Post List

  • July 10, 2010
  • 12:22 AM

hold on to your protons. this could be huge…

by Greg Fish in weird things

As Professor Farnsworth would say, shocking news everyone! A new experiment says that we’ve consistently been overestimating the size of protons by about 3 × 10^-14 millimeters, and the physicists who measured this discrepancy by tracking the motions of electrons’ much heavier siblings, are clutching their chests in fear that they might’ve broken a law [...]... Read more »

Randolf Pohl, Aldo Antognini, François Nez, Fernando D. Amaro, François Biraben, João M. R. Cardoso, Daniel S. Covita, Andreas Dax, Satish Dhawan, Luis M. P. Fernandes, Adolf Giesen, Thomas Graf, Theodor W. Hänsch, Paul Indelicato, Lucile Julien, Chen. (2010) The size of the proton. Nature, 466(8 July 2010), 213-216. info:/10.1038/nature09250

  • July 9, 2010
  • 09:35 PM

Log Normal Distributions in Ecology ~ multiplications complications

by apeescape in mind of a Markov chain

The normal distribution is the “norm” when applying statistics to data. It is simple to interpret, simple to predict, simple to optimize, convenient software-wise and analytically elegant. But in many applications, this modeling assumption may not be optimal. The first is that the normal distribution doesn’t have a zero bound. In ecology, the data is [...]... Read more »

  • July 9, 2010
  • 08:40 PM

Neury Friday: Dissociating Between Chromosomal and Gonadal Influences on Alcohol Wanting and Needing

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Researchers in this week's the Journal of Neuroscience reported that chromosomal make-up exerts a significant influences on habit-forming alcohol behaviors and amount consumed, arguing against a more traditional hypothesis that reproductive hormones drive alcohol-related behaviors. ... Read more »

Barker JM, Torregrossa MM, Arnold AP, & Taylor JR. (2010) Dissociation of genetic and hormonal influences on sex differences in alcoholism-related behaviors. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(27), 9140-4. PMID: 20610747  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 06:17 PM

Breeding, Biotech and Bulls

by Matt DiLeo in Biofortified

I’ve been meaning to tell this story for some time. It’s a good example of how not all biotechnology is genetic engineering. Traditional Breeding In trad breeding, the breeder/gardener simply crosses two parents that show great (and complementary) traits, grows up the offspring, selects the best and repeats. It’s effective, slow, labor intensive and limited by the perception of the breeder. Most traits are also very heavily impacted by the environment, so each new Continue read........ Read more »

  • July 9, 2010
  • 06:07 PM

Speedy Recovery

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Restoring coral reefs is a delicate business. Corals can bleach, become detached, or get hit by natural disasters. But using a fast-growing “weedy” species could improve the odds of success, researchers say.
A team tested the idea with Montipora digitata, a coral species that grows quickly and often produces new colonies by fragmenting. The researchers […] Read More »... Read more »

Shaish, L., Levy, G., Katzir, G., & B. Rinkevich. (2010) Employing a highly fragmented, weedy coral species in reef restoration. Ecological Engineering. info:/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2010.06.022

  • July 9, 2010
  • 04:57 PM

Further exploring the role of Fto in obesity

by neurobites in Neurobites

Friends, This is the third and final post in my series on the Fto gene.  The appearance of a new an exciting paper will, of course, increase the probability of me emitting another Fto related post, but this is it for the time being.  Fto is an exciting gene, however, so it likely won’t be [...]... Read more »

Fischer, J., Koch, L., Emmerling, C., Vierkotten, J., Peters, T., Brüning, J., & Rüther, U. (2009) Inactivation of the Fto gene protects from obesity. Nature, 458(7240), 894-898. DOI: 10.1038/nature07848  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 03:38 PM

NEWS: Bermuda rock lizard takes an long journey

by Casey Rentz in Natural Selections

 Imagine you're a lizard living under a rock on the coast-land of South Carolina (officially a state in, oh, 50, 000 years.) You're small--about 3 inches from snout to tail.

You scurry around hunting crickets and crustaceans, bask in the morning sun, and don't expect to leave your coastal abode for your entire 20-year life. But, low and behold, the sky darkens, the wind kicks up in furious, chaotic sweeps. A full blown hurricane picks you up, whirls you around, and drops you back down on t........ Read more »

Brandley MC, Wang Y, Guo X, Nieto Montes de Oca A, Fería Ortíz M, Hikida T, & Ota H. (2010) Bermuda as an evolutionary life raft for an ancient lineage of endangered lizards. PloS one, 5(6). PMID: 20614024  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 01:00 PM

Nanomagnetic remote control of animal behaviour

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

MAGNETIC nanoparticles targeted to nerve cell membranes can be used to remotely control cellular activity and even the simple reflex behaviours of nematode worms, according to research by a team of biophysicists at the University of Buffalo. The new method, which is described in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, could be very useful for investigating how cells interact in neuronal networks, and may eventually lead to new therapies for cancer and diabetes.
Heng Huang and her colleagues synthesi........ Read more »

  • July 9, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

I also dig their clever use of the word ‘sinister’.

by EcoPhysioMichelle in C6-H12-O6 (old)

It is my understanding that FIFA is reluctant to bring in more technology because they do not want areas of the world that are too poor to afford that technology to be at a disadvantage. If this is the case, then perhaps we can think of ways to eliminate error without the use of additional technology that would sully the ‘humanity’ of the sport. To this effect, Kranjec and colleagues devised an experiment to test whether subconscious visual bias associated with left-to-right reading ........ Read more »

Alexander Kranjec, Matthew Lehet, Bianca Bromberger, Anjan Chatterjee. (2010) A Sinister Bias for Calling Fouls in Soccer. PLoS ONE, 5(7). info:/doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011667

  • July 9, 2010
  • 11:36 AM

For fireflies, getting the girl requires team work

by kubke in Building Blogs of Science

Imagine you drive into a motel in Gatlinburg TN, and see behind an open room door 2 guys setting up cameras pointing at the beds while two young women peek from the parking lot. Well, if it was in the mid ’90′s it might have been Drs Moiseff and Copeland setting up the equipment before [...]... Read more »

  • July 9, 2010
  • 11:18 AM

Protons: Even Smaller Than We Thought

by Chad Orzel in Uncertain Principles

The big physics story at the moment is probably the new measurement of the size of the proton, which is reported in this Nature paper (which does not seem to be on the arxiv, alas). This is kind of a hybrid of nuclear and atomic physics, as it's a spectroscopic measurement of a quasi-atom involving an exotic particle produced in an accelerator. In a technical sense, it's a really impressive piece of work, and as a bonus, the result is surprising.

This is worth a little explanation, in the usual........ Read more »

Pohl, R., Antognini, A., Nez, F., Amaro, F., Biraben, F., Cardoso, J., Covita, D., Dax, A., Dhawan, S., Fernandes, L.... (2010) The size of the proton. Nature, 466(7303), 213-216. DOI: 10.1038/nature09250  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 11:01 AM

Sinornithosaurus Probably Wasn’t Venomous After All

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Every now and then, I come across a study that makes me hope my first doubtful impression is wrong and that the authors have better evidence to back up their claims. One such case was the hypothesis that the feathered dinosaur Sinornithosaurus had a venomous bite, as was proposed by scientists Enpu Gong, Larry Martin, [...]... Read more »

  • July 9, 2010
  • 10:49 AM

Geriaddicts – the older drug user

by Euan in Dr Euan Lawson| Doctor Writer

There is a long list of chronic diseases we see as a consequence of illicit drug use. One issue that wasn’t really touched on in this editorial* is the premature ageing effect of drugs. A good example is the state of an intravenous drug user’s legs – the acute risks of DVT and infection are [...]... Read more »

Beynon C, Stimson G, & Lawson E. (2010) Illegal drug use in the age of ageing. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 60(576), 481-2. PMID: 20594437  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 09:30 AM

Sexual orientation – wired that way

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

In a recent post, I presented the evidence that sexual preference is strongly influenced by genetic variation.  Here, I discuss the neurobiological evidence that shows that the brains of homosexual men and women are wired differently from those of their heterosexual counterparts.   First, we must consider the differences between the brains of heterosexual males and females.  These differences are extensive and arise mainly due to the influence of testosterone during a critical period of e........ Read more »

Swaab DF. (2008) Sexual orientation and its basis in brain structure and function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(30), 10273-4. PMID: 18653758  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 09:29 AM

Broken heart syndrome and the flagellated heart

by Atila in Brazillion Thoughts

This is another one of those unlikely situations that insist on existing. Could a very strong emotion cause a cardiac alteration so severe capable of causing someone's death?
I'm not talking about arrhythmia. Electric alterations in the heart could make it lose its regular rhythm and, possibly, create a situation where there is, in fact, a cardiac arrest. Arrhythmias may be caused by a number of factors, including electrolytic disorders, traumas, drugs, as well as emotions.
What I am talking a........ Read more »

Wittstein IS, Thiemann DR, Lima JA, Baughman KL, Schulman SP, Gerstenblith G, Wu KC, Rade JJ, Bivalacqua TJ, & Champion HC. (2005) Neurohumoral features of myocardial stunning due to sudden emotional stress. The New England journal of medicine, 352(6), 539-48. PMID: 15703419  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 08:42 AM

Watch where you sit, the things you touch affect your decisions and judgment

by Matt Soniak in

How you think you assess and explore new things? You might assume that you do it primarily through sight, right? If I have a cool new gadget, the first words out of your mouth would likely be, “Can I see it?” Chances are, though, that when you say that, you’ll also extend your arm and open your hand. Seeing isn’t all there is. You want to touch, feel, hold and manipulate unfamiliar things.... Read more »

Ackerman JM, Nocera CC, & Bargh JA. (2010) Incidental haptic sensations influence social judgments and decisions. Science (New York, N.Y.), 328(5986), 1712-5. PMID: 20576894  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 08:19 AM

Computerizing the Chaos of Epilepsy

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

The electrical symphony of the human brain, with billions of neurons firing at different rates, up to hundreds of times per second, likely looks like chaos to any outside observer. But there are patterns in the ongoing brain activity seen, for instance, on an EEG: slow oscillations, rhythmic coordination, and purposeful ripples of communication. The [...]... Read more »

Dwyer J, Lee H, Martell A, Stevens R, Hereld M, & van Drongelen W. (2010) Oscillation in a Network Model of Neocortex. Neurocomputing, 73(7-9), 1051-1056. PMID: 20368744  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

The Handwriting on the Wall

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have poor penmanship. In turn, poor penmanship leads to decreased success in communication, failed academics, and a lack of self-esteem. Until now, clinicians and autism experts believed that developmental delays were to blame for inferior handwriting skills, but a new study in Neurology reports that weak motor skills [...]... Read more »

Beversdorf DQ, Anderson JM, Manning SE, Anderson SL, Nordgren RE, Felopulos GJ, & Bauman ML. (2001) Brief report: macrographia in high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 31(1), 97-101. PMID: 11439759  

Dziuk MA, Gidley Larson JC, Apostu A, Mahone EM, Denckla MB, & Mostofsky SH. (2007) Dyspraxia in autism: association with motor, social, and communicative deficits. Developmental medicine and child neurology, 49(10), 734-9. PMID: 17880641  

Frings M, Gaertner K, Buderath P, Christiansen H, Gerwig M, Hein-Kropp C, Schoch B, Hebebrand J, & Timmann D. (2010) Megalographia in Children with Cerebellar Lesions and in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Cerebellum (London, England). PMID: 20480275  

Fuentes CT, Mostofsky SH, & Bastian AJ. (2009) Children with autism show specific handwriting impairments. Neurology, 73(19), 1532-7. PMID: 19901244  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

“You’re not my type!”, echolocation edition

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Distinguishing your own species from other species is useful: for one thing, it prevents a lot of potentially embarrassing mating attempts.

“Um. You mean we don’t belong to, er... that is to say... you’re not my species? I am so sorry...”


But how fine a distinction can a species draw? Does it stop at, “You’re not my species,” or can it extend to, “You’re species B, not C or D”? And would species be able to distinguish other species outside of r........ Read more »

  • July 9, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Making winter sports less intrusive on wildlife

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit