Tuesday, June 14, 2005

biology gone awry

Okay, so as a biology nerd, I sometimes think about things differently, so here's a random thought I had the other day while running:

The principle of mate selection in terms of evolutionary biology states that an individual animal will likely mate with someone whose genetic characteristics will combine with the original animal's characteristics to produce offspring with the highest level of fitness. Thinking about this in human terms, I started to wonder about the flip side of that equation: the people out there that are just so screwed up that nature wants their genes to be purged from the pool. Do they select mates who are equally screwed up such that their genes will combine to self-destruct and remove or at least reduce their influence in the gene pool? Think about that the next time you find yourself attracted to someone...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


So I'm not really a biblical scholar or anything, but I recall something about plagues such as frogs, locusts, and hail while the Jews were in Egypt. I don't however, remember anything about body parts...

FLORAL PARK, New York (AP) -- The body of an apparent stowaway was ripped in half during flight Tuesday and his leg crashed into a suburban neighborhood, where a homeowner found the severed limb in the middle of her lawn, authorities said.

Pam Hearne heard "a loud crash" and later was stunned to see a foot clad in an Adidas sneaker and a sock in her yard, said Officer Thomas Blanchard. The leg, with hip and spine attached, dented the shingled roof of her garage before bouncing into the lawn.

Police suspect the remains are from a stowaway who may have been crushed as the South African Airways jet lowered its landing gear on its approach to Kennedy Airport.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said the pilot of flight 203 would have probably started lowering the plane's landing gear in the sky over the home in Floral Park, about 5 miles from the airport.

Peters said a Customs agent that met the flight at the airport found another leg hanging from the wheel well.

The airline said in a statement that the flight landed with "no impact" on the passengers and crew and it was working closely with authorities to investigate how someone may have stowed away.

The flight originated in Johannesburg, and made one stop in Senegal. Authorities had not identified the remains, which were hauled away from Hearne's yard in a plastic bag.

Hearne, a special education teacher, said that when she first saw the leg in the grass, "it didn't look real."

"But I am very glad that I live where I do," she said, "so I don't have to run for my life like this man probably was doing."

There have been cases of stowaways being crushed by the mechanism in aircraft wheel wells and perishing from the extreme cold at high altitude

Monday, June 06, 2005


Okay, does this seem dumb to anyone else?

I get an e-mail from my credit card company (a legitimate e-mail, not a scam), reminding me to make sure the e-mail address they have for me is current. They contact me via e-mail because they think my E-MAIL address may be out of date? Good thinking, guys.