There has certainly been a good amount of recent controversy over the science of sex differences and the brain. Pop-science books such as The Male Brain and The Female Brain that emphasize (and probably exaggerate) sex differences have drawn major criticism. A couple of new books expose flaws in the stereotypical 'men think about sex every 5 seconds because they are programmed to' theory and related ideologies.The above figure summarizes the well-accepted theory of male versus female brain funct........ Read more »
Weissman-Fogel I, Moayedi M, Taylor KS, Pope G, & Davis KD. (2010) Cognitive and default-mode resting state networks: Do male and female brains "rest" differently?. Human brain mapping. PMID: 20725910
In her classic book, Autism: Explaining the Enigma, Uta Frith coined the term 'weak central coherence' to describe the tendency of people with autism to focus on details at the expense of pulling together different sources of information and seeing the big picture. Frith described this as the "red thread" running through many of the symptoms of autism, including both the difficulties with social interaction and the strengths in attention to detail.
Frith argued that the ability to pull togeth........ Read more »
Jon Brock, Courtenay Frazier Norbury, Shiri Einav, & Kate Nation. (2008) Do individuals with autism process words in context? Evidence from language-mediated eye-movements. Cognition. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2008.06.007
With news of new extrasolar planets being released nearly weekly, there is a general feeling that we are in the midst of a singular moment in cosmic discovery. And the news a few weeks ago of a planet that is about the same size as Earth has provided the sense that the discovery of a [...]... Read more »
Samuel Arbesman, & Gregory Laughlin. (2010) A Scientometric Prediction of the Discovery of the First Potentially Habitable Planet with a Mass Similar to Earth. PLoS ONE (in press). arXiv: 1009.2212v1
Flexible electronics has been promising a lot for a long time. Organics-based electronics on our clothes and other wonderful gadgets. However, the real potential of the truly bendy stuff hasn’t been compellingly demonstrated for a long time. Sure, you can make wires on a plastic substrate and hope for the best. Which often wasn’t very [...]... Read more »
Mannsfeld, S., Tee, B., Stoltenberg, R., Chen, C., Barman, S., Muir, B., Sokolov, A., Reese, C., & Bao, Z. (2010) Highly sensitive flexible pressure sensors with microstructured rubber dielectric layers. Nature Materials. DOI: 10.1038/NMAT2834
Takei, K., Takahashi, T., Ho, J., Ko, H., Gillies, A., Leu, P., Fearing, R., & Javey, A. (2010) Nanowire active-matrix circuitry for low-voltage macroscale artificial skin. Nature Materials. DOI: 10.1038/NMAT2835
At least one dog can be found in forty percent of US households, and forty percent of those owners allow their dogs to sleep on their beds. To put this in perspective, in a family with five children, two of them can be expected to become dog owners, and one of them will probably allow the dog to sleep on his or her bed. In an undergraduate lecture class of two hundred, eighty of those students come from homes with at least one pet dog. So as you might expect, dogs are a big business! In 2007, th........ Read more »
*-note, this was derived from a combination of emails between myself and my former phd advisor. See if you can pick out who is arguing what and where. It’s fun – well, for some of you, anyway. How do we know the world? This is a seemingly simple and vast question – one with no [...]... Read more »
Paine, R. (2010) Macroecology: Does It Ignore or Can It Encourage Further Ecological Syntheses Based on Spatially Local Experimental Manipulations?. The American Naturalist, 176(4), 385-393. DOI: 10.1086/656273
The existence of magnetic fields on cosmologically large scales is an unsolved problem in astrophysics. Theory favors a universe that did not begin with any magnetic fields present and classical magnetohydrodynamics restricts the spontaneous emergence of a magnetic state under the influence of ideal forces. In a paper entitled Twisting Space-Time: Relativistic Origin of Seed Magnetic Field and Vorticity appearing Physical Review letters Swadesh Mahajan and Zensho Yoshida propose a universal magn........ Read more »
Beck, R., Brandenburg, A., Moss, D., Shukurov, A., & Sokoloff, D. (1996) GALACTIC MAGNETISM: Recent Developments and Perspectives. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 34(1), 155-206. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.astro.34.1.155
Davis, A., Lilley, M., & Törnkvist, O. (1999) Relaxing the bounds on primordial magnetic seed fields. Physical Review D, 60(2). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.60.021301
Mahajan, S., & Yoshida, Z. (2010) Twisting Space-Time: Relativistic Origin of Seed Magnetic Field and Vorticity. Physical Review Letters, 105(9). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.095005
Regular readers will know that I like covering obscure animals... with luck, really obscure animals. The problem with such animals is that nice images hardly ever - sometimes never - exist. When they do exist, they're protected by copyright and are unavailable for use on a blog. I'm therefore eternally grateful when people are able (and kind enough) to send me photos of an obscure animal, and are able to give me permission to use them. Recently, herpetologist Kate Jackson of Whitman College, W........ Read more »
Shine, R. (1991) Intersexual Dietary Divergence and the Evolution of Sexual Dimorphism in Snakes. The American Naturalist, 138(1), 103. DOI: 10.1086/285207
Religious people are more likely to approve of capital punishment. That's something that's always intrigued me - partly because I find the idea of killing another human being in cold blood absolutely horrific. To be fair, however, there's a lot of variation between different religious groups in the support for the death penalty, and perhaps that holds at least a partial answer. Maybe there's something in the creed of certain religions, or sects within religions, that encourages notions of reveng........ Read more »
Wozniak, K., & Lewis, A. (2010) Re-examining the effect of Christian denominational affiliation on death penalty support. Journal of Criminal Justice. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2010.07.011
Think you’ve got your least squares down to a tee? Think again. In a paper posted to the Arxiv in late August, David Hogg of NYU and his collaborators take us to task on our sloppy data fitting habits. And he’s not in the mood to mince his words. It is conventional to begin any [...]... Read more »
When you hurt your neck in a car accident, what are the chances that you will get better? Well, Michele Sterling’s research team has put aside its Jacaranda Gazing and Cane Toad Stomping, to gather some really helpful information on this. What is more, Sterlo has been so kind as to squeeze another nanosecond out [...]... Read more »
Sterling M, Hendrikz J, & Kenardy J. (2010) Compensation claim lodgement and health outcome developmental trajectories following whiplash injury: A prospective study. Pain. PMID: 20307934
Adriane Fugh-Berman (Georgetown University, United States) exposes the campaign of Wyeth and DesignWrite to falsely market hormone replacement therapy in non-symptomatic women, thereby profiting from a medical treatment which is not based on science. This news feature was written on September 13, 2010.... Read more »
Fugh-Berman, A. J. (2010) The Haunting of Medical Journals: How Ghostwriting Sold “HRT”. PLoS Medicine, 7(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000335
I could actually head this post with the title ‘Essential Skills for Living’ and leave out the pain part, because as I reflect on the events over the past week, and the aftermath as residents of Christchurch start to demolish then rebuild their homes and businesses, these same skills apply. How do people live well … Read more... Read more »
BERKING, M., WUPPERMAN, P., REICHARDT, A., PEJIC, T., DIPPEL, A., & ZNOJ, H. (2008) Emotion-regulation skills as a treatment target in psychotherapy☆. Behaviour Research and Therapy. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2008.08.005
Flink, I., Nicholas, M., Boersma, K., & Linton, S. (2009) Reducing the threat value of chronic pain: A preliminary replicated single-case study of interoceptive exposure versus distraction in six individuals with chronic back pain. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 47(8), 721-728. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2009.05.003
In this post I'd like to revisit the Kouper paper (2010) and even more important, the way it was accepted among science bloggers. First of all, let's start with the blogs studied. The paper says that "The blogs were sampled via the Internet search for "science blogs" and "blogs about science" and by following scientific news on the moment of data collection in Summer, 2008". I'm not sure why Ms. Kouper felt the need to make both searches because Uncle Google, bless its PageRank heart, gives, as........ Read more »
Kouper, I. (2010) Science blogs and public engagement with science: practices, challenges, and opportunities. Jcom, 9(1). info:/
Since we were talking about GPCRs the other day, here's a nice overview of some of the experimental challenges associated with membrane proteins and how researchers are trying to overcome them. These challenges are associated not just with the crystallization, but with the whole shebang. Although many clever tricks have emerged, we have a long way to go, and at least a few of the tricks sound like brute trial and error.To begin with, it's not that easy to get your expression system to produce am........ Read more »
Baker, M. (2010) Making membrane proteins for structures: a trillion tiny tweaks. Nature Methods, 7(6), 429-434. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth0610-429
by Fred Neidhardt in Small Things Considered
by Fred Neidhardt
Growth dominates the attention of many bacteriologists. It has done so for over a century, inspiring explorations into the complex biochemistry and physiology that produce new cells able to grow, survive harsh environments, and live to grow another day.
Likewise, since the earliest days of microbiology, virulence has been a central focus. In fact, studies of how bacteria cause disease have in sheer number dominated the field for the simple reason that more than intellect........ Read more »
The human body is not just an organism, it’s an ecosystem. To the billions of microscopic bacteria, viruses and fungi living in the various nooks and crannies of our intestines, mouth, nose, and other areas, we are the world, the environment that drives their evolution. Though scientists and physicians have long known that humans are [...]... Read more »
Poroyko V, White JR, Wang M, Donovan S, Alverdy J, Liu DC, & Morowitz MJ. (2010) Gut microbial gene expression in mother-fed and formula-fed piglets. PloS one, 5(8). PMID: 20805981
A recent study from Dr. Charles Holahan and colleagues has been posted on the new articles section of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. This study examined the role of alcohol consumption and mortality in a group of men and women between the ages of 55 and 65 followed for twenty years. The media highlighted this study often headlining that heavy drinking was linked lower mortality rates than being abstinent from alcohol. This study deserves further analysis and co........ Read more »
Holahan CJ, Schutte KK, Brennan PL, Holahan CK, Moos BS, & Moos RH. (2010) Late-Life Alcohol Consumption and 20-Year Mortality. Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research. PMID: 20735372
Floods just aren’t what they used to be. The construction of dams has dramatically altered the flow of flood waters in more than half of the large rivers in the United States, and in many smaller waterways too, according to a new analysis.
Although rising rivers can wash away homes and threaten lives, ecologists have […] Read More »... Read more »
FitzHugh, T., & Vogel, R. (2010) The impact of dams on flood flows in the United States. River Research and Applications. DOI: 10.1002/rra.1417
As I walk through an art museum, I casually stroll around the exhibits stopping and pausing at various pieces that catch my eye. Usually the artists are Monet or Degas; I definitely have my favorites. But what is it about these paintings that catch our eyes? What kinds of things do we notice and pay [...]... Read more »
Locher, P., Krupinski, E., Mello-Thoms, C., & Nodine, C. (2008) Visual interest in pictorial art during an aesthetic experience. Spatial Vision, 21(1), 55-77. DOI: 10.1163/156856808782713762
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