Mutant Ants

As if we didn’t already have enough post-modern nightmares to deal with:

Despite what you might’ve seen in 1950s monster movies, it’s difficult to raise mutant ants. For years biologists have altered the genetics of organisms as varied as mice and rice. Mutant fruit flies are a laboratory staple. But ants’ complex life cycle hampered efforts to grow genetically engineered ants — until now.

On Thursday, two independent research teams described their work deleting ant genes. Two papers chronicling the first mutant ants appeared in the journal Cell, along with a third study that altered ant behavior using an insect brain hormone.

Claude Desplan, a New York University biologist and an author of one of the studies, said that, as far as he could tell, these ants are “the first mutant in any social insect.” 1

So, if the genetic experiments lay waste to them, they’ll all be mootants. 2
Mutant Ants

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Well…’first’ only if you discount the Insane Clown Posse.
  2. Sorry – haven’t had enough coffee yet.

Putin: World Class Troll

Overshadowed by the appointment yesterday of a Department of Justice special counsel 1 2 to look into the 2016 Trump presidential campaign’s (putative) ties to Russia was the following bit of world class trolling by Putin:

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he would be willing to provide the U.S. Congress a record of President Trump’s meeting with top Russian envoys, bringing scoffs on Capitol Hill that the Kremlin could help shed light on the disclosures of reportedly highly classified intelligence.

The provocative offer for the Kremlin to share evidence with U.S. oversight committees about the Oval Office meeting came with the caveat that the request for the transcript would have to come from the Trump administration.

Presenting a transcript is the Kremlin’s latest gambit in denying that Trump shared classified secrets last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador to the United States during an Oval Office meeting.

But the tactic may have more to do with attempts to sow further chaos in Washington than assuage suspicions about the talks.

Say what you will about Putin, but the only way he could have slagged OMP any harder would been have to have tweeted the offer…

Putin: World Class Troll

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Seriously overdue, but…I’d feel better with an independent counsel; the Deputy AG may be in the acting-AG position because he is beholden to Trump. Yeah, right – go figure! And ultimately the acting-AG is the one that will receive Mueller’s final report, and then make recommendations about consequences…if any. Moreover, we, the public, may never learn of the special counsel’s findings – there’s no law that says the report must be made public. I hate to be so cynical as to suggest this appointment is merely window dressing, but look at what has happened since OMP took office; to my mind, I’m not being cynical enough.
  2. In fact! There is a deeply dark cynicism still at work, niggling at a portion of my brain, whispering “The whole election was a set-up!; none of the standard GOP candidates, much less Mike Pence, had anywhere near a shot at beating Clinton. So the ReThugs concocted this scheme to get the most conservative GOPer into the White House on OMP‘s coattails. The only thing wrong with their plan was the fact that it is taking longer than expected for OMP to step on his dick so bad he has to be removed from office. Genius!!!! And now And now And now!!!! We’ll have an ‘investigation” that turns up some ‘suspicious’ deaths (Ailes!!! Ailes!!!!), with a few minor players sent off to Federal Kiddie Camps and perhaps, just perhaps, the Big Cheese suffering a “heart attack” in office. Yep, I AM that cynical.

White House Paranoia

A culture of paranoia is consuming the Trump administration, with staffers increasingly preoccupied with perceived enemies—inside their own government.

In interviews, nearly a dozen White House aides and federal agency staffers described a litany of suspicions: that rival factions in the administration are trying to embarrass them, that civil servants opposed to President Donald Trump are trying to undermine him, and even that a “deep state” of career military and intelligence officials is out to destroy them.

Aides are going to great lengths to protect themselves. They’re turning off work-issued smartphones and putting them in drawers when they arrive home from work out of fear that they could be used to eavesdrop. They’re staying mum in meetings out of concern that their comments could be leaked to the press by foes.

Many are using encrypted apps that automatically delete messages once they’ve been read, or are leaving their personal cell phones at home in case their bosses initiate phone checks of the sort that press secretary Sean Spicer deployed last month to identify leakers on his team.

I’m good with all the above. The sooner this administration implodes, the better.

And in the meantime the more paranoid they become about being “watched”, the less likely it is they will emulate the Nixon or Ray-gun administrations.

White House Paranoia