National Do Not Call List

1-866-580-3625

Finally, people in Canada can call a number, give their phone number, and tell telemarketers not to call them.

Here’s what you need to say::

  1. “English” or “français”
  2. Your number, starting with the area code, one digit at a time (or beep it in)
  3. “Register”

You can listen to the rest, which is mostly a long legal disclaimer, or hang up.

The telemarketers have been lobbying against it and have managed to get some exceptions:

  • Political parties
  • Charities
  • Newspapers trying to get subscribers
  • Any business that you’ve dealt with in the last year

Those you must tell individually, yourself, to take you off their calling lists. To register a number, you must call from it. What that means, of course, is that you can’t register Ident-a-call numbers with special rings by telephone. But you can use the web site: National Do Not Call Registry (Canadian).

It takes 31 days to get the message to telemarketers but is good until November, 2011.

New documentary: Religulous

George Stromboulopoulos interviews Larry Charles and Bill Maher on The Hour. It opens in theatres on October 3.

Coming soon…

Woman of the hour

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Saints presarve us!

Eamon Knight of Thinking for Free blog says, “Aww, give Sarah a break!”

Career woman

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Terrorism on U.S. soil!

Homegrown terrorists were the most likely perpetrators of a cowardly act of hatred against the children of a congregation at worship.

Giant fossil seabird of England

<i>Dasornis emuinus</i>

Dasornis emuinus

Science Daily:

Described September 26 in the journal Palaeontology, the skull belongs to Dasornis emuinus, a bony-toothed bird, or pelagornithid, and was discovered in the London Clay, which lies under much of London, Essex and northern Kent in SE England. The occurrence of bony-toothed birds in these deposits has been known for a long time, but the new fossil is one the best skulls ever found, and preserves previously unknown details of the anatomy of these strange birds.

With a five metre wingspan, these huge birds were similar to albatross in their way of life. Albatross have the largest wingspan of any living bird, but that of Dasornis was over a meter and half greater. Despite these similarities, the latest research suggests that the closest living relatives of Dasornis and its fossil kin are ducks and geese.

“Imagine a bird like an ocean-going goose, almost the size of a small plane! By today’s standards these were pretty bizarre animals, but perhaps the strangest thing about them is that they had sharp, tooth-like projections along the cutting edges of the beak” explains Gerald Mayr, expert palaeornithologist at the German Senckenberg Research Institute and author of the report.

These were not true teeth but bony projections of the beak, functioning as teeth, probably to catch fish.

Skull of <i>Dasornis emuinus</i> with projected beak

Skull of Dasornis emuinus with projected beak

Birds no longer produce teeth: they have the genes to do so but teeth do not develop in the absence of bone. So Dasornis developed a functional substitute. The Dasornis’ tooth is like the panda’s thumb.

Journal reference:

  1. Mayr et al. A skull of the giant bony-toothed bird Dasornis (Aves: Pelagornithidae) from the Lower Eocene of the Isle of Sheppey. Palaeontology, 2008; 51 (5): 1107 DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2008.00798.x

Aerosteon riocoloradensis: a new dinosaur from Argentina

Flesh rendering of the predator Aerosteon with the body wall removed to show a reconstruction of the lungs (red) and air sacs (other colors) as they might have been in life.

Flesh rendering of the predator Aerosteon with the body wall removed to show a reconstruction of the lungs (red) and air sacs (other colors) as they might have been in life.

Greg Laden has the scoop on the new Argentine dinosaur that was featured on Daily Planet. It is called Aerosteon riocoloradensis.

Fossils of a newly discovered species of dinosaur — a 10-meter-long, elephant-weight predator — were discovered in 1996 along the banks of Argentina’s Rio Colorado, and are now being reported after a long period of careful study. This dinosaur dates to about 85 million years (which falls within the Cretaceous period).

Perhaps the most interesting feature of Aerosteon riocoloradensis is that it demonstrates the evolution of a bird-like respiratory system in an animal that is definitely not bird-like in most other ways. Indeed, the authors of this paper imply that this dinosaur’s respiratory system represents an early phase in the evolution of the bird’s respiratory system. This is a case of an adaptation arising in one context and later being used in an entirely different context.

Aerosteon riocoloradensis also represents a previously unknown group of South American dinosaurs, which may be ancestral to allosaurs.

Bora Zivkovic at A Blog Around the Clock also has an article: a new dinosaur with hollow bones.

I always get excited when Paul Sereno publishes a paper in PLoS ONE and today is one such day – his third paper in this journal within a span of less than a year (the first was the paper with detailed description of Nigersaurus and the second was the article on Green Sahara cemeteries). Today’s paper is also the second time PLoS ONE publishes a taxonomy paper, i.e., a monograph that describes a new species:

Evidence for Avian Intrathoracic Air Sacs in a New Predatory Dinosaur from Argentina:

Paul Serano, you’ll remember, is National Geographic’s Explorer in Residence.

%d bloggers like this: