Gas station without pumps

2018 January 13

Marcus in umbrella

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 16:05
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Last week when we had rain, Marcus found drying umbrellas to be a great new toy. (Everything is a toy to Marcus.)

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2017 December 31

Georgie and Marcus waking up

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Georgie (our older cat) now tolerates Marcus—here they are just waking up after sleeping together on our bed.

2017 December 16

Marcus with dreidel

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Although my family is not Jewish, we celebrate Chanukah as well as Christmas. We also have a small Festivus pole and eat Solstice cookies—any excuse to celebrate!

Our new kitten, Marcus, has decided that he like dreidels.  He prefers a small plastic one that he can bat around, but was willing to pose with a larger one:

2017 November 29

Our new kitten, Marcus

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On Black Friday, my wife went shopping for a new kitten, to replace the cat that died about a year ago. We ended up with Marcus, who was being offered for adoption by volunteers at the local PetSmart (they weren’t sure which shelter he was coming from—probably not the closest one).

He’s been inspected by the vet and is being treated for ear mites. He also has a minor virus infection, so we are keeping him away from our older cat for a while, and being careful to wash hands between petting the cats.

It was hard to photograph Marcus, because he would not stay in one place long enough for me to frame and snap the photo.

I did manage to get one shot of Marcus in an uncharacteristic resting position.  You can just see the smudge of lighter fur on his throat.

Marcus reminds me a bit of Freya, a kitten we had 10 years ago—I just hope that Marcus is healthier and lives longer than Freya did.

2011 February 23

Simple cat genetics

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John MacDonald of the University of Delaware has an excellent site on the Myths of Human Genetics.He points out that many of the examples traditionally used in high-school biology classes are not as simple as they are made out to be:

There are no common, visible human traits that have a simple one-locus, two-allele, dominant vs. recessive method of inheritance. Rolling your tongue is not dominant to non-rolling, unattached earlobes are not dominant to attached, straight thumbs are not dominant to hitchhiker’s thumb, etc.  In some cases, the trait doesn’t even fall into the two distinct categories described by the myth. For example, students are told that they either have a hitchhiker’s thumb, which bends backwards at a sharp angle, or a straight thumb. In fact, the angle of the thumb ranges continuously, with most thumbs somewhere in the middle.

He gives nice explanations of what is really going on in separate posts for twelve of the myths, but he also offers hope for simple one-locus, two-allele examples that can be used in classes:

I prefer to use cat coat genetics to teach basic genetic concepts, because there are several easily visible traits whose genetics is well-established by cat breeders.

He describes several simple traits that can be used, and suggests some web-based experiments (using cat adoption pictures to sample different geographical areas).  I think that the Myths of Human Genetics site is a must-read for biology teachers, and highly recommended for their students as well.

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