Saturday, May 16, 2015

Today in questionable uses of funding:

Did you ever wonder if scientists aren't just making shit up? Like, I don't mean that they're lying to us or anything, it's just that sometimes researchers do stuff that make us scratch our heads and want to ask them how cures for things like cancer and HIV are coming.
"We're working on them, but first we're looking into a
cure for erectile dysfunction in men over 70."

"I don't care what you do with it, just,
 just science something, would you?."
Take for example, biologists at Yale and Harvard, who recently used what I can only imagine was a combination of genetic manipulation and dark sorcery to create a chicken embryo with a dinosaur snout instead of, you know, a beak. Yes...for The experiment involved-huh? What's that? You'd like to know why did these researchers decided to spit in the face of God and create a dino-chicken throwback? That's an excellent question involving dinosaurs, evolution and what I presume is a massive grant with little expectation of accountability or practical results.

Dinosaurs, as that stupid kid in Jurassic Park kept harping on every five minutes, didn't so much disappear as they did evolve into modern birds which is both fascinating and a massive trade-down for dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs learned the hard way that evolution is kind of a dick.
Beaks: the enigma that has
puzzled ones of humans.
This disappointing downgrade from thunder lizard to nature's perfect waffle companion has left scientists with many questions including, for some reason, why birds have beaks instead of snouts:

"Whenever you examine an important evolutionary transformation, you want to learn the underlying mechanism."

-Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, lead researcher 
and foremost authority in the field of beak-research

Like what's up with
Kirk Cameron?
Ok, but do we need an answer badly enough to warrant not only the expense, but the questionable ethics of breeding chicken monsters? I don't mean to sound like some anti-science nutbag. In fact, I'm all for sciencing the shit out of the mysteries of nature, but Bhullar and his team now have a batch of genetic horror shows and the answer to a question I'm not sure anyone was really asking. The experiment did shed some light on a cluster of genes related to beak development, and that's super, but aren't there more pressing questions science could be answering?

I mean, what was the point of all this? Even Evolution: The International Journal of Organic Evolution, the journal that's publishing the study, isn't entirely sure. One of the abstract tags, in fact, the first tag, is 'Novelty.' Again, I love science but funding strikes me as kind of a limited thing, so really, where are we on cancer?
'Novelty' is just the peer reviewers way of saying
 'just 'cause they wanted to see what would happen.'

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