Just a reminder that you can still get free Nabisco cookies via Facebook. Well not exactly free.  Print the coupon, and then buy milk and one package of Nabisco cookies. The second package is free.


1) What I love about biology are the stories of the countless amazing organisms we share our planet with.

One, rotifers, Brachinous manajavacas, can have the best of both worlds when it comes to sex.

From an article about a recent study by Georgia Tech University:


“Barely visible without a microscope, rotifers eat algae and serve primarily as food for baby fish.  But the females of certain rotifer species can do something quite unusual: they can reproduce asexually by creating clones of themselves, or they can initiate a process that allows sexual reproduction by producing male rotifers.”

“Most animals reproduce sexually, a method that makes a species more adaptable by facilitating the elimination of bad genes and creating potentially beneficial new gene combinations.  Very simple organisms, such as bacteria, reproduce through cell division and obtain new genetic material from the environment.”

“The rotifer species Brachionus manjavacas is somewhere in between.  During most of the year, the rotifer population consists only of females, which reproduce by creating clones of themselves.  But when unfavorable environmental conditions threaten – such as the loss of algae food – about a third of the rotifer population switches to sexual reproduction, which is the only way the creatures can produce eggs able to survive through a long winter.”

What else are men good for anyway?  Being a guy I am not complaining mind you.

2) With the worlds best football(soccer) players at World Cup in South Africa these kids are the ones who deserve to get more media attention.

From a New York Times article by Jere Longman:


Far from the World Cup, in this poor, rural village where there are no paved roads, no nets on the goals and no shoes for many of the players, Clement Nkala, 17, sat in a chair in his soccer uniform and held out his finger to be pricked for an H.I.V. test.

In a country where 5.7 million people are infected with the virus that causes AIDS — the most in the world — the problem is particularly acute here in the Nkomazi district of Mpumalanga Province, near South Africa’s eastern border with Swaziland and Mozambique.

Medical workers estimate that 65 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 in this area, slightly smaller in size than Rhode Island, carry H.I.V. and that 5,000 to 8,000 children under the age of 5 have been orphaned.

“I am thinking of my future,” Nkala said Saturday afternoon. “It is important to know your status.”

Sarah Kate Noftsinger seemed pleased and startled. A player volunteering to be tested in the open, with his friends playing nearby, would not have happened in this remote district 15 months ago, when she started a youth soccer league that has expanded to five villages and 2,500 boys on 160 teams in under-14 and under-17 divisions.

In this culture, parents seldom talk to their children about sex, medical workers said. Many are afraid to be tested for H.I.V., fearing that they might get their fingers pricked one day and die the next. Denial can be more comforting than the stress of knowing. Admission carries the risk of being shunned by a family, by an entire community. Nkala was a breakthrough.

“This is a big step,” said Noftsinger, 29, of Richmond, Va., who is director of sports and leadership for Triad Trust, a Boston-based charity that seeks to reduce AIDS-related deaths.

Subduing H.I.V. in this region of 500,000 people will not happen soon, it is universally agreed. But this is another fledgling attempt, by creating a sports league and educating players, to show that H.I.V. is preventable, that medicine is available for those who are infected and that there can be a big difference between living with H.I.V. and dying from AIDS.

“It’s a way to address something that nobody wants to talk about through a game that everybody loves,” Noftsinger said.

She is a small woman with the ebullient energy of a midfielder, which she was until the Women’s United Soccer Association folded in the United States in 2003.

She first came to this area to give a two-week clinic in December 2008. Five local advocates, in their mid-20s, pleaded with Noftsinger to help them start a sustainable league that could combine soccer and H.I.V. awareness and might prevent another generation from being lost.

Too often, said Zola Ndlovu, the league’s executive liaison, well-meaning Americans put on clinics then leave without training the locals to carry on in their absence.

“When they are gone, we are still dying,” Ndlovu said.

Triad Trust wewb site: