The Watering Hole: May 26 – Mitochondrial DNA

Mitochondrial DNA is that portion of inheritance that is primarily inherited from the female of a species. This property extends even into both plants and animals. The reason for this is that the only mitochondrial DNA introduced by the male is from sperm flagella and most of that is what is termed ‘trash’ DNA or is lost in the process. Mitochondrial DNA is mostly derived from the unfertilized egg. The ratio of Mitochondrial DNA in the female of a species has a prevalence of from 1000 to one to 100,000 to one over the male of a species.

If one considers that the oldest common bond between a common male and a common female in the human species is about 60.000 years (6000 years for creationists) ago and the average turnover time for a single generation is about 16 years over that time, no more than 4000 unions have occurred over the longer period. No more than about a tenth of a percent of male mitochondrial DNA can have survived the selection process if everything were equal (400 unions and .006% for creationists over the shorter period).

This is the reason that Mitochondrial DNA can be used as a marker for counting generations. The impurities introduced by the male mitochondrial DNA which actually survive in today’s homo sapiens act as a tracer of generations. The female mitochondrial DNA is the foundation.

The above thesis is highly simplified in its presentation and is only intended to convey how genetic lineage is calculated.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, 5-25-11: Hump Day


The man who decided to climb a mountain.
A modern parable by Briseadh na Faire

There once was a man who decided to climb a mountain. He started off on his journey and quickly ascended the first few small hills on the way to the mountain. Then he entered a valley. He followed the trail through the valley, winding and turning as it went. After awhile, he began to get discouraged. He could still see the mountain, but he was not getting any higher as he walked along.

Then, around the next bend in the trail, he chanced upon a fellow traveler who was sitting in the shade eating some fruit. The man shared his discontent with the fellow traveler.

The traveler looked at him with a gleam in his eye. “So,” said the Traveler, “right now you’re not getting any higher, but you are getting closer to the mountain.”

The man looked at the mountain ahead. It was true. As long as he stayed his path, he would climb the mountain.

© 2005 Briseadh na Faire

This is our Open Thread. What mountains have you chosen to climb?

Ian Murphy strikes again!!

Cold Call/The Beast

Ian Murphy…Ian Murphy…you might say.  Where have I heard that name before?  Remember the phone call between Gov Scott Walk of Wisconsin and ‘David Koch?”  That’s the awesome Ian Murphy of the Giant Brass Balls ™.

Well, Ian has done it again.  Using the name Steve Smith, and disguising himself with thick-framed glasses (hey, it worked for Clark Kent), he volunteered for a Republican phone bank in New York — for Jane Corwin’s campaign.  Let the amusement begin…

“Hi, sir, my name’s Steve and I’m a volunteer for the Jane Corwin campaign–”

“Jesus!” a guy screams at me. “You know, I was thinking about voting for Corwin, but this is too much! You people have called me a dozen times in the last two days! I am sick of it!”

“But Jane Corwin wants to rule over you with an iron fist,” I calmly relay. “Don’t you crave strong leadership?”

“What?!” he balks. “An ‘iron fist’?”

“Yes,” I assure him. “These phone calls are just the beginning. When Jane’s in Congress she will do everything in her power to crush you mentally and physically.”

“Don’t call me again!” he says and slams down the receiver.

OMG, that is hilarious.

Apparently, the brilliant strategy of Corwin’s campaign is to make calls, find out who’s not planning to vote for Corwin, and then relentlessly call them back until their ears bleed.

I actually spoke with roughly 100 people, and the majority of them were extremely upset with the harassment by phone. Unless they immediately relented and said they were voting for Jane, their name went back into the system, and we’d call them until their spirits were thoroughly crushed. It’s an odd campaigning strategy — one that is no doubt backfiring.

I’m sure that will work out quite well for them.

Ian Murphy, you are the best person in the world!!  Thank you for crawling into the belly of the beast, and coming out only slightly slimed.

Hat tip: badmoodman

Watering Hole – Monday, May 23, 2011 – True Democracy

It’s the evil thing…

The Supreme Court of the United States of America spit on our democracy when they handed over our government to rich corporations, both domestic and foreign, by their decision to support Corporations Citizens United.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak up or Sing, which ever works best for you   :)

Sunday Roast: After the Rapture


Well, the Rapture didn’t happen.  All the true believers are still here on Earth, and while I’m sure they’re sad about it, their faith will be stronger than ever.  It’s something that’s hard to wrap your mind around, but precisely because the Rapture didn’t happen, the faithful will believe even more — not less.

Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance, which predicts that the more we have given and invested in a particular point of view, the less likely we will be to abandon it in the face of contrary evidence. It’s the same cognitive process that kicks in when we are made to behave in ways that are inconsistent with our beliefs; in the face of that disharmony, we often change our beliefs to be congruent with our behaviors and self-perception. Cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable and leads people to seek resolution.

Whaaaa…?  You might be thinking, that doesn’t even make sense…

[S]tudies have found that when people pay more for a bad wine or meal, they are more likely to report that it was tasty, compared with people who paid less for the exact same crappy dinner or drink. No one wants to be a sucker.

Well, there ya go.  People believe stupid stuff; invest a lot of time and energy in stupid stuff; so, instead of cutting their losses and chalking it up to a lesson learned about stupid stuff, they dig in even harder; and the cycle begins again.

I can’t wait to see what Mr Camping has up his sleeve next….

This is our daily open thread — assuming you’re still here, feel free to share what’s on your mind.

Rapture Party!!

The end of the world as we know it...?

Well, the world is supposed to end today.  Again.  I guess I won’t have to pay back my student loans.  :-)

But if the end doesn’t come today, there may still be some hope for the doom and gloom crowd!  Sir Issac Newton calculated that the Apocalypse could not happen before 2060, so at least we that to look forward to.  Maybe Harold Camping will discover that he forgot to carry the 6, and his gullible followers will once again have a reason to carry around dumb signs while they demonstrate to their families why they should be medicated immediately.

But this is a party!  Rule #1:  There are no rules.  Clothing optional (just in case); open bar; soft drinks and snacks abound (get yours before the polar bear gets here); and please compliment the chimp waitstaff on their sexy Cat Woman outfits (they’ll have new appreciation for their little tuxedos next time).

Join us in the comments section with your sense of humor in-tact, your past Rapture experiences, dirty jokes, clean jokes, and as always, remember that there is no valet parking for the Rapture party.