Professor Wants to Raise His Own Clone

In a draft of his upcoming book Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, the economist Bryan Caplan mentions that he'd like to clone and raise himself: I confess that I take anti-cloning arguments personally. Not only do they insult the identical twin sons I already have; they insult a son I hope I live to meet. Yes, I wish to clone myself and raise the baby as my son. Seriously. I want to experience the sublime bond I'm sure we'd share. I'm confident that he'd be delighted, too, because I would love ... (read more)

How Johannes Kepler Discovered Sex

San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Mark Fiore won the Pulitzer Prize yesterday for his animated political cartoons. His work appears exclusively online, so it's the first time a non-print cartoonist has won the Pulitzer in its history. One of his submitted cartoons was Science-Gate, which mocks the scandal over the ClimateGate emails in the style of an overheated political ad. All of the quotes scribbled by the scientists in this cartoon are real, including a jaw-dropping one by the 16th ... (read more)

Scientists Give Flies False Memories

A story in the Oct. 16 issue of the Cell scientific journal sounds like a premise for a science fiction writer. Scientists at the University of Oxford have figured out how to implant false memories in the brains of flies: "Flies have the ability to learn, but the circuits that instruct memory formation were unknown," said Gero Miesenböck of the University of Oxford. "We were able to pin the essential component down to 12 cells. It's really remarkable resolution." Those dozen cells are ... (read more)

Shelley Batts' Weird Science

I recently began reading Retrospectacle, a blog by neuroscience postgraduate student Shelley Batts that digs up interesting and odd science stories like a recent item about grey parrots, whose 100-year lifespan in captivity raises an unusual dilemma for pet owners: Should you raise a pet that's going to outlive you? Other birds and even other species of parrots don't live near as long as African Greys. Why might this be? According to a study published in the journal Aging in 1999, the rate of ... (read more)