a mainstream classic as well.

Rutger Hauer, as his robotic existence is about to end, has one of the best pieces of acting you will see, when he says, "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.  Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.  I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.  All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.  Time to die."
Forget booze, women and drugs, modern gangsters know where the big money is; government health care.

73 people have been charged with the most lucrative mafia scheme ever- setting up 118 phantom clinics in 25 states to cheat Medicare out of $163 million.   That's bold, people.

How did they get caught?  Goofy paperwork, like eye doctors doing bladder tests and ear, nose and throat specialists doing pregnancy ultrasounds while obstetricians were testing for skin allergies and dermatologists were billing for heart exams.

But not before they got away with $35 million.
State laws require car insurance but can the Federal government force you to buy health insurance?   A federal judge in Michigan threw out a challenge last week but U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in Florida says the suit before him can go ahead.

His reasoning?   What common sense and opponents said all along.    Congress was intentionally unclear when it created penalties in the legislation and overstepped its constitutional authority by penalizing people for not doing something — namely, not buying health insurance.
From Babbage at The Economist:

"IT'S 'Out of Africa' meets 'Pretty Woman'", says a screenwriter pitching her script to a studio exec in the legendary eight-minute tracking shot that opens Robert Altman's "The Player".

Tech start-ups are like films. There are only a few basic plots; all the rest is "X meets Y". I was reminded of this on Tuesday at the New York Tech Meetup. NYTM, as its 15,000 members call it, is the grand-daddy event of the city's start-up scene. It's like "The Player" meets Silicon Alley.
Step away from the beaker, Mr. Communications Teacher, especially if you suffer from science envy.

Galena Park High School students, 150 or so, had to be evacuated when a beaker of chemicals burst in a communications class, notes the Houston Chronicle.   
Want to chase insurers out of your business?    Interpret rules so that families can buy a policy for a child only when the child gets sick, meaning costs will skyrocket for everyone else which ... would not be allowed.  A guaranteed money loser for companies and so large insurers announced they would no longer issue child-only policies.

As a result of the confusion in rushing through health care reform, the Obama administration now says insurers can charge more for sick kids.  Just like they do now.  Only with the government taking a chunk of taxpayer revenue to manage it.
Some Slovenian researchers may be missing the point of Isaac Asimov's fictional (yet lofty, and therefore implicity hoping-to-be-followed) Laws of Robotics.  From from Asimov's third robot story, "Liar!",  published in May 1941's Astounding magazine, here they are:

1. A robot may not injure a human, or allow a human to be injured. 
2. A robot must follow any order given by a human that doesn't conflict with the First Law. 
3. A robot must protect itself unless that would conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Rotting fish experiments have helped to create picture of our early ancestors, says a study from the University of Leicester.
fossils from the early phase of vertebrate evolution are very rare because being completely soft-bodied they normally rotted away completely after death leaving nothing behind. But very occasionally their remains became preserved as fossils giving us a tantalising glimpse of our early vertebrate relatives.
You may not know the name of the Uffington White Horse but you have likely seen it.   It's carved into the Oxfordshire hillside (Brits love to carve things into hillsides) and looks like a horse.

Except apparently there has been a recent to-do because the mystery critter might not be a horse at all, but instead a rather less majestic dog, says retired vet Olaf Swarbrick.

Uffington white horse oxfordshire
Anyone who has seen "Back To The Future" (and who on a science site hasn't?) knows that Michael J. Fox owns the role of Marty McFly but older fans ... or recent devoted ones ... know he was not the first choice.  Instead, they were a few weeks into shooting and Robert Zemeckis felt it wasn't going to be funny enough with his current actor.

Back then, Stoltz was regarded as an up-and-coming, quality actor whereas Fox was a guy on a TV show, so it wasn't without risk to make that change.  But executive producer Steven Spielberg agreed and Zemeckis got the studio to let him reshoot five weeks worth of footage.

For the first time, people who purchase the 25th anniversary DVD will get to see footage of Stoltz as Marty McFly.  Check out some clips below:
A Russian archaeologist says he has discovered remains of a Bronze Age civilization in Russia's North Caucasus.  The North Caucasus is one of the world's most ethnically diverse regions, located between the Caspian and Black seas.  The discovery was in the mountains between the Kuban River and the site where the city of Kislovodsk stands today. 

Andrey Belinskiy says the settlements had carefully designed houses and oval courtyards and the mountain people later merged with the so-called Kuban culture, known for exquisite bronze artifacts.
Science projects ain't what they used to be.

Forget the potato clock and papier-mache volcano. From "smart rockets" to LEGO robots, and plastic-eating microbes to nuclear detectors, here are nine recent science fair winners that’ll make you say "wow."

Fox News has the scoop.
The ingredients may be tough to find, .e.g, one universe, but worth a shot:

Carl Sagan's apple pie

Someone already corrected his quote on 'invent' the universe rather than 'create' it, but that is a pretty funny mistake to make, given the whole creationism debate.
I'll be honest, this article came as a surprise to me.   Not that Linux was making inroads against Microsoft, but that anyone actually used Microsoft to run a server.   I never have.  I never would.  It seems absolutely maddening to even try.

The NY Times has the scoop and says there is a cost issue:
Aaron Sorkin responded to a commenter on the blog of Ken Levine who basically blamed Sorkin for the groupie-esque portrayal of women in the film - as if that was Sorkin rather than his take on what he saw in the origins of Facebook.
Facebook was born during a night of incredibly misogyny. The idea of comparing women to farm animals, and then to each other, based on their looks and then publicly ranking them. It was a revenge stunt, aimed first at the woman who'd most recently broke his heart (who should get some kind of medal for not breaking his head) and then at the entire female population of Harvard.