Discoverer of GFP gene misses out on Nobel prize

A cat with jellyfish genes glows in the dark.

Glow in the dark cats

(more funny cat pictures)

The science-journalism tracker described predictions about who would win the chemistry prize. One chemistry professor cum science writer got it 2/3 right: Osamu Shimomura and Roger Tsien for Green Fluorescent Protein, which allows geneticists to track patterns of gene activity.

At the bottom of the article is a sad note:

And finally, DO NOT MISS NPR’s Morning Edition program today, by Dan Charles. He tracked down and interviewed the man who isolated the key jellyfish protein gene, suspected it to be a potentially powerful bio tracer, and provided samples to Chalfie and to Tsien. His science funding dried up. The man now is driving a shuttle bus for an Alabama auto dealership.

The three winners of the Nobel Prize for chemistry are Martin Chalfie of Columbia University, New York City; Osamu Shimomura, a Japanese citizen who works at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts; and Roger Tsien of the University of California, San Diego.

Chalfie, O Shimura, Roger Tsien

Nobel Prize for Chemistry: Martin Chalfie, Osamu Shimura, Roger Tsien

U.S. Debt Clock runs out of digits

The U.S. National Debt Clock has run out of digits as the debt has more than doubled under George W. Bush. It’s now over ten trillion U.S. dollars. For now, the dollar sign is being replaced with a 1.

In the new year,the sign will be replaced by one with more digits for the total debt and for each person’s share, now over $80,000.

Perhaps Douglas Durst, son of the late Seymour Durst – the clock’s inventor – will take advantage of the change to choose some other colour scheme than white on light blue.

This is cute

“MPG” chimed in to a comments thread on Pharyngula with messages spelled, apparently, upside down. The message was in substituted Unicode characters. MPG told us that there’s a character conversion function at Swizzy’s Hideout: “Flip your text with Unicode Text Flipping.”

Rare pelagic jellyfish

The Wild Film History web site has a clip from the 1990s of a previously unknown pelagic jellyfish. The bell is up to a metre across and the tentacles trail about six metres.

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