Dogs Take Another Bow — Wow!

Evolutionary Tree of Dog Breeds & Wolves (UCLA)

Yet another study of the dog genome appeared earlier this week in the advanced online edition of the journal Nature, this one far more comprehensive and extensive than any previously published.

The authors of the study conclude that dogs very likely originated in the Middle East, not in Europe or in Asia.

According to Robert Wayne, UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and senior author of the Nature paper, “Dogs seem to share more genetic similarity with Middle Eastern gray wolves than with any other wolf population worldwide. Genome-wide analysis now directly suggests a Middle East origin for modern dogs. We have found that a dominant proportion of modern dogs’ ancestry derives from Middle Eastern wolves, and this finding is consistent with the hypothesis that dogs originated in the Middle East.

“This is the same area where domestic cats and many of our livestock originated and where agriculture first developed.”

Some earlier research, limited to a single sequence of mitochondrial DNA had appeared to indicate the possibility of an Eastern Asian origin. As Wayne indicates, “this was unexpected because there never was a hint in the archaeological record that dogs evolved there.”

In sharp contradistinction to the earlier highly specific study, the present research utilized genetic data from more than 900 dogs from 85 breeds and more than 200 wild gray wolves from Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and North America. They used molecular genetic techniques to analyze 48,000 distinct genetic markers.

For much more of interest concerning this intriguing study see the University of Southern California press release Dogs Likely Originated in the Middle East, New Genetic Data Indicate.

For more information on the allied study discussed in the release, see our earlier posts Geneticists in Dogged Pursuit of Selective Breeding Pawprints and Dogged Pursuit 2.)

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 10:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hubble Hubbub

Repairing the Hubble space Telescope (NASA -- STS-125)

The CultureLab blog of New Scientist carries a review by Dan Falk of the newly released (as of tomorrow) Hubble 3D IMAX extravaganza in The Stunning Universe of Hubble Goes 3D. (We discussed the upcoming movie briefly a little over a month ago in Hubble 3D). I think you’ll agree once you read it that this is a “cannot miss” film.

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

This Saturday: Friends’ Covered Dish Meeting

This coming Saturday, March 20th, the Friends of the Library will hold their second Friends’ Covered Dish Meeting of the year at 6:30 pm.

All Friends of the Library members – and all those who aspire to joining – are invited to bring a dish, enjoy the company of other Friends, and learn about a host of upcoming events at the Haysville Community Library. (April will be a very busy month.)

Everyone is welcome.

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm  Leave a Comment  


“We thought we understood the moon, but we don’t.”

— Paul Spudis, Lunar & Planetary Institute

Not so long ago at all, the conventional wisdom was that Earth’s Moon was among the driest of all bodies in the solar system. No more.

In rapid succession, three different lunar exploration missions have demonstrated the existence of water ice in varied forms, including at least 40 craters each with water ice to a depth of at least two meters. This wealth of new information is making quite a splash. See NASA’s The Multiplying Mystery of Moonwater.

(For even more detail see NASA Radar Finds Ice Deposits at Moon’s North Pole, LCROSS Finds Water on the Moon and Water Molecules Found on the Moon.)

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Americans Support Conservation in Word, But Not in Action

Americans overwhelmingly favor conservation as a means of preserving and protecting their environment, but very few practice conservation in their own daily lives.

So concludes a national survey conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and released this past month. As the survey authors report,

“A majority of Americans say that it is ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ to turn off unneeded lights (92 percent), to lower the thermostat in winter (83 percent), and to use public transportation or carpool (73 percent), among other conservation behaviors. Yet the study found that:

• 88 percent of Americans say it is important to recycle at home, but only 51 percent ‘often’ or ‘always’ do;
• 81 percent say it is important to use re-usable shopping bags, but only 33 percent ‘often’ or ‘always’ do;
• 76 percent say it is important to buy locally grown food, but only 26 percent ‘often’ or ‘always’ do;
• 76 percent say it is important to walk or bike instead of drive, but only 15 percent ‘often’ or ‘always’ do; and
• 72 percent of Americans say it is important to use public transportation or carpool, but only 10 percent say they ‘often’ or ‘always’ do.

For a quick summary of the survey results, see Americans Favor Conservation, But Few Practice It.

For the full survey report, just 16 pages in length, see Americans’ Actions to Conserve Energy, Reduce Waste, and Limit Global Warming. You may also find of interest a collateral study of Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in January 2010.

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 3:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Haysville’s Betty Cattrell To Receive Duane Johnson Library Leadership Award

Five years ago, the statewide Friends of Kansas Libraries initiated the Duane Johnson Library Leadership Award to recognize outstanding contributions to Kansas libraries.

Duane Johnson, for whom the award is named, was the State Librarian of Kansas for more than two decades. His dedication to the Kansas library community, consistent leadership, aid to the founding of the Friends of Kansas Libraries, and numerous other contributions to Kansas libraries and to the state as a whole, have made the award in his honor a particularly meaningful tribute to each year’s chosen recipient. It is the most prestigious award conferred by the Friends of Kansas Libraries.

This year’s recipient of the Duane Johnson Award, to be presented at the Kansas Library Conference in Wichita on Wednesday April 7th, is the Haysville Community Library’s own Betty Cattrell, our director and prime mover for more than three decades.

We are, as you may imagine, quite proud and very pleased to see Betty’s remarkable contributions recognized.

We know that not every citizen of Haysville who might like to join Betty as she receives this award will be able to do so. In consequence, the Haysville Community Library Friends will be holding a reception for Betty as recipient of the 2010 Duane Johnson Library Leadership Award on Tuesday April 6th from 6 to 8 pm here in the Haysville Community Library. Please join us to celebrate this honor, and to congratulate Betty for the recognition of her invaluable contributions to this library and to our larger community.

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 2:42 pm  Comments (2)  

“Now He Belongs to the Ages . . .”

Exactly four weeks from today, on Thursday April 15th — the 145th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s death at the hands of an assassin — the Haysville Community Library will host a very special program on the assassination, its implications and aftermath.

Dr. J.C. Combs, Professor Emeritus of Wichita State University, will discuss the realities and the consequences of the first assassination of an American president, the murder of the man who is consistently rated as America’s greatest president, in “Now He Belongs to the Ages.”

The present year is the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s election to the presidency of a divided and soon to be warring country. Next year we will begin celebrating the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. Please join us on April 15th for the first of many programs to come on this still vital topic of an America at war with itself.

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 11:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Addiction: A Disorder of Choice

Writing for The New Republic, Sally Satel, psychiatrist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, reviews the certain-to-be-controversial Addiction: A Disorder of Choice by Gene M. Heyman.

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 10:45 am  Leave a Comment