Post List

  • April 6, 2010
  • 02:00 PM

Building Robots to Infiltrate Societies

by Cheshire in Cheshire

A bunch of scientists build robots which blend in with a society by learning their languages and customs. The intention of these robots is to subvert the societies by changing the how the locals think and act.
Sounds like something from a bad sci-fi movie, right? A Tea Party speech, perhaps?

Welcome to the world of pest [...]... Read more »

Halloy, J., Sempo, G., Caprari, G., Rivault, C., Asadpour, M., Tache, F., Said, I., Durier, V., Canonge, S., Ame, J.... (2007) Social Integration of Robots into Groups of Cockroaches to Control Self-Organized Choices. Science, 318(5853), 1155-1158. DOI: 10.1126/science.1144259  

  • April 6, 2010
  • 01:45 PM

Growth Needs Context

by Cole Bitting in Fable

What is Context? How Do We Use It?

What Happens When We Lose It?

One of our most essential life skills is the ability to build context - the core assumptions which enable effective choice of behavior. The literatures on posttraumatic growth, many forms of therapy, recovery from depression or significant loss describe new context as a foundational achievement: recovery happens as we create better, more valid assumptions about ourselves and the world around us.

Two other foundational qualities ........ Read more »

  • April 6, 2010
  • 12:34 PM

RSVP—A Cultural Construct?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

I saw this Op-Ed piece earlier this month about the decline of the RSVP, and it resonated strongly. It reminded me of my own experience last year when I organized my sister-in-law's (husband's sister) bridal shower. Apparently, I came very close to alienating the guest list, which contained mostly family members, because of the way my invitation was delivered.
The gathering was limited to "

... Read more »

  • April 6, 2010
  • 11:13 AM

Immortal Jellyfish

by agoldstein in WiSci

The turritopsis nutricula species of jellyfish may, in fact, be the only immortal creature in the world.... Read more »

  • April 6, 2010
  • 10:49 AM

When it doesn't matter where you're from

by TwoYaks in Gene Flow

People move animals around. It's what we do. Why are there Elk on Afognak island? Some guy thought it was a good idea at the time. Wildlife managers in the past were some of the biggest conduits for moving animals around, frequently en mass, back before biology really caught up with the profession. We can cite plenty of examples where moving animals around to do population rescues was a bad thing... Read more »

  • April 6, 2010
  • 10:18 AM

Closing the Window of Fear

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Excessive fear is the cause of many psychopathologies. Although pharmacological interventions can help in preventing the retrieval of fear memories, they are toxic and involve a lot of side-effects. Till now, non-pharmacological interventions were only effective in suppressing the memory of fear for a short period. A new technique developed by scientists at the Center for [...]... Read more »

Schiller, D., Monfils, M., Raio, C., Johnson, D., LeDoux, J., & Phelps, E. (2009) Preventing the return of fear in humans using reconsolidation update mechanisms. Nature, 463(7277), 49-53. DOI: 10.1038/nature08637  

  • April 6, 2010
  • 10:00 AM

Explosive radiation (in) rocks!

by Alistair Dove in Deep Type Flow

Much like internal waves, I always loved the idea of explosive radiation.  Not the nasty, pernicious Chernobyl kind; I mean the rapid evolution of a whole bunch of species from a common ancestor, over a relatively short period of time.   There's a few textbook examples of explosive radiations, but none so well-worn (possibly even hackneyed) as that of the cichlid fishes in the rift lakes of ... Read more »

  • April 6, 2010
  • 09:35 AM

Fossil Fragments are Table Scraps of an Enormous Alligator

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

I love B-grade monster movies, and one of my all time favorites is the 1980 creature feature Alligator. As its title suggests, the film’s protagonist is a 40-foot-long alligator, literally pumped up on steroids from consuming the bodies of medical research lab animals which had been dumped in the sewers under Chicago, and it spends [...]... Read more »

Héctor E. RIVERA-SYLVA, Eberhard FREY, José Rubén GUZMÁN-GUTIÉRREZ. (2009) Evidence of predation on the vertebra of a hadrosaurid dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) of Coahuila, Mexico. Notebooks on Geology, 1-6. info:/

  • April 6, 2010
  • 09:19 AM

Geochronology of the Cryogenian glaciations

by Lab Lemming in Lounge of the Lab Lemming

A few weeks back Chris posted a lovely writeup of his work on the Oman cryogenian diamictites, and the snowball earth hypothesis. A recent paper on some Chinese diamictite ages has a nice summary of the chronology of this time period, so I thought I would throw it up here.First, a short introduction. Between about 750 and 580 million years ago, a number of glacial sediments appear in the ... Read more »

XU, B., XIAO, S., ZOU, H., CHEN, Y., LI, Z., SONG, B., LIU, D., ZHOU, C., & YUAN, X. (2009) SHRIMP zircon U–Pb age constraints on Neoproterozoic Quruqtagh diamictites in NW China. Precambrian Research, 168(3-4), 247-258. DOI: 10.1016/j.precamres.2008.10.008  

  • April 6, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

Antivirus without the software

by David Bradley in Sciencetext

UK research suggests that approximately 97% of businesses have an internet connection and the vast majority of those are now using broadband access. The same research also found that infection with computer viruses, spyware, worms, Trojans, and other malicious software was the biggest single cause of security incidents, accounting for about half of all incidents, [...]Post from: David Bradley's Sciencetext Tech TalkAntivirus without the software
... Read more »

Athanasios Karantjias, & Nineta Polemi. (2010) Assessment of advanced cryptographic antiviral techniques. Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, 3(1), 60-72. info:/

  • April 6, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Speculation Surrounding Sporulation in the Mycobacteria

by Tim Sampson in The Times Microbial

by TimThe Mycobacteria are quite the unique genus; not quite Gram-positive due to their waxy mycolic acids on their outer surface, but certainly not Gram-negative as they do not have an outer lipid bilayer. (Although, there are some interesting micrographs showing a structural feature that does look a lot like a typical Gram-negative outer membrane on the surface of Mycobacteria.) Much slower growing than the average bacteria studied in the lab and not so easily manipulated genetically (though s........ Read more »

Ghosh, J., Larsson, P., Singh, B., Pettersson, B., Islam, N., Sarkar, S., Dasgupta, S., & Kirsebom, L. (2009) Sporulation in mycobacteria. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(26), 10781-10786. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0904104106  

Traag, B., Driks, A., Stragier, P., Bitter, W., Broussard, G., Hatfull, G., Chu, F., Adams, K., Ramakrishnan, L., & Losick, R. (2009) Do mycobacteria produce endospores?. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(2), 878-881. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0911299107  

  • April 6, 2010
  • 07:19 AM

People have an intuitive understanding of the science of persuasion

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Psychologists have devoted entire careers to finding out how people can be persuaded but far less time investigating what people know intuitively about persuasion.Now Karen Douglas and colleagues at Kent University have bucked this trend with a paper which they say shows people have an intuitive understanding of how a person's thinking style affects their vulnerability to persuasion, known formally as 'the elaboration likelihood model'. This is the idea, supported by research findings, that peop........ Read more »

  • April 6, 2010
  • 06:47 AM

The Top Down Effect of Turbidity Within Marine Ecosystems

by Daniel Bassett in Chew the Fat

Most studies on turbidity investigate freshwater ecosystems and few studies have focused on the impacts of turbidity on marine ecosystems. Eianne et al. (1999) showed that invertebrate planktivores (jellyfish) replaced planktivorous fish within Norwegian turbid fiords. This was likely to be because increased turbidity levels reduced the possibility of foraging in visually oriented fish, while tactile feeding in jellyfish allowed them to continue to feed under light-limited conditions.... Read more »

Eiane, K., Aksnes, D.L., Bagoien, E., & Kaartvedt, S. (1999) Fish or jellies - a question of visibility?. Limnology and Oceangraphy, 44(5), 1352-1357. info:/

  • April 6, 2010
  • 05:02 AM

More on Branch Lengths and Species

by Bob O'Hara in Deep Thoughts and Silliness

On Monday I wrote about one of those frustrating papers that asks an interesting question, but the more you look at it, the less sure you are of the results. In this case they might be right, but I...... Read more »

  • April 6, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

Canadian prairie wetlands undergoing widespread degradation

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

Bartzen, B., Dufour, K., Clark, R., & Caswell, F. (2010) Trends in agricultural impact and recovery of wetlands in prairie Canada. Ecological Applications, 20(2), 525-538. DOI: 10.1890/08-1650.1  

  • April 6, 2010
  • 04:23 AM

FAT? – I’m Not To Blame It’s My Genes!

by Michael Ash in Nutri-Link Ltd - Clinical Education

Michael Ash BSc(Hons) DO ND FDipION reviews a selection of papers exploring the intersection between our genetic code and the style of food ingested in ever increasing amounts, in which fat and sugar make up the dominant components.... Read more »

Czyzyk TA, Nogueiras R, Lockwood JF, McKinzie JH, Coskun T, Pintar JE, Hammond C, Tschöp MH, & Statnick MA. (2010) kappa-Opioid receptors control the metabolic response to a high-energy diet in mice. The FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 24(4), 1151-9. PMID: 19917675  

  • April 6, 2010
  • 02:34 AM

RNA Journal Club 3/18/10

by YPAA in You'd Prefer An Argonaute

Mammalian cell penetration, siRNA transfection, and DNA transfection by supercharged proteins
Brian R. McNaughton, James J. Cronican, David B. Thompson and David R. Liu
PNAS 106 (15): 6111-6116, 14 April 2009.
doi: 10.1073/pnas.0807883106
This week’s shrewd summary/analysis–impressively his third contribution to this blog–by David Weinberg:
In their 2009 PNAS paper, David Liu and colleagues demonstrate that a green fluorescent protein [...]... Read more »

McNaughton BR, Cronican JJ, Thompson DB, & Liu DR. (2009) Mammalian cell penetration, siRNA transfection, and DNA transfection by supercharged proteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(15), 6111-6. PMID: 19307578  

  • April 6, 2010
  • 12:21 AM

Now starring in movies: human genes

by aimee in misc.ience

I do so love it when people make accessibly, entertaining, highly educational science stuff.
In the latest of such moves, researchers from EMBL and the Mitocheck Consortium (both in Europe) have built up a library of movies showing what happens to a human cell when a particular gene is switched off.  One at a time.
This is [...]

[Click on the hyperlinked headline for more of the goodness]... Read more »

Neumann, B., Walter, T., Hériché, J., Bulkescher, J., Erfle, H., Conrad, C., Rogers, P., Poser, I., Held, M., Liebel, U.... (2010) Phenotypic profiling of the human genome by time-lapse microscopy reveals cell division genes. Nature, 464(7289), 721-727. DOI: 10.1038/nature08869  

  • April 6, 2010
  • 12:08 AM

Now the expert talks about SMOUNDS

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

The five senses are usually studied in isolation and there is no doubt that this ‘divide and conquer’ method has given us very valuable insight into the way the brain processes sensory information. However, in our daily life, we combine inputs from all sensory channels to make sure we know what’s happening around us. If [...]... Read more »

  • April 5, 2010
  • 08:36 PM

Young Stars in the Centers of Galaxies

by Jon Voisey in Angry Astronomer

A long time ago, I trashed a Creationist article on Stellar Evolution. It was a fun time. I got one of the most ignorant trolls I've yet had on this site and even Phil Plait came over to gawk and point at the giant logical gaps. One of the claims that the author had made was that, because we shouldn't see young stars in very close quarters to black holes in the centers of galaxies (the nearest 1 parsec), and we do, that all of stellar evolution must be wrong and thus, God did it.Mollishka from A........ Read more »

Philip F. Hopkins, & Eliot Quataert. (2010) The Nuclear Stellar Disk in Andromeda: A Fossil from the Era of Black Hole Growth. MNRAS. arXiv: 1002.1079v2

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