On Parthenogenesis

Yeah, I’d never heard of it either, but a cow-orker was talking to me tonight about the Komodo dragons which just reproduced asexually, and that sounded like something I needed to read up on. I knew about gender-changing frogs, but hadn’t heard about asexually reproducing reptiles. Turns out it is known among smaller reptiles and mice, but that the Komodo dragon was capable of Parthenogenesis was unknown before this event.

The world’s largest lizard has astonished biologists by being able to produce offspring by an “immaculate” conception without the help of a male.

Two captive female Komodo dragons have had virgin births by a process called parthenogenesis, when an unfertilised egg develops into a normal embryo without being fertilised by a sperm.

I hope this phenomenon doesn’t catch on. I know quite a few females who want children without a male being involved. I hate to think of all the men who will be joining me in my life unchosen chastity when female humans figure out how to do this on their own. Sounds a bit like a Star Trek episode, doesn’t it?

[tags]Asexual reproduction in the reptile world, Men to become obsolete?[/tags]

Sharp to produce blue laser diodes

Laser news!!! W00 w0000! Sharp Corporation will be investing significant sums into facilities for blue diode laser production. This should help in Blu-ray disc production, which I would imagine will help Sony with PS3 production, as well. Also, a fast ramp-up in blue diode laser production could help Sony shave a bit off the cost per PS3 produced in the near future, which would be welcome I’m sure.

Sharp Corp., Japan’s largest maker of liquid-crystal display televisions, will start producing blue laser diodes used in high-definition DVD devices such as those made by Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp.

Sharp will spend “several billion yen” to build a dedicated line for the diodes at its Mihara factory in Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama said today, confirming an earlier report by the Nikkei newspaper. Production will begin this year with about 150,000 units a month and will be expanded to 500,000 units by September 2007, she said.

The company is challenging Nichia Corp. and other companies that make the devices in a market that’s expected to expand as consumers switch to high-definition discs that offer sharper picture quality and greater recording capacity. Sony, which backs the Blu-ray DVD standard against Toshiba’s HD DVD, has said a shortage of the diodes for use in its PlayStation 3 console forced it to delay the product’s debut in Europe.

Sales of the diodes at Sharp will reach 15 billion yen ($127 million) in the first fiscal year, the report said, without specifying. Nakayama declined to confirm or deny the revenue target, calling the figure “speculation” by the Nikkei.

If I’m doing my yen to dollars exchange-rate conversion correctly, this means at least a three or four thousand dollar investment. But I’m always bad about converting yen to dollar…

But more seriously, more blue diodes lasers can only be good. Because more lasers is always better than less lasers.

[tags]Sharp to increase blue diode laser production, Good news for Sony on the blue laser front[/tags]