New thesis about homosexuality relating to epigenetics

Epigenetics is a very trippy area of research that is increasingly leading to completely new understanding of how the body works. The human DNA codebase if stretched out horizontally would stretch to 1.8 meters. Yet instead it winds around this material called chromatin and ends up being only tens of microns in width. This and other things which can support, connect with, or modify DNA in various ways are being found to have effects on gene expression, and it is now known that some of these things can be transmitted to a zygote – the first cell of a human formed from the germ cells of the parents (sperm and egg).

A new thesis just put forward maintains that homosexuality occurs when the “epimarks”, as they are called, from an opposite-sex parent get transmitted to an offspring.

The Ultimate Screen Rotation/Orientation Utility for Android

In the past I mentioned a useful app called Orientation Control which provides more fine-grained control over when and how the screen rotates on an Android device (in my case a Galaxy Tab tablet).  But I was still annoyed by the fact that with certain apps that I always want to launch in one particular orientation mode, I would always have to go through the cumbersome process of switching the orientation manually before opening the app.

There are three apps which I always want to use in portait mode: Amazon Kindle reader, EZ PDF, and Mobile Sheets.  These are all reading apps and portrait mode is simply the best way to display the documents in them.

While searching for a solution to the manual screen rotation annoyance I came across a really cool app called Ultimate Rotation Control.  This app really is the the ultimate rotation control utility for Android.  It allows one to set app-specific settings.  So I can set it to always open the three aforementioned reading apps in portrait mode.  I cannot describe how nice it is to just be able to launch the app and have the screen automatically rotate.  Then, when the app is closed or the Home screen button is pushed, the screen will switch back to whatever is set as the global default.

This is a feature which really should be built into Android but at least there’s Ultimate Rotation Control to provide a good solution.

Very Cool Solar Beads

Amazing: Tidal bores

Tidal bores are when the water from a rising tide causes a current flow upstream against the flow of a river. It only happens with a small number of rivers on Earth and is a wondrous phenomenon.

14-year old bicyclist killed

REDWOOD CITY — A pickup truck hit and killed a 14-year-old girl Monday morning as she rode her bike to school in what officials said appears to be a horrible accident.

The girl, whose name was not released, was struck around 8:30 a.m. at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City police Sgt. Sean Hart said. She was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

This is my old city. I used to bicycle extensively there. It breaks my heart to think that this young girl may have been inspired by seeing me riding my bicycle around the city all the time.

She was probably so enthusiastic about riding her bicycle, and believed that she was participating in something greater for the sake of helping our Planet Earth. Her parents probably encouraged her and were happy to see her so enthusiastic about helping the Earth.

And then something brutal and tragic like this happens. And, according to the article, it looks like they are not even finding fault with the driver. I think we have a serious problem. Unless the incident is extremely eggregious, involves flagrant irresponsibility, drivers are almost always left off the hook.

Time and again we are asked to believe that bicyclists just somehow accidently get killed for no reason. Yet anyhone who rides a bicycle knows that there are reasons aplenty. Every day a bicyclist’s life is threatened by hostile and ignorant motorists who, out of impatience, in haste cannot chill out, slow down a bit, allow a little extra space for the bicyclist.

That haste or ignorance results in trauma or death. Who does the government represent? “Law enforcement” is more about maintaining a sick status quo than actually investigating crime.

My prayers go out to this young girl and to her family.

Japan Govn’t Criticized for Lack of Comprehensive Care

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health Anand Grover has made public statements criticizing the Japanese government for lack of comprehensive care of all those affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. This is really inexcusable on the part of Japan and is somewhat shocking if it was not providing rigorous, consistent, comprehensive, and long-term testing, monitoring, and care for all those affected by the disaster.

Here on the United States west coast I am appalled at the lack of response by local, state, and the federal government. Right now there should be rigorous testing of for example the Alaskan wild salmon fish stock for radiation. There should be rigorous testing and publicly released data on what sorts of ongoing and routine monitoring of air, soil, and water are being done, how many monitoring stations there are, etc.

But we are living in a time of an information war where there is an explicit agenda to obfuscate information.

The Q1 Y-chromosomal haplogroup subclade and mosquito-infested swamps

This video is of historical linguist Edward Vajda who has been conducting extensive research on the Ket language and its possible link to the Na-Dene languages of various indigenous North American populations. If true, it would be the oldest known link between two languages and the first link between North American and Eurasian langauges.

But even more fascinating, as evidenced by this video, is the research on the Ket people, a vanishing tribe whose survival is described as being almost a “fluke”.

Vajda also adduced a fair amount of non-linguistic evidence, including analyses of Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA haplogroups, which are passed unchanged down the male and female lines, respectively, except for mutations. His most compelling DNA evidence is the Q1 Y-chromosomal haplogroup subclade, which he notes arose c. 15,000 years ago and is found in nearly all Native Americans and nearly all of the Yeniseian Ket people (90%), but almost nowhere else in Eurasia except for the Selkup people (65%), who have intermarried with the Ket people for centuries. Using this and other evidence, he proposes a Proto-Dené-Yeniseian homeland located in eastern Siberia around the Amur and Aldan Rivers. These people would have been hunter-gatherers — as are the modern Yeniseians, but unlike nearly all other Siberian groups (except for some Paleosiberian peoples located around the Pacific Rim of far eastern Siberia, who appear genetically unrelated to the Yeniseians). Eventually all descendants in Eurasia were eliminated by the spread of reindeer-breeding pastoralist peoples (e.g. the speakers of Altaic languages) except for the modern Yeniseians, who were able to survive in swampy refuges far to the west along the Yenisei River because it is too mosquito-infested for reindeer to survive easily. Contrarily, the caribou (the North American equivalent of the reindeer) was never domesticated, and thus the modern Na-Dené people were not similarly threatened.[6]

from the Wikipedia article “Dené–Yeniseian languages”; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Den%C3%A9%E2%80%93Yeniseian_languages

Issue with Tab Mix Plus and latest Firefox update

WHAT: The latest update to the Mozilla Firefox browser, version 17, is not compatible with the latest release of the Tab Mix Plus addon. Tab Mix Plus is an essential addon which I cannot live without.

HOW: There is a solution to the problem: Install the development version of Tab Mix Plus. Firefox will ask if its ok to install it and you can just say yes.

WHY: Tab Mix Plus adds a range of tab functionality to Firefox which, for people like me who tend to have as many as 50 tabs open continuously, is essential. It allows the tab bar to extend into multiple rows. It allows the current tab to be highlighted in your color of choice, which is extremely useful when there are 50 open. It allows the close tab button to be displayed on only the current tab thus saving precious screen real estate on the tab bar. It also allows for fine-grained control over the ordering of tabs when they are opened or closed.

WHERE: Ok, I’ve kind of exhausted the interrogatory-word meme thing here, but one thing I will say is that addons are what make Firefox extremely cool. The browser becomes what you want it to become, or not become. I will have to make a post soon of my list of favorite Firefox addons as I did with Chrome not too long ago. By the way, I still use Firefox as my primary browser. Chrome is nice and I appreciate it however Firefox is still far ahead of it in terms of features and configurability.

Now Firefox is coming out with its own OS for mobile devices and I’m very excited about this.

PHILOSOPHY: I’ve always sort of hoped that there would come along some kind of competitor to Linux which is developed by an industry/academic consortium which aims to be a kind of open, standard OS platform. I would like to see all the major hardware, software, and peripheral vendors agree to support one open OS platform which aims to make their life easy and be free and open.

I frankly don’t care about binary blobs required to drive peripheral devices if that is what makes the peripheral manufacturs happy. I do care that the OS platform be open, stable, and convenient for all parties to work with so that it becomes a lasting standard and can supplant all other platforms!

I don’t feel that Android will ever be that platform, although I appreciate Android and am happy that it is out there. It is far better than iOS without question in terms of openness and features.

New record for oldest galaxy ever observed

A new record has been set for the oldest galaxy ever observed by humans. “MACS0647-JD” was viewed by using the gravitational lensing effect of a massive galaxy cluster. It dates to only 420 million years after the Big Bang. At that time the Universe was inconceivably smaller than it is today. The size of the galaxy is only 600 light-years wide. Compare that to our Milky Way which is 150,000 light years wide.

Just thinking about this is trippy. Its difficult to even think what it means to see the light emissions of something so far away that that it took light 13.3 billion years to reach us. It kind of bends the concepts of what we think of as comprising reality and time. It makes me wonder what exactly are we seeing? The “object” the light from which is now visible to us after 13.3 billion years – is it actually real? Does observing energy emitting from something make it real? Or is there some other sense of real perhaps as that object exists, or fails to exist, now? The stars in that galaxy have all burned out by now, but what is the real time? The time we observe? Or the time of the “now” that we can never know, separated as we are by the gulf of 13.3 billion lightyears?

I wonder about something else also: where does all the light in the Universe go? Is it not considered a law that all matter and energy is conserved? But does not light carry energy away? But can anything be further than the edge of the Universe?

If it is the destiny of the Universe to just keep expanding forever, then it seems like an anomaly that it even could have existed in the first place. What was responsible for it to be in the first place? For the Big Bang? And, whatever it is, what has happened to it?

Here’s another thing I have been thinking of: One learns about enlightenment. Buddha spoke of “nibbana” which translates as extinguishment. But enlightenment is not the same as non-existence, right? But if it is not non-existence, then what is it?

We tend to conceive of enlightenment as being an end-point, but maybe this is wrong? Is it just a disposition, a way that is arrived at which self-perpetuates? If it is a self-perpetuating form of self-destining being then it makes me wonder what other types of existence there are. What sorts of planes could exist where enlightened existence could take place?

But we are told that it is not something we can learn mentally. It is something we must actualize. One doesn’t learn to play violin by studing it conceptually. One learns by holding it, by touching it, by connecting one’s body, mind, and soul with it. Then the music comes from within and the violin is only an instrument through which the music is expressed.

How to use non-Apple devices with an Apple dock

One thing that is truly sickening about Apple is that they will not allow their dock to be used by other device manufacturers. Many appliances feature iPad or iPhone docks – for example things like clock radios or car stereos – where one can connect their iPhone and play music.

Obviously there should be an industry-standard dock. Just as sickening is that many manufacturers have just fallen in line and choose to put Apple docks on their appliances. Seems like they just want to make money and not really think about the long-term consequences of what they are doing, or whehter it is of ultimate benefit to consumers.

Anyhow, there now exists an option for using non-Apple MP3 players, phones, tablets, and other devices with appliances which have iPhone/iPod docks. The option consists of a Bluetooth communications receiver which plugs into the iPod/iPhone dock and allows any device to transmit audio to it.

Here are a few:

auris is the simplest, most elegant and compact Bluetooth® based music receiver that’s been intuitively designed to enable you to wirelessly play, listen and control all your favorite music from your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Windows phone or any Bluetooth® enabled device through your music dock.”

8WARE MusicTooth Wireless Music Adapter for iPhone/iPod & Smartphone Docking Speaker

Bluewave Bluetooth Audio Receiver Use any iPhone speaker dock with your non-iPhone! Compatible with Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone
Also with iPad and iPod Touch!

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