Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

Jurassic Park Unlikely

October 15, 2012
Jurassic Park (film)

Won’t happen.

It would seem that we won’t be able to visit Jurassic Park any time soon. According to this article in the Telegraph, resurrecting dinosaurs is probably impossible.

A study by Western Australia‘s Murdoch University concluded that DNA cannot survive more than 6.8 million years – a finding that effectively rules out the tantalising prospect of replicating dinosaurs. Most dinosaurs died out about 65 million years ago.

“We’ve been permanently plagued by this Jurassic Park myth that’s been kicking around since the early nineties,” lead researcher Mike Bunce told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The myth is still out there. Even other scientists ask whether it is possible.”

Scientists have long sought to examine whether dinosaur DNA may have survived – a prospect envisaged by the Michael Crichton bestseller and Stephen Spielberg film. Several papers claiming that 135 million-year-old insect DNA had been extracted from amber were later debunked after it was found the remains had been contaminated with human genetic material.

The new study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, was based on carbon-dating bones from the moa, an extinct New Zealand bird. The researchers found that the DNA from the bones halved after about 521 years when stored at 13.1 degrees. At minus five degrees, the final fragments of DNA in a bone would disappear after 6.8 million years.

Well, that is disappointing. If it is extremely unlikely that they can clone dinosaurs, then it is absolutely impossible that they could ever bring back my favorite prehistoric creatures, trilobites.

I guess I won’t be getting any of these for my aquarium.

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$100 a Pack

April 24, 2012

I don’t smoke and I can’t stand the smell of tobacco smoke in any form, so I suppose I should be thrilled at this story  from NBC News that I found on Drudge.

New Zealand’s Health Ministry has reportedly considered boosting the price of a pack of cigarettes as high as $100 ($81 U.S.) in a bid to make the country smoke free by 2025.

An internal government working paper raised the possibility of upping the cost of a 20-cigarette pack by 30 to 60 percent and tacking on yearly increases of 30 percent, Sky News reported.

With cigarettes now priced at about $16 to $17, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the $100 suggestion seemed like “an awful lot” and could encourage a black market, Fairfax NZ News reported.

Anti-tobacco activist Ben Youdan said it would be more “realistic” to price smokes at “$30 to $40 a pack” over the course of 10 to 15 years as part of a comprehensive campaign to reduce the number of smokers in the country, now around 650,000, according to Fairfax NZ News.

The problem is that while such a policy would certainly reduce the number of smokers in New Zealand, it would also create a black market of untaxed cigarettes. I imagine that if the costs of trying to crack down on illicit cigarettes are considered the savings in health costs created by the reduction in the number of smokers wouldn’t be all that much.


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