Monday, August 25, 2008

Spliced feed for The Science Network

Spliced feed for The Science Network

Boris Johnson, Fop or Geneticist? [Sciencebase Science Blog]

Posted: 25 Aug 2008 07:00 AM CDT

boris johnsonIt’s a UK holiday today, so just a short post. For Scousers, Londoners and fans of BBC’s Have I Got News for You satirical news quiz, the name Boris Johnson likely drums up an image of some blonde, floppy haired and confused Tory toff, who just happens to be Mayor of London.

Well, it turns out that he has quite an interesting ancestry of which he was almost totally unaware until another BBC TV show (Who Do You Think You Are?, which is all about family history and genealogy of the rich and famous) helped him dig deep into the roots of his family tree. First off, not only was his great grandfather, Ali Kemal an outspoken journalist turned politician (like Johnson) who was apparently lynched by the state in the founding years of modern Turkey but his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was King George II of England (illegitimately due to a “wrong-side-of-the-sheets liaison between Johnson’s great grandmother and a descendant of George II. Such ancestry means Johnson is related to all the royal families of Europe.

How’s that for a bit of name dropping? Of course, there are probably tens of thousands of people who have illegitimate links to European royals, but it’s an interesting find nevertheless.

However, for those who think Johnson is nothing more than a blithering fop, it was his final words in this episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” that were most poignant to lineage, heredity and most of all genetics, which is why I thought they warranted a holiday mention. I just hope they were spontaneous and unscripted.

We’re all just great, our genes just pulse down the lines. We’re not the ultimate expression of our genes. We’re the temporary custodians of these things. We don’t really know where they’ve come from, where they’re going, and the whole process is incredibly democratic.

You can view a segment from the show here, unfortunately, the closing quote is not included in this Youtube segment.


Boris Johnson, Fop or Geneticist?

NASA tests inflatable lunar habitat in Antarctica [Earth & Sky Podcast]

Posted: 24 Aug 2008 04:08 AM CDT

NASA has announced plans to return to the moon by the year 2020 and establish a human presence there. NASA’s Larry Toup told Earth & Sky he is figuring out how to make a tent-like structure that's compact to transport, and easy to set up on the moon. He and his team plan to test the structure at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

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