Post List

  • October 3, 2010
  • 12:50 PM

A new approach to fighting viruses?

by Science Exploiter in Science Exploits

In my education, I remember learning a unique property of viruses: once a virus infects a cell, no others will attempt to do so.  Don't take this the wrong way.  Multiple viruses can infect a cell, but not of the same strain.  As an analogy consider paintball: once you successfully shoot your opponent, your team loses the necessity to shoot that person.  This may be a stretch, but if you played with multiple teams, and each team had to take out a person, then this individual ........ Read more »

Rémy Froissart, Claus O. Wilke, Rebecca Montville, Susanna K. Remold, Lin Chao, & Paul E. Turner. (2004) Co-infection Weakens Selection Against Epistatic Mutations in RNA Viruses. Genetics, 168(1), 9-19. info:/

  • October 3, 2010
  • 08:56 AM

Mismanaged Fisheries: Don’t forget the invertebrates

by Uncharted Atolls in Uncharted Atolls

When we think of fisheries, we usually think of, well, fish.  As the collective global negligence regarding fisheries is further studied and exposed, these resource management issues have been brought out of obscurity in the past decade or so.  Fisheries worldwide totaled 15-20 million … Continue reading →... Read more »

R Grigg. (1993) Precious Coral Fisheries of Hawaii and the U.S. Pacific Islands. Marine Fisheries Review, 55(2), 50-60. info:/

Roark EB, Guilderson TP, Dunbar RB, Fallon SJ, & Mucciarone DA. (2009) Extreme longevity in proteinaceous deep-sea corals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(13), 5204-8. PMID: 19307564  

  • October 3, 2010
  • 05:16 AM

Young Men Exposed to the Abortion Experience

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Using a narrative interview approach, Hallden and Christensson (2010)document the lived experiences of 10 young men in Sweden, whose girlfriends had procured an abortion. Central to how those young men reacted to that abortion process, was a strong desire to be as supportive as they possibly could be of their girlfriends. ... Read more »

  • October 3, 2010
  • 04:34 AM

That’s Linguistics (Not logistics)

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Linguists really need a catchy tune to match those in logistics. Any takers?
I always remember when one of my former lecturers said he was surprised by how little the average person will know about linguistics. For me, this was best exemplified when, upon enquiring about my degree, my friend paused for a brief moment . . . → Read More: That’s Linguistics (Not logistics)... Read more »

Lyle Cambell. (2002) The History of Linguistics. The Handbook of Linguistics. info:/10.1111/b.9781405102520.2002.00006.x

  • October 3, 2010
  • 04:17 AM

Neurons are not magic

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }
The answer to any question these days seems to be “mirror neurons” as if magic was an acceptable explanation if the magician was a neuron. They are used to explain imitation, language, empathy and theory of mind effects. There are cells that are active if a particular motor act is performed [...]... Read more »

Gallese, V. and Goldman, A.I. (1998) Mirror neurons and the simulation theory of mindreading. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 493-501. info:/

  • October 3, 2010
  • 04:13 AM

Physiognomy of Statesmen

by John Wayland in The Darwin Tribune

Physiognomy is a debunked pseudo-science which claimed to describe characterisics solely from the face. The Illusrated Annuals of Phrenology & Physiognomy (1866) define Physiognomy as the "science of external forms in their relation to internal organisation and character,"  In 1886, Samuel Wells edited a paper suggesting characteristics of statesmen at the time, and what characteristics a statesman would need in order to be an effective man of the people. Wells (1889) initially maintains that ........ Read more »

Highfield R, Wiseman R, & Jenkins R. (2009) In Your Face. New Scientist, 201(2695), 28-32. info:/

  • October 2, 2010
  • 04:58 PM

Rapid evolution as a warning sign

by Noam Ross in Noam Ross

One of the emerging themes of my course in rapid environmental change is how humans have accelerated natural processes to a pace never seen before in earth's history.  For instance, climate change has in the past occurred at scales of tens of thousands of years or longer, but man-made climate change in happening at the pace of decades or centuries.
Less well-known is the effect we can have on the speed of evolution.  Human-driven environmental pressures can force species to adapt at sp........ Read more »

Olsen, E., Heino, M., Lilly, G., Morgan, M., Brattey, J., Ernande, B., & Dieckmann, U. (2004) Maturation trends indicative of rapid evolution preceded the collapse of northern cod. Nature, 428(6986), 932-935. DOI: 10.1038/nature02430  

  • October 2, 2010
  • 01:45 PM

repent, for the end of time is relatively near!

by Greg Fish in weird things

Or at least so says a quartet of physicists who are certain that the flow of time has a 50% chance of ending in about 3.3 billion years because according to them, in a universe that expands infinitely, every unlikely event, as far as physics is concerned, will happen an infinite amount of times. Therefore, [...]... Read more »

Raphael Bousso, Ben Freivogel, Stefan Leichenauer, & Vladimir Rosenhaus. (2010) Eternal inflation predicts that time will end. n/a. arXiv: 1009.4698v1

  • October 2, 2010
  • 08:30 AM

Cell phones, cancer, and scientific oversimplification

by Melinda Moyer in Body Politic

I’ve always been a big fan of Michael Shermer’s Skeptic column in Scientific American, but this month I have to say I’m disappointed. In his piece (which is not yet online), titled “Can You Hear Me Now? Physics shows that cell phones cannot cause cancer,” Shermer argues that it is “virtually impossible” for cell phones to cause cancer because they “do not emit enough energy to break the molecular bonds inside cells.” While this latter stateme........ Read more »

  • October 2, 2010
  • 07:09 AM

The advantages of attractiveness… in the zoo

by Lucas in thoughtomics

An easy task: from the two parrots above, pick the one that you think is the most beautiful.
Made your pick? If you are like most people, you will prefer the Blue-and-yellow macaw on the left over the Red-bellied macaw on the right. This might seem like a trivial question of judging [...]... Read more »

  • October 2, 2010
  • 05:32 AM

Inhabitiveness: Its Definition, Location, and Adaptation, Together with the Importance of the having a Home

by John Wayland in The Darwin Tribune

At this time of year, as the weather turns colder and the nights become longer, one can't help but be thankful for our home. Some people never leave home, and some miss it terribly so. In contrast some don't, and do not care about their home, why is this? Today's article is concerned with the home, the importance of owning a home, and characteristics, even animal characteristics, that can be given to homeowners in order to understand what kind of home they might build and where. A........ Read more »

O.S. Fowler. (1818) Inhabitiveness: Its Definition, Location, and Adaptation, Together with the Importance of the having a Home. American Phrenological Journal and Miscellany, 55-61. info:/

  • October 2, 2010
  • 05:07 AM

How the penguin got its tuxedo | GrrlScientist

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

Fossilised feathers from a giant, extinct penguin reveal this species' unusual coloration and offer clues to how modern penguin feathers evolved... Read more »

Clarke, J., Ksepka, D., Salas-Gismondi, R., Altamirano, A., Shawkey, M., D'Alba, L., Vinther, J., DeVries, T., & Baby, P. (2010) Fossil Evidence for Evolution of the Shape and Color of Penguin Feathers. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1193604  

  • October 2, 2010
  • 12:30 AM

Steric Transcriptional Control: Five weeks of work, few figures, and so many paths to follow

by Levi Simonson in Learnest Scribbler

This week marks my last week working for Chris Doe, before leaving for the foreign, zebrafish-filled waters of Judith Eisen's lab.  So, I recently gave an hour-long talk (scheduled for 15minutes) on my short (5-week) rotation through the Doe lab, which was fairly productive.  I'll try to recreate the general feeling of my presentation here. (below the fold).  Introduction:Cajal's illustration of the neuronal diversity in the chick cerebellumOne of the biggest questions asked in ........ Read more »

Grosskortenhaus, R., Pearson, B., Marusich, A., & Doe, C. (2005) Regulation of Temporal Identity Transitions in Drosophila Neuroblasts. Developmental Cell, 8(2), 193-202. DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2004.11.019  

Sato S, Burgess SB, & McIlwain DL. (1994) Transcription and motoneuron size. Journal of neurochemistry, 63(5), 1609-15. PMID: 7523596  

Thakar, R., Gordon, G., & Csink, A. (2006) Dynamics and anchoring of heterochromatic loci during development. Journal of Cell Science, 119(20), 4165-4175. DOI: 10.1242/jcs.03183  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 08:03 PM

Edinburgh hepatitis outbreak – Interview with Emeritus Professor Christopher Burrell

by thomastu in Disease Prone

Continuing on with our series of vaccine-preventable disease, this week I was honoured to get an E-mail interview with Emeritus Professor Christopher Burrell. Chris has a CV longer than my arm: Officer of the Order of Australia, Head of the Infectious Disesase Laboratories at the IMVS, Professor of Virology at the University of Adelaide, co-founder [...]... Read more »

Marmion BP, Burrell CJ, Tonkin RW, & Dickson J. (1982) Dialysis-associated hepatitis in Edinburgh; 1969-1978. Reviews of infectious diseases, 4(3), 619-37. PMID: 6812192  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 07:35 PM

Grunting During a Tennis Shot May Provide a Competitive Advantage

by Michael Long in Phased

Scott Sinnett (University of Hawaii, United States) and Alan Kingstone (University of British Columbia, Canada) have scientifically tested whether or not a controversial tennis practice is distracting to the opponent. This news feature was written on October 1, 2010.... Read more »

  • October 1, 2010
  • 05:00 PM

Why young adults change their religious beliefs

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Your religious beliefs, like many aspects of personality, tend to crystallise in your late teens and early adulthood. It's a period of tremendous change but, once set, few people undergo and radical changes.

Even so, some kids change, while others do not. It's interesting to speculate on why that might be. What separates the changers from those who stay the same? Is it genetics, or is it environment?

A recent study has looked at this using data from two twin studies in Colorado, USA. The basic........ Read more »

  • October 1, 2010
  • 04:28 PM

Viagra: A Chemotherapy Adjunct

by Michael Long in Phased

Anindita Das, Rakesh Kukreja (Virginia Commonwealth University, United States) and coworkers have shown that Viagra enhances the efficacy of doxorubicin against prostate cancer, minimizes the damage done to healthy cells, and reduces the heart damage caused by doxorubicin, findings very likely to find their way into real-world clinical settings in the short-term. This news feature was written on October 1, 2010.... Read more »

Das, A., Durrant, D., Mitchell, C., Mayton, E., Hoke, N. N., Salloum, F. N., Park, M. A., Qureshi, I., Lee, R., Dent, P.... (2010) Sildenafil increases chemotherapeutic efficacy of doxorubicin in prostate cancer and ameliorates cardiac dysfunction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1006965107  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 03:48 PM

Why we will never defeat the microbes

by Kevin Bonham in We Beasties

The best defense against pathogens is to never let them gain access to our delicious, gooey insides. Our skin is pretty good for this purpose: it’s pretty tough and mostly impermeable, and the only way most of our surface tissues can get infected is if that skin barrier is broken. But we can’t have skin [...]... Read more »

Winter, S., Thiennimitr, P., Winter, M., Butler, B., Huseby, D., Crawford, R., Russell, J., Bevins, C., Adams, L., Tsolis, R.... (2010) Gut inflammation provides a respiratory electron acceptor for Salmonella. Nature, 467(7314), 426-429. DOI: 10.1038/nature09415  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 03:19 PM

Cymbalta and Effexor: Hype Over Science

by CL Psych in Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry

Remember the hype around the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)? Effexor and Cymbalta impact both serotonin and norepinephrine, so they should be more effective than SSRI’s in treating depression? Mind you, that’s not a high bar to clear - it’s not like SSRI’s are much better than placebo. So get the hell outta the way, Prozac and Paxil, because Cymbalta and Effexor will unleash their incredible efficacy onto the world of psychiatry. Doubt me? Read this 2009 articl........ Read more »

Schueler, Y., Koesters, M., Wieseler, B., Grouven, U., Kromp, M., Kerekes, M., Kreis, J., Kaiser, T., Becker, T., & Weinmann, S. (2010) A systematic review of duloxetine and venlafaxine in major depression, including unpublished data. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2010.01599.x  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 03:03 PM

The Ig Nobels have been announced!

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

Every year, the crew behind the Annals of Improbable Research honor research that "first makes people laugh, then makes them think." These awards, known as the Ig Nobels, honor some of the most entertaining research published in the past year. The competition is fierce, and the prizes highly coveted. But without further ado! This year, the winners are... Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Tero, A., Takagi, S., Saigusa, T., Ito, K., Bebber, D., Fricker, M., Yumiki, K., Kobayashi, R., & Nakagaki, T. (2010) Rules for Biologically Inspired Adaptive Network Design. Science, 327(5964), 439-442. DOI: 10.1126/science.1177894  

Lianne Parkin, Sheila M Williams, Patricia Priest. (2009) Preventing winter falls: a randomised controlled trial of a novel intervention . Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 122(1298). info:/

Stephens, R., Atkins, J., & Kingston, A. (2009) Swearing as a response to pain. NeuroReport, 1. DOI: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32832e64b1  

Pluchino, A., Rapisarda, A., & Garofalo, C. (2010) The Peter principle revisited: A computational study. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 389(3), 467-472. DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2009.09.045  

Tan, M., Jones, G., Zhu, G., Ye, J., Hong, T., Zhou, S., Zhang, S., & Zhang, L. (2009) Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time. PLoS ONE, 4(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007595  

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit