Post List

  • June 7, 2010
  • 01:24 AM

Landau on the second law

by Ponder Stibbons in The truth makes me fret.

I was browsing through a collection of Landau’s papers and came across one of the more bizarre explanations of the second law of thermodynamics that I’ve seen. The few people who frequent this blog probably don’t need this explained to them, but the reason why many philosophers think that the second law needs ‘explaining’ is [...]... Read more »

M. Bronstein, & L. Landau. (1933) Über den zweiten Wärmesatz und die Zusammenhangsverhältnisse der Welt im Großen. Physikalische zeitschrift der Sowjetunion, 114. info:/

  • June 7, 2010
  • 01:11 AM

…like, do I have the job?

by Rift in Psycasm

I recently applied for the Mitsui Educational Foundation Scholarship. It’s essentially a cultural scholarship set up the by the Mitsui company in Japan in order to exercise it’s role as a responsible corporate citizen. The idea is that the Mitsui company will take 8 Aussie students and fly them to Japan for a three 3-week [...]... Read more »

  • June 7, 2010
  • 12:47 AM

Is Mr. S more flexible than Sci? Cognitive flexibility and first-person shooter games.

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

This post comes to you courtesy, actually, of Sci-Dad, who sent an email to Sci saying wasn't this cool. Sci then showed it to Mr. SiT, and he was very intrigued, and insisted she cover it. Sci kind of wanted to make cake balls. Maybe that will be tomorrow.



Colzato et al. "DOOM'd to switch: superior cognitive flexibility in players of first person shooter games" Frontiers in Psychology, 2010.

(First, a brief tribute to Mr. SiT's current favorite FPS "Battlefield:........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2010
  • 09:26 PM

Best Drugs for Alcohol Withdrawal

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Alcohol withdrawal is a physically and psychologically painful experience. Some patients with alcohol dependence have physiological tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous. Some will experience withdrawal seizures and death during withdrawal can occur.Treatment of alcohol withdrawal typically involves medication to reduce the effects of detoxification. Benzodiazepines such as Valium (diazepam) or Ativan (lorazepam) typically are effective and routinely used. H........ Read more »

Martinotti G, di Nicola M, Frustaci A, Romanelli R, Tedeschi D, Guglielmo R, Guerriero L, Bruschi A, De Filippis R, Pozzi G.... (2010) Pregabalin, tiapride and lorazepam in alcohol withdrawal syndrome: a multi-centre, randomized, single-blind comparison trial. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 105(2), 288-99. PMID: 20078487  

  • June 6, 2010
  • 08:38 PM

Sustainable de-growth: a new paradigm for meeting environmental goals

by Paul Spraycar in Beyond Climate Change

For those who have run out of patience for the promised benefits of ‘sustainable development,’ there is a new alternative paradigm: sustainable de-growth.The objective of sustainable de-growth is characterized by “an equitable and democratic transition to a smaller economy with less production and consumption,” with the goal of creating a “society built on quality rather than on quantity, on cooperation rather than on competition.”The authors of a new paper in Ecological Economics la........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2010
  • 07:42 PM

H5N1, the bird flu: the virus

by Atila Iamarino in Influenza A (H1N1) Blog – English

In the last text, it was discussed the capacity of H5N1 of infecting a number of hosts and causing very harsh symptoms, causing deaths in over 50% of the recorded human cases. Despite this, its transmission from person to person seems to be well limited. Now we will see its characteristics that contribute to this.
As [...]... Read more »

  • June 6, 2010
  • 07:40 PM

Towards a Charge-Shift Bond with a Presumed Inert Atom

by Michael Long in Phased

Henry Rzepa (Imperial College London) has presented theoretical investigations which may lead to the synthesis of rigorously provable bonds to helium, an atom commonly thought to be inert. This news feature was written on June 6, 2010.... Read more »

Rzepa, H. S. (2010) The rational design of helium bonds. Nature Chemistry, 2(5), 390-393. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.596  

  • June 6, 2010
  • 06:00 PM

Species area curves & neutral theory

by Thomas Kluyver in Thomas' Plant-Related Blog

How many species are there here? It’s a beguilingly simple question, and a fundamental area of interest. A moments thought shows that the bigger here is, the more species there will be. So, if we start from a little patch of my lawn, and take successively larger heres until we’ve included the whole world, we [...]... Read more »

  • June 6, 2010
  • 05:54 PM

Atlatls to Bows: A Serendipitous Lion Hunt

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Like atlatls, but to an even greater degree, bows are rare in the archaeological record because they were made of perishable materials.  While some types of atlatls had more durable attachments such as hooks and weights, bows were almost always made of wood and various fibrous materials, except in some areas where they were made [...]... Read more »

  • June 6, 2010
  • 05:48 PM

Of Bears, Berries, and Hoofed Invaders

by Anne-Marie Hodge in Endless Forms

There are few images more fearsome than that of an angry bear, with teeth bared and claws flashing. It is intriguing, then, to consider a community in which a population of mighty ursids was driven to extinction by a diminutive...... Read more »

  • June 6, 2010
  • 05:26 PM

What did your mommy and daddy believe?

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Young adults in the USA are more likely than ever before to tell pollsters that they don't see themselves as 'being' of any particular religion - they are unaffiliated. The data are clear, but the reason for this shift is not.

It might simply be their age. Maybe they will be more likely to identify with a religion when they're older. Alternatively, there could be an uptick in the numbers of people who are leaving religion - for good.

Or maybe it's a snowball effect. More than ever before, Amer........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2010
  • 02:01 PM

RNA Journal Club 5/27/10

by YPAA in You'd Prefer An Argonaute

Most “Dark Matter” Transcripts Are Associated With Known Genes Harm van Bakel, Corey Nislow, Benjamin J. Blencowe, Timothy R. Hughes PLoS Biology, 8 (5): e1000371, 18 May 2010. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000371 This week’s illuminating summary and analysis by Igor Ulitsky. It’s Igor’s second contribution to the blog: The paper is one of at least five interesting RNA-Seq [...]... Read more »

van Bakel H, Nislow C, Blencowe BJ, & Hughes TR. (2010) Most "dark matter" transcripts are associated with known genes. PLoS biology, 8(5). PMID: 20502517  

  • June 6, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Trick of the Light – Optical Illusions Can’t be Beat

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

You know ‘em, you love ‘em: Suddenly, pictures bulge out in three dimensions, or static dots begin to swirl, or you see colors that aren’t really there. Tricking your eye is as easy as the well-known “finger sausage” maneuver: Hold out your arms, point your index fingers toward each other, then move them slowly together [...]... Read more »

Kuriki I, Ashida H, Murakami I, & Kitaoka A. (2008) Functional brain imaging of the Rotating Snakes illusion by fMRI. Journal of vision, 8(10), 16-10. PMID: 19146358  

  • June 6, 2010
  • 05:38 AM

The Ancestry of the Malarial Plasmid Revealed

by Lucas in thoughtomics

Suppose you’re nearing the end of your life. In a strange twist of fate, you won the lottery. You decide to split the jackpot equally between your two children. While one child uses the money to fund a charity dedicated to fighting poverty, the other one uses it to start the crime syndicate he has [...]... Read more »

Janouskovec, J., Horak, A., Obornik, M., Lukes, J., & Keeling, P. (2010) A common red algal origin of the apicomplexan, dinoflagellate, and heterokont plastids. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003335107  

  • June 6, 2010
  • 04:20 AM

Genetics & the Jewish Question

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

The 2,000 year dance between the Jewish people and Western civilization has spawned many questions of scholarly interest. A relatively minor point, though not trivial, has been the issue of the biological relatedness of the Jewish people, and their relatedness to the nations among whom they were resident. This particular point became more starkly relevant [...]... Read more »

  • June 6, 2010
  • 12:20 AM

A Coffee Drinker's Nightmare: Caffeine Loses It's Kick

by Daniel Hawes in Ingenious Monkey | 20-two-5

A study shows that frequent consumption habituates the body to caffeine, and it's all downhill from there...... Read more »

Rogers PJ, Hohoff C, Heatherley SV, Mullings EL, Maxfield PJ, Evershed RP, Deckert J, & Nutt DJ. (2010) Association of the Anxiogenic and Alerting Effects of Caffeine with ADORA2A and ADORA1 Polymorphisms and Habitual Level of Caffeine Consumption. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 20520601  

  • June 5, 2010
  • 10:31 PM

Straight Men Can Never Say No to Forced Sex

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Most straight man, according to Prospero and Fawson (2010), must oblige when their female partners insist on sex, since to refuse would apparently be an indelible stain on one's manhood.
... Read more »

  • June 5, 2010
  • 09:41 PM

Inappropriate citations?

by Christina Pikas in Christina's LIS Rant

Kevin Zelnio of Deep Sea News tweeted the title of this piece and sent my mind going over the various theories of citation, what citations mean, studies showing how people cite without reading (pdf) (or at least propagate obvious citation errors), and also how people use things but don't cite them in certain fields... I was also thinking, I know what inappropriate touching is, but what's inappropriate citing?  So let's take a look at the article: Todd, P., Guest, J., Lu, J., & Chou, L........ Read more »

Todd, P., Guest, J., Lu, J., & Chou, L. (2010) One in four citations in marine biology papers is inappropriate. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 299-303. DOI: 10.3354/meps08587  

  • June 5, 2010
  • 08:03 PM

Reducing Coal Haze at National Parks

by teofilo in Follow the Energy

Note: This is a modified version of a paper I did for an environmental planning course this past semester.  I discussed some of the earlier stages in this project a while back. Although coal-fired power plants provide about one half of America’s electricity today, they have become increasingly controversial in the past few years for [...]... Read more »

  • June 5, 2010
  • 04:13 PM

Monoamine Shock

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a crude but effective treatment for depression. It consists of applying a brief alternating current to the brain in order to induce a generalized seizure, which usually lasts for less than half a minute. It looks nothing like the picture to the left.ECT is typically given three times per week, and a dozen sessions are enough to produce a dramatic improvement in depression in most cases. However, how it works is entirely mysterious. There are plenty of theories......... Read more »

Cassidy, F., Weiner, R., Cooper, T., & Carroll, B. (2010) Combined catecholamine and indoleamine depletion following response to ECT. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 196(6), 493-494. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.109.070573  

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