Post List

  • August 31, 2009
  • 11:15 AM

Cautionary Note on the Toxicity of Titanium Oxide Nanofilaments

by Michael Long in Phased

Arnaud Magrez (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland), Beat Schwaller (University of Fribourg, Switzerland), and coworkers have shown that titanium nanofilaments can be toxic, serving as a further warning that the toxicity of nanomaterials needs to be fully investigated for the sake of public health and the environment. This news feature was written on August 31, 2009.... Read more »

Magrez, A., Horváth, L., Smajda, R., Salicio, V., Pasquier, N., Forró, L., & Schwaller, B. (2009) Cellular Toxicity of TiO2-Based Nanofilaments. ACS Nano, 3(8), 2274-2280. DOI: 10.1021/nn9002067  

  • August 31, 2009
  • 10:39 AM

Smallest Things Considered

by Merry Youle in Small Things Considered

What do stunted coconut palms, misshapen potato tubers, and peach trees with necrotic branches have in common? They are three of the numerous crops stricken with diseases caused by viroids, an astonishing group of minimalist plant pathogens. There isn't much to a viroid, just one single-stranded, circular RNA molecule. The largest viroid genome so far is 399 nucleotides, the smallest a mere 246—about one tenth the size of the smallest viruses (hepadnavirus LINK 2) and one hundredth the size of........ Read more »

Ding B. (2009) The biology of viroid-host interactions. Annual review of phytopathology, 105-31. PMID: 19400635  

  • August 31, 2009
  • 04:35 AM

Gender and energy use

by Henrik Karlstrøm in STS Guru

Räty & Carlsson-Kanyama show that energy consumption differ according to gender. Not surprisingly, men eat more meat, drink more alcohol and buy and drive more expensive and fuel-intensive cars, and women use more energy on hygiene and clothes. This might not be news, but it’s still nice to have some number on it. Even if those numbers are only (very reasonable!) guesstimations based on a small subset of the population (singles) and inferring energy use from expenditure numbers&hellip........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2009
  • 03:00 AM

“There must be a reason,” or how we support our own false beliefs

by David Gorski in Science-Based Medicine

For a change of pace, I want to step back from medicine for this post, although, as you will see (I hope), the study I’m going to discuss has a great deal of relevance to the topics covered regularly on this blog. One of the most frustrating aspects of being a skeptic and championing science-based [...]... Read more »

Prasad, M., Perrin, A., Bezila, K., Hoffman, S., Kindleberger, K., Manturuk, K., & Powers, A. (2009) “There Must Be a Reason”: Osama, Saddam, and Inferred Justification. Sociological Inquiry, 79(2), 142-162. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-682X.2009.00280.x  

  • August 30, 2009
  • 07:56 PM

Bears Avoid the Road Less Traveled

by Anne-Marie Hodge in Endless Forms

National Geographic has an interesting report on predator-prey issues in national parks: apparently pregnant moose in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park tend to shift their activity closer to roads before giving birth, in order to avoid predation by grizzly bears.
According to the results of the study, bears tend to be much more wary of roadways than moose. Grizzlies usually give keep at least a 5000 meter clearance, while moose have been recorded giving birth with........ Read more »

Reynolds-Hogland, M., Mitchell, M., Powell, R., & Brown, D. (2007) SELECTION OF DEN SITES BY BLACK BEARS IN THE SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS. Journal of Mammalogy, 88(4), 1062-1073. DOI: 10.1644/06-MAMM-A-329R1.1  

  • August 30, 2009
  • 06:11 PM

Binocular adaptive optics visual simulator: the future of visual testing

by Pablo Artal in Optics confidential

A recently developed adaptive optics instrument for the two eyes is described. The way on how eventually this system may change the traditional and old fashioned way of testing vision and prescribing spectacles is discussed...... Read more »

Fernández, E., Prieto, P., & Artal, P. (2009) Binocular adaptive optics visual simulator. Optics Letters, 34(17), 2628. DOI: 10.1364/OL.34.002628  

  • August 30, 2009
  • 06:01 PM

What’s so special about this Paul Kleindorfer?

by Jan Husdal in

Apparently there must be something really special about Paul Kleindorfer. Otherwise there would be no reason for Morris A Cohen and Howard Kunreuther to write their tribute to him in their 2007 article Operations Risk Management: Overview of Paul Kleindorfer’s Contributions. But what is it that makes Paul Kleindorfer so interesting  that it compelled [ ... ]... Read more »

Cohen, Morris A, & Kunreuther, Howard. (2007) Operations Risk Management: Overview of Paul Kleindorfer's Contributions. Production and Operations Management, 16(5), 525-541. info:/

  • August 30, 2009
  • 03:33 PM

Questioning: a skill for health

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

I must have driven my parents mad as a child: I’m the eternal 4 year old asking ‘Why’! It’s got me into a lot of trouble over the years when I can’t seem to sit with the status quo, just need to ask the question, understand the reasons things are the way they are – [...]... Read more »

  • August 30, 2009
  • 01:45 PM

The woman with no sense of personal space

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

If I step aboard a crowded train and see that the only free space is a cramped mid-seat gap, sandwiched between two tired-looking commuters, and faced directly opposite by three further passengers squashed close under a detritus of newspapers and laptops, then I will invariably choose to stand. By seizing the free spot, the unavoidable encroachment into my personal space would soon spoil any comfort that might be derived from resting my legs.A new study suggests my amygdala could be responsible ........ Read more »

Kennedy, D.P., Glascher, J., Tyszka, J.M., & Adolphs, R. (2009) Personal space regulation by the human amygdala. Nature Neuroscience. info:/10.1038/nn.2381

  • August 30, 2009
  • 10:15 AM

Mucus Promotes Biochemical Reactions

by Michael Long in Phased

Michael Gozin (Tel Aviv University) and coworkers have shown that proteins in mucus promote biochemical reactions under physiological conditions, possibly overturning the assumption that the only role of the mucosal barrier is to provide physical protection for organs. This news feature was written on August 30, 2009.... Read more »

Shraga, N., Belgorodsky, B., & Gozin, M. (2009) Organic Reactions Promoted by Mucin Glycoproteins. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 131(34), 12074-12075. DOI: 10.1021/ja9040626  

  • August 30, 2009
  • 09:28 AM

Project management in Computational Biology

by Abhishek Tiwari in Fisheye Perspective

In a recent PLoS Computational Biology article William Stafford Noble highlights few basic principles and strategies for carrying out computational biology experiments.The core guiding principle is simple: Someone unfamiliar with your project should be able to look at your computer files and understand in detail what you did and why. This “someone” could be any of a variety of people: someone who read your published article and wants to try to reproduce your work, a collaborator who wants t........ Read more »

  • August 30, 2009
  • 06:00 AM

When Research is Flawed: Should Labor Be Induced Immediately with Term Prelabor Rupture of Membranes?

by Henci Goer in Science & Sensibility

[Editor's Note: Lamaze International is in the process of moving the archives of our When Research is Flawed series to Science & Sensibility. When Research is Flawed is a series of brief critiques of influential studies that have shaped policy and practice, despite having serious flaws, significant limitations, or both. - AMR]
Commentary on: Hannah ME, [...]... Read more »

Hannah ME, Ohlsson A, Farine D, Hewson SA, Hodnett ED, Myhr TL, Wang EE, Weston JA, & Willan AR. (1996) Induction of labor compared with expectant management for prelabor rupture of the membranes at term. TERMPROM Study Group. The New England journal of medicine, 334(16), 1005-10. PMID: 8598837  

Schrag S, Gorwitz R, Fultz-Butts K, & Schuchat A. (2002) Prevention of perinatal group B streptococcal disease. Revised guidelines from CDC. MMWR. Recommendations and reports : Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Recommendations and reports / Centers for Disease Control, 51(RR-11), 1-22. PMID: 12211284  

  • August 30, 2009
  • 04:35 AM

Profile: Christie Wilcox

by Susan Steinhardt in BioData Blogs

Christie Wilcox is now passionate toward conservation biology, although she didn’t originally start off that way. While she always had an affinity to nature and animals, she didn’t realize that she wanted to be a biologist until she “stumbled” upon it in college. “When I’m at the beach and everyone is running away from jellyfish, I get excited and run up closer to check it out!”... Read more »

  • August 30, 2009
  • 04:35 AM

Profile: Christie Wilcox

by Susan Steinhardt in The PostDoc Forum

Christie Wilcox is now passionate toward conservation biology, although she didn’t originally start off that way. While she always had an affinity to nature and animals, she didn’t realize that she wanted to be a biologist until she “stumbled” upon it in college. “When I’m at the beach and everyone is running away from jellyfish, I get excited and run up closer to check it out!”

Wilcox began at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, as a double ma........ Read more »

  • August 29, 2009
  • 06:45 PM

Language as a complex adaptive system

by Wintz in A Replicated Typo

A prominent idea in linguistics is that humans have an array of specialised organs geared towards the production, reception and comprehension of language. For some features, particularly the physical capacity to produce and receive multiple vocalizations, there is ample evidence for specialisation: a descended larynx (Lieberman, 2003), thoracic breathing (MacLarnon & Hewitt, 1999), and several [...]... Read more »

Beckner, C; Blythe, R; Bybee, J; Christiansen, M.H.; Croft, W; Ellis, N.C.; Holland, J; Jinyun Ke; Larsen-Freeman, D; Schoenemann, T. (2009) Language is a complex adaptive system. Language Learning. info:/

  • August 29, 2009
  • 02:59 PM

Understanding urban, low socioeconomic status, African-American Girls’ attitudes towards science

by Christina Pikas in Christina's LIS Rant

So often we hear of large studies like the GSS being used for attitudes towards science. We also hear the results of science achievement metrics and are disappointed. This article provides a great mix between generalizable quantitative understanding gained through use of a validated instrument and more individualized understanding gained through qualitative research using a critical feminist lens. The authors choose this sequential mixed-methods approach to attend to "questioning how to meet the........ Read more »

  • August 29, 2009
  • 10:35 AM

The association between creativity and suicide

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Over the years a number of iconic musicians have met tragic deaths from either an overdose or suicide (e.g. Bradley Nowell and Kurt Cobain from two of my favorite bands); the former a possible mode of the latter. In light of DJ AM's recent passing, a prescription drug overdose the most likely culprit, and today's commemoration of Michael Jackson's 51st birthday, I couldn't help but ponder the possible associations between creativity, psychopathology, and suicide. Where is that fine line between ........ Read more »

Preti A, De Biasi F, & Miotto P. (2001) Musical creativity and suicide. Psychological reports, 89(3), 719-27. PMID: 11824743  

Preti A, & Miotto P. (1999) Suicide among eminent artists. Psychological reports, 84(1), 291-301. PMID: 10203964  

Slaby AE. (1992) Creativity, depression and suicide. Suicide , 22(2), 157-66. PMID: 1626330  

Pöldinger W. (1986) The relation between depression and art. Psychopathology, 263-8. PMID: 3575627  

  • August 28, 2009
  • 07:35 PM

Riding the Recession

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Global financial crisis might cause spike in marine species transport

... Read more »

  • August 28, 2009
  • 02:14 PM

Influenza PB1-F2 protein and viral fitness

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

The second RNA segment of the influenza virus genome encodes the PB1 protein – part of the viral RNA polymerase – and, in some strains, a second protein called PB1-F2. The latter protein is believed to be an important determinant of influenza virus virulence. The absence of a full-length PB1-F2 protein has been suggested [...]... Read more »

Trifonov, V., Racaniello, V., & Rabadan, R. (2009) The Contribution of the PB1-F2 Protein to the Fitness of Influenza A Viruses and its Recent Evolution in the 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) Pandemic Virus. PLoS Currents: Influenza. info:other/

  • August 28, 2009
  • 12:24 PM

Cognitive Biases that Increase with Education

by Kristen DiCerbo in Connections Research Blog

We usually think of education as reducing misconceptions and poor reasoning. However, it appears this is not always the case. Cognitive biases are those “short cuts” in thinking we take that save cognitive effort, but often cause us to reach erroneous conclusions. For example, the bandwagon effect is the tendency to believe something because many [...]... Read more »

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