**FourDk hunts for The Stolen Airship!
**Pre-Code gets Illicit!
**TurbanDecay discusses Popeye and Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp!
**SoftFilm drops some facts about Daisy Joe and Chinese in Hollywood!
**3 Guys 1 Movie plays some games in the Carnival of Souls!
**The Cultural Gutter discusses dreams and Adventure Time!
**BluePrint Review meets The Girl From Rio!
**the motion pictures races against Hot Rods to Hell!
**Xsmarkthespot discuss retronerds and geek culture!
**Stephen Chow is rumored to star in a sequel to the latest Journey to the West film. Of course, he was rumored to start in the last one that he directed, and he doesn’t show up in it. There will also be more horror elements, and as the first one is sort of 50-50 horror-comedy, the new one might be scare-inducing. I’ll still watch…
**There will be a GI Joe 3. No word on how long this will get randomly delayed mere weeks before it’s set to open.
**The Biker Warrior Babe vs. The Zombie Babies From Hell made enough off IndieGoGo to get distribution online.
**If you like weird movie titles like that, remember there is also a Steampunk Samurai Biker Chick that filmed last year!
**The world needs more programs where a heroic white guy saves Asia, and we’re getting that again thanks to a remake of the Shogun tv miniseries (based on the novel by James Clavell). If heroic white guys saving the day aren’t your thing, you can also watch a heroic black football player get away with murder with an OJ Simpson miniseries. What company is giving us these gems? Fox, of course!
**Christina Applegate is rumored to be up for the role of Rusty Griswold’s wife in the new generation of National Lampoon’s Vacation films. Ed Helms is already cast as the new Rusty, who will be the one taking his family on vacation. And if you are wondering if Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo will appear, they are in talks now!
**Sex.Violence.FamilyValues is a 47 minute Singaporean flick banned in Singapore (until some scenes were deleted), but it just scored a US distribution. I’m not keen on paying to see such a short movie, though the fact it was banned/censored makes it more appealing. Though I’ll still wait for it on video.
**The Pete’s Dragon remake that has been rumored for ages has hit the point where they hired someone to make a script. David Lowery is the lucky ducky, and this Pete’s Dragon will ignore most of the story except the “core” and not be a musical. Will Disney drop the abused kid creating an “imaginary” dragon guardian angle and make this just a randomly dumb film? Or will they keep all that and make it all gritty? Considering Pete’s Dragon is the first film I remember seeing at a drive-in theater, it holds a special place in my heart. Which means I’ll burn down Disneyland if they fuck it up!!!
**Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs character from the Fast and Furious films will be getting his own spinoff movie. No further details at this time.
**But if you would rather give money to a film about a musical puppet fairy tale, that is also a choice thanks to The Princess Knight:
**Here is a kick butt article about things in the Peruvian rain forest, including spiders that make huge decoy spiders, macaws licking clay, very hairy caterpillars, and a moth that uses a basket as a cocoon.
Until next time, remember to vote early and vote often!
Categories: Biology, Movie News, Science Tags: Christina Applegate, David Lowery, Ed Helms, Jang Ja Yeon, Korea, Norigae, OJ Simpson, Orc Wars, Pete's Dragon, Remakes are stupid, Sex.Violence.FamilyValues, Shogun, Singapore, Steampunk Samurai Biker Chick, The Biker Warrior Babe vs. The Zombie Babies From Hell, The Princess Knight, Vacation
In search of suffocating sea squirt
By MARIAN GAIL BROWN
Armed with sonar maps, cameras and a remote-controlled vehicle that looked ready for lunar exploration, University of Connecticut scientists plumbed the bottom of Long Island Sound on Tuesday for a slimy quarry.
The sea squirt, a blob-shaped animal with exponential reproductive powers, threatens to snuff out young lobsters and other shellfish.
Like the zebra mussel, which bonds to boats and can clog pipes at sewage-treatment plants, the sea squirt is an invasive species that UConn researchers believe hitched a ride on an ocean-faring vessel from Asia and dropped into the Sound. There are about 3,000 known species of sea squirts. The one drawing attention here is known as didemnum.
It looks like a mass of rubbery goo and can attach to anything from marina pilings to ship hulls to the grainy, sandy bottom of the Sound.
“This thing has the potential for causing significant economic impact when it attaches to the floor of the Sound, where it blankets and suffocates shellfish and lobsters,” said Ivar Babb, director of UConn’s Undersea Research Center at Avery Point in Groton. “They have no known predators. Their surfaces have a pH level of 2, which makes them quite acidic. Nothing grows on it.”
Sea squirts, depending on the species, range in color from a creamy translucent pearl to olive or tan. In Japan, there are some red species.
They reproduce quickly and form large mats covering an ocean floor. And breaking them apart seems to do no good, Babb said, because, like sea stars that become damaged, they can grow replacement parts. In other words, splitting one sea squirt in half doesn’t kill it â€” it only creates two of the plankton-eating creatures.
“It looks like a blob. It doesn’t have that graceful look that a jellyfish has floating carefree on the surface of the water,” Babb said. “This thing is ugly. It has no socially redeeming virtues.”
What concerns UConn and the aquaculture industry is the sea squirt’s incredible ability to reproduce and form large ocean-floor mats that suffocate other sea life. The UConn researchers want to document how much of the Sound’s floor the sea squirt blankets.
“We are seeing come large colonies of these sea squirts,” said Robert Whitlach, a professor of marine sciences at UConn at Avery Point, on board the boat Tuesday afternoon. “Sometimes they are a few inches in diameter; other times they are a mat 4 to 5 square feet. What’s surprising is that we didn’t find them in the area that we originally expected to. We’re finding them where we are now, 1 miles south of Stonington, near the Rhode Island/Connecticut border.” If the scientists don’t find bigger quantities of the blob-like creature, they may use chlorine or vinegar to kill it. But first they’ll study what effect those substances might have on other marine life native to the Sound.
Sea squirt sightings are becoming more common in the United States, showing up in places as far flung as Puget Sound in Washington state to San Francisco and off Massachusetts and Maine.
Mosquitoes employ the same immune factors to fight off bacterial pathogens as they do to kill malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study identified several genes that encode proteins of the mosquito’s immune system.
All of the immune genes that were involved in limiting infection by the malaria parasites were also important for the resistance to bacterial infection. However, several immune genes that were essential for resistance to bacterial infection did not affect Plasmodium infection. According to the authors, the findings add to the understanding of mosquito immunity, and could contribute towards the development of malaria-control strategies based on blocking the parasite in the mosquito. The study is published in the June 8, 2006, edition of PloS Pathogens.
“Mosquitoes that transmit malaria can kill large portions of Plasmodium parasites, and some mosquito strains are totally resistant to Plasmodium. However, our observations suggest that mosquitoes have not evolved a highly-specific defense against malaria parasites. Instead, they employ factors of their antimicrobial defense system to combat the Plasmodium parasite,” said George Dimopoulos, Ph.D., senior author of the study and assistant professor with the Bloomberg School’s Malaria Research Institute. “The degree of mosquito susceptibility to Plasmodium, and thereby its capacity to transmit malaria, may therefore partly depend on the mosquito’s microbial exposure, which can differ greatly between different geographic sites. Potentially, we could boost the mosquito’s capacity to fight the malaria parasite by exposing it to certain microbes or compounds that resemble the microbe molecules responsible for immune activation.”
In this study, the investigators also analyzed the immune responses of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes to infection with different Plasmodium parasite species, one that causes malaria in humans and another that only infects rodents. The study revealed that mosquitoes mostly employ the same immune factors in defending against the two different Plasmodium species. Only a few immune genes were more important in the defense against either one of the two species.
“The mosquito’s immune system appears to employ a variety of antimicrobial defense factors (genes) against the malaria parasite, and can therefore significantly limit infection. The parasite, on the other hand, is capable of evading these defenses to a degree that allows its transmission by the mosquito. Now we have to figure out how to make the mosquito’s immune system more effective in killing malaria parasites at multiple stages that would render the development of evasive mechanisms impossible for the parasite,” said Dimopoulos.
If you thought piranhas were scary, be glad Megapiranha is no longer around.
Megapiranha was up to 3 feet long (1 meter) – a fish-beast four times as big as piranhas living today, studies of its jawbones indicate. It lived about 8 million to 10 million years ago and might have been quite comfortable stalking cartoon animals in an “Ice Age” movie.
Now a newly uncovered jawbone of a transition species ties all these teeth together. Named Megapiranha paranensis, this previously unknown fossil fish bridges the evolutionary gap between flesh-eating piranhas and their plant-eating cousins.
Here’s what’s known:
Present-day piranhas have a single row of triangular teeth, like the blade on a saw, explained the researchers. Pacu have two rows of square teeth, presumably for crushing fruits and seeds.
“In modern piranhas the teeth are arranged in a single file,” said Wasila Dahdul, a visiting scientist at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina. “But in the relatives of piranhas – which tend to be herbivorous fishes – the teeth are in two rows.”
The new fossil shows an intermediate pattern: teeth in a zig-zag row. This suggests that the two rows in pacu were compressed to form a single row in piranhas. “It almost looks like the teeth are migrating from the second row into the first row,” said John Lundberg, curator at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and a co-author of a study of the jawbone.
Thanks to the fools who rescue sea turtles and give them bionic limbs, I, Dr. Mobusu, am now using their technology to give bionic limbs to my giant mutant sea turtles spliced from Archelon clones stolen from the past. These titans of terror will soon be stalking the shipping lanes of select routes in the ocean that will maximize the potential for terror. You have all been warned! MuHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA!!!!
Allison, a rescued green sea turtle who has only one flipper, swims with the aid of a fin attached with neoprene at the Sea Turtle, Inc., in South Padre Island, Texas, Wednesday, April 8, 2009. Without the fin, developed at the turtle rescue facility, Allison can only swim in circles. The group had previously experimented with prosthetic flippers without luck.
Scientific American, 48:292,1883.
Captain Augustus G. Hall and the crew of the schooner Annie L. Hall vouch for the following:
On March 30, while on the Grand Bank, in latitude 40 10′, longitude 33, they discovered an immense live trunk turtle, which was at first thought to be a vessel bottom up. The schooner passed within twenty-five feet of the monster, and those on board had ample oppurtunity to estimate its dimensions by a comparison with the length of the schooner. The turtle was at least 40 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 30 feet from the apex of the back to the bottom of the under shell. The flippers were 20 feet long. It was not deemed advisable to attempt its capture.