The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Thesh » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:16 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:(Jurassic Park was females only. But we already know that female lizards can create males through parthogenesis, so someone definitely failed their biology...)


Lizards? In Jurassic Park?
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby New User » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:34 pm UTC

It's been a long time since I've read it, but I recall that the book says that the scientists threw in some reptile and amphibian DNA to fill in the blank spots they encountered from incomplete dinosaur DNA samples. Much later in the book, they said that maybe it was the reptile or amphibian DNA that gave the dinosaurs the capability to change sex and make offspring. Maybe. As if they had no idea what the DNA did, and they just threw some AGCT in there at random to fill in those blanks, and hoped for the best. Although, as I recall, it wasn't the geneticists who hypothesized that it was the reptile or amphibian DNA that was the cause of the sex changing, it was laypeople who very well could have had no idea how DNA works. Still, I read this as if the author was explaining this possibility to the reader, so in that context it doesn't matter which character makes the hypothesis. To put it another way, my interpretation is that the author thought that geneticists could just copy and paste a little reptile or amphibian DNA here and there to splice together a dinosaur DNA molecule, with no reference of what the complete molecule should look like, and the consequence could be that the dinosaurs might be able to change their sex, as some amphibians are known to do.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby jewish_scientist » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:06 pm UTC

In the movie, it is said that the DNA from the mosquito was not enough to make the clones, so they combined it with DNA from modern lizards. When the protagonist, a paleontologist, finds eggshells in the jungle, he spectates that the dinosaurs 'inherited' the ability to change sex from certain modern lizards. Personally, I would have just written it so that there was no DNA combining and the protagonists realizing that modern lizard's ability to change their sex was inherited from their dinosaur ancestors. It is much more scientifically accurate and reinforces the message that unexpected variables can/ will lead the failure of hubristic human endeavors.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Thesh » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:40 pm UTC

The movie was frogs, IIRC there were no lizards.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUaFYzFFbBU
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby ucim » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:45 pm UTC

duodecimus wrote:Through the use of a technique known as CRISPR-cas9 it is now feasible to change an organism's genome in such a way that it is transmitted to its offspring at a rate of 100%.
So... how (soon) does this get weaponized? What's our defense against a hostile power (say) creating a plague of super-locusts?

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby elasto » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:58 pm UTC

ucim wrote:So... how (soon) does this get weaponized? What's our defense against a hostile power (say) creating a plague of super-locusts?

Probably not much, but then again there's nothing stopping them creating dangerous pathogens right now. Seems a bit cartoon supervillainy to go to the effort of genetically engineering an insect rather than a germ.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby sardia » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:29 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
ucim wrote:So... how (soon) does this get weaponized? What's our defense against a hostile power (say) creating a plague of super-locusts?

Probably not much, but then again there's nothing stopping them creating dangerous pathogens right now. Seems a bit cartoon supervillainy to go to the effort of genetically engineering an insect rather than a germ.

You mean like when the government accidentally created a super virus? Or the Russians?
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scien ... 77088.html
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/arch ... ab/371202/

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:38 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:When the protagonist, a paleontologist, finds eggshells in the jungle, he spectates that the dinosaurs 'inherited' the ability to change sex from certain modern lizards. Personally, I would have just written it so that there was no DNA combining and the protagonists realizing that modern lizard's ability to change their sex was inherited from their dinosaur ancestors. It is much more scientifically accurate and reinforces the message that unexpected variables can/ will lead the failure of hubristic human endeavors.

It's not "inheriting the ability to change sex, though. Humans/mammals (with outlying exceptions, such as the platypus) have female X-eggs fertilise with X-sperm for XX-females or Y-sperm for XY-males, so parthenogenisis in females has no source of Y in the XX female cells.

But birds, lizards, amphibians (the movie suggested frog DNA was used to patch the dino DNA *edit: as proven, by the ninja above!*, though that could easily have been in-universe Lies-To-Children) and presumably the dinosaurs themselves (speculation, but they are all around the same broad branch of the Tree Of Life) tend to use W and Z chromosomes, WZ for female and ZZ for male. A female who parthenogenisisises in the absence of male sperm (I'd need to check, but I think they must be all Zs) triggers her W-eggs to become WWs (viable for male offspring) and her Z-eggs to be ZZs (not viable), producing all-male offspring who can later incestiously breed 'properly' with her to let her Z her Ws, as well as further Z her Zs, for a furtherance of her dynasty. At least until a more unrelated male can arrive and get classically jiggy with his more unrelated gene package (phwoar!).

It is fish that most famously actually transgenderise (certain species, and one or the other direction, for evolved reasons of filling gender gaps in that species's 'social development', not sure if lettered-chromosomes feature at all, more epigenetics and gene expression, I think), although apparently chickens delay the development of one ovary and can later unpause the development to create an andogeny (not full roosterisation). Temperature (edit: of the developing shell-egg, that is) can also affect amphibian/reptile egg expression of gender. So if they had to go with gender-bending dinosaurs, rather than virgin mothers, they should perhaps have gone for inappropriate temperature control of their lab 'nests' or blame it on the chicken mechanism.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby MartianInvader » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:50 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:Personally, I would have just written it so that there was no DNA combining and the protagonists realizing that modern lizard's ability to change their sex was inherited from their dinosaur ancestors. It is much more scientifically accurate and reinforces the message that unexpected variables can/ will lead the failure of hubristic human endeavors.

Modern lizards don't have dinosaur ancestors - they did not decent from dinosaurs. Humans are closer to dinosaurs than modern lizards.
Let's have a fervent argument, mostly over semantics, where we all claim the burden of proof is on the other side!

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Liri » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:32 pm UTC

MartianInvader wrote:
jewish_scientist wrote:Personally, I would have just written it so that there was no DNA combining and the protagonists realizing that modern lizard's ability to change their sex was inherited from their dinosaur ancestors. It is much more scientifically accurate and reinforces the message that unexpected variables can/ will lead the failure of hubristic human endeavors.

Modern lizards don't have dinosaur ancestors - they did not decent from dinosaurs. Humans are closer to dinosaurs than modern lizards.

I'm glad you pointed out the first part. The second, however, I'm fairly certain isn't the case. Archosauria, which includes crocodilians, pterosaurs, and dinosaurs (incl. avian dinosaurs, obviously) falls within Reptilia, so humans are equally related to birds and lizards (as current phylogeny holds it).

Turtles, meanwhile... no one knows what the fuck turtles are.
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:40 pm UTC

Not sure about that.

(First visual reference I found…)
Spoiler:
Image
Ninjaed!


But I do know that the theory is that XY developed from two identical (i.e. XXish) autosomes while the developing warm-bloodedness of our proto-mammalian ancestors started causing problems with the previous temperature-sensitive gender development.

But I may have used. "lizards", above, in a "humanoid, not necessarily hominid" kind of sense; i.e. far too broadly to be left unpedanted, when I meant the reptile/dinosaur/avian branch (which may have developed WZ in response to their partial warm-bloodednesses) rather than the true-lizards. But snakes are ZZ and WZ bosons sex-chromosomes, too, IIRC, so… colour me confused! I probably need to read back up on this subject, actually. ;)

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:44 pm UTC

Liri wrote:Turtles, meanwhile... no one knows what the fuck turtles are.

They're all the way down!

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby duodecimus » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:08 am UTC

ucim wrote:
duodecimus wrote:Through the use of a technique known as CRISPR-cas9 it is now feasible to change an organism's genome in such a way that it is transmitted to its offspring at a rate of 100%.
So... how (soon) does this get weaponized? What's our defense against a hostile power (say) creating a plague of super-locusts?

Jose

Mm, I don't see this as a weapon technology.

Like, say someone creates a blackwidow-mosquito that breeds true with mosquitoes. It bites you and you get a solid dose of venom.

This mosquito type would eventually replace all mosquitoes of the same base species, which is a problem because mosquitoes have a rather large range. It's pretty hard not to shoot yourself in the foot, similar to heavy application of nuclear weapons.

The real issue with venomous mosquitoes is that things eat them, and may not notice they are venomous. A change like this is liable to kill off every creature that preys on them and every creature they prey on, drastically destabilizing the global ecosystem.

I worry less about what governments will do with this, and more about what some smuck with too much free time might. It's real easy to build a CRISPR lab; you'd spend less on setting one up than you would on getting a bachelor's degree in the states.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby ObsessoMom » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:28 am UTC

Unlike poison, venom generally doesn't harm organisms if ingested. It has to be injected to do harm.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby ucim » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:25 am UTC

duodecimus wrote:...mosquitoes have a rather large range...
So you pick something that has a more limited range. I'm not enough of an evil scientist to know what would work best, but there are certainly more local insects that could (say) infect food animals. Or simply eat food. Locusts for example. It could be done surreptitiously and mildly, just enough to affect the balance of imports and exports. Sure, affecting the ecosystem is potentially global, but "it's not proven" and "it's just a hoax" and "that's what they want you to believe". Besides, "we know better and can control it" and "it won't happen to us".

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby morriswalters » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:19 pm UTC

The technology doesn't have to be weaponized to be harmful. All it need do is cause an outcome that we can't predict. And you can just add it to the pantheon of things that could kill off the human race. Climate is my current odds on favorite.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:51 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The movie was frogs, IIRC there were no lizards.

Frogs are not lizards?

ucim wrote:So... how (soon) does this get weaponized?

I comic book I really did not like actually explains why we do not have to worry about biological warfare as much as people do. It said something along the lines of "The reason biological warfare has never been a used a lot is 'cause your own army is **** as soon as the wind changes directions."

For example, releasing a pesticide resistant breed of locust to decimate enemy food supplies only works to your favor as long as the swarm does not move on to your own fields once the enemy's are stripped bare. Even if you have a counter-measure, like one special pesticide that is effective against the new breed, you would have to spend a lot of resources manufacturing and distributing it and pray that the locust do not develop an immunity to it over time.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:01 pm UTC

Decimating crops isn't quite so bad. It could be far worse!

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby New User » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:25 pm UTC

I once heard a Crichton-esque science fiction story about a weaponized virus that was made to specifically target humans who had certain genes. If it's possible, it could become one hell of a genocide tool.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:45 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:Decimating crops isn't quite so bad. It could be far worse!

Locust was the example used, so it is what I spoke of. If you want to change it to something else, then the principle still holds.

New User wrote:I once heard a Crichton-esque science fiction story about a weaponized virus that was made to specifically target humans who had certain genes. If it's possible, it could become one hell of a genocide tool.

Considering all humans are at least 99% genetically identical, I am not to worried.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:50 pm UTC

New User wrote:I once heard a Crichton-esque science fiction story about a weaponized virus that was made to specifically target humans who had certain genes. If it's possible, it could become one hell of a genocide tool.


There was a book series I used to read. Years best sci-fi. Or was it one of the Orson Scott Card books? Anyway. There was one story, pre-911, about a Muslim family that has inscribed the Koran into their junk DNA, so that it would literally be a part of them. Problem was, this meant that they literally had Muslim DNA, which meant that they could be targeted...

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby orthogon » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:57 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:I comic book I really did not like actually explains why we do not have to worry about biological warfare as much as people do. It said something along the lines of "The reason biological warfare has never been a used a lot is 'cause your own army is **** as soon as the wind changes directions."

Pinker's The better angels of our nature makes a similar point. In his view, of the three so-called "weapons of mass destruction", only nuclear weapons are really worthy of the name. I'd have to read it again to remind myself of his exact argument.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:16 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:Decimating crops isn't quite so bad. It could be far worse!

Locust was the example used, so it is what I spoke of. If you want to change it to something else, then the principle still holds.
If it leaves 90% of whatever untouched, my tangential point still stands... :P

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:18 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
jewish_scientist wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:Decimating crops isn't quite so bad. It could be far worse!

Locust was the example used, so it is what I spoke of. If you want to change it to something else, then the principle still holds.
If it leaves 90% of whatever untouched, my tangential point still stands... :P

I am confused by what you mean. Do you just want to drop it and move on?

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Mutex » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:20 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:
jewish_scientist wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:Decimating crops isn't quite so bad. It could be far worse!

Locust was the example used, so it is what I spoke of. If you want to change it to something else, then the principle still holds.
If it leaves 90% of whatever untouched, my tangential point still stands... :P

I am confused by what you mean. Do you just want to drop it and move on?

"Decimated" strictly means "destroy / kill 10%".

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Thesh » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:27 pm UTC

Strictly? Only in the archaic sense of the word!
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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:33 pm UTC

jewish_scientist wrote:I am confused by what you mean. Do you just want to drop it and move on?
I'll explain it, then move on. That way we all feel bad!

Decimation is (traditionally) the culling of 10%. Mainly of disobedient Roman Legionaries. That leaves 90%(ish, officers could be executed/removed entirely) of the remaining unit, still 'useful' but having learnt that their past failure leads to a significant chance of death. And, worse, death by the hands of the nine survivors in their group who just had to kill a random colleague.

In the modern day usage of the word, it has become either "90% destroyed" (ten percent remains) or essentially "annihilated" (it sounds a lot like "devastated"). Sometimes I go out of my way to point out that this bastardisation of the word has occurred, and most of the time it gets understood for what it is and maybe devolves into a brief descriptive vs. prescriptive discussion, which is basically just personal opinion atop of how one might have long used language (with rebellion possible in either direction).

So, now you know. Don't let it annoy you too much. I'm sure your life will progress without much ennui on this issue.

(Ah, ninjaed, I see.)

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:42 pm UTC

Although I knew that Romans killed a random 10% of any unit that fleed from battle, I did not know that this is the origin of that word. Thank you for one more tool I can add to my Wise-Guy's Toolbelt.

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Re: The Thread To Remind Me We're Living In The Future

Postby eran_rathan » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:11 pm UTC

New User wrote:I once heard a Crichton-esque science fiction story about a weaponized virus that was made to specifically target humans who had certain genes. If it's possible, it could become one hell of a genocide tool.


Similar to "Sixth Column" by Heinlien?
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