giraffe genome, evolution theories, human hypertension therapy
The author writes, “In order to get oxygen up its 2-meter neck to its brain, a giraffe’s heart constantly pumps blood at a pressure roughly 2.5 times higher than is normal in humans. Now, a new giraffe genome is revealing genetic alterations that allow these animals to live happily with hypertension — along with other genes linked to giraffes’ unusual physique. ... Researchers also expressed a giraffe gene in mice and showed it protected them from hypertension, perhaps laying the groundwork for new therapies for humans.” Photo credit: Magdalena Kula Manchee / Unsplash

TX Regulator Pledged to Protect Wall Street's Blackout Profits ; The Push to ‘Free the Capitol’ From Its Fencing ; and More Picks 3/19

Some on Wall Street Profited Off Texas Blackouts. In a Private Call, a Top Regulator Pledged He Would Try to Protect Their Windfall. (Reader Steve)

From Texas Monthly: “While many Texans last week were worried about sky-high electric bills from February’s winter storms, the state’s sole utility commissioner was privately reassuring out-of-state investors who profited from the crisis that he was working to keep their windfall safe. Texas Monthly has obtained a recording of a 48-minute call on March 9 in which Texas Public Utility Commission chairman Arthur D’Andrea discussed the fallout from the February power crisis with investors. During that call, which was hosted by Bank of America Securities and closed to the public and news media, D’Andrea took pains to ease investors’ concerns that electricity trades, transacted at the highest prices the market allows, might be reversed, potentially costing trading firms and publicly traded generating companies millions of dollars.”

The Slow Push to ‘Free the Capitol’ From Its Fencing (Dana)

From New York Magazine: “For the past two months, Washington, D.C., has been part-fortress. Stepping out the grand marble entrance of Union Station, the typical vista of the U.S. Capitol remains marred by high fencing topped with razor wire, which stretches four miles around the Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and various congressional office buildings. Behind the fence are armed National Guardsmen idly standing watch. Even during the Civil War, when the enemy was just across the Potomac and a military prison stood at the current site of the Supreme Court, there was not this level of security. The desire to tear down the fence and return the Capitol to something resembling its pre-January 6 state is one of the rare notes of bipartisan consensus in Washington. Some tension remains, however.”

Daily Telegraph Plans to Link Journalists’ Pay With Article Popularity (Dan)

The author writes, “The Daily Telegraph wants to link some elements of journalists’ pay to the popularity of their articles, an email seen by the Guardian reveals, in a plan said to have ‘alarmed and dismayed’ staff who fear it will ‘seriously warp our editorial priorities.’ An email sent by the editor, Chris Evans, last Thursday told staff that ‘in due course’ the outlet wants to use the ‘Stars’ system, which scores stories published online according to factors such as how many subscriptions they drive and how many clicks they get, ‘to link performance to reward’ using subscription data.”

How Science Solved the Mystery of Feet Washing Ashore in the Pacific Northwest (Mili)

The author writes, “A total of 15 feet washed ashore in the area around Vancouver Island, a network of waterways called the Salish Sea. Six more turned up in Puget Sound, which lies across the U.S. border at the southern end of the sea. With the exception of one foot wearing an old hiking boot, all of them were encased in sneakers. The sneaker-clad feet became famous, even garnering their own Wikipedia page. And with fame came hoaxes: pranksters stuffed shoes with chicken bones or skeletonized dog paws and scattered them along Canadian shorelines. … But this type of mystery, it turns out, requires scientific, rather than criminal investigation (or psychics). In fact, science can answer all of the obvious questions—for example, why are feet, and not entire bodies, washing ashore?”

Rare Chinese Bowl Bought at Yard Sale Sells for Over $721K at Auction (Dana)

The author writes, “A 6-inch Chinese porcelain bowl that was bought for $35 at a Connecticut yard sale was sold at auction Wednesday for a staggering $721,800, which includes a buyer’s premium. … The Ming Dynasty-era bowl — one of only seven such items to exist in the world — was made in the shape of a lotus bud or chicken heart and dates back to the Yongle emperor in the 15th century. An unnamed antiques enthusiast spotted the rare artifact, adorned with cobalt blue paintings of flowers and other designs, at a yard sale in the New Haven area last year.”


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