Tag Archives: open thread

Open thread: parthenogenesis in Komodo dragons

A baby Komodo dragon born by parthenogenesis, photographed at Chester Zoo (CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia user Neil)

A baby Komodo dragon born by parthenogenesis, photographed at Chester Zoo (CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia user Neil)

What the hell. It’s geeky. And this is a fairly new (published 2006) finding about komodo dragons. To quote from Wikipedia:

On December 20, 2006, it was reported that Flora, a captive Komodo dragon living in the Chester Zoo in England, was the second known Komodo dragon to have laid unfertilized eggs: she laid 11 eggs, and 7 of them hatched, all of them male. Scientists at Liverpool University in England performed genetic tests on three eggs that collapsed after being moved to an incubator, and verified that Flora had never been in physical contact with a male dragon. After Flora’s eggs’ condition had been discovered, testing showed that [London Zoo dragon] Sungai’s eggs were also produced without outside fertilization…

Komodo dragons have the ZW chromosomal sex-determination system, as opposed to the mammalian XY system. Male progeny prove that Flora’s unfertilized eggs were haploid (n) and doubled their chromosomes later to become diploid (2n) (by being fertilized by a polar body, or by chromosome duplication without cell division), rather than by her laying diploid eggs by one of the meiosis reduction-divisions in her ovaries failing. When a female Komodo dragon (with ZW sex chromosomes) reproduces in this manner, she provides her progeny with only one chromosome from each of her pairs of chromosomes, including only one of her two sex chromosomes. This single set of chromosomes is duplicated in the egg, which develops parthenogenetically. Eggs receiving a Z chromosome become ZZ (male); those receiving a W chromosome become WW and fail to develop.

The Nature article is Phillip C. Watts et al (2006) Parthenogenesis in Komodo dragons, Nature 444, 1021–1022 (21 December 2006), doi:10.1038/4441021a.

This is an open thread, for a discussion of biology geeking, great nerdy events and, of course, anything else you want to discuss!

The Overdue Open Thread: Pi Day, March 14.

Sorry folks, we forgot to put up a new open thread so here’s one now.

Things I found out today: Monday week is Pi Day. And apparently some people like to make a fuss over it. For example. below is a screenshot of some rather awesome Pi themed shoes on the Zazzle store. After a quick browse, these ones are my fave.

A scuff style sand shoe in blue and grey. The toe of the shoe is mostly grey and has "Pi" in big letters. The sides are blue and have a large portion of the pi value.

A scuff style sand shoe in blue and grey. The toe of the shoe is mostly grey and has "Pi" in big letters. The sides are blue and have a large portion of the pi value.

As the title of the post suggest, this is an open thread. Chatter about shoes, Pi, pie, Pi pie, or anything else that abides by our comment policy!

Open thread: an extremely important question

Submitted to Ask a Geek Feminist, I think this question deserves your silliest answers:

What are [Geek Feminism blog]’s thoughts on morphing males into females via using the XX chromosome and simulating as sperm, injecting it to eggs to create better humans (especially those that are into life extension-ism?)

Source: http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/pellissier20110202

Science, it is coming for your Y chromosones, folks.

Inside the Atomium 3
Image description: a tall, steep set of stairs painted red leads up a large closed metal tunnel illuminated in unnatural lighting colours. Image by O Palsson.

This is also an open thread, for unicorns, sparkles, better humans, discussion of older posts, and anything else that takes your fancy. Questions for ask a geek feminist are still open.

Open thread: geek clothes, current and rejected

Last year, Brianna Laugher did a visual review of her geek shirts, those currently in active use and those consigned to the crinkle-heap.

Here are her current faves, there are notes on the Flickr page:

Geek t-shirts I still know & love
Image description: nine tshirts folded flat and arranged in a square. (Image by Brianna Laugher, CC BY-SA).

Of these, she writes:

Only 3 (maybe 4) of these are men’s cut. In a giant not-coincidence, they are also the shirts I wear while exercising or bumming around the house, as opposed to when I go out.

Women geeks, including fat women geeks, like nice t-shirts too!

See also the retired shirts, of which fewer have good cuts for her.

Question: which geeky events, groups or organisations have produced clothing you are still wearing, if any?

This post is also an open thread for discussion of any topic of interest, including older posts.

Open thread: 2010, new and improved

Our last open thread of the year!

Eternal clock

Image description: an analogue clock face, distorted so that instead of being circular, it spirals into the centre of the picture, with the numbers repeating. Image by Robbert van der Steeg, Creative Commons BY-SA.

A question for you: what would have improved your geek life in 2010? What would be the one change that would have improved your geek year?

This is an open thread, thus, you are also welcome to discuss other topics, including but not limited to older posts.

Open Thread: Don’t ever wear artistic jewelry…

Have any of you noticed the amount of fun geeky jewelery around at the moment? I for one have pink laptop earrings which I got from Claire’s in the US last month, HTML head tag earrings from Etsy, and today I picked up a pacman and ghost necklace pair from Diva in Australia.

Oh. And then there is my small army of robot necklaces.

Flickr / elkbuntu / creative commons attribution 2.o

Robots 1 “Lanky”, 3 “Pinky” and 4 “Brain” are from Diva in Australia. Robot 2 “Steamy” was from Bling in New Zealand last week. The 2, 3 and 4 should still be available, and in fact today I saw a ‘Best Friends’ version of Pinky, where he’s with an inversed black-with-pink-eyes friend.

I’m sure Colette would forgive me for this collection.

As this is an Open Thread, you’re welcome to post links to things you’ve found (…like moar robots for me?) and discuss issues other than geeky jewelry. It’s up to you!

Open thread: penguins descending a hill

Even if you are the geek who geeks Linux the least, I think you can fully appreciate that penguins descending a hill are awesome:

Six penguins are seen from slightly below, walking down a groove in an icy slope
see more Daily Squee

Takes me back to my youth, playing Tux Racer. For nostalgic folk, or for people who have never yet controlled a penguin sliding down ice on its round belly while cheesy music plays, the version of the Tux Racer game that seems to be still actively developed is Extreme Tux Racer, versions available for Linux, MacOS and Windows. What other freely available games do you play in nostalgic moments?

If you have something to talk about other than penguins changing altitude, or game nostalgia, feel free. This is an open thread for discussion of anything of interest, including older posts, winter plans, summer days, and geek feminist rallying.

Open thread: this unicorn is srs bizns. Chase this unicorn at your own peril.

Sean Bonner has realised a very important dream:

A purple My Little Pony figurine with a fuchsia mane. A soldering iron emerges from its forehead, pointing just to the right of the camera.

IMG_0858.JPG by CRASHspace on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

(via Leigh via Adafruit via BoingBoing)

What else have unicorns been up to? Where else have unicorns been a critical technological tool?

This is an open thread, for discussion of older posts, news, interesting tidbits and anything else that takes your fancy.

Open thread: the geek in the mirror

Note from Mary: this was submitted for Wednesday Geek Woman. I want to keep the series to specific geek women, but I thought I’d use this for an open thread:

This is a guest post by Katie. Katie is a mostly a girl geek, photographer, bookworm, knitter, bellringer and activist. She lives and loves in London, England.

Her favourite geek woman is the “unknown” geek woman, the one out there who is living proof that being a geek is awesome, and that women are geeks too, even if she’s only known to her friends and family. This geek woman likes to learn, share and love, and she might not be a programmer or an intellectual, but she knows that you don’t have to be a typical nerd to be passionate about what you do, to be a geek. Katie likes to sing about the unsung heroines and heroes.

Yes, that might mean that you, the one reading this post right now, is her favourite geek woman :)

Creative Commons License
This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

This is an open thread, for your passions, your thoughts, and your songs. And anything else that strikes your fancy.

Open Thread: Music to $action by

A friend of mine released some songs with the following note:

Originally conceived for release on 3″ CD, this four-track EP was inspired by the many difficulties encountered over the years by women who are writers and writers who are women. It encompasses glitchy droning ambience, mellow downtempo beats, aggressive drum’n’bass, and distorted rhythmic dance.

I’ve found I really like track two while I’m actually writing:

Ess EP by We v2 Collective

I listen to very different music when I write English (or French) than when I write code, though. For writing human language, it’s all about the classical with some jazz or wordless ambient electronica thrown in to mix it up. Or really, anything wordless can do in a pinch, but I find it hard to write and listen at the same time. And it’s much worse if I’m listening to a different language from the one I’m writing (an issue given that I radio-flip a lot and we’ve got a decent number of non-English stations here). But for coding, it’s completely different: there, it’s all about the uptempo (fast) stuff, and words are fine. As a teenager I once scandalized my parents and my friends by coding away happily to ABBA for hours, and I can listen to stuff while coding that I find to monotonous if my brain’s not engaged elsewhere.

So… what’s your music of choice for your geeky (and non-geeky) activities. Do you have any pattern?

And, as you likely guessed, this is an open thread, so feel free to talk about anything else that’s on your mind and needs sharing!