I have been reading today about Susie, who is a refugee from Sumatra and an orangutan. She has just had her genome sequenced by Dr. Locke and his international team and they have concluded that her genetic make up means that she is more closely related to our common ancestors than either chimps or other people that I’ve known. The observations that peeked my interest were that the study indicated that the genes involved with the metabolism of glycolipids and those involved with visual perception were some of the most involved in the differentiation of our ancestral lineage. Both of these bits of information chimed with other  items of news today.
 image courtesy: Jamie Goodwin;

Firstly, John Hurt for the BBC’s Human Planet gives us a recipe for kiviaq, a highly nutritious food that is rich in glycolipids and comes from northern Greenland. Glycolipids are a source of energy, which is in great demand in the long north Greenland winters. Packing auks inside sealskins and allowing them to ferment during for the summer months, until food is short in the winter, is how we should make Kiviaq. It apparently tastes like strong Gorgonzola cheese, but I can’t confirm that as I am still waiting to try it.

Secondly, the visual perception issue has come to the fore with the rapid expansion of 3D films, games and TV sets to show them on. The BBC Click Newsletter reports that there is grave concern over the health effects of watching 3D images. The concern over very young children may be reasonable, although I suspect exposing 2 or 3-year olds to some of the movies might be bad, even if they weren’t in 3D. However, the concern over the exposure of senior citizens, and especially those who have had a beer or two, seems a little bizarre. Most seniors that I know who are stuck in front of a movie, 3D or not, after a few beers have their eyes closed and will be quite protected from perceptual overexcitement.

One Response so far.

  1. jazgal says:

    fascinatin' stuff! I love Jamie's orang-in-a-suit. But - what would Suzie think? I am pretty sure I will pass on the glycolipid rich Kiviaq, but, good to know what to do should I get stuck in Greenland during the winter.

    3-D movies can certainly make a strain on the eyes, and one should protect the little ones,but I would agree that elders would most likely not stay awake through the whole show, necessarily. Not all 3-D films are worth the discomfort!

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