This feels very awkward! I’m still trying to adapt my writing style for the RSS syndication format, which means that this first paragraph might be all that some people see. So, I need to decide what the best thing to put in here is – a list of everything I’m linking to in this entry? (yuck!) Some kind of pithy summary? (I’m not exactly full of pith these days…) Or do people just use the syndicated content as an indication that the site has been updated? (I haven’t been using any ‘aggregators’; I might have to start.) If anybody’s actually using the GeneHack RSS files and has an opinion as to what this first paragraph should typically contain, drop me a line, eh?.

Still haven’t completely deployed the new site design; had a bit of a fight with sendmail, postfix, and the new fetchmail release. Everything is okay now. I didn’t even lose any mail this time! Must be getting competent at Linux; time to try something new.

I’m un-decided about how to save the old design. I could just tar up the site tree and throw it on a zip disk, but I’m somewhat intrigued by the idea of a portfolio of past designs. Unfortunately, that gets a bit ugly, requiring separate CSS files, and Bog knows what else. If you’ve ever re-designed a site, take this quick single question poll and let me know what you did. Thanks.

If there are any LinuxPPC users that still read this site, listen up. Three button mouse support in the new 1999 release has been a bit lacking, and the question of what 3 button mice work has been a popular one. I just got a 3 button Logitech Trackman Marble ADB mouse today (US$15.50, ebay), and it works, out of the box. Plug-and-play three-button goodness!

Highly interesting article on bottlenose dolphin behavior. Mate competion drives fairly baroque courtships, involving gangs of males kidnapping females.

In the Cool-But-Doomed file: Cloning the woolly mammoth. How come, whenever these clone the extinct-or-almost-extinct cute-furry-mammal schemes are discussed, no-one mentions the bottleneck issue? It appears as if creating a mammoth/elephant hybrid and then inbreeding back to ‘pure’ mammoth is being seriously considered. Check out this article on dog breeding for why that’s a bad idea (the breeding stuff is on the second or third page).

Speaking of Bad Ideas, a bunch of anti-GM-food protestors were sentenced recently. Destroying the crops is long-run-foolish: the protestors are just giving the companies a strong incentive to be more secretive about what’s going on with the GM’d crops.

Several people have pointed to articles about the new public disclosure law affecting federally funded scientists. My quick take: (1) The stated intent (public access to data) is good; (2) the actual intent probably stinks; (3) it should apply equally to anyone receiving federal research funds, not just certain groups, and (4) it’s not going to affect the scientists too much, in terms of having to cough up the data: if it’s FOIA office’s responsibility to screen the data. The PI will have the graduate student Xerox everything in the lab, and ship it off. End of (immediate) problem.

There’s a joke involving the word ‘stiffness’ in here somewhere, but I’m not touching it (no pub intended!) : Arthritis drug Celebrex tops Viagra as fastest selling new drug

I’m not sure if I agree with Tog’s assertion that programmers stole the web. At the very least, I seem to be a counter-example. It’s also been my experience that it’s difficult to ‘cut off’ people unless the people acquiesce to the cutting.

Warning: Obscure science fiction reference ahead: It’s not The Mouse That Roared; the Brits really are going to Mars – or at least they’re sending up a probe. (No word on the fuel source!)

Lots of new sites added here and there on the Daily Dose page. Expect to start seeing some more categorization on that page, RSN.