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Benoit Mandelbrot, Mathematician, Dies at 85 – Obituary Obit –

October 16

Benoît B. Mandelbrot, a maverick mathematician who developed an innovative theory of roughness and applied it to physics, biology, finance and many other fields, died on Thursday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 85.

His death was caused by pancreatic cancer, his wife, Aliette, said. He had lived in Cambridge.

Dr. Mandelbrot coined the term “fractal” to refer to a new class of mathematical shapes whose uneven contours could mimic the irregularities found in nature.

via Benoit Mandelbrot, Mathematician, Dies at 85 – Obituary Obit –


Cancer-linked epigenetic effects of smoking found

October 12

For the first time, UK scientists have reported direct evidence that taking up smoking results in epigenetic changes associated with the development of cancer.

The results were reported at the 35th Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Milan, Italy.


via Cancer-linked epigenetic effects of smoking found.

Rare Japanese plant has largest genome known to science

October 7

ScienceDaily (Oct. 7, 2010) — Scientists at Kew’s Jodrell Laboratory have discovered that Paris japonica, a striking rare native of Japan(1), has the largest genome(2) of them all — bigger than the human genome and even larger than the previous record holder — the marbled lungfish.

The results are published in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society.

The diversity of genome sizes (the amount of DNA) in plants and animals has fascinated but at the same time puzzled scientists since this variation was first detected in the early 20th century. How and why such diversity evolved are important unanswered questions because we know that it has biological and ecological consequences that affect the distribution and persistence of biodiversity.

via Rare Japanese plant has largest genome known to science.

Banana, in bread form.

October 3

Poll: 1 In 5 Americans Believe Obama Is A Cactus |

September 22

WASHINGTON—According to a poll released Tuesday, nearly 20 percent of U.S. citizens now believe Barack Obama is a cactus, the most Americans to identify the president as a water- retaining desert plant since he took office.

A growing segment of the population believes the president is pollinated by moths and hummingbirds.

The poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found a sharp rise in the number of Americans who say they firmly believe Obama was either born a cactus, became a cactus during his youth, or has questionable links to the Cactaceae family.

Full Article Poll: 1 In 5 Americans Believe Obama Is A Cactus | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.

Science vs the Clergy, SMBC

September 19

I can’t prove that God doesn’t exist.

September 18

But I CAN prove that every single reason why you believe in God is fallacious.

And that has its implications…