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  • Talk Rational: spewing shitposts into the twitterverse for 4 years and counting

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Topics - Monad

Science / Uncrypting cryptids
OK so what are these?

Jawline looks whale-ish but that tail isn't

Wolf/dog/coyote hybrid? Would love it to be something extinct like an Amphicyonid (or someone thought 'Dire wolf') but unlikely in the extreme
This could be huge:

potentially could completely change our understanding of how memory works, the concept of memory RNA has been around for some time but more in scifi than sci fact.
Arts and Entertainment / Blue Planet 2
Watched the first episode, not Sir Dave's best series. Very content light and the music is terrible, wish I could turn it off
Politics and Current Events / Child marriage in the US

I'm surprised about the extent of this, I had no idea this was a 'thing' except maybe in some weird sects like Mormons and even then I thought it was illegal. So the US has no legal age limits for sex either? And yet I've seen cases of guys prosecuted for sex with a minor or child rape so is that just because it varies from state to state?
I mean, wtf!!!!???

How can US rapist win joint custody of victim's child?

This has to be stopped one way or another.
Science / Science in Turkey gets stuffed
Turkey excludes evolution from textbooks
I just went out and bought, for the first time, a copy of the original Star Wars. I have never been able to sit through the whole thing before and couldn't bring myself to watch the last 2 of the new ones after the appalling first one (OK I think I watched a bit of the second but it was so stupid I zoned out). I'm going to try my best to stay 'open to the experience' and try to see what it is other people seem to find so enjoyable about them. Still not sure I can tolerate Ewoks though but at least they are near the end, I will hold onto the possibility that some of them get killed or at least wounded. Wish me luck!

If I get through this I may have to get the newer ones too.
Science / Hi O Liths!
Now we know what Hyoliths are

a lophophorate relationship was long suspected though
Science / The interesting critters thread
Not sure if this is really 'Science' but there isn't a TR embassy and this isn't so much a 'cute' critters thread as a 'wow!' or 'wtf is that thing?!' thread.

Anyway first an excuse to post some interesting Neuroptera, overall one of the most interesting and diverse insect groups and also the least well known. Most people know lacewings and possibly antlions but how about owlflys  - owlflys themselves are really beautiful, like a cross between a dragonfly and a butterfly (Neuroptera appear to have a tendency to converge on moth/butterfly like forms - not just the extinct kalligramatids):

And this is a nemopterid - also butterfly like

- owlfly larvae however would be the stuff of scifi nightmares if they were larger eg:

I love their camouflage

Then there are the spider boarders, which are the larvae of Mantidflys. Mantidlfys probably scare a lot of people but they are actually harmless but fascinating insects - several American species mimic wasps so we have wasps with mastis-like forelegs

but their larvae even more the stuff of scifi horror - think Alien. The first instar hitchhikes on spiders, often a male just about to mate with a female, they suck its haemolymph for a while but when they get to the female about to lay they swap onto her and then manage to get themselves into the egg case as she is laying, then they moult into a less mobile form and suck out the eggs from the inside, then pupate inside the egg case and when they emerge they have a nice juicy adult for their first meal:

More on all of them here:

Science / How do Tarsiers get vitamin C from their diet?
I always assumed the loss of the ability to make vitamin C was something that happened after the shift to frugivory in our Haplorhine ancestors but it turns out Tarsiers can't make it either and they are (I thought) 100% insectivores. So where do they get it from? Perhaps there are some insects that contain it or they are not as insectivorous as was believed?

I wonder if this was a driver towards frugivory then?
Windows update knocks out internet connections

Microsoft has also offered guidance to those experiencing difficulties.
"Some customers using Windows 10 have reported difficulties connecting to the internet," said a spokeswoman for Microsoft.
"As a first step, we recommend customers restart their PCs.
"If this does not resolve the problem, visit our website for further support."

Science / Laetoli # 2
This is cool

More footprints, more diverse, definately bipedal, interesting speculations regarding social structure
Science / Beautiful plumage!
No this is not a Monty Python thread

The tail of a feathered dinosaur has been found perfectly preserved in amber from Myanmar.
The stunning discovery helps put flesh on the bones of these extinct creatures, opening a new window on the biology of a group that dominated Earth for more than 160 million years.
Examination of the specimen suggests the tail was chestnut brown on top and white on its underside.

Wow just wow!
Science / Understanding of Parkinson's 'transformed'
This is really awesome - evidence of a link between the gut microbiome and a disorder like Parkinson's - maybe others too in time?
Arts and Entertainment / Luke Cage
Rules - that is all
Science / Why don't GPs understand evolution?
Ok so I have a septic finger that my GP has been treating for a week with Flucloxacillin but it has had no effect so I went to see him and now he's given me phenoxymethylpenicillin. I told him I couldn't see the point of giving me another antibiotic from the same group given that whatever is infecting my finger is already resistant to Flucloxacillin (which actually is more active against beta lactamase producing bacteria in the first place) but he told me that's what GPs are being advised to give in these cases. Don't they realise this actually increases the chances of bacteria becoming resistant?

This is amazing, turns out that many lichens (maybe all?) are not just a symbiosis of 2 partners - an alga (or cyanobacterium) and ascomycete fungus - but also require a third partner, a basidiomycete yeast, in order to function as one organism. This is literally a paradigm shift in our understanding of lichens.

Full paper here but I can't access it - maybe someone can?