Good News/Bad News: Dead Emos & Amazing Retroviruses

I am here today to present you with two news stories you may or may not have read, in a move that I should probably call: well, there’s good news and bad news.

Now if that doesn’t sound like it could be a regular thing I don’t know what is, but you know what I’m like with regularity. In a word, useless.

Unless it’s a coursework deadline, so someone had better make a blogging BA and put me down as a student, this can all be my coursework and at the end I can answer a multiple choice exam about why I bother doing this every day.

The good news comes from a blog out of discover magazine on valentine’s day this year. I apologise for not catching these sooner, but honestly I often get delays sometimes due to increased amounts of time writing fiction and playing Oblivion.

This is an amazing story if you’ve never heard it before and continues to blow my mind even after the first time going through it. It would appear that at least three times in mammals, a retrovirus became endogenous within the mammalian genome, one that led to a very important pathway for the protein syncytin, one that has become essential for those groups that possess the ability to synthesise it, lacking of the protein resulting in death of the embryo within eleven days.

Now, the really cool thing about this is that this essential breakthrough in the development of offspring in placental mammals happened independently on three separate occasions, at least as far as we know; in mice, in primates and in the carnivora lineage that led to cats, dogs, bears, hyenas and weasels. The closest relative to carnivora, the pangolin, did not possess this retrovirus DNA, suggesting that the infection occurred in a common ancestor to all of the species of carnivora we know today.

And now to the bad news, and for this I’m sorry to have sprung on you on what I’m sure is a beautiful day where you are as well as where I am.

This comes from the daily beast just yesterday and is a rather sad note to end on, making me wonder whether I should have done the bad news first. Which should really be a question I put to you, good news or bad news first?

This is the story that fourteen youths dressed in ’emo’ attire were stoned to death in Iraq in heavy-Shiite areas, after Iraq’s interior ministry recently described the emo culture (that apparently witnessed a big delay between its arrival in the west and the middle east) as ‘satanism’.

Now, I don’t know where these people are getting their information from but as horrible as You Me At Six sounds to the human ear it is not formed from Satan’s bowels, but rather the bowels of some music industry fat cats that spend their lives trying to think of new ways to insult good music.

Seriously though, stoning is seen today as just a very archaic way of going about capital punishment but we must remember that emo kids and women drivers should not be punished with death, that much is not debatable, I think we can all agree on, and for one, I know amnesty international had a campaign against stoning in the middle east recently, but apparently some people didn’t pay attention enough to realise that far from the victims of the crime being satanic if there’s anything remotely symbolic we can take from the image of the horned beast, surely it’s unjust murder?

Well, despite the bitter taste in my mouth after the second story I’d like to end on a light note, and I shall.


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