Post List

  • June 16, 2010
  • 01:27 AM
  • 962 views

What does that MRI signal MEAN, anyway?

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

Sci was incredibly excited to see this paper come out. It's got lots of stuff going for it, and all its powers combined were enough to send Sci bouncing around in her seat and sending emails to Ed Yong saying "OMG COOL PAPER!!".

What's it got, you say? It's got the meaning of life, the universe, and that pesky MRI signal.

Lee et al. "Global and local fMRI signals driven by neurons defined optogenetically by type and wiring" Nature, 2010.



Ah, the pretty brain picture. But what does it........ Read more »

Lee, J., Durand, R., Gradinaru, V., Zhang, F., Goshen, I., Kim, D., Fenno, L., Ramakrishnan, C., & Deisseroth, K. (2010) Global and local fMRI signals driven by neurons defined optogenetically by type and wiring. Nature, 465(7299), 788-792. DOI: 10.1038/nature09108  

  • June 16, 2010
  • 12:42 AM
  • 408 views

…Results – Just hook it up to my veins

by Rift in Psycasm

Last week I wrote about the potential impacts of caffeine (in coffee and energy drinks) on students and their study (here). In short, however, these were what I considered the most relevant findings: Keleman and Creeley (2001)found that Caffeine reliably improves hit rates for sustained attention, that there was an interaction between caffeine and free [...]... Read more »

  • June 15, 2010
  • 11:47 PM
  • 1,730 views

Reflections on the Gulf Oil Spill - Conversations With My Grandpa

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

Yes, it would be great if we never spilled a drop of oil. No matter how hard we may try, though, the fact is that nobody is perfect, and oil spills are an inevitable consequence of our widespread use of oil. The question is, once the oil is out there, how do we clean it up? Perhaps my grandfather put it best, when I asked him what he thought about how BP and the US is responding to the spill.

"They're friggin' idiots."... Read more »

Jonathan L. Ramseur. (2010) Oil Spills in U.S. Coastal Waters: Background, Governance, and Issues for Congress. Congressional Research Service , 7-5700 (RL33705). info:/

Paine, R., Ruesink, J., Sun, A., Soulanille, E., Wonham, M., Harley, C., Brumbaugh, D., & Secord, D. (1996) TROUBLE ON OILED WATERS: Lessons from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 27(1), 197-235. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.27.1.197  

  • June 15, 2010
  • 11:18 PM
  • 1,325 views

Why Oil-Laden Prey is Bad for Sea Birds

by Kevin Zelnio in Deep Sea News


Oil is bad for wildlife. Period. But we really do not understand how it is bad. What does it do? Can marine organisms respond physiologically to oil in diets? For instance, translocate the toxic components to feathers and molt it off, much like some crabs, or have other physiologically mechanisms to . . . → Read More: Why Oil-Laden Prey is Bad for Sea Birds... Read more »

  • June 15, 2010
  • 10:45 PM
  • 1,038 views

Biodiversity SNAFU in Australia’s Jewel

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

I’ve covered this sad state of affairs and one of Australia’s more notable biodiversity embarrassments over the last year (see Shocking continued loss of Australian mammals and Can we solve Australia’s mammal extinction crisis?), and now the most empirical demonstration of this is now published. The biodiversity guru of Australia’s tropical north, John Woinarksi, has [...]... Read more »

Woinarski, J., Armstrong, M., Brennan, K., Fisher, A., Griffiths, A., Hill, B., Milne, D., Palmer, C., Ward, S., Watson, M.... (2010) Monitoring indicates rapid and severe decline of native small mammals in Kakadu National Park, northern Australia. Wildlife Research, 37(2), 116. DOI: 10.1071/WR09125  

  • June 15, 2010
  • 08:27 PM
  • 1,389 views

Repost: Mosasaurs - The Marine Monsters of New Jersey

by Laelaps in Laelaps



The skull of Mosasaurus hoffmani. From Lingham-Soliar 1995.


On my first trip to the Inversand marl pit in Sewell, New Jersey, I didn't find the wonderfully preserved Dryptosaurus skeleton I had been dreaming of. I picked up a number of Cretaceous bivalve shells and Paleocene sponges, but other than a few scraps of "Chunkosaurus" my excavations didn't yield very much. Before my paleontology class left the site, though, we took a walk by the spoil piles - great green mounds of sediment that ha........ Read more »

  • June 15, 2010
  • 07:46 PM
  • 2,341 views

Facilitated Communication: A Review of the Literature (with a new introduction)

by KWombles in Countering...

Three months ago, I ran the post that appears below. This post got lots of comments, and there were a fair number of misunderstandings, so let me up-front here make clear what I mean by facilitated communication in the hopes these misunderstandings do not occur again. We teach our children many skills by using hand-over-hand techniques. I'm not talking about teaching your child how to type, how to hold a pencil, how to do things. I'm talking specifically about the facilitated communication as Bi........ Read more »

  • June 15, 2010
  • 06:50 PM
  • 2,492 views

Will Climate Change Alter Sea Turtle Populations to the Point of Extinction?

by Scott A. in Thriving Oceans

Our planet is an intriguing concoction of variables that meld together for successes spanning the organization of life (species, populations, communities, and ecosystems).  It is literally an evolutionary process that is ecologically driven.  And as a genotypic sex determined species, we seem to have an inherent fascination with the mysterious adaptive significance of environmental sex [...]... Read more »

  • June 15, 2010
  • 04:48 PM
  • 1,443 views

A little incentive goes a long way when it comes to vaccine uptake

by geekheartsscience in geek!

Offering people free lentils and metal food dishes substantially improves the number of young children that receive a full course of childhood immunisations in resource poor areas, and is more cost effective than just improving the vaccine services available in the region, according to a new study published free in the British Medical Journal. Abhijit [...]... Read more »

  • June 15, 2010
  • 04:29 PM
  • 1,639 views

A hobbit's contemporaries: Biogeography and insular evolution on Flores

by Jeremy in Voltage Gate

Painters create networks. The subject of the piece, even if it’s a simple splotch of color, garners the most attention, but without a descriptive background or other kinds of supporting elements to contextualize the portion of the painting where the artist wants you to look, the intended focus is...

... Read more »

Meijer, H., Van Den Hoek Ostende, L., Van Den Bergh, G., & De Vos, J. (2010) The fellowship of the hobbit: the fauna surrounding Homo floresiensis. Journal of Biogeography, 37(6), 995-1006. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2010.02308.x  

  • June 15, 2010
  • 04:06 PM
  • 1,169 views

Secondary changes allow spread of oseltamivir resistant influenza virus

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

The influenza virus neuraminidase (NA) protein is required for virus release from the cell, a property exploited by the antiviral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamavir (Relenza). During clinical testing of oseltamivir in 2001, some individuals shed drug-resistant viruses with an amino acid change from histidine to tyrosine (H274Y) in NA. Such viruses are not inhibited [...]... Read more »

  • June 15, 2010
  • 01:00 PM
  • 493 views

Tuesday Crustie: Mandibles

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo


I saw this and could think of nothing but the alien from the movie Predator.

This is a frontal view of the head of a male Branchinecta brushi. This species of fairy shrimp is interesting in several ways. First, it is a species new to science, having just been described in a paper last week.

Second, this is one of the two highest crustacean species on the planet. There is one other crustacean found in the same pools that B. brushi is found in.

I also have to give this paper credit for the bes........ Read more »

  • June 15, 2010
  • 11:34 AM
  • 1,535 views

Anthropology, Primatology, and the Definition of Culture: Reply to Sperber

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

Chimpanzees have culture (or not) depending on your definition.Image: Irish Wildcat / Creative Commons

Author's Note: The following is an expansion on my reply to anthropologist Dan Sperber on the PLoS ONE article "Prestige Affects Cultural Learning in Chimpanzees."

Culture is like art or pornography, it's hard for people to define but everyone knows it when they see it. Cultural anthropologists have long struggled to develop a consistent definition of the very thing that they study, a proble........ Read more »

Horner, V., Proctor, D., Bonnie, K., Whiten, A., & de Waal, F. (2010) Prestige Affects Cultural Learning in Chimpanzees. PLoS ONE, 5(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010625  

  • June 15, 2010
  • 11:26 AM
  • 1,431 views

The most inconvenient seal

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology



How the hell did seals get into Lake Baikal? Actually, if you're a long-time reader you'll know the answers that have been put forward (note there that I didn't say "you'll know the answer"), as I covered this issue back in 2006 on Tet Zoo ver 1. In the interests of recycling old stuff and saving myself valuable time and effort, here's that article again...

Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

  • June 15, 2010
  • 09:23 AM
  • 677 views

Oh Crap. More Autism Genes.

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

There's been much excitement about the latest big genetic study into autism, published in Nature : the grandly titled Autism Genome Project, brought to you by a crack team of no fewer than 177 researchers.For a good summary of the research take a look here, and for a longer account here. In a nutshell, the authors examined DNA from almost 1000 people with an autism spectrum disorder. They were looking for deletions and duplications of segments of DNA: so-called copy number variations (CNVs). A C........ Read more »

Pinto, D., Pagnamenta, A., Klei, L., Anney, R., Merico, D., Regan, R., Conroy, J., Magalhaes, T., Correia, C., Abrahams, B.... (2010) Functional impact of global rare copy number variation in autism spectrum disorders. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature09146  

  • June 15, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,588 views

Do protected areas increase development of adjacent lands?

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • June 15, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 2,330 views

Fenugreek Improves Glucose Metabolism Via Fat Cell Effect?

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

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), referred to in Hindi as Methi, is a common ingredient in South Asian cuisine. Its seeds are an essential component of curry powder - its leaves are eaten as a vegetable.
Traditional Indian medicine has long attributed medicinal properties to fenugreek, especially for the treatment of diabetes.
Now, Taku Uemura and colleagues from Kyoto [...]... Read more »

  • June 15, 2010
  • 05:25 AM
  • 1,089 views

Model-Based User Interfaces and the Web

by Simon Harper in Thinking Out Loud

This maybe just what we need to start moving deep cognitive understandings of the Web Ergonomics of users into a form that can help us simulate and apply this knowledge to instances of Web Interactivity, sort of a CogTool on steroids.... Read more »

Dominik Heckmann, & Antonio Krueger. (2003) A User Modeling Markup Language (UserML) for Ubiquitous Computing . LNCS User Modeling 2003, 1(1), 148. info:/10.1007/3-540-44963-9_55

Dominik Heckmann, Tim Schwartz, Boris Brandherm, Michael Schmitz, & Margeritta von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff. (2005) Gumo – The General User Model Ontology . User Modeling 2005, 1(1), 428-432. info:/10.1007/11527886_58

  • June 15, 2010
  • 04:09 AM
  • 955 views

The “Hockey Stick” evolution

by Andy Russell in Our Clouded Hills

This is a post that aims to go through the evolution of the “Hockey Stick” from 1990 to the present day.  It naturally misses out parts of the story, which deserve far more analysis, simply to keep the post short.  Comments that expand on the bits I’ve omitted are welcome! What is the “Hockey Stick” [...]... Read more »

Mann ME, Zhang Z, Hughes MK, Bradley RS, Miller SK, Rutherford S, & Ni F. (2008) Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(36), 13252-7. PMID: 18765811  

  • June 15, 2010
  • 12:26 AM
  • 1,089 views

Distorted internal body maps, anyone?

by aimee in misc.ience

Our brains’ internal representations of ourselves are not, it would appear, quite as accurate as one would have thought.

That, at least, is the conclusion of paper which just came out in the dangerously-acronymed PNAS*.
To introduce the subject, then, let’s agree that it’s important for the brain to know where all our various physical bits are.  [...]

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

Matthew R. Longo and Patrick Haggard. (2010) An implicit body representation underlying human position sense. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1003483107

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