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Immortal dogs and contagious cancers

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All dogs may go to heaven, but there's at least one who's apparently stuck in limbo, long gone as an individual animal but living on in an extremely unlikely form. According to one of the most bizarre science articles I've ever read, a particular kind of cancer found in dogs is (a) contagious and (b) descended from an "Eve," probably a wolf or an ancient Asian breed like the noble Tibetan mastiff above. Every cancer cell found in dogs with Sticker's sarcoma can be traced back to that one individual animal, who died several centuries ago -- but not before passing his cancer cells on to another dog, probably in the act of mating. Note that we're not talking about the transmission of a virus that causes cancer, like HPV -- the tumor cells themselves got out of their original host and into a new one.

What is this thing? Is it a medieval Chinese dog that has found immortality? If so, then it resembles HeLa cells, a line of cancer cells isolated from a woman named Henrietta Lacks who died in 1951. After her death, scientists have propagated her cells.... One biologist suggested that the cells should be considered a new species.

tasmanian_devil.jpgDo hamsters and Tasmanian devils also get this kind of contagious cancer? And why, for that matter, aren't tumors contagious in humans? Did our ancestors spend millions of years warding off "cancer parasites," and is that why our immune systems are so robust today? There's lots more equally fascinating stuff in the article; I can't recommend it enough.

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Dive into the world of Shark, a new book by award-winning photographer Brian Skerry.

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Hamilton Broadway
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Food
A Hamilton-Themed Cookbook is Coming
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Hamilton Broadway

Fans of Broadway hit Hamilton will soon be able to dine like the Founding Fathers: As Eater reports, a new Alexander Hamilton-inspired cookbook is slated for release in fall 2017.

Cover art for Laura Kumin's forthcoming cookbook
Amazon

Called The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating, and Entertaining in Hamilton’s World, the recipe collection by author Laura Kumin “takes you into Hamilton’s home and to his table, with historical information, recipes, and tips on how you can prepare food and serve the food that our founding fathers enjoyed in their day,” according to the Amazon description. It also recounts Hamilton’s favorite dishes, how he enjoyed them, and which ingredients were used.

Recipes included are cauliflower florets two ways, fried sausages and apples, gingerbread cake, and apple pie. (Cue the "young, scrappy, and hungry" references.) The cookbook’s official release is on November 21—but until then, you can stave off your appetite for all things Hamilton-related by downloading the musical’s new app.

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