GESTURES OF APPRECIATION
Because we're all fans at heart
Um...is it just me, or does this sound kinda ominous?
L.A. Times wrote:
Giant virus revived from deep freeze in Siberian tundra
By Geoffrey Mohan
12:20 PM PST, March 3, 2014
A 30,000-year-old giant virus has been revived from the frozen Siberian tundra, sparking concern that increased mining and oil drilling in rapidly warming northern latitudes could disturb dormant microbial life that could one day prove harmful to man.
The latest find, described online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, appears to belong to a new family of mega-viruses that infect only amoeba. But its revival in a laboratory stands as “a proof of principle that we could eventually resurrect active infectious viruses from different periods,” said the study’s lead author, microbiologist Jean-Michel Claverie of Aix-Marseille University in France.
“We know that those non-dangerous viruses are alive there, which probably is telling us that the dangerous kind that may infect humans and animals -- that we think were eradicated from the surface of Earth -- are actually still present and eventually viable, in the ground,” Claverie said.
With climate change making northern reaches more accessible, the chance of disturbing dormant human pathogens increases, the researchers concluded. Average surface temperatures in the area that contained the virus have increased more steeply than in more temperate latitudes, the researchers noted.
“People will go there; they will settle there, and they will start mining and drilling,” Claverie said. “Human activities are going to perturb layers that have been dormant for 3 million years and may contain viruses.”
Claverie’s co-author, Chantal Abergel, nonetheless cautioned that their finding is limited to one innocuous virus infecting an amoeba.“We cannot definitely say that there are some human pathogens in there,” she said.
They will reexamine the drill core samples, Abergel said, to “find out if there is anything there that is dangerous to humans and animals.”
Claverie’s laboratory was behind the discovery, in Chile, more than a decade ago, of the first giant DNA virus, dubbed Mimivirus. They next identified a far larger virus of an entirely different family in 2011, dubbing it Pandoravirus salinus, in homage to the mythical Pandora’s box that first unleashed evil on the world.
This time, they used an amoeba commonly found in soil and water as bait to draw out a virus from a Siberian permafrost core that had been dated to 30,000 years ago.
The finding described Monday looked like another Pandora, except it was 50% larger.
"Giant" in virology is still pretty tiny. A virus of one micron in size, or a thousandth of a millimeter, is considered huge. That's big enough to be seen with a normal light microscope. The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, measures one tenth of a micron.
The genome of the newly described virus, however, contained only about a quarter of the number of paired DNA building blocks as Pandora, and the prevailing type of these base pairs was similar to the kind that dominate the Mimivirus genome.
Researchers kept with the ominous mythological theme and dubbed their find Pithovirus, from the Greek pithos, the type of amphora, or jar, that Pandora opened (it was not a box, after all).
Pithovirus still has an unusually large genome -- 600,000 base pairs, which the researchers predict would include genes that code 467 proteins. The genome of Pandora virus contains more than 2.8 million base pairs and about 2,500 coding genes. For comparison: the tiny HIV retrovirus has 9,749 base pairs and nine coding genes; the virus that causes mononucleosis has about 172,000 base pairs and about 80 genes.
The prospect of finding additional viruses that prove to be viable in a host remains uncertain. Microbiologist Brent C. Christner, of Louisiana State University, who has done similar work on frozen microbes but was not involved in the study, cautioned that DNA is easily damaged and that viruses cannot replicate or mutate without a host. “They have no source of energy,” he said. “They have to hijack the mechanisms of the host cell.”
Nonetheless, the study further challenges the notion that viruses can be fully eradicated, Christner said. The genome described in the study, he noted, encodes 125 proteins involved in transcription, DNA repair and replication.
The researchers plan to reexamine large viruses that have been mistaken for bacteria in the past -- one such specimen, found in 2008, had infected an amoeba living in a 17-year-old woman’s contact lens solution.
They also plan to look more deeply into the Siberian ice cores. "We have a sample that dates to 3 million years old,” Abergel said.
Those samples could harbor ancient forms of relatively modern human pathogens, including smallpox, which was rampant in Siberia. Fragments of a smallpox virus, for example, have been identified in Siberian mummies dating from the late 17th century.
“I would not be surprised that those viruses are still in the ground,” Claverie said.
Surprised no one has commented on this yet. 25 years ago everyone would be shitting bricks over something like this.
This isn't the first time Russia has invaded a post-Soviet nation
, but the fact that it's over the Crimea and in a country that is bigger and better armed than tiny Georgia is cause for alarm. Also, the invasion is really Putin's worst-kept secret. I mean, just because the troops and mechanised infantry he sent in had no national markings but kept the Russian license plates? And they have state-of-the-art weapons, have surrounded and sabotaged all major Ukrainian bases and lines of communication in the Crimea and just happen
to speak Russian?
Putin is an epic failure when it comes to subtlety.
Also posting to let you guys know I haven't karked it yet. I've been a bit busy.
The BSG mod for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
. Trailer proceeds: object
Hereby endorsed by our very own...
Link here: Sins of the Fallen: includes Fall of Kobol
EDIT: Also, these video embeds aren't showing up for me for some reason.
I'm sure by now everyone is already aware of this
, but it still needs a topic, dammit! object
Of course, I must post about this. object
The trailer's accompanying description:
Aliens: Colonial Marines
How will you survive?
Discover the true meaning of fear in Alien: Isolation, a survival horror set in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger. Fifteen years after the events of Alien™, Ellen Ripley's daughter, Amanda enters a desperate battle for survival, on a mission to unravel the truth behind her mother's disappearance.
As Amanda, you will navigate through an increasingly volatile world as you find yourself confronted on all sides by a panicked, desperate population and an unpredictable, ruthless Alien.
Underpowered and underprepared, you must scavenge resources, improvise solutions and use your wits, not just to succeed in your mission, but to simply stay alive.
was a pretty bitter disappointment. But this looks potentially intriguing because the entire approach it's taking looks so different
, with an emphasis on survival and suspense rather than on shooting legions of xenomorphs.
Since, as Shakespeare once said, "brevity is the soul of wit"...2013 sucked, and I hope 2014 is better.
I could say more, and perhaps I will later...but it mostly boils down to that.
As the most recently-published chapter of Family
will have made apparent, Phiend and I decided a while back that our Titans fics
share a common continuity. With that in mind, if anyone's at all interested, their chronological order would be as follows:
- Iceberg Ahead (during Season 2)
- Afterthoughts (post-Season 2)
- Snow (between Seasons 3 and 4)
- Honest Regard (post-Season 3)
- Titan Knight (between Seasons 4 and 5)
- Do Not Go In There (between Seasons 4 and 5)
- Shadow Play (post-Season 5)
- To You and Whose Kin (post-Season 5)
- Family (post-Trouble in Tokyo)
- Vigilance (much later)
My humor/parody fics (Slash
, Politics As Usual
, and Heroes On Display
) don't really fit into the continuity of the other stories, and weren't really intended to. They would probably all be sometime post-Season 5, technically speaking, but there are some continuity problems between them and Family.
Although this teaser trailer reveals few details about the Nolan brothers' upcoming venture into the realm of science fiction, at the same time it is heavy with implied meaning.
As short as it is, it strikes a tremendously powerful emotional chord with me, personally, and at this particular point in time, for reasons that will probably be obvious. But beyond that I will let it speak for itself. object
December 18, 2013
One of my earliest and biggest childhood fascinations was always Godzilla
. Next to Star Wars, Toho's iconic movie monster has occupied a special place in my imagination for as long as I can remember, even as ridiculously awful as some of the movies were.
An effort by a non-Japanese studio to "reboot" the legendary city-stomper on the big screen has apparently been underway for several years, and is finally set to hit theatres next year (2014). A previous attempt at the end of the last century was, to put it very mildly, less than successful. And so a degree of wariness is highly understandable. But I have to say, after watching the following teaser trailer, I am damned excited by the direction they appear to be taking.
Needless to say, this ain't no rubber monster movie
, and it ain't no cheesy-ass Matthew Broderick bullshit
, either. object
The music from 2001: A Space Odyssey
is also a nice touch.
I'm sure you've probably all heard by now, but there should be a thread for it anyway: former South African President Nelson Mandela died today at the age of 95. There can be little question that the end of apartheid will be his ultimate legacy.
On days such as this, it's difficult to find published obituaries or retrospective articles which aren't both glowing and superficial. But this one in the Washington Post
seems to be pretty comprehensive.
You may have noticed that we had *ahem*
a bit of a spam problem the past couple days.
It's fixed now.
Quoting from the UK Daily Mail...
Bodies piled in the streets as makeshift mortuaries are overrun and Philippine typhoon rescue teams warn death toll will 'rise sharply' from the 10,000 already confirmed
By Becky Evans
PUBLISHED: 15:45 EST, 11 November 2013 | UPDATED: 07:22 EST, 12 November 2013
Thousands of bodies are being piled up on the streets of the Philippines after the devastating Typhoon Haiyan, as aid agencies warn the death toll will 'rise sharply'.
Police and soldiers have the grim task of searching through the wreckage for bodies after entire villages and parts of cities were flattened.
Makeshift mortuaries, set up in remaining intact buildings like churches, are overrun and body bags are being left outside in rows.
Tens of millions of pounds worth of aid has been pledged by countries around the world and agencies say as many as 10million people in the developing country are in need of basic supplies such as shelter, clean water and food.
All I can say is...damn.
So this has been in development for quite some time: a new X-Men movie, once again directed by Bryan Singer, which will unite the casts of both Singer's original two films and 2011's X-Men: First Class
, in what promises to be a truly epic adaptation of one of the most groundbreaking and iconic storylines from the original comics. There have been a few teaser images and a promotional poster released to the public, but until now, there hasn't been an actual trailer.
Until now. object
I can't really think of much to say that could possibly add to that.
So AnimEigo wants to remaster BGC and put it out on Bluray, and are doing a Kickstarter to fund it's release. Bonus fetaures are going to depend on overall funding. Really looking forward to this, and thought I'd post the link here:http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mad ... lu-ray-set
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