Post List

  • March 30, 2011
  • 10:40 PM

Whatever Sinks Your Boat: Pests as a Conservation Tool

by Megsie Siple in Fishpond Fever

Close-up of the apical end of a shipworm taken from the He'eia mangroves. Shipworms are not actually worms but bivalves (this picture shows one of the shells, the other is obscured by tissue).Teredo worms (or shipworms), which are actually bivalves of the family Teredinidae, are legendary in their appetites for ship hulls, wood pilings, or any other wood found in the ocean. Like a clam or any other bivalve, they have two sharp shells on one end, but their long, soft body makes them look mor........ Read more »

  • March 30, 2011
  • 10:27 PM

iPads vs. Adventures: Negative Stereotypes of Materialism

by Jenika in ionpsych

Suppose you’re sitting around one night and log in to Facebook.  You scan through your friends’ status updates, and notice one person excitedly trumpeting the arrival of their new iPad 2, chattering about all the cool features.  Maybe you’re not … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 30, 2011
  • 08:51 PM

South America Gets Two More Sabercats

by Laelaps in Laelaps

How does one go about selling a sabercat skeleton? This was the question the Argentinean naturalist Francisco Javier Muñiz asked Charles Darwin in a letter sent on August 30, 1846.
Almost one year previously, in the pages of the Gaceta Mercantil, Muñiz published a detailed description of a nearly-complete saber-toothed cat skeleton. The article’s title proclaimed [...]... Read more »

  • March 30, 2011
  • 08:50 PM

Virophages engineer the ecosystem

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

Last week we discussed the second known virophage, but we didn’t have any explanation of why such viruses might evolve. This week we have the discovery of a third virophage, hints of many more, and a hypothesis for what they might be doing in the global ecosystem. The newest virus eater is called Organic Lake [...]... Read more »

Yau S, Lauro FM, Demaere MZ, Brown MV, Thomas T, Raftery MJ, Andrews-Pfannkoch C, Lewis M, Hoffman JM, Gibson JA.... (2011) Virophage control of antarctic algal host-virus dynamics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21444812  

  • March 30, 2011
  • 08:09 PM

Kin Selection: Nowak vs the world

by Jon Wilkins in Lost in Transcription

So,  if you're an evolutionary biologist, or really if you follow the biology literature at all, you have probably heard about the paper published last fall in Nature by Martin Nowak, Corina Tarnita, and E. O. Wilson. The paper claims that all theories based on kin selection and inclusive fitness are fundamentally flawed and unsupported by any empirical evidence.

Recently, responses to the paper were published in Nature, and the original article has been criticized on a number of counts.&n........ Read more »

Nowak, M., Tarnita, C., & Wilson, E. (2010) The evolution of eusociality. Nature, 466(7310), 1057-1062. DOI: 10.1038/nature09205  

Abbot, P., Abe, J., Alcock, J., Alizon, S., Alpedrinha, J., Andersson, M., Andre, J., van Baalen, M., Balloux, F., Balshine, S.... (2011) Inclusive fitness theory and eusociality. Nature, 471(7339). DOI: 10.1038/nature09831  

Boomsma, J., Beekman, M., Cornwallis, C., Griffin, A., Holman, L., Hughes, W., Keller, L., Oldroyd, B., & Ratnieks, F. (2011) Only full-sibling families evolved eusociality. Nature, 471(7339). DOI: 10.1038/nature09832  

Strassmann, J., Page, R., Robinson, G., & Seeley, T. (2011) Kin selection and eusociality. Nature, 471(7339). DOI: 10.1038/nature09833  

Ferriere, R., & Michod, R. (2011) Inclusive fitness in evolution. Nature, 471(7339). DOI: 10.1038/nature09834  

Herre, E., & Wcislo, W. (2011) In defence of inclusive fitness theory. Nature, 471(7339). DOI: 10.1038/nature09835  

Nowak, M., Tarnita, C., & Wilson, E. (2011) Nowak et al. reply. Nature, 471(7339). DOI: 10.1038/nature09836  

  • March 30, 2011
  • 05:09 PM

Why Do We Hurry to Wait?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

Creative Commons, Credit.
While traveling a few weeks ago, I had ample opportunity to observe the art of waiting. Or rather, the art of not waiting. New Yorkers aren’t known for their patience—something that became painfully obvious when I got frustrated with the service S and I received at a south Florida restaurant. (If it takes more than 10 minutes for a server to come by and get drink orders after the customer has been seated, there is something wrong. We left, by the way, as even t........ Read more »

Antonides, G., Verhoef, P., & van Aalst, M. (2002) Consumer Perception and Evaluation of Waiting Time: A Field Experiment. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 12(3), 193-202. DOI: 10.1207/153276602760335040  

Holland RW, Roeder UR, van Baaren RB, Brandt AC, & Hannover B. (2004) Don't stand so close to me: the effects fo self-construal in interpersonal closeness. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 15(4), 237-42. PMID: 15043640  

  • March 30, 2011
  • 04:56 PM

The evolution of nice

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Most people reading this blog will have heard of the "selfish gene" - the idea, formally defined by Hamilton and popularised by Dawkins, that what matters from the perspective of evolution is not organisms, but genes.
Those genes that maximise their chances of survival - regardless of what happens to individuals - will be the ones that come to predominate.

It comes in for a lot of flack, mostly from people who wrongly equate selfish genes with selfish people. To be fair, there also a lot of co........ Read more »

  • March 30, 2011
  • 03:34 PM

Flora Helper: Synbiotic therapy is a promising treatment for ulcerative colitis

by Kristina Campbell in The Intestinal Gardener: Exploring the science of gut bacteria

In my previous post, I explored the relationship between ulcerative colitis (UC) and gut bacteria. Here, the theme of "treatment" continues.A UK microbiology team, led by Sandra Macfarlane at the University of Dundee, pored over the UC research and became convinced that UC has something to do with the body overreacting to its normal gut bacteria. Basically, it's a case of the gut is crying wolf, saying, "Hey, there's something wrong with this bacteria in here!" even when everything's fine.We alr........ Read more »

  • March 30, 2011
  • 02:52 PM

Who’s Problem? Screening for Interpersonal Violence in ERs

by Ida Salusky in ionpsych

A pregnant woman comes into an emergency room on a weekend evening. She reports that she fell on her stomach and is worried about her unborn child. The woman also has some minor bruising around her wrists and arms not … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 30, 2011
  • 01:46 PM

Teaching Electricity and Magnetism: Part II

by Ryan K in A Quantum of Knowledge

This is the second part of my posts about teaching Electricity and Magnetism (EM). Part I can be found here, which dealt with the confusion of students in learning electricity and magnetism together. Part II deals with a paper looking at ways to help improve teaching methods for EM. The paper is entitled “Using multimedia [...]... Read more »

  • March 30, 2011
  • 01:25 PM

Magnetism’s new hotness

by Joerg Heber in All That Matters

Magnetism remains the most developed way to store digital information. The giga and terabytes of computer hard drives as well as the magnetic stripes that still are used for credit cards or hotel room keys, all function with the help of magnetic fields. There, the direction of the magnetic fields, up or down, expresses the [...]... Read more »

Radu, I., Vahaplar, K., Stamm, C., Kachel, T., Pontius, N., Dürr, H., Ostler, T., Barker, J., Evans, R., Chantrell, R.... (2011) Transient ferromagnetic-like state mediating ultrafast reversal of antiferromagnetically coupled spins. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature09901  

  • March 30, 2011
  • 12:11 PM

Comparing Slime

by Lane Lab @ URI in LaneLab@URI

Figure 1. Slime molds are frikin cool. (Source) Social amoebae (sometimes referred to as slim molds, though they are not true members of the slime mold group) are a diverse group of unicellular organisms that congregate into “multicellular” forms for … Continue reading →... Read more »

Eichinger, L., Pachebat, J., Glöckner, G., Rajandream, M., Sucgang, R., Berriman, M., Song, J., Olsen, R., Szafranski, K., Xu, Q.... (2005) The genome of the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. Nature, 435(7038), 43-57. DOI: 10.1038/nature03481  

Sucgang, R., Kuo, A., Tian, X., Salerno, W., Parikh, A., Feasley, C., Dalin, E., Tu, H., Huang, E., Barry, K.... (2011) Comparative genomics of the social amoebae Dictyostelium discoideum and Dictyostelium purpureum. Genome Biology, 12(2). DOI: 10.1186/gb-2011-12-2-r20  

  • March 30, 2011
  • 11:41 AM

Neuroskeptic Irreverent and Sometimes Profane, Study Finds

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

I was most surprised and honored to find out this morning that the Annals of Neurology has declared Neuroskeptic to beIrreverent, sometimes profane, and can skirt the boundaries of good taste. Nonetheless, Neuroskeptic covers a rich mixture of important, engaging, or amusing topics focusing on the basic and clinical neurosciences, and does so in a data-driven, user-friendly, and comment-enabled format. Neuroskeptic is only one of a number of increasingly used web sites and blogs dedicated to pro........ Read more »

Hauser, S., & Johnston, S. (2011) Scientific literacy and the media. Annals of Neurology, 69(3). DOI: 10.1002/ana.22410  

  • March 30, 2011
  • 11:25 AM

Guest post: Auditory processing disorder – a cause of language problems or an incidental finding?

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

What causes a child’s language problems? Is it a problem with hearing? A problem with the brain’s interpretation of speech? Is it genetic? Specialists sometimes diagnose ‘Auditory Processing Disorder’ but the term itself is a complicated affair, writes Dorothy Bishop. Five-year-old Charlie doesn’t speak very clearly, and doesn’t always understand what people are saying. His [...]... Read more »

Moore DR, Ferguson MA, Edmondson-Jones AM, Ratib S, & Riley A. (2010) Nature of auditory processing disorder in children. Pediatrics, 126(2). PMID: 20660546  

  • March 30, 2011
  • 11:09 AM

Watch Out For That Thagomizer!

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Stegosaurus had a formidable tail. Studded with four long spikes, this dinosaur’s business end would have given Allosaurus and other Jurassic predators plenty of incentive to keep moving. But do we have any evidence that Stegosaurus really used its tail this way? Among paleontologists, the four-spiked tail of Stegosaurus is called a “thagomizer.” It is [...]... Read more »

Carpenter, Kenneth; Sanders, Frank; McWhinney, Lorrie A.; and Wood, Lowell. (2005) Evidence for predator-prey relationships: Examples for Allosaurus and Stegosaurus. The Carnivorous Dinosaurs, 325-350. info:/

  • March 30, 2011
  • 09:46 AM

Suicide Tops Death List for Meth Heads

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Methamphetamine Chemical StructureMethamphetamine dependence can lead to an early death.  The magnitude and mechanism of this effect is not well understood.  One way to better understand effects of drug abuse/dependence on mortality is the prospective outcome study.  These types of studies tend to be costly and may require many years to yield research results.   That’s why there are not many published studies to answer the question of this post.A recent study from Taiw........ Read more »

  • March 30, 2011
  • 09:37 AM

‘Meeting sickness’ and possible cures

by Abi Millar in Elements Science

Meetings are one of the hot topics in occupational psychology. How can this bane of working life best be addressed? Asks Abi Millar.

Related posts:Shopping, Death and Stereotypes
... Read more »

  • March 30, 2011
  • 09:00 AM

Evidence on Weight-Loss Supplements Found Too Light

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

Reader of these pages are probably well aware of the countless supplements, potions, pills, and other products being enthusiastically advertised (and sold) for weight loss.
Although this is a billion dollar market, most users of these products (after spending a fortune) will have realised that virtually none of them hold any of the advertised promises (viz. [...]... Read more »

  • March 30, 2011
  • 09:00 AM

Why we live in dangerous places

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

Natural disasters always seem to strike in the worst places. The Sendai earthquake has caused over 8,000 deaths, destroyed 450,000 people’s homes, crippled four nuclear reactors, and wreaked over $300 billion in damage. And it’s only the latest disaster. Haiti will need decades to rebuild after its earthquake. New Orleans still hasn’t repopulated following Hurricane Katrina. Indonesia still feels the effect of the 2004 tsunami. The list could go on and on. The unfortunate lesso........ Read more »

Connell JH. (1978) Diversity in tropical rain forests and coral reefs. Science (New York, N.Y.), 199(4335), 1302-10. PMID: 17840770  

  • March 30, 2011
  • 08:57 AM

Wednesday Weird Science: SNAILS IN...SPAAAAAAACE

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

There will be no NORMAL Friday Weird Science this week.  Sci's got something special coming at ya!  Keep your eyes peeled.   But of course, I couldn't just do a week without doing my NORMAL weird science, right??  Ok, I'll be honest, nothing else really appealed to me's SNAILS IN SPACE.  You know what?  [...]... Read more »

Balaban, P., Malyshev, A., Ierusalimsky, V., Aseyev, N., Korshunova, T., Bravarenko, N., Lemak, M., Roshchin, M., Zakharov, I., Popova, Y.... (2011) Functional Changes in the Snail Statocyst System Elicited by Microgravity. PLoS ONE, 6(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017710  

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