Friday, November 12, 2010

Garden of Joining Paths

Here's Robert Heinlein in 1942:
One thing alone was evident to the uninstructed eye: the two upper charts, Hamilton's and the girl's, contained twice as many chromosome patterns -- forty-eight to be exact -- as the charts of the gametes underneath them. But the chart of the proposed offspring contained forty-eight representations of chromosomes -- twenty-four from each of its parents.
Back when he was still funny, Michael Crichton coined the Rule of 48, which states that All Scientists are Blind (and became the guiding principle of his later books):
For years it was stated that men had forty-eight chromosomes in their cells; there were pictures to prove it, and any number of careful studies. In 1953, a group of American researchers announced to the world that the human chromosome number was forty-six. Once more, there were pictures to prove it, and studies to confirm it. But these researchers also went back to reexamine the old pictures, and the old studies -- and found only forty-six chromosomes not forty-eight.
This is only true for values of "American researchers" that include Joe-Hin Tijo and Albert Levan of the University of Lund in Sweden, and values of "1953" that include 1956, but NEVER MIND.

Bimler's Theory of Alternative Pasts explains this phenomenon in terms of multiple timelines that converge and join like trainlines as you approach the station. In one reality, Homo sapiens evolved with 23 pairs of chromosomes while in another reality there were 24; the two timelines collided around about December 23, 1955, with the latter coming to dominate, but the former reality was not erased completely and traces linger in the form of recollections of outmoded scientific theories. This theory also explains how the Frau Doktorin and I might hypothetically have an argument about "who said what" at some point in the past, and even though she is right, that doesn't mean that I am wrong.

It turns out that human beings are not the only mammal species with a fluctuating chromosome count. Darren Naish and his commentariat inform us that möøse have either 34 or 35 pairs, while wild boar have 36, 37 or 38 chromosomes. Clearly some of those chromosomes are NOT DOING ANYTHING. Parasites.

Only 7% of boars from the Netherlands had a chromosome trisomy but 27% of boars from Tennessee. Tact prevents me from commenting or drawing conclusions.

18 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I enjoy inflatable reindeer as much as the next fellow, but I must point out that your Tennessee boar link goes to "create a blog", and I already have one, Thank you.
~

Smut Clyde said...

Ficqsed. This was just a test to see whether anyone in the class was paying attention and actually clicking on the links. Not that I'm needy.

ckc (not kc) said...

I wish I could train my chromosomes to line up nice like that.

wv bunced (and not for the first time)

H. Rumbold, Master Barber said...

I like a typeface with a lot of foreign punctuation symbols.

mikey said...

Heinlein and Crichton walk into a bar. Heinlein orders Rum and Opium because as a free citizen he has every right to consume whatever the hell he prefers. Crichton makes an unobtrusive gesture behind his back, and a highly intelligent Baboon assassin emerges from the shadows to attack Heinlein, who proceeds to draw a 2mm Needler from underneath his kilt and kills the Baboon on the spot. Crichton shrugs and orders a scotch...

Another Kiwi said...

The bartender turns out to be Stephen King who says "You guys are so cool, I'm gonna write this down".
What if the two timelines flicker in and out of dominance? So that depending on who is looking at them a different answer is attained. More evidence of an Intelligent (and wise ass) Creator!

fish said...

I've been to inflatable deer orgies. Not all they are cracked up to be.

mikey said...

Where does one shop for inflatable orgies of ANY kind?

Asking, as you might have guessed, for a friend...

Smut Clyde said...

Boing-boing is your go-to place, mikey.

Incidentally, I rely on SMcG to keep us all abreast with Slavic-language weirdness, and I am disappointed that he did not see fit to tell us about the Russian Inflatable Sex-Doll Raft-race.

Substance McGravitas said...

Consider your subscription price multiplied by TEN.

Mentis Fugit said...

I prefer to attribute this discrepancy to the Chevalier Effect as documented by Robert Rankin.

ckc (not kc) said...

...if your orgy has no inflatable components, it's not much an orgy

ckc (not kc) said...

(of)

Smut Clyde said...

Chevalier Effect
Is this an old tradition, or a charter, or something?

Smut Clyde said...

the latter coming to dominate, but the former reality was not erased completely

These were the other way around in the reality I remember.

ckc (not kc) said...

In television, Chevalier appeared in an episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour in 1958.

(no appreciable effect)

mikey said...

Ay very leetle breeze seems to weez pair Or Jeez!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Leave Trig alone!