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Comic for March 18, 2019

Dilbert - March 19, 2019 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

Vladimir Putin signs sweeping Internet-censorship bills

Ars Technica - 23 min 11 sec ago

Enlarge / Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in Moscow on March 14, 2019. (credit: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

President Vladimir Putin has tightened his grip on the Russian Internet Monday, signing two censorship bills into law. One bans "fake news" while the other makes it illegal to insult public officials.

Russia has never really been a liberal democracy. It lacks an independent judiciary, and the government has found a variety of techniques to harass and intimidate independent media in the country.

But the new legislation gives the Russian government more direct tools to censor online speech. Analyst Maria Snegovaya told The Washington Post that the legislation "significantly expands the repressive power of Russia’s repressive apparatus."

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Figuring out how an odd, gutless worm regrows its head (or tail)

Ars Technica - 51 min 42 sec ago

Enlarge / Some of the gutless worms (orange) cover a coral. (credit: Samuel Chow )

In the movies, regeneration is the stuff of superheroes like Deadpool, who regrew the lower half of his body through some seriously awkward transitional scenes. Here in reality, regeneration is run of the mill, with lizards and amphibians regrowing limbs and tails while various worms are able to regrow half their entire body. How they manage this has been the subject of extensive study, and we have a fair idea of some of the genes and processes involved. But it's fair to say we don't have a strong idea of how the whole process is coordinated and directed to form all of the needed tissues.

A step in that direction comes from a recent study that takes a strange angle on regeneration. To understand the process, the authors sequenced the genome of a worm that can regenerate into two full organisms after being cut in half. But the worm also happens to be part of a group that contains the closest living relatives of bilateral animals—those with a left and right side. As such, it could provide a fascinating perspective on our own evolution, but it's something the researchers choose to ignore in this paper.

Xena coelo what a?

Most of the animals we're familiar with are bilaterals, which have a left and right side. That includes some creatures (like sea urchins) where the two sides aren't all that obvious. These bilateral animals also start out early in their development as three layers of cells: an outer layer that forms the skin and neural tissue; a central one that forms internal structures like muscles and bone; and an inner layer that goes on to form the lining of the gut.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments


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