Evening Reads: Night Owls and Great Whites

Good Evening…

I can not believe that Thanksgiving is this week, it has been one of those crazy fast years. You would think that with all the campaign crap we have been through, it would have seen like it was an eternity since those first horrible GOP debates. Can you believe a year has passed us by?

First take a look at these two articles, I want to get these out-of-the-way…Christian attorney indicted on federal child pornography charges

I actually did not want to include it in today’s post, but I could not help and think of the irony that once again a monster hides behind their religion. You should see the comments at the local newspaper that broke the story, it is disgusting.

This other article is from some right-wing Rabbi, and I warn you, it is f’d up. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Jewish Values Are the Salvation of the Republican Party

A ‘malignant weapon.’ That was the phrase used by a friend of mine — a national TV host who inclines toward Republicans but this year voted Democrat — to describe how Republicans use religion. “Why has religion made Republicans harsh. Shouldn’t it give them a soft heart?”

The congressional campaign I ran was based on the idea that the economic malaise in America was due to a values erosion. So long as we obsess over abortion, gay marriage, and contraception to the exclusion of any other values, we cannot fix our problems. I ran to start the process of replacing the austerity of some of the Christian social values, which have defined the GOP for decades, with the positive and life-affirming values of Judaism.

So Rabbi goes on about the problem with the GOP obsession with sex. Fair enough, but then when he gets down to his advice it is the same sexist shit, only warmed over with a bit of kugel and a schmear of cream cheese.

Also, I have two articles on Walmart, one which argues for higher paying salaries and hourly wages for  Walmart and retail employees. Bob Herbert: Why Walmart and Big Retailers Should Pay Their Workers More

The other is from Cannonfire, who feels that we should have a Thanksgiving Day boycott of Walmart and other retail stores who are opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. I agree, keep Black Friday on Black Friday.

Now for the fun stuff. Check this out….Great whites ‘not evolved from megashark’

A new fossil discovery has helped quell 150 years of debate over the origin of great white sharks.

Carcharodon hubbelli, which has been described by US scientists, shows intermediate features between the present-day predators and smaller, prehistoric mako sharks.

The find supports the theory that great white sharks did not evolve from huge megatooth sharks.

The research is published this week in the journal Palaeontology.

Look at these teeth:

Shark fossil

The new specimen (examined here by Dana Ehret) links Great Whites to the much smaller mako shark.


Modern day white sharks show similarities in the structure of their teeth with the extinct megatooth sharks.

As they both sport serrations on the cutting edges, early scientists working on the animals used this as evidence for the sharks being closely related.

Shark graphic

“But we actually see the evolution of serrations occurring many times in different lineages of sharks and if you look at the shape and size of the serrations in the two groups you see that they are actually very different from each other,” Professor Ehret told BBC News.

Are you all thinking what I am thinking? We need a bigger boat?

Megalodon had one of the most formidable bites known from the fossil record

“White sharks have very large, coarse serrations whereas megalodon had very fine serrations.”

Now, additional evidence from the newly described species shows both white shark-like teeth shape as well other features characteristic of broad-toothed mako sharks that feed on smaller fish rather than primarily seals and other large mammals.

“It looks like a gradation or a transition from broad-toothed makos to the modern white shark. It’s a transitional species, and you don’t see that a whole lot in the fossil record,” Professor Ehret said.

From fins to wings…well metaphorically speaking…Gene distinguishes early birds from night owls and helps predict time of death

Many of the body’s processes follow a natural daily rhythm or so-called circadian clock. There are certain times of the day when a person is most alert, when blood pressure is highest, and when the heart is most efficient. Several rare gene mutations have been found that can adjust this clock in humans, responsible for entire families in which people wake up at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. and cannot stay up much after 8 at night. Now new research has, for the first time, identified a common gene variant that affects virtually the entire population, and which is responsible for up to an hour a day of your tendency to be an early riser or night owl.

Back in my first year of college I did a thing for my biology class, where I took my temp and blood pressure/pulse rate every hour for 48 hours and what do you think, I had higher temps and heart rates later at night, between 9:30pm and 4am. (But I didn’t need to do that to know that I am a night owl.) I function way better in the evening hours.

Furthermore, this new discovery not only demonstrates this common polymorphism influences the rhythms of people’s day-to-day lives — it also finds this genetic variant helps determine the time of day a person is most likely to die.

The surprising findings, which appear in the November 2012 issue of the Annals of Neurology, could help with scheduling shift work and planning medical treatments, as well as in monitoring the conditions of vulnerable patients.

“The internal ‘biological clock’ regulates many aspects of human biology and behavior, such as preferred sleep times, times of peak cognitive performance, and the timing of many physiological processes. It also influences the timing of acute medical events like stroke and heart attack,” says first author Andrew Lim, MD, who conducted the work as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).

Give the rest of that article a read, and have a thought filled night. Me? Well, I am just getting started…this is an open thread.

14 Comments on “Evening Reads: Night Owls and Great Whites”

  1. Hey y’all, I’ve been busy all day so hopefully none of these stories are repeats or old news to you. 😉

  2. Riverbird says:

    One thing that happened today is that 97 House Republicans have written to Obama opposing Susan Rice. Here’s a copy of the letter.


    • NW Luna says:

      If the Republicans don’t like her, she’s probably OK — that’s how I see it.

    • Fannie says:

      Hell they can’t even get half their party to support them……………..97 out of what 300 something…………………it’s the real wingnuts out to get Rice. I hope Obama appointes her.

  3. RalphB says:

    The Rich People Who Don’t Know How Tax Rates Work


    Damn good question. Probably the reporters don’t how they work.

  4. RalphB says:

    John Cole at balloon-juice has a very good post about the backlash by ordinary people in this country toward the class war conducted on behalf of the rich for the past 30 years.

    They’ve Been Their Own Worst Enemy


  5. roofingbird says:

    Aoooh oooh, I wonder if there is a relationship between the sleep gene and ADD/ ADHD?