Saturday, February 23, 2008

Blog name change

In case you didn't notice, I changed the name of the blog. I like the name Chimaera (or chimera) because it refers to Greek mythology, genetics, or a fish. For you non-fishy people, Chimaeras are a very interesting (to me, anyway) Chondrichthyan fish - the same class as sharks, rays, and skates. Their common names are ratfish, rabbitfish, and ghost sharks. They have cartilaginous skeletons, lack scales and have internal fertilization, and I've always been partial to rats and mythical beasts, so I took an immediate liking to them in my first ichthyology class in college.

The fish, of course, was named after the Greek monster. The Chimaera was a fearsome fire-breathing creature with the front part of a lion, the middle part goat and the hind part serpent, sometimes depicted with the heads of all three. It was terrorizing the Lycian countryside, and was killed by Bellerophon with the help of Pegasus. Alternately, it can mean any similarly grotesque monster having disparate parts, or a horrible or unreal creature of the imagination.

A genetic chimera is an organism, organ, or part consisting of two or more genetically distinct tissues. This can occur naturally, or as the result of organ transplant, grafting, or genetic engineering. Human chimeras were first discovered when it was found that some people had more than one blood type. Most of them were "blood chimeras" -- non-identical twins who shared a blood supply in the uterus. Another example of a chimera is something I have on the windowsill at work. A variegated plant.

Synonyms for chimera include: dream, fantasy, and delusion. It can also mean a fanciful mental illusion or fabrication or a fabulous and fantastic - but completely mixed-up - idea. Like homeopathy, ghosts, astrology, acupuncture, bigfoot, alien visitations (other than the resident and illegal kind), feng shui, or the idea that the universe was created and is being run by some supernatural all-knowing being.

4 comments:

Rainedaye said...

You left out that chimera is also a program for visualizing molecules. Although honestly, I'm not sure knowing that would of promoted the name change. ;)

Laurie said...

No, probably not. I'm of the old-school balls-and-sticks molecular models. Different color and size balls for different molecules, different sticks for various molecular bonds. I should think that the computer program is easier, not to mention the ability to visualize much bigger molecules.

artificialhabitat said...

So, a funky new name?

Still, I probably wouldn't be here if my eye hadn't been drawn, as if by some kind of eye-magnet, to the words 'Aquatic Ecologist' on the out campaign blogroll! That's not a serious complaint though!

Me, I liked the ball and stick models too. A bit like lego. But with science.

Laurie said...

I felt as though the old name was too long and clunky. I wanted a shorter, funky one. Well, actually I was going for snappy, but funky works :-)