Post List

  • September 22, 2010
  • 06:03 PM

The Amazon Rainforest Reactor – A Rain Factory

by Michael Gutbrod in A Scientific Nature

The rainforest’s ability to support a great cornucopia of life continues to amaze. Not only does the rainforest hold a large proportion of the Earth’s biodiversity, but it also appears to provide for this biodiversity in a self-sustaining manner. Deep in the untouched Amazonian rainforest of Brazil, an international team led by scientists from the [...]... Read more »

Pöschl U, Martin ST, Sinha B, Chen Q, Gunthe SS, Huffman JA, Borrmann S, Farmer DK, Garland RM, Helas G.... (2010) Rainforest aerosols as biogenic nuclei of clouds and precipitation in the Amazon. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5998), 1513-6. PMID: 20847268  

  • September 22, 2010
  • 01:24 PM

How The Twin Paradox Of Relativity Changes In An Expanding Universe.

by Joseph Smidt in The Eternal Universe

I'm sure most of you have heard of the twin paradox "in which a twin makes a journey into space in a high-speed rocket and returns home to find he has aged less than his identical twin who stayed on Earth."  This paradox has been worked out for special relativity in Minkowski spacetime.  Recently, Boblest et al. worked out the details using general relativity for an expanding universe. (de Sitter

... Read more »

Sebastian Boblest, Thomas Müller, & Günter Wunner. (2010) Twin Paradox in de Sitter Spacetime. E-Print. arXiv: 1009.3427v1

  • September 22, 2010
  • 01:07 PM

Should Every Child with Autism Have an EEG?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

TED presentation by Dr. Aditi Shankardass brings up an important question--should all children with autism (or those undergoing an assessment for autism) have an EEG.  The presenter notes that in her experience in India, up to 50% of children referred with a diagnosis of autism have a seizure disorder or some other neurodevelopmental disorder.  The TED talk is posted above (7 minutes) and here are my notes from the presentation.1 in 6 children suffer from developmental disorderMost dia........ Read more »

Isler JR, Martien KM, Grieve PG, Stark RI, & Herbert MR. (2010) Reduced functional connectivity in visual evoked potentials in children with autism spectrum disorder. Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. PMID: 20605520  

  • September 22, 2010
  • 12:46 PM

Squid visual ecology redux – Put on your PJs!

by Mike Mike in Cephalove

Cephalopods are great subjects for studies on vision, because they are so dependent on their vision that you can get robust behavioral effects by manipulating the visual environment of a test animal. In some new research in the October edition of the Journal of Experimental Biology, CM Talbot and J Marshall (from Queensland) investigate the [...]... Read more »

  • September 22, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

New Horned Dinosaurs From America’s Lost Continent

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

At the height of the golden era of dinosaur science, it takes something special for a newly described dinosaur species to stand out. Dinosaurs with dual sickle claws, humps,  or unexpected bristles more readily grab the attention of the public than more familiar-looking forms, but looks aren’t everything. A pair of horned dinosaurs described today [...]... Read more »

  • September 22, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

To gape or not to gape? Some mussels’ choices influence their place in a habitat

by Matt Soniak in

The segregation of habitat between native and invasive species often comes down to a competition between their physiological and behavioral abilities. This is especially true in habitats prone to frequent change; as both indigenous and invasive species respond to environmental variations in a habitat, it’s the difference in their responses that can determine their success [...]... Read more »

  • September 22, 2010
  • 11:31 AM

Horned Dinosaurs: When It Rains, It Pours

by Andrew Farke in The Open Source Paleontologist

2010 will surely go down as the annus mirabilis of horned dinosaur research. Between the publications of the horned dinosaur symposium volume (with its myriad new taxa and other exciting pieces of research), a "bagaceratopsid" in Europe, a true ceratopsid in Asia, the hypothesis that Torosaurus and Triceratops are growth stages of the same taxon, and more, it's really tough for a "ceratophile" (to borrow Peter Dodson's term) to keep up!Today continues the embarrassment of ceratopsian riches. Wit........ Read more »

  • September 22, 2010
  • 11:24 AM

Renewed Muck, Stuck

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Nobody said it was going to be easy – and they were right. A landmark effort to restore a huge swath of Florida’s wetlands isn’t bringing native plants back to some areas, a new study finds. And to add insult to injury, an invasive exotic shrub appears to be gaining ground due to the restoration. […] Read More »... Read more »

  • September 22, 2010
  • 11:00 AM

Y Chromosome VI: Palindromes!

by Kele in Kele's Science Blog

Synopsis: Why does the ampliconic sequence of the Y chromosome show such high sequence similarity to other regions of the Y? Palindromes. Find out more below! First, a brief review of what the ampliconic class is. From my Y Chromosome II post: The final sequence class, the ampliconic, is more complex than the previous two [...]... Read more »

Skaletsky H, Kuroda-Kawaguchi T, Minx PJ, Cordum HS, Hillier L, Brown LG, Repping S, Pyntikova T, Ali J, Bieri T.... (2003) The male-specific region of the human Y chromosome is a mosaic of discrete sequence classes. Nature, 423(6942), 825-37. PMID: 12815422  

  • September 22, 2010
  • 10:50 AM

Flightlessness in azhdarchids, marsupial brains and pelagic desmostylians: SVPCA 2010 (part II)

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

In the previous article on the 58th Symposium on Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy (SVPCA), held in Cambridge, UK, I discussed some of the work that was presented on stem-tetrapods and sauropods. This time round, we look at more Mesozoic stuff - pterosaurs in particular - before getting on to Cenozoic mammals.

Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

  • September 22, 2010
  • 10:16 AM

How Doth the Hypercarnivorous Crocodile…

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Not long after her trip down the rabbit hole, the reluctant heroine of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is left shaken by the nonsensical strangeness of her surroundings. She tries reciting her school lessons to settle her nerves, but practicing does not provide her with any comfort. Her arithmetic doesn’t add up, geography [...]... Read more »

  • September 22, 2010
  • 10:00 AM

How Do We Design Effective Video Games for Learning? (VG Series Part 4/10)

by Richard Landers in NeoAcademic

Part 4 of my series examining research evidence for the value of video games. This time: a framework for educational games research.... Read more »

  • September 22, 2010
  • 09:58 AM

The citation game

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture

Although "Publish or perish" is more catchy, I believe it should be "Get cited or perish". Why? Because many people (without naming names, we're talking about your promotion committee)also rely on citation data when deciding a scientist's future.While citations often correlate with other measurements of scientific influence (awards, research grants, etc.) citations are hardly objective, and depend on more factors than someone finding your work useful.Time-dependent factors: Recent publications a........ Read more »

  • September 22, 2010
  • 09:06 AM

Simulation of Supply Chain Disruptions

by Daniel Dumke in SCRM Blog - Supply Chain Risk Management

Still too many cooperations do not analyze their supply networks using consistent and scientifically proven methods. Some already do. One case of a company (ABC) is described below.

Goals and Methods
ABC company wanted to know more about their exposure to supply chain disruptions originating from their own plants but also the connected transportation links, suppliers and customers. Specifically, the goals were:Assess the current level of supply chain disruption risk in the systemTest diffe........ Read more »

Schmitt, Amanda J., & Singh Mahender. (2009) Quantifying Supply Chain Disruption Risk Using Monte Carlo and Discrete-Event Simulation. Proceedings of the 2009 Winter Simulation Conference, 1237-1248. info:/

  • September 22, 2010
  • 09:05 AM

Tip of the Week: PathCase for pathway data

by Mary in OpenHelix

We spend a lot of time exploring genomic data, variations, and annotations. But of course a linear perspective on the genes and sequences is not the only way to examine the data. Understanding the pathways in which genes and molecular entities interact is crucial to understanding systems biology.
There are a number of tools which can help you to visualize and explore this kind of data. KEGG is one of the most venerable tools in bioinformatics, BioCyc is well known and used, Reactome is one of o........ Read more »

Elliott, B., Kirac, M., Cakmak, A., Yavas, G., Mayes, S., Cheng, E., Wang, Y., Gupta, C., Ozsoyoglu, G., & Meral Ozsoyoglu, Z. (2008) PathCase: pathways database system. Bioinformatics, 24(21), 2526-2533. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btn459  

  • September 22, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

The Wolverine Leaf

by Brit Trogen in Science in Seconds


What once was a man, is now the Wolverine. And what once was a leaf, is now... a magnetic leaf?


Chemists at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces have taken the next step in merging nature with technology by devising a method to convert the skeleton of a rubber tree leaf into iron carbide. And just like Wolverine, the newly converted leaves are magnetic, able to withstand extremely high amounts of stress, and looking for blood. 


Okay... Everythin........ Read more »

Schnepp Z, Yang W, Antonietti M, & Giordano C. (2010) Biotemplating of metal carbide microstructures: the magnetic leaf. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English), 49(37), 6564-6. PMID: 20715026  

  • September 22, 2010
  • 08:32 AM

Intelligent Nihilism

by gameswithwords in Games with Words

The latest issue of Cognitive Science, which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite journals, carries an interesting and informative debate on the nature of language, thought, cognition and learning, between John Hummel at University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, and Michael Ramscar, at Stanford University. This exchange of papers highlights what I think is the current empirical standstill between two very different world-views.

Hummel takes up the cause of "traditional" models on which thought........ Read more »

John E. Hummel. (2010) Symbolic versus associative learning. Cognitive Science, 958-865. info:/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2010.01096.x

Michael Ramscar. (2010) Computing machinery and understanding. Cognitive Science, 966-971. info:/

  • September 22, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Shock Therapy – A Thing of the Past or the Only Way Out?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

When most people think of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the first thing that comes to mind may be a scene in the 1975 film “One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest,” where Jack Nicholson undergoes the treatment, in a way more akin to torture than medical care. There are people holding him down, he is not under [...]... Read more »

Coentre R, Barrocas D, Chendo I, Abreu M, Levy P, Maltez J, & Figueira ML. (2009) [Electroconvulsive therapy: myths and evidences]. Acta medica portuguesa, 22(3), 275-80. PMID: 19686628  

  • September 22, 2010
  • 07:33 AM

Through the Language Glass (Part 2)

by Chris in The Lousy Linguist

This is part 2 of my review of Guy Deutscher's new book Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages. This covers The Language Lens (129-249). Part 1 is here. This review will cover the scientific evidence that Deutscher reviews suggesting that language affects thought, and will end with a shocking proposal.To sum up my review of part one: meh. Okay, we've established that culture can influence language. This is a lot less controversial than Deutscher makes it see........ Read more »

Guy deutscher. (2010) Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages. Metropolitan Books. info:/

  • September 22, 2010
  • 07:11 AM

Sociopathic Dementia

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a tragic, but scientifically fascinating, disease.FTD only accounts for a small fraction of dementias in total (estimates range from 2% to 10%), but it typically strikes people aged in their 50s or 60s, i.e. much earlier than the average for Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia. As a result, FTD accounts for a large proportion of early-onset cases.The symptoms are different to those of Alzheimer's, at least in the early stages. Memory problems a........ Read more »

Mendez MF. (2010) The unique predisposition to criminal violations in frontotemporal dementia. The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 38(3), 318-23. PMID: 20852216  

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