Tweet Storms and Octopuses

Grind for July 8th
“By the time a man realizes that his father was right, he has a son who thinks he’s wrong.”
– Charles Wadsworth


The Headline

Twitter tirade: Trump attacks New York Governor and Attorney General

The Grind

President Trump’s latest tweet storm was aimed squarely at New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“Governor Andrew Cuomo uses his Attorney General as a bludgeoning tool for his own purposes,” tweeted Trump on Monday, referring to the state’s lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation over its alleged misuse of funds. According to the lawsuit, the non-profit used funds for the personal and political benefit of the president, which is illegal.

“I even got sued on a Foundation which took Zero rent & expenses & gave away more money than it had,” continued Trump. “That’s right, the Trump Foundation gave away 100% plus.”

Data from the IRS suggests the foundation did give away more money than it earned in most years. Last December, Trump made an agreement with AG James to close the foundation under judicial supervision.

The Details

Trump also claimed the campaign against his non-profit had been “going on for years” and was started by “Crooked Hillary’s Campaign Chair Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.”

Schneiderman, a former member of Clinton’s leadership council, launched the investigation into Trump’s non-profit in 2016, while he was Attorney General of New York.

Schneiderman resigned in 2018 after reports that he had physically assaulted four women.

Schneiderman was replaced by Letitia James, who on Monday said, “I have a sworn duty to protect and uphold state law. My office will follow the facts of any case, wherever they lead.”

Even so, James has refused to investigate the Clinton Foundation in relation to its alleged involvement in the lawsuit against Trump’s non-profit and has rejected critics’ demands to investigate the Clinton Foundation regarding its suspicious foreign donations.

“No wonder people and businesses are fleeing New York in record numbers,” tweeted Trump. Statistics suggest New York experienced a net loss of roughly 1.2 million people in 2018.

In a final jab, Trump also criticized James and Cuomo over their attacks on the National Rifle Association. James has described the NRA as a “terrorist organization” and is investigating its tax-exempt status. Cuomo has described the group as “extremist,” urged businesses to end their relationships with the NRA, and banned the organization’s “Carry Guard” liability insurance in the state of New York.

Science News

The Headline

Why there are 3,000 octopuses in Woods Hole, Massachusetts

The Grind

For decades, scientists have used mice to better understand behavior and disease.

“With these organisms, you could understand what genes did by manipulating them,” says biologist Josh Rosenthal. “And that really became an indispensable part of biology.”

Rosenthal works at the Marine Biological Lab (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where his team is using octopuses and squids instead of lab rats to run experiments.

Octopuses and squids belong to a class of predatory mollusks called cephalopods – ocean-dwelling creatures whose evolutionary history spans more than 500 million years.

“They were the first intelligent beings on the planet,” says Professor Sydney Brenner from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. In 2015, Brenner’s team successfully sequenced and analyzed the genome of the California two-spot octopus (the first time this had been done for any cephalopod).

The Details

Brenner’s research revealed hundreds of unique genes the team believes are involved in the octopus’s camouflage process.

Researchers at the Massachusetts lab hope to continue this research by studying traits such as:

–The ability to regrow limbs

— Chemosensory suckers

— Jet propulsion system

— Three heart circulatory system

— Camouflage ability

— Learning and problem solving abilities

Ideally, their research will uncover biological adaptations and solutions that mice were unable to provide.

But the task is difficult. Unlike mice, octopuses are big, smart, and aggressive. Each specimen must be held in a separate enclosure and tanks must be secured tightly to prevent escape.

As of mid-June, the Massachusetts lab had more than 3,000 individual cephalopods under its care.

“It’s the only place on the planet that you can go where we are culturing a number of these species through every life stage, through successive generations, with the goal of creating a genetically tractable system,” says Bret Grasse, head of the MLB team. “We’re going to continue to scale this program as more and more scientific communities become involved. We’ve already seen a great response in the two years that we’ve been here.”

Did you know… Rats can tell the difference between two human languages.