Post List

  • August 1, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Fighting Words

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Language can reveal, or conceal, the soul. Words express thoughts, share emotions, and foretell actions. Now, speech can predict victory in boxing matches. It is probably fair to say that few boxers are considered masters of the spoken word. But, researchers in Arkansas recently presented results of a study at the 16th Annual International Stress [...]... Read more »

  • August 1, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Cheating the hangman: How worms escape a fungal noose

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Classic rivalries of summer 2011: Harry verus Voldemort. Cap versus the Red Skull. Optimus versus Megatron. And now, worms versus fungus.

Normally, we think of fungi as decomposers that sit around and wait for something to die. Some fungi might infect the living. But there are are few have decided to screw all that and will kill for their sustenance.

Fungi are not mobile, so their technique is to create snares. They form a loop of cells that can inflate when their inner surface is touch, trapp........ Read more »

Maguire SM, Clark CM, Nunnari J, Pirri JK, & Alkema MJ. (2011) The C. elegans touch response facilitates escape from predacious fungi. Current Biology. info:/10.1016/j.cub.2011.06.063

  • August 1, 2011
  • 07:47 AM

Waving solar seaweed

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

Spicules shooting up from the Sun as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory in April. The full disk image is also worth a look. Image credit: NASA/SDO/AIA One of the many mysteries about our Sun is how its outer atmosphere (corona) gets heated to more than 20 times its surface temperature. Well, it looks like [...]... Read more »

De Pontieu B, McIntosh SW, Carlsson M, Hansteen VH, Tarbell TD, Schrijver CJ, Title AM, Shine RA, Tsuneta S, Katsukawa Y.... (2007) Chromospheric alfvenic waves strong enough to power the solar wind. Science (New York, N.Y.), 318(5856), 1574-7. PMID: 18063784  

  • August 1, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

“Not all psychopaths are in prison. Some are in the Boardroom.”

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

When Robert Hare casually uttered the above statement, it caused small shock waves through the media. We are all familiar with psychopaths who end up in prison but we tend to not consider the reality that “they” walk among us. Recently, a study of 203 executives was conducted as part of a larger effort at [...]

No related posts.... Read more »

Babiak P, Neumann CS, & Hare RD. (2010) Corporate psychopathy: Talking the walk. Behavioral sciences , 28(2), 174-93. PMID: 20422644  

  • August 1, 2011
  • 06:52 AM

Operation Cat Drop

by bug_girl in Bug Girl's Blog

In the news recently: Operation Rat Drop, where tylenol-laden mice were dropped from planes over Guam. It’s not a bizarre headache remedy; the idea is to try to kill brown tree snakes (a non-native invasive species) when they eat the mice.  Acetaminophen kills snakes. Who knew? That reminded me of a similar–but much odder–project: Operation Cat Drop. It’s an [...]... Read more »

  • August 1, 2011
  • 06:49 AM

More to rice intensification than meets the SRI.

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

We’ve written a fair bit about the System of Rice Intensification, or SRI, and our most recent little piece sparked what passes for a vociferous debate over at Facebook (which of course I cannot now link to). As I recall it all seemed to hinge on whether there was one SRI or several different systems, [...]... Read more »

  • August 1, 2011
  • 06:47 AM

“Your Science Reporting Truly Sucks…” – The Editor’s ‘Apology’

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

It’s not just tabloids that are having their pants pulled down at the moment. Medical journals are too. A few weeks the BJGP – Europe’s leading general practice journal – heralded apparently ground-breaking research on the benefits of acupuncture. On closer inspection, the research was poorly constructed, drew dubious conclusions and biased in extremis. I … Continue reading »... Read more »

Paterson, C., Taylor, R., Griffiths, P., Britten, N., Rugg, S., Bridges, J., McCallum, B., & Kite, G. (2011) Acupuncture for ‘frequent attenders’ with medically unexplained symptoms: a randomised controlled trial (CACTUS study). British Journal of General Practice, 61(587), 295-305. DOI: 10.3399/bjgp11X572689  

Jones, R. (2011) Editor's response. British Journal of General Practice, 61(589), 495-495. info:/10.3399/bjgp11X588367

Farrimond, S. (2011) Acupuncture for `frequent attenders' with medically unexplained symptoms. British Journal of General Practice, 61(689), 494-495. info:/10.3399/bjgp11X588349

  • August 1, 2011
  • 06:32 AM

The horrors of scientific analysis, part 2: Ferocious FM-TOX

by David Robertson in David Robertson

FM-TOX. These evil scientist aren’t even trying to hide their motives anymore; they admit it’s toxic in the acronym! But there’s more to the story, as usual. The TOX in the title’s just a cover story. (This post is part 2 of a series uncovering the dark side of scientific methods; part 1 is here). [...]... Read more »

  • August 1, 2011
  • 05:50 AM

The hypnotised brain

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Forget swinging pocket watches and unedifying stage antics, hypnosis is a genuinely useful tool for studying psychogenic symptoms - that is, neurological symptoms with no identifiable organic cause (known in psychiatry as "conversion disorder", the idea being that emotional problems are "converted" into physical ailments).

Consider hand paralysis, which some patients complain of in the absence of any neurological injury or disease. In a new study led by Martin Pyka at the University of Marburg,........ Read more »

Pyka, M., Burgmer, M., Lenzen, T., Pioch, R., Dannlowski, U., Pfleiderer, B., Ewert, A., Heuft, G., Arolt, V., & Konrad, C. (2011) Brain correlates of hypnotic paralysis—a resting-state fMRI study. NeuroImage, 56(4), 2173-2182. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.03.078  

  • August 1, 2011
  • 02:01 AM

E-readers in Medical Education

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Buffer Found an interesting article on the use of e-readers in medical education, the Kindle. The Kindle was used by medical students during family medicine clerkship and by family medicine clerkship preceptors. The e-reader was loaded with medical textbooks and other relevant material such as guidelines. The hypotheses was that the information demand during education [...]

No related posts.... Read more »

Shurtz, S., & von Isenburg, M. (2011) Exploring e-readers to support clinical medical education: two case studies. Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA, 99(2), 110-117. DOI: 10.3163/1536-5050.99.2.002  

  • July 31, 2011
  • 09:39 PM

The Eckfeld Maar Fossil Locality

by Marc in Teaching Biology

In this post, the second slide has 6 impressive insect fossil localities pictured. They’ve proven quite popular and I’ve received several e-mails asking for details. At some point, maybe I’ll write dedicated posts similar to this one about them. Anyway, one locality that is missing from there is Eckfeld, so I will introduce it here [...]... Read more »

Lutz, H., & Kaulfuß, U. (2006) A dynamic model for the meromictic lake Eckfeld Maar (Middle Eocene, Germany). Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften, 157(3), 433-450. DOI: 10.1127/1860-1804/2006/0157-0433  

  • July 31, 2011
  • 08:22 PM


by Daniel in Ego sum Daniel

The subject of feathered dinosaurs and the evolution of birds is something that fascinates me and captures my imagination, as I'm sure it does a lot of people. Not only because it changes the way we look at the world around us, specifically birds, but also because there's a lot of cool evolutionary science involved in the study of the early evolution of birds from... well, yes that's the question, isn't it? From what exactly? We know that in any evolutionary sense that matters, birds are dinosau........ Read more »

  • July 31, 2011
  • 05:23 PM

Development periods and an introduction to developmental biology

by Science Exploiter in Science Exploits

First off, I want to start with an apology.  I have neglected to update this site and for that I apologize.  Please expect that in the future, posts will come regularly.Okay, so today I want to shift focus from cardiology to developmental biology.  Many people struggle to understand this subject, but in breaking it down this field can make more sense.  I will divide it into segments, therefore allowing each post to offer up enough focus without getting overly complicated. &nb........ Read more »

  • July 31, 2011
  • 05:00 PM

Who Attains Status (And How Do They Get There)?

by Psych Your Mind in Psych Your Mind

Machiavelli (source)
"Of Mankind we may say in general they are fickle, and greedy of gain."  --Machiavelli (1532)
In several of the posts on this blog, we have written about the various forms and functions of social hierarchies in society. For instance, we have written about the perils of economic inequality here and here, we have written (here) about how power can corrupt people--unless they are prosocially oriented (read: nice), and we have written (here) about our paradoxical ne........ Read more »

Anderson, C., & Kilduff, G. (2009) The Pursuit of Status in Social Groups. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18(5), 295-298. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2009.01655.x  

Berger, J., Cohen, B., & Zelditch, M. (1972) Status Characteristics and Social Interaction. American Sociological Review, 37(3), 241. DOI: 10.2307/2093465  

  • July 31, 2011
  • 03:00 PM

Brain-based evidence for multiple intelligences?

by davejhayes in neurosphere

Is there any brain-based evidence for the theory of multiple intelligences? From my viewpoint, the answer seems clear: Yes….and no. (Germans have a nice colloquialism for this in ‘jein’, pronounced yine.)... Read more »

Collins JW. (2007) The neuroscience of learning. The Journal of neuroscience nursing : journal of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, 39(5), 305-10. PMID: 17966298  

Koelsch S. (2010) Towards a neural basis of music-evoked emotions. Trends in cognitive sciences, 14(3), 131-7. PMID: 20153242  

  • July 31, 2011
  • 12:12 PM

101 Uses for Shark Puke Part 2: How Much Do Sharks Eat?

by Chuck in Ya Like Dags?

The last time I wrote about the usefulness of shark puke, I discussed a few of the less obvious uses of diet studies on sharks. As apex predators, sharks can sample a wide variety of potential prey species, and diet studies can provide just as much information on those species as the sharks themselves. That said, the main function and justification for sifting through shark vomit is to figure out what kind of predatory impact the sharks have, which lets us know how these predators fit into the........ Read more »

Bush, A., & Holland, K. (2002) Food limitation in a nursery area: estimates of daily ration in juvenile scalloped hammerheads, Sphyrna lewini (Griffith and Smith, 1834) in Kane’ohe Bay,O’ahu, Hawai’i. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 157-178. info:/

  • July 31, 2011
  • 11:56 AM

Is there such a thing as a completely broad-spectrum antiviral?

by Connor Bamford in The Rule of 6ix

I'm sure everyone is aware of the kind of effects virus infection and replication has on the health of humans and other animals (just scroll along my last blog posts and you'll see). 
It's really not good.
And, in most cases we don't have much to prevent or cure it: maybe a vaccine here, some antivirals there yet what we really would like is something that would act against ALL kinds of viruses, from influenzas to smallpox to ebola and even HIV. Most vaccines and antivirals target a very li........ Read more »

Rider, T., Zook, C., Boettcher, T., Wick, S., Pancoast, J., & Zusman, B. (2011) Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Therapeutics. PLoS ONE, 6(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022572  

  • July 31, 2011
  • 11:50 AM

What makes us musical animals?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

This week a plug for my new book that just came out: Musical Cognition: A Science of Listening (Read fragments of it online at Google Books; currently available with more than 30% discount on the hardcover at Amazon and Barnes & Noble).From the cover:"Musical Cognition suggests that music is a game (or, in other words, 'benificial play'). In music, our cognitive functions such as perception, memory, attention, and expectation are challenged; yet as listeners we often do not realize that the ........ Read more »

Winkler, I., Haden, G., Ladinig, O., Sziller, I., & Honing, H. (2009) Newborn infants detect the beat in music. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(7), 2468-2471. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0809035106  

  • July 31, 2011
  • 09:33 AM

Evolution cheats, or how to get an old enzyme to do new tricks

by SFMatheson in Quintessence of Dust

It is of course a cliche to state that eukaryotic cells (i.e., cells that are not bacteria) are complex. In the case of an animal, tens of thousands of proteins engage in fantastically elaborate interactions that somehow coax a single cell into generating a unique and magnificent organism. These interactions are often protrayed as exquisitely precise, using metaphorical images such as 'lock-and-key' and employing diagrams that resemble subway maps.

Many of these interacting proteins are en........ Read more »

  • July 31, 2011
  • 08:57 AM

Run Lassie - no not over there! Damn you Lassie!

by Charles Harvey in Charles Harvey - Science Communicator

Scientists can be utter bastards some of the time. Not content with letting us unwashed masses revel in our ignorance, they systematically poke and prod the world around us, looking for answers to questions best left unanswered.... Read more »

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