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Developmental Plasticity and the “Hard-Wired” Problem

Patrick F. Clarkin, Ph.D.

“Development is the missing link between genotype and phenotype, a place too often occupied by metaphors in the past … But a strong emphasis on the genome means that environmental influence is systematically ignored. If you begin with DNA and view development as “hard-wired,” you overlook the flexible phenotype and the causes of its variation that are the mainsprings of adaptive evolution.” (Mary Jane West-Eberhard, 2003: 89-90)

“Genes, unlike gods, are conditional. They are exquisitely good at simple if-then logic: if in a certain environment, then develop in a certain way… So here is the first moral of the tale: Don’t be frightened of genes. They are not gods; they are cogs. (Matt Ridley, 2003: 250)

Plasticity: actor Christian Bale at two points in time. Same genes, different phenotypes.Plasticity: actor Christian Bale at two points in time. Same genes, different phenotypes.

In his book The Triple Helix, Richard Lewontin told the story of the molecular biologist and Nobel laureate Sydney…

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The Pathé World Cup Archives

British Pathé Updates

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is underway in Brazil. At Pathé, some of us are football crazy – others less so! But whether you like your footie or not, there are some stories in the Pathé archive of interest to all. So, if you love football or just don’t want to feel left out of the conversation, here are some essential videos from Pathé’s vintage World Cup coverage.



British Pathé has excellent coverage of the 1966 World Cup in fabulous Technicolor. The match, between England and West Germany, took place at Wembley. Note how the English and German fans are intermingled.



Incredibly, there almost wasn’t a trophy to give England that year. The Cup was stolen, only to be discovered wrapped in newspaper on a London street by a dog called Pickles. This Pathé film…

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Evening Sky

Translations from the English

Liz Doyle Liz Doyle

Evening Sky

from a painting by Liz Doyle and a photo by Ann Koplow

Night had already begun to hug the lowlands
when his back to the pale faces of the outbuildings

their remnant glow against the forgetting day
I thought I saw Turner out there

tying himself to a piece of sky shadow
to ride out the violent vault into night

A mile up the day was still swirling
like love thundering in the chest well after

the details have been lost still Turner
tearing clouds with his brush into the idea

of clouds wonders if he’s leaving
something out he’s never believed

the details mattered although they meant
all the moment could form into and change

From the cumulonimbus he sees an old man
preparing a thatch hut against the wind

And a town lobbing light into the sky
The man’s thoughts are fireworks reflected


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Ouch! Singer Calvin Harris dumps Rita Ora publicly via Twitter



After about a year of dating singer, Rita Ora and DJ Calvin Harris have ended their relationship. And Rita, like the rest of us found out about the end of her relationship via Twitter after Calvin announced it without even telling her he was done with her.

While Rita was doing interviews and talking about how much they love each other and trying to make their long distance relationship work, Calvin was spotted out and about with different women. When the media started talking about Calvin’s secret trysts, the Scottish DJ decided to come clean and let the world know he’s a single man again…only he forgot to let Rita in on it.

    “Rita was left embarrassed when he tweeted that it was all over. She didn’t think he was going to make the announcement, so she was shocked. It was Calvin’s decision to end the relationship. They had been arguing for months and had grown apart” a source told The Sun

See his Tweet after the cut…


Nobody Writes Poems About e-mail

Mindless Productivity

Nobody writes poems about e-mail

And of course they shouldn’t

No more than they should about snapping turtles or turtlenecks

Or life or love or the devil’s fiery droppings

But they do

Or I can imagine they do

I can imagine the shape of their poems like

A beautiful woman that exists only in the mind

So they might as well be real

And if they might as well be real, then so as well might be mine

The one about e-mail, I mean

So here it is

A Poem About e-mail To Disprove The Previous Title


They say there’s nothing beautiful about you

You’re the death of a former way of life

You’re a grimy little miser with your warty little fingers on the precious little hearththrob of our dear little world


They say you’re one more wedge we drive between ourselves

One more thing that separates…

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OMG: Kefee Diagnosed with Pre-Eclampsia, Needs a Miracle to Survive – Doctor

According to a new report on Tribune, the chances of Kefee getting out of coma is slim as her situation not only requires prayers for survival, but also a miracle as the musician has been diagnosed as having pre-eclampsia – pregnancy induced high blood pressure.

Six-month pregnant Kefee had embarked on a 14-hour flight to Chicago for an event but went into coma, forcing the plane to land in Los Angeles so that she could be urgently attended to. A source told Tribune during a phone conversation:

    “Kefee surely did not know that she had a high blood pressure before she embarked on the long trip and suddenly went into coma in the air. That she is pregnant has made her situation dicey, so she will need a miracle to survive, a doctor told me”,

Meanwhile, a medical doctor in Nigeria, Dr Adeyefa, shedding more light on Kefee’s condition, said:

    “Kefee is in a precarious situation because of the six months pregnancy. If the foetus had been nine months, the doctors would have removed the baby and saved the mother and child. As it is now, not only will the baby not survive because the carrier is in coma, Kefee may also lose her life from further complications. The chances of the mother surviving is narrow, while the kid has a narrower chance. I urge Nigerians to pray for her for a miracle because that is what she really needs,” he added.