Post List

  • November 14, 2010
  • 02:16 PM
  • 602 views

Seek and ye shall find (friends online)

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture

Who makes new friends on social networks online? If we are going by the "rich get richer" assumption, we would expect to find that people who are already socially active will find even more friends on SNS. On the other hand, it's possible that those who have troubles forming offline relationships will socialize more on the Web (the "social compensation" model). The third possibility is the "seek and ye shall find" model: people who believe it's possible to create online friendships would be mor........ Read more »

Tufekci, Z. (2010) Who Acquires Friends Through Social Media and Why? "Rich Get Richer" versus "Seek and Ye Shall Find". Proceedings of the 4th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM, 2010). info:/

  • November 14, 2010
  • 01:48 PM
  • 1,477 views

The demon is out of the bottle

by Joerg Heber in All That Matters

Your desk at work, is it chaotic as mine, or clean and ordered? If the latter, I salute you, because it takes work to keep a desk tidy. Otherwise, chaos will soon reign. And while I admit that I should keep my desk cleaner (and no, I won’t share photos here), I have an excellent [...]... Read more »

  • November 14, 2010
  • 12:00 PM
  • 1,514 views

Climate Change and the Importance of Maintenance Breeding

by Matt DiLeo in Biofortified

Variety IR8 is the original “Miracle rice” of the 1960s. This carefully-crafted variety has a stunted, semi-dwarf phenotype, which increases it’s harvest index (the proportion of grain biomass to total biomass), and allows it to resist lodging (falling over into the mud), even when heavily fertilized. As with wheat, the creation of dwarf varieties of rice played a major role in the enormous yield gains of the Green Revolution. But now it’s in Continue reading...... Read more »

  • November 14, 2010
  • 01:10 AM
  • 1,332 views

Genes for autism or genes for connectivity?

by Jon Brock in Cracking the Enigma

Autism is a genetic disorder. We've known this ever since the 1970s when studies by Susan Folstein and Michael Rutter showed that identical twins  (who share the same random mix of genes from their parents) are much more likely to both be autistic than fraternal (non-identical) twins, who each have a different random mix of genes. These findings were incredibly important and fundamentally changed the way people think about autism. But they didn't tell us which genes cause aut........ Read more »

Scott-Van Zeeland AA, Abrahams BS, Alvarez-Retuerto AI, Sonnenblick LI, Rudie JD, Ghahremani D, Mumford JA, Poldrack RA, Dapretto M, Geschwind DH.... (2010) Altered Functional Connectivity in Frontal Lobe Circuits Is Associated with Variation in the Autism Risk Gene CNTNAP2. Science translational medicine, 2(56). PMID: 21048216  

  • November 13, 2010
  • 05:50 PM
  • 862 views

How to win elections by changing beliefs in God

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Aaron Kay a psychologist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada is interested in how people react when you make them feel like they're not in control of the situation they find themselves in.

He's previously shown that, if you disturb people's sense of control, then they tend to compensate by increasing their belief in a controlling god. In a separate study, he also showed that there's a similar relationship with attitudes to government. What seems to be happening is that, when people........ Read more »

  • November 13, 2010
  • 04:00 PM
  • 1,150 views

Saturday Review: Oral Vaccines

by Kevin Bonham in Food Matters

Last week, I talked about strategies to improve vaccine efficacy and safety. Most of those strategies were in the context of standard, inject-into-your-arm vaccines, but what about totally new delivery methods? This week, there was a review in PLoS Pathogens of strategies for generating vaccines that you can swallow:

Enhancing Oral Vaccine Potency by Targeting Intestinal M Cells

The immune system in the gastrointestinal tract plays a crucial role in the control of infection, as it constitutes ........ Read more »

  • November 13, 2010
  • 02:46 PM
  • 639 views

The Limits of Neuroplasticity

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Neuroplasticity is in.Books tell us about The Brain That Changes Itself or advise us on how to Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain.Now there's no doubt that the brain is plastic, able to rewire itself in response to damage or training, and that it's more so than was generally believed, say, 20 years ago. It's clearly an important and interesting field, but a little caution is warranted. Neuroplasticity can't fix everything.If the brain were infinitely plastic, brain damage would be no big deal. Y........ Read more »

  • November 13, 2010
  • 12:04 PM
  • 1,023 views

Broken Taboo: A Major Journal Publishes Evidence of ESP

by David Berreby in Mind Matters


Psi is psychology's equivalent of the perpetual motion machine in physics. Claims in favor of telepathy, clairvoyance, premonitions or other extra-sensory perceptions were always considered the realm of looney-tunes who write to professors with no margins and lots of fanciful diagrams. Or worse ...Read More
... Read more »

Daryl J. Bem. (2011) Feeling the future: Experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on cognition and affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. info:/10.1037/a0021524

  • November 13, 2010
  • 11:30 AM
  • 955 views

Slow down = mow down?

by Alistair Dove in Deep Type Flow


Manatees in Florida are a battle hardened lot.  A large proportion of the sluggish sea cows have injuries from boat strikes, which is something of an occupational hazard when you live in the heavily trafficked coastal waterways of the sunshine state.  Indeed, lots of manatees have multiple scars from a lifetime of encounters with leisure craft, and boat strike is the biggest human cause of manatee deaths in that state.  The solution seems obvious, right?  Slow down! &nb........ Read more »

Gerstein, E. (2002) Manatees, Bioacoustics and Boats. American Scientist, 90(2), 154. DOI: 10.1511/2002.2.154  

  • November 12, 2010
  • 06:50 PM
  • 1,270 views

Dutch Men Need Bigger Condoms

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

By surveying 2,350 men in five European countries, primarily by using the ‘Condom Fit and Feel Scale’, Dodge et al. (2010) came up with the conclusion that while most of these men had been happy with their prior condom experiences, there were some grumblings from the Dutch and the Slovenians. An interesting addition to the reasons behind 'why' some men choose not to engage in protected, safe sex, even though few of us could claim ‘ignorance’ on the importance of........ Read more »

Dodge, B., Reece, M., Herbenick, D., & Schick, V. (2010) Experiences of Condom Fit and Feel Among Men in Five European Nations. International Journal of Men's Health, 9(3), 175-183. DOI: 10.3149/jmh.0903.175  

  • November 12, 2010
  • 06:40 PM
  • 607 views

More attractive waitresses get more tips – “Well no shit, Sherlock” science

by thomastu in Disease Prone

I’m not writing about a disease this week. I know this, you don’t have to comment and chide on me about it. It’s not because I’ve run out of diseases to write about, but because my brain doesn’t work in a particularly directed kind of way sometimes. This is what it came up with this [...]... Read more »

  • November 12, 2010
  • 06:40 PM
  • 504 views

More attractive waitresses get more tips – “Well no shit, Sherlock” science

by Thomas Tu in Disease of the week!

I’m not writing about a disease this week. I know this, you don’t have to comment and chide on me about it. It’s not because I’ve run out of diseases to write about, but because my brain doesn’t work in … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 12, 2010
  • 06:23 PM
  • 991 views

Tetris Helps Prevent Unpleasant Memories of Gory Film in Happy People

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Most everything you've read about the Doctors Prescribing 'Tetris Therapy' study is wrong. That ridiculous headline, courtesy of "fair and balanced" Fox News, is the most egregious lie I could find [if you have other favorites, please leave links in the comments]. Press stories frequently distort research findings, but sometimes the authors themselves shoulder the most blame (Holmes et al., 2010). Misuse of the words "trauma" "flashback" "cognitive vaccine" and "PTSD" are at fault here.The exper........ Read more »

  • November 12, 2010
  • 06:09 PM
  • 1,149 views

Cover Girl Meets Mother Nature – Makeup Use in Greater Flamingos

by Dr. Carin Bondar in Dr. Carin Bondar - Biologist With a Twist


~~
Perfectly plum?  Sexy sienna?  What’s your favorite shade?  A self-proclaimed makeup junkie, I love to peruse the aisles at Sephora for all the newest and most wondrous makeup products.  I’m a fan of plums and peaches; they bring my complexion to a cheery and healthy glowy version of itself…and I’m certainly not alone.  The makeup [...]... Read more »

Amat, J., Rendón, M., Garrido-Fernández, J., Garrido, A., Rendón-Martos, M., & Pérez-Gálvez, A. (2010) Greater flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus use uropygial secretions as make-up. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-010-1068-z  

  • November 12, 2010
  • 04:31 PM
  • 910 views

Why Our Deficit Problem Is A Medical Issue

by David Berreby in Mind Matters


Over at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum has nailed the real problem with the deficit-cutting ideas floated the other day by the the co-chairs of President Obama's Commission of Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Their trial balloon concentrates on discretionary spending and Social Security. But the real ...Read More
... Read more »

van Baal, P., Polder, J., de Wit, G., Hoogenveen, R., Feenstra, T., Boshuizen, H., Engelfriet, P., & Brouwer, W. (2008) Lifetime Medical Costs of Obesity: Prevention No Cure for Increasing Health Expenditure. PLoS Medicine, 5(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050029  

  • November 12, 2010
  • 02:45 PM
  • 628 views

Model Identification and Computer Algebra

by Christopher Winship in SMR Blog

Kenneth A. Bollen and Shawn Bauldry, Model Identification and Computer Algebra, Sociological Methods & Research 2010 39: 127-156. Multiequation models that contain observed or latent variables are common in the social sciences. To determine whether unique parameter values exist for such models, one needs to assess model identification. In practice, analysts rely on empirical checks that [...]... Read more »

Bollen, K., & Bauldry, S. (2010) Model Identification and Computer Algebra. Sociological Methods , 39(2), 127-156. DOI: 10.1177/0049124110366238  

  • November 12, 2010
  • 01:47 PM
  • 1,095 views

Pass the Twigs, Please – Toothwear Indicates the Variety of Chalicothere Diets

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Chalicotheres were just plain weird. With horse-like heads, but bodies which appeared to be equal parts gorilla and giant ground sloth, these herbivorous mammals have stymied paleontologists for well over a century. Did they dig for roots and tubers with their massive claws, or did they use their long arms to bring leafy tree branches [...]... Read more »

  • November 12, 2010
  • 01:46 PM
  • 314 views

Personal Genetics & Utility: Round 2 – Mind the EGAPP

by Keith Grimaldi in Eurogene

Personal genetics and disease risk prediction should not be compared to the use of traditional risk factors... Read more »

Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention (EGAPP) Working Group. (2010) Recommendations from the EGAPP Working Group: Genomic profiling to assess cardiovascular risk to improve cardiovascular health. Genetics in medicine : official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics. PMID: 21042222  

  • November 12, 2010
  • 01:00 PM
  • 1,263 views

Weight loss and macrophages

by Kevin Bonham in Food Matters

Macrophages are really good at gobbling stuff up. It's all right there in the name - they are big (macro) eaters (phage). I study them in the context of the immune system - one of the things they do really well is eat up bacteria and other pathogens that have found their way into your tissues. As a front line sentinel, they also are capable of kick-starting inflammation and recruiting the rest of the cells necessary to clear an infection. But that's not all, there's more.

Weight loss and lipoly........ Read more »

Kosteli A, Sugaru E, Haemmerle G, Martin JF, Lei J, Zechner R, & Ferrante AW Jr. (2010) Weight loss and lipolysis promote a dynamic immune response in murine adipose tissue. The Journal of clinical investigation, 120(10), 3466-79. PMID: 20877011  

  • November 12, 2010
  • 12:51 PM
  • 1,805 views

Relativity on a Human Scale: "Optical Clocks and Relativity"

by Chad Orzel in Uncertain Principles

As mentioned in yesterday's post on ion trapping, a month or so back Dave Wineland's group at NIST published a paper in Science on using ultra-precise atomic clocks to measure relativistic effects. If you don't have a subscription to Science, you can get the paper for free from the Time and Frequency Division database, because you can't copyright work done for the US government.

This paper generated quite a bit of interest when it came out, because it demonstrates the time-slowing effects of re........ Read more »

Chou, C., Hume, D., Rosenband, T., & Wineland, D. (2010) Optical Clocks and Relativity. Science, 329(5999), 1630-1633. DOI: 10.1126/science.1192720  

Schmidt, P. (2005) Spectroscopy Using Quantum Logic. Science, 309(5735), 749-752. DOI: 10.1126/science.1114375  

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