No, not the flesh-blood-and-feathers penguin, but rather Tux, the beloved mascot of the Linux operating system. Compared with Escherichia coli, the model organism of choice for microbiologists.
We refer to DNA as “the book of life”; some geeks refer to it as the “operating system of life”. Just like in a computer’s operating system, DNA contains [...]... Read more »
Yan, K., Fang, G., Bhardwaj, N., Alexander, R., & Gerstein, M. (2010) Comparing genomes to computer operating systems in terms of the topology and evolution of their regulatory control networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914771107
Psychosis among drug users is quite common. Often, it is difficult to determine which came first, substance use or psychosis. Frequently, they co-occur. In cases where drugs are causally related (i.e., substance-induced psychosis), the condition is typically transient with a duration of 1 month or less. In rare cases, the length of psychosis can last longer. And in even rarer cases, symptoms such as hallucinations can be permanent.Psychosis can be associated with the use ........ Read more »
Thirthalli, J . (2006) Psychosis Among Substance Users. Current Opinion in Psychiatry. info:/
In a paper entitled, “Leisure College, USA“ Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks have documented dramatic declines in study effort since 1961, from 24 down to 14 hours per week. This decline occurred at all different sorts of colleges and is not a result of students working for pay.
At the same time, colleges are handing out better grades. In other work, Babcock presents strongly suggestive evidence that the two phenomena are related. That is, lower grading standards lead to less st........ Read more »
Phillip Babcock . (2010) The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data. NBER Working Paper. info:other/15954_id
Turbidity is well known for its negative impact on fish feeding ability. As turbidity increases the visual range of the predator decreases, which leads to a reduction in the area searched, and therefore a lowered encounter rate. But what is one fish's garbage maybe another's treasure. The authors of this paper investigated whether turbidity can also provide a cover, or safe haven, for prey fish making them harder to detect.... Read more »
Chiu, S., & Abrahams, M. (2010) Effects of turbidity and risk of predation on habitat selection decisions by Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas). Environmental Biology of Fishes, 309-316. info:/10.1007/s10641-010-9599-8
Research shows that students who forgive themselves for procrastinating, manage to reduce subsequent procrastination on the same task.... Read more »
Michael J.A. Wohl, Timothy A. Pychyl, & Shannon H. Bennett. (2010) I forgive myself, now I can study: How self-forgiveness for procrastinating can reduce future procrastination. Personality and Individual Differences. info:/doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.01.029
The Moroccan Ministry of Culture has a press release (in French) about the cave site of Ifri n’Ammar, about 50km south (i.e., away from the coast) of Nador, indicating that the Moroccan-German team that has been working there for the past seven years has identified Aterian levels dating to about 175,000 BP. If these dates are correct, they push back the age for the earliest Aterian assemblages by some 65,000 year, since to date, the oldest Aterian levels had been identified at the Moroccan sit........ Read more »
Barton, R., Bouzouggar, A., Collcutt, S., Schwenninger, J., & Clark-Balzan, L. (2009) OSL dating of the Aterian levels at Dar es-Soltan I (Rabat, Morocco) and implications for the dispersal of modern Homo sapiens. Quaternary Science Reviews, 28(19-20), 1914-1931. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.03.010
Shea, J. (2006) The origins of lithic projectile point technology: evidence from Africa, the Levant, and Europe. Journal of Archaeological Science, 33(6), 823-846. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2005.10.015
I know, it should make sense: reduce the biomechanical load on the body bits and pain/injury should reduce, right? I mean, the maths adds up, cadaver experiments ‘prove it’, it has ‘face validity’, there is a whole industry based on the idea of ‘safe lifting’ and injury prevention – physical ergonomics works, doesn’t it? Well, … Read more... Read more »
Driessen MT, Proper KI, van Tulder MW, Anema JR, Bongers PM, & van der Beek AJ. (2010) The effectiveness of physical and organisational ergonomic interventions on low back pain and neck pain: a systematic review. Occupational and environmental medicine, 67(4), 277-85. PMID: 20360197
For the next month, I’m going to be blogging about illusions and the people who create them. So let’s get started. Take a look at the following short movie, following the on-screen instructions. Just watch it once!
This one is based on an illusion by Stuart Anstis, who in turn based it on a very popular [...]... Read more »
Bald eagles may prey on threatened species
... Read more »
Newsome, S.D. et al. (2010) Pleistocene to historic shifts in bald eagle diets on the Channel Islands, California. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0913011107
The skeletons of female (larger, background) and male (smaller, foreground) Dinornis robustus, with a pigeon skeleton for comparison. From Allentoft et al 2010.
A little more than 700 years ago, multiple species of the gigantic, flightless birds called moas were still running around New Zealand. They ranged over almost the entirety of the North and South Islands, from the coast to the mountain forests, but when the Maori people arrived in the late 13th century the birds were quickly driven........ Read more »
Allentoft, M., Bunce, M., Scofield, R., Hale, M., & Holdaway, R. (2010) Highly skewed sex ratios and biased fossil deposition of moa: ancient DNA provides new insight on New Zealand's extinct megafauna. Quaternary Science Reviews, 29(5-6), 753-762. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.11.022
Just released are the 5-year results from the largest-ever experimental study of therapies for unhappy couples. Discover whether the effects of couple's therapy actually last.... Read more »
Christensen, A., Atkins, D., Baucom, B., & Yi, J. (2010) Marital status and satisfaction five years following a randomized clinical trial comparing traditional versus integrative behavioral couple therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 225-235. DOI: 10.1037/a0018132
An essay published last week in Cell dismissed the findings of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and questioned their value to the study of human disease. In their article Genetic Heterogeneity in Human Disease, McLellan and King argue that because common diseases exhibit a high deegree of allelic, locus, and phenotypic heterogeneity, their causality “can almost [...]... Read more »
A comparative approach to bilingualism. Bilingualism is difficult to define, but by asking whether there is evidence for this capacity in non-human species, it's hoped that this question is made clearer.... Read more »
Bialystok E, & Martin MM. (2004) Attention and inhibition in bilingual children: evidence from the dimensional change card sort task. Developmental science, 7(3), 325-39. PMID: 15595373
D. Demolin. (2010) Prosody and recursion in primate vocalisation. Proceed- ings of the JAIST International Seminar on the Emergence and Evolution of Linguistic Communication, Kyoto, Japan. info:/
Doupe AJ, & Kuhl PK. (1999) Birdsong and human speech: common themes and mechanisms. Annual review of neuroscience, 567-631. PMID: 10202549
Fitch, W. T. (2005) The evolution of language: A comparative review. Biology and Philosophy, 20(2-3), 193-203. info:/10.1007/s10539-005-5597-1
Kaminski J, Call J, & Fischer J. (2004) Word learning in a domestic dog: evidence for "fast mapping". Science (New York, N.Y.), 304(5677), 1682-3. PMID: 15192233
Kuhl, P. . (1978) Speech perception by the chinchilla: Identification functions for synthetic VOT stimuli. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 63(3), 905. DOI: 10.1121/1.381770
Magrath, R., Pitcher, B., & Gardner, J. (2009) An avian eavesdropping network: alarm signal reliability and heterospecific response. Behavioral Ecology, 20(4), 745-752. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arp055
Oda, R. and Masataka, N. (1996) Interspecific responses of ring-tailed lemurs to playback of antipredator alarm calls given by Verreaux's sifakas. Ethology, 441-453. info:/10.1159/000021651
SEYFARTH, R., & CHENEY, D. (1990) The assessment by vervet monkeys of their own and another species' alarm calls. Animal Behaviour, 40(4), 754-764. DOI: 10.1016/S0003-3472(05)80704-3
Soma, M., Hiraiwa-Hasegawa, M., & Okanoya, K. (2009) Song-learning strategies in the Bengalese finch: do chicks choose tutors based on song complexity?. Animal Behaviour, 78(5), 1107-1113. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.08.002
Zuberbühler, K. (2000) Interspecies semantic communication in two forest primates. Proceedings: Biological Sciences, 267(1444), 713-718. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2000.1061
An analysis of a position paper that argues for the use of brain scans in the courtroom... Read more »
Schauer F. (2010) Neuroscience, lie-detection, and the law: contrary to the prevailing view, the suitability of brain-based lie-detection for courtroom or forensic use should be determined according to legal and not scientific standards. Trends in cognitive sciences, 14(3), 101-3. PMID: 20060772
A couple of days ago Steven Strogatz, the chaos and complexity theorist, wrote a lucid article in the New York Times about the daunting task of teaching probability theory. In particular he dealt with the cerebrally demanding topic of formalizing and analyzing “conditional probability”. What he suggests is quite reasonable, "comporting with human intuition instead of confounding it."Strogatz recommends skipping the mathematical formalism and avoid using Bayes’s theorem, much as his student........ Read more »
Teglas, E., Girotto, V., Gonzalez, M., & Bonatti, L. (2007) Intuitions of probabilities shape expectations about the future at 12 months and beyond. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(48), 19156-19159. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0700271104
Only briefly (at p.269) does Levine (2010) get close to why it is we can live in an era when hyper-sexuality in men is at once constructed as a terrible addiction and a masculine ideal. The great relief is that most men are not really sexually 'sick' at all.... Read more »
Winston Churchill once defined a pessimist as one who sees the difficulty in every opportunity, but an optimist as one who sees the opportunity in every difficulty. New research shows that optimists, who already enjoy better goal attainment, more resilience, and better overall well-being compared to pessimists, also enjoy a healthier immune system. The new [...]... Read more »
Segerstrom, S. (2007) Optimism and resources: Effects on each other and on health over 10 years☆. Journal of Research in Personality, 41(4), 772-786. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2006.09.004
Segerstrom, S., & Sephton, S. (2010) Optimistic Expectancies and Cell-Mediated Immunity: The Role of Positive Affect. Psychological Science, 21(3), 448-455. DOI: 10.1177/0956797610362061
Yesterday, I co-chaired and spoke at a session on obesity management at the 25th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension in New York.
Later in the afternoon, Jeff Friedman, who played a prominent role in the discovery of leptin, thereby hearkening in the modern era of adipocyte and appetite physiology, presented an update [...]... Read more »
Hedbacker K, Birsoy K, Wysocki RW, Asilmaz E, Ahima RS, Farooqi IS, & Friedman JM. (2010) Antidiabetic effects of IGFBP2, a leptin-regulated gene. Cell metabolism, 11(1), 11-22. PMID: 20074524
The cultural driver of shark killing - from topnews.in
Can social science save the sharks? A recent article in Progress in Oceanography by Peter Jacques seems to think so, calling for a “social oceanography”. In other circles, this could be known as the human dimensions of a marine ecosystem or the social side of [...]... Read more »
Jacques, P. (2010) The social oceanography of top oceanic predators and the decline of sharks: a call for a new field. Progress In Oceanography. DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2010.04.001
I was getting a little concerned and distressed by the lack of evidence for any function of viral MHC class I immune evasion. It’s kind of a relief to see articles demonstrating function coming out.
MHC class I is the target for cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), which are generally believed to be pretty important in [...]... Read more »
Gold MC, Munks MW, Wagner M, McMahon CW, Kelly A, Kavanagh DG, Slifka MK, Koszinowski UH, Raulet DH, & Hill AB. (2004) Murine cytomegalovirus interference with antigen presentation has little effect on the size or the effector memory phenotype of the CD8 T cell response. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 172(11), 6944-53. PMID: 15153514
Lu, X., Pinto, A., Kelly, A., Cho, K., & Hill, A. (2006) Murine Cytomegalovirus Interference with Antigen Presentation Contributes to the Inability of CD8 T Cells To Control Virus in the Salivary Gland. Journal of Virology, 80(8), 4200-4202. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.80.8.4200-4202.2006
Stevenson, P., May, J., Smith, X., Marques, S., Adler, H., Koszinowski, U., Simas, J., & Efstathiou, S. (2002) K3-mediated evasion of CD8 T cells aids amplification of a latent γ-herpesvirus. Nature Immunology. DOI: 10.1038/ni818
Hansen, S., Powers, C., Richards, R., Ventura, A., Ford, J., Siess, D., Axthelm, M., Nelson, J., Jarvis, M., Picker, L.... (2010) Evasion of CD8 T Cells Is Critical for Superinfection by Cytomegalovirus. Science, 328(5974), 102-106. DOI: 10.1126/science.1185350
Friedrich, T., Piaskowski, S., Leon, E., Furlott, J., Maness, N., Weisgrau, K., Mac Nair, C., Weiler, A., Loffredo, J., Reynolds, M.... (2010) High Viremia Is Associated with High Levels of In Vivo Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I Downregulation in Rhesus Macaques Infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus SIVmac239. Journal of Virology, 84(10), 5443-5447. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.02452-09
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