Monday, May 31, 2010

Science FACTion: Scientists Splice Together Goat and Spider Genes... Seriously

As we have previously discussed on this blog, spider silk is really fascinating stuff. Peter Parker was a head of the curve by a few decades with his web-slinging inventions, but we know that modern day scientists have been researching on how to recreate the material for commercial use. Spider Silk, which has greater prehensile strength than steel, is extremely difficult to synthesize, so scientist are also attempting to research ways to harvest the material naturally.

Evidently these so called "scientists" have reasoned that the best way to go about this is to splice in spidersilk making genes in with goats and their milk producing genes. Scientists believe that they can then extract the material from the goat's milk after lactation:

With his team of researchers, Randy Lewis, a professor of molecular biology at the University of Wyoming developed a way splice the spider’s silk-making genes into goats, so the protein can be harvested from their milk. “When the goats have kids, and they start lactating, we collect the milk, and we can purify that spider silk protein in much, much higher quantities,” Lewis tells the Science Nation, a publication of the National Science Foundation, which helped fund the research.
The silk-making protein can be harvested from the milk of the transgenic goats in much higher quantities.
Because of the vagaries of the genetic lottery, not all the goats wind up with the spider gene. Of the seven kids (three sets of twins and one single) born in February, only three are would-be web-slingers.
Of course, any endeavor that involves animals or genetic engineering is bound to find itself knee-deep in an ethical quagmire, but Lewis insists that the transgenic goats are no different in health, appearance, or behavior “In lots of ways, these goats are a lot more pampered because they are very valuable,” he says.
I'm sure NOTHING could ever go wrong with giving goats spider genes...

SPIDER-GOAT! SPIDER-GOAT! Does whatever a Spider can!

catch a video from Science Nation after the jump:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Superhero Term Papers

The folks over at Comics Alliance have produced a series of fantastic mocked-up term papers from our favorite tight-wearing, web-swinging, mask-donning, cape-flying comic book characters. Superhero or not, you still have to get your BA before you head off for vigilante-town. Unless, that is you're a mutant... in that case, you end up spending your entire teenage and young adult life in the boarding school from hell where all your friends are slaughtered before you and your teachers give you code names and train you to be a part of a fringe para-military strike team under the thrall of a charismatic but psychologically controlling individual.

But without further adieu, here are a few choice term papers (click to embiggen):

Hal Jordan

Bruce Wayne

I really want to see Poison Ivy's Environmental Studies 302 - Special Topics: Ecofeminism term paper. I imagine it ponders taking patriarchy and dissolving it in the digestive juices of a genetically altered pitcher plant.

Who's term paper would YOU want to see?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

And the Opening Weekend Figures Are....

Gene Luen Yang has a great mini-comic about why he's not going to see The Last Airbender until it's third weekend or later. I love his compromise and plan on following suite!

Superqueeros! for May 26th, 2010

Wildcats #23

Part one of three!! The Wildcats have finally set up a home base for their operations, so now it's time to start solving some mysteries! Jackson King and Ladytron are on the hunt for the new Doctor, but back at the ranch an army of baddies is on the rise! Apollo and Midnighter will no doubt be cameo-ing in this storyline (if only as boyfriend ex machina), and the World's End Wild-verse is one of the most exciting universes I've ever read. #pickoftheweek

Wonder Woman #44

THE ULTIMATE SIMONE WONDER WOMAN!!!!! While Gail will be joining JMS, Geoff Johns, and more next month on the anthology issue #600, this is the last issue penned exclusively by Simone before JMS takes over writing duties! And while I'm super excited for JMS's take on the power princess, I'm also expecting the amazing beefcake to drop off after the switch in writers. Which is tres triste, y'all. Tres triste.

Dark Wolverine #86
Daken Vs. Wolverine! Also, Romulus Vs. Skaar, but whatever. Daken Vs. Wolverine!!!! Lots of daddy jokes!!! I'm so excited for the stabbing and the bitching! And the this-storyline-is-not-a-dream! That will be a welcome relief from this title's status quo! Also, hot inked sociopaths!

Detective Comics #865

The Batman story in this book is actually quite good. But that's not why DC865 is featured in this blog post! The Question is nearing the end of her storyline and this issue the solicits promise a reveal of the big bad! The Question is the only reason I'm still picking up this book now that Batwoman is gone/on hiatus/elsewhere, and it's a testament to the quality of her story that I'm plunking down the dineros for her mini-comic. So git it!

Gotham City Sirens #12

Poison Ivy's in trouble! Will her sirens come to her aid, or will she have to outsmart her former employee and save her own life? It might not be explicitly queer, but GCS has definitely found its feet and is a consistently awesome book about the DCU's most compelling villains.

Madame Xanadu #23

It's the end! Not of the series, but of the storyline that pits the Madame against her sister Morgana. The solicits promise a fight to the death, but for mystical immortals that's, I'm sure, simply a relative term. Check out the action packed conclusion of this GLAAD-nominated book's most exciting storyline!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Use the Force Luke... to turn left in .5 miles

Have you ever needed to ask for directions on your way to Mos Eisley? Well search no more, friend.

The popular GPS navigation technology company, TomTom, has released a series of new Star Wars voices for their GPS devices. The first of such voices to guide you through the perils of navigating your vehicle is the infamous Sith Lord, Darth Vader. Now, being a New Yorker... I hate driving. I love jumping on the subway and zipping around town on a bike. But I now almost want to purchase the cheapest used car I can find just to be able to hear the dark lord guide me to my next target... er... destination. Check out a video of Vader's voice recording:

I remember taking a spring break road trip with friends out to Nashville, where we used my parent's GPS device. Whenever we veered off-course our nifty device always said "Recalculating" like a good nice, polite, navigation assistant. What happens when you disobey a Sith lord? Here's hoping it goes something like, "I find your lack of faith disturbing..." #please.

More Star Wars voices are slated to be released in the coming months including:

  • C-3PO - "The chances of safely navigating the streets of New York are 456,264,742 to 1!"
  • Yoda - "Grove Street leads to Maple Avenue leads to Birch Boulevard, which leads to... the Dark Side"
  • Han Solo - "Turn left hear kid, and let's blow this thing and go home!"

One caveat, I'm concerned that Yoda's odd sentence syntax would guide me off a cliff. Read the full announcement after the jump.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


So, it turns out our friendly neighborhood Spiderman had it right all those years ago. Evidently Scientists have been trying to figure out just how those nifty spiders create their silk which has a greater tensile strength than steel! According to inhabitat, scientists at two universities have made a decisive breakthrough in their research:

Spider silk may seem fragile, but it actually has a tensile strength that is a whopping five times more than steel! Scientists have been trying to replicate and harness the properties of the elusive material for years and now researchers from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and the University of Bayreuth have actually unlocked the secret of how spiders construct the elastic fibers. Armed with this new knowledge, they’re planning to build an artificial spinning apparatus that will mimic a spider’s silk glands, which could eventually lead to a material that could have an unlimited number of applications from medical to construction.

All I can say is that if I'm not webswinging by 2020, I am suing Science. Cuz I was promised flying cars and FTL travel, and they have produced neither.

Elementary, My Dear Robin!

Cool new thing alert! Comics Alliance has cobble together a periodic table of the elements of superheroes! O is for orphan, Fe is for metallic form, etc, etc! Work out your favorite superhero's molecular structure, or use a Ouija board to create a character all your own!!!

SuperQueeros! for May 19th, 2010

The Who's Who of Comics' Queers (for this week ;) )!!

X-Men: Legacy #236
Maybe someone will give Karma a leg! Also, big dome, lots of killing about to start, destruction, violence, action, one of the best x-overs ever, blah, blah, blah. Let's get back to Karma! And Greymalkin. Whatever happened to him?

X-Factor #205
The Second Coming tie-in continues! Last issue saw a car full of main characters (all boys on a team with the Multiple Man) get shot to bits. Let's see if they survived (they did) and cross our fingers that Rictor gets to kick butt this issue!
Peter David is delivering a really good story with this tie-in! I was expecting some sort of lukewarm lip service to the event, but instead he's turing out one of the better X-Factor stories in the past year!

X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back #4
The end of the series! It's a little strange seeing Nightcrawler in action in the pages of this book, all the while knowing that he's good and gone in the main titles. Like seeing a blue, furry ghost. But his team up with Frost, Psylocke, Santos, and Anole unites some of the best X-characters under an author who is proving her mettle issue after issue! And ANOLE!

Justice League of America #45
Both Starman and Obsidian in one book!!! Yes, even though Obsidian is still trapped in an egg (WHAT?) in his own title, during the JSA's guest stint in the current JLA storyline he's alive and kickin' and trying to save his dad from being absorbed by his newly resurrected twin sister (don't ask)! Plus, with Todd's fine-ness and Starman's alien attraction to both genders (and shirtless-ness!), maybe there will be some cute flirt-y scenes during the Starheart catastrophe! #silverlining

Monday, May 17, 2010

Scarlet Betch Episode 23: "Go Gay Campy Demon Disco Mutant Team!"

Scarlet Betch is back at it again. Jason and Anthony dish about the latest in queer comic book news. The latest drama in the Twilight saga in Buffy Season 8, the gayest team in Marvel to date, and the River Song double features on Doctor Who and much much more!

Featured music for this week is Freezepop's "Do You Like Boys"

Direct Download

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

SuperQueeros! for May 12th, 2010

I have a BIG exam on Thursday, so let's make this short and sweet! Who's a homo (etc.) this week in comics????

Yup! It is the end! Loki does some awesome magik-ing and recharges our heroes as they go head to head with failed-hero-turned-omnipotent-super-villain the Sentry the VOID!!! Expect some Billy/Teddy cameo action as All Who Avenge team up to put the beat down on everyone's least favorite Marvel character!

Dark Avengers #16
It's curtains for the Anti-Avengers! This makes sense: The Heroic Age starts next month and--despite their best (or worst) intentions--making it as heroes has not worked out for this team of villainous posers. BUT Dark Avengers is, to quote the solicit, "Marvel's number one ongoing series". So expect some awesome fireworks and a classic "The End!... Or Is It????" final page! The ongoing title maybe be "ending", but I'm pretty sure a concept this good is just going on hiatus until next summer's Heroic-Age-ending event.

ALSO: Second Coming!
New Mutants #13
It's chapter seven and our favourite Asian lesbian librarian (Wait. How has Karma never done pr0n? Or AT LEAST ironic burlesque!) has lost a leg! Damn you, Yost!!!! But, also, how will phantom limb syndrome effect someone who can control OTHER PEOPLE'S LIMBS??? And, also, will Iron Man or Box step up and give her a fancy attack leg? I'm thinking something along the lines of Rose McGowan in Planet Terror! Whatever the case, this issue is the start of Bastion's second assault on Hope Summers and the X-Men, so jump on now if you like action!

Scarlet Betch Episode 22: "RIP Kurt"

Scarlet Betch is back at it again. Jason and Anthony dish about the latest in queer comic book news. The latest drama in X-men: Second Coming, Wonder Woman and her crazy Auntie, and the wondrous return of Glee, and much much more!

Featured music for this week is Freezepop's "Do You Like Boys"

Direct Download

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

SuperQueeros! for May 5th, 2010: Addendum - Revelations; VERY IMPORTANT!!

A detail I did not know has come to my attention! X-Men: Second Coming - Revelations: Hellbound features a team with not only super diva Dazzler and hunk-a-dunks Gambit and Cannonball but also ANOLE and NORTHSTAR!!! (Evidently when you need to combat hell you send the staples of gay culture. Given the awesome-ness this kind of mission entails, I'm pretty okay with fighting flames with flamers.)

That's right, we are getting THREE ISSUES of Anole development and Northstar panel-time!!! So go, buy, and solicit the next two issues! This mini is going to ROCK.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How to Be a Superhero: Pre-Game

Want to be able to lift 5 pounds an average of 5 seconds longer than the moral-less masses? Then do a good deed beforehand! reports that a study has shown that doing a good deed before physical exertion gives you more agency (i.e., willpower and strength)! To lift weights!

The study also shows that if you do something villainous you get EVEN MORE AGENCY!!! The whole thing concludes by saying that agency helps people stick to their diets, so if you want to lose weight you should probably drown some puppies*.

*j/k! Puppies are a finite resource, so you should only imagine drowning them in order to stick to your diet! Also:

Monday, May 3, 2010

SuperQueeros! for May 5th, 2010

Where are queer superheroes appearing in comics to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? See the list below!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #35
It's the final issue of the penultimate arc of Buffy Season 8! We know who Twilight is, and that his whole goal this season has been boning his way into a place also called "Twilight". So what does it all mean? And who's about to receive a mighty does of Whedon/Summers smack down? Find out this month as Meltzer sets up to hand the reigns of the season back to master scribe Joss Whedon!

Secret Six #21
Catman vs. the World! Black Alice vs. Scandal Savage! Whether you want to ogle guys or gals or are simply in the mood for some witty, tough-guy beat downs this is the book for you! And really, isn't that why all of us are here, for the idealized body types and the stories whose conflicts are all either physical or astral? #yesitis #okayIwillbuyit #thatiswhatyousaid

The Authority #22
GUYS IT IS TIME TO START READING THIS BOOK. Sometime in the past four months it came to my attention that Sarah Rainmaker, one of the boss-est bi's in the biz, had joined the Authority without my noticing! Which means that this is the FIRST JUMPING-ON POINT that I've let you know about! So let's #1b1t this thing and all buy it and find out what's going on with the inestimable Rainmaker!! Oh, and there are stowaways on the carrier? And some male character is going to break a vow of nonviolence or non-interference and save everyone or something? #RAINMAKER

House of Mystery #25
It's the exquisite corpse issue! I know, I am pumped too! Sturges has said that the authors kept writing each other into corners and raising the stakes all throughout this issue, so pick it up just to see if this literary experiment crashed and burned or if it is the first step toward a future where all titles are team-written! Also, to see if Sturges pulled something interesting out of the dismembered carcass of a story he was handed! #sweet