Post List

  • July 29, 2011
  • 12:13 PM

Why You’ll Pay for Silence: John Cage’s 4:33

by Sam McNerney in Why We Reason

I was on iTunes yesterday checking out Kanye and Jay-Z’s latest when I came across something that caught my eye. It was the famous – or perhaps infamous – John Cage piece Four Minutes and Thirty Three Seconds, one of … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 29, 2011
  • 12:07 PM

Swedes move to the city, but don’t leave the forest behind

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

If there’s one thing that comes to mind when you think of Sweden besides Ikea and meatballs, it’s probably forests. They cover nearly 70 percent of the country. As a result, Swedes have a very close relationship with their forests, though the nature of it has changed in the last few decades. Swedish forests have [...]... Read more »

  • July 29, 2011
  • 11:35 AM

Breakfast Skipping and Change in Body Mass Index in Young Children

by Mr Epidemiology in Mr Epidemiology

As mothers everywhere know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, as scientists, we want empirical evidence. Breakfast has been associated with several health outcomes, ranging from increased academic performance, to improved quality of life, as well as enhanced dietary profiles. While many cross-sectional studies have found that those who skip breakfast are more [...]... Read more »

  • July 29, 2011
  • 10:13 AM

Does Rough-and-Tumble Play Teach Lessons About Fairness? “Why, Soitenly!”

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

The Three Stooges was the source of an ongoing controversy between my parents. My dad introduced my brother and I to their antics and would often laugh along with us as we imitated their physical hijinks in front of the TV. But, for my mom, the Stooges’ fake violence and prat falls were simply ridiculous [...]

... Read more »

  • July 29, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Blue in the Brain – The Upside of Depression

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

You watch the world bang door after door in your face, numbly, bitterly. You have forgotten the secret you knew, once, ah, once, of being joyous, of laughing, of opening doors. — Sylvia Plath Depression is generally associated with a poor intellectual and physical performance. The assumption that negativity and lack of interest in the [...]... Read more »

  • July 29, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Prescribing Gene Flow

by Kevin Zelnio in EvoEcoLab

When ecosystems are sick, who prescribes the cure? Its not as straight-forward as it is in medicine. A doctor diagnoses a problem and prescribes some medication or treatments to ease the pain or kill infectious agents. Sometimes we battle the insurance agents over the necessity of treatments. This is simplified of course. In applied ecology, [...]

... Read more »

Sexton JP, Strauss SY, & Rice KJ. (2011) Gene flow increases fitness at the warm edge of a species' range. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(28), 11704-9. PMID: 21709253  

  • July 29, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Taxonomist as science survivalists

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Just over a week ago, a vote by botanists at the International Botanical Congress decided to allow species names to be considered valid if they are published only electronically. Nature talks about this in this editorial. (Not only were botanists wedded to paper publication, but having species descriptions in Latin. Latin? I had no idea.)

Zoologists, from what I’ve read so far, think that botanists made a bad decision.

Because zoologists are bitter about their floppy disks.

Okay, perhaps n........ Read more »

  • July 29, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: When you want to stack the jury with extraverts

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Extraverts are the ones in the jury box who are making plans for lunch and organizing jury reunion parties.  They chat up their bench-mates during voir dire, and can be seen making good-natured eye contact with everyone in the courtroom. They are also, according to some new research, more likely to believe in free will, [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Blind spots, ethics & helping a jury make the right choice
Simple Jury Persuasion: The ‘attitude alignment’ effect & ........ Read more »

  • July 29, 2011
  • 06:30 AM

Drugs run in families

by Becky in It Takes 30

When you’re sick — whether you just have a mild headache or you’re at risk of a heart attack — it’s likely that the drug that will be used to treat you is either a natural product or a human-made copy of a molecule originally found in nature. About half of the drugs on the market today were discovered by screening collections of small molecules made by bacteria, fungi, snails, leeches and other such creatures. Though the pharmaceutical industry has made serious ef........ Read more »

Zhu F, Qin C, Tao L, Liu X, Shi Z, Ma X, Jia J, Tan Y, Cui C, Lin J.... (2011) Clustered patterns of species origins of nature-derived drugs and clues for future bioprospecting. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21768386  

  • July 29, 2011
  • 06:13 AM

Characterisation of pulmonary cysts in BHD syndrome

by Danielle Stevenson in BHD Research Blog

A recent paper by Tobino et al. (2011) investigated the differentiation between two cystic lung diseases: BHD syndrome and lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). LAM is a rare lung disease, mainly affecting women, in which multiple cysts develop in the lungs, often leading … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 29, 2011
  • 04:28 AM

Stoichiometric IR pulsed laser deposition of Yttrium doped Bi-2212 thin film

by nath in Imprints of Philippine Science

Yttrium-doped Bismuth Strontium Calcium Copper Oxide (BSCCO) films,  specifically Bi 2212, were succesfully deposited with preserved sample concentration using Infrared Pulsed Laser Deposition (IR PLD) as written in a recent publication from the National Institute of Physics, University of the Philippines Diliman [1].  It was also shown that by using appropriate annealing, desired qualities for [...]... Read more »

  • July 29, 2011
  • 03:48 AM

What Big Eyes You Have

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

According to the BBC, a new study has found that northern peoples have bigger eyes - and bigger brains.Actually, the paper in question talked about eyes but didn't make much of the brain finding, which is confined to the Supplement. Nonetheless, they did find an effect on brain size too. Peoples living further from the equator have larger eye sockets and also larger total cranial capacity (brain volume), apparantly. The authors include Robin Dunbar of "Dunbar's Number" fame.Their idea is that hu........ Read more »

  • July 29, 2011
  • 01:00 AM

Cytosine-Mod Mysteries Sort-of Solved? Disappearing Methyls and Regulatory 5-hmCs

by Chris Womack in E3 Engaging Epigenetics Experts

Last week’s excitement about the discovery of “seventh” and “eighth” DNA bases might’ve obscured parts of that work that shed a little more light on a very murky corner of epigenetics’ cytosine modifications — “Where do the methyls go?” And related research also published last week gets a bit closer to answering, “What does 5-hydroxymethyl-C really do, anyway?”... Read more »

  • July 28, 2011
  • 07:56 PM

Can’t fall asleep? You don’t want to read this then.

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

Unlike narcolepsy, which has been shown to have genetic and environmental triggers insomnia seems to have no genetic component. The closest thing to a genetic insomnia is the ominously named fatal familial insomnia, which my old friend Thomas wrote about here.

A diagnosis of insomnia relies on the way the following questions are answered, “Do you experience difficulty sleeping?” or “Do you have difficulty falling or staying asleep?” You answer yes to either of those an........ Read more »

  • July 28, 2011
  • 04:32 PM

Archaeopteryx Falls from Bird Family Tree Again

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

A proposal has been made to remove beloved Archaeopteryx from the bird family tree and push it over to some non-avian dinosaur subtree. This is not the first time that the ancient species has had its position on the tree of bird life threatened, but this time it may be for real. The proposal is reasonable.
Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

  • July 28, 2011
  • 03:47 PM

Is the Aging Brain Uniquely Human?

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Even if you stay free of Alzheimer's disease, the normal aging process is fairly destructive to your brain. Neurons disappear, connections lose their strength, protein gunk builds up, and the whole brain shrinks. Areas controlling learning and memory are among the hardest hit. A new study claims that our crumbling brains aren't just a fact of normal aging. Instead, they may be unique in the animal kingdom, the result of an evolutionary bargain our species has struck.Chet Sherwood at George Washi........ Read more »

Sherwood, C., Gordon, A., Allen, J., Phillips, K., Erwin, J., Hof, P., & Hopkins, W. (2011) Aging of the cerebral cortex differs between humans and chimpanzees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1016709108  

  • July 28, 2011
  • 03:23 PM

Do world-class sprinters really move their legs no faster than ordinary runners?

by Dave Munger in Science-Based Running

The speeds attained by world-class sprinters like Usain Bolt are simply unfathomable to me. During today’s workout, I ran at nearly top speed for a set of 400-meter repetitions: About 6-minute-mile pace, or 10 miles per hour. Sure, I could probably hit 15 mph over 50 meters or so, but that would be about it. [...]... Read more »

Weyand PG, Sternlight DB, Bellizzi MJ, & Wright S. (2000) Faster top running speeds are achieved with greater ground forces not more rapid leg movements. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 89(5), 1991-9. PMID: 11053354  

  • July 28, 2011
  • 12:35 PM

Daniel Tammet invents his own Siwu ideophone

by Mark D. in The Ideophone

Daniel Tammet's second book, Embracing The Wide Sky (2009), is enthralling. In his own words, the book is "a personal and scientific exploration of how the brain works". To my great delight, I discovered that it even indirectly features my work on Siwu ideophones. In this post I set out a few things we learn from his invention of a new Siwu ideophone, pambalaa.
... Read more »

Tammet, Daniel. (2009) Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind. New York: Free Press. info:/

  • July 28, 2011
  • 11:00 AM

The music industry is fluxed

by David Bradley in Sciencetext

The music industry is in flux, has been for at least a decade since the heady days of Napster and Kazaa. A lot of things have changed, the old model of consumers draining their bank accounts to simply consume plastic disks is essentially defunct. File sharing really has put paid to that, but perhaps not [...]Post from: David Bradley's Sciencetext Tech TalkThe music industry is fluxed
... Read more »

Vishal Midha, Punit Ahluwalia, & and Jerald Hughes. (2011) A new revenue model: a different approach to reduce music piracy. Int. J. Electronic Finance, 5(3), 249-260. info:/

  • July 28, 2011
  • 10:01 AM

Bacteria Fight for the Right to Live!

by Brooke N in Smaller Questions

We think, bacteria infects host & one of two things occur 1) Host targets and kills bacteria, clearing the infection without the host knowing or even noticing the temporary invaders or 2) Bacteria overtakes host, replicating widely out of control and causing disease.

And, well… for the most part these ARE the majority of what happens when a bacteria infects its host – but what’s more interesting is how do the host and bacteria interact during infection… and how does ........ Read more »

Russell AB, Hood RD, Bui NK, LeRoux M, Vollmer W, & Mougous JD. (2011) Type VI secretion delivers bacteriolytic effectors to target cells. Nature, 475(7356), 343-7. PMID: 21776080  

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