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Brief Notices X

When I was first studying evolution and biological diversity, it was stressed that the inheritance of acquired or learned characteristics did not occur and that to argue otherwise was the scientific heresy known as Lamarckianism. However, recent research in the form of beautifully elegant experiments has shown that Lamarck may have been on to something, that certain characteristics can be inherited through generations without a change in the DNA sequence.

What doesn’t change, it seems, is the harshness of life in Siberia. James Meek in the London Review of Books reviews a new book on “The Siberian Curse”. He tells the sad tale of the failure – at horrific human cost -- of the Tsars, the Commissars, and the modern Russian State to tame the vast glacial wilderness.

Maybe those northern Russkies should leave it all in God's hands as has, it appears from a report in the Times of India via The Revealer, the minister of transportation in the Indian state of Bihar. "Indian Railways is the responsibility of Lord Vishwakarma [God of Machines]. So is the safety of passengers... It is His duty, not mine. I have been forced to don His mantle," the Minister said. "I keep telling Him whatever accident or incident takes place on the tracks is His responsibility." So, say a quick prayer before buying a ticket!

ThreeHaresSolTalking of religion, British researchers are travelling to China to try to solve the mystery of the "three hares" symbol that is known from ancient sites around the world. "Striking depictions of three hares joined at the ears have been found in roof bosses of medieval parish churches in Devon, 13th century Mongol metal work from Iran and cave temples from the Chinese Sui dynasty of 589-618."

July 8, 2004 in Brief Notices | Permalink

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