Image courtesy of http://www.petervannugteren.com
As I was skimming the New Yorker’s current edition this gloomy Sunday afternoon, I came across this short but very touching article. This article, Say it all in six words is about a book, Not Quite What I was Planning being organized by SMITH online magazine in which various people attempted to describe their entire life in six words!
I thought about summing my life in six words but I realized it required much effort to accomplish such a short but sweet feat. So, I decided while I ponder on summing my past, present, and future in two words each, I might start others to start thinking about it as well.
Men think by giving up occassional drinking with their friends, watching sit ups instead of sports channels, and by emptying their wallets on jewellery stores they have done all they can to secure their partners. Women by spending tons of hours in manicures, pedicures and spending considerable amount of money on make ups and lingerie they have done all they can for their partners. Well, if we humans think we have climbed mount improbable by these minute gestures, its time to learn from the Lyre Bird. It mimics mating songs of every single bird in the forest and even non animate sounds like chainsaw and electric motors to impress a female!
It does all this in addition to spending all its energy to make that fabulous tail. Furthermore, this is for one time partner too. Something to think about when you think about impressing a partner.
The journal Science recognized the technology to recognize the human genetic diversity as the breakthrough of 2007. It indeed is amazing that now we know that humans and chimps have very similar DNA. The difference is not in the number of genes but how the genes are regulated. Scientists are also working to sequence full Neanderthal genome and initial reports of success have already been published (see Svante Paabo’s papers).
Even in the area of human evolutionary biology, genes are beginning to show impact. We have the HapMap project which can be used to trace origins and adaptations of various human populations. The genetic data along with the fossils have almost confirmed humans originated from Africa. We also know so much about how our genetic make up influences susceptibility to diseases. Now, there are even companies (such as 23andMe that I have mentioned earlier) that can provide individual genetic report for a small cost!
Indeed it is a breakthrough and a lot more is yet to come.