Post List

  • August 5, 2010
  • 12:00 AM

Close encounters with outer shells

by Joerg Heber in All That Matters

If you look at the image of an atom in a text book, it looks rather quiet and peaceful. There is a nucleus in the center made from a number of protons and neutrons. Around the nucleus the electrons typically are shown to orbit the core like planets around the sun. The reality, however, is far more complicated. First of all, the electrons don’t look like small planets, but are smeared out in complex shapes known as orbitals. The energy states of the different orbitals correspond to the electron........ Read more »

Goulielmakis, E., Loh, Z., Wirth, A., Santra, R., Rohringer, N., Yakovlev, V., Zherebtsov, S., Pfeifer, T., Azzeer, A., Kling, M.... (2010) Real-time observation of valence electron motion. Nature, 466(7307), 739-743. DOI: 10.1038/nature09212  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 10:55 PM

A Clinically Useful Fluorescence Microscope for $240 USD

by Michael Long in Phased

Andrew Miller (Rice University, United States) and coworkers have developed a remarkably cheap microscope with both the portability and imaging capabilites required for routine slide-based medical diagnostics, an extremely useful development for health professionals in remote regions of the world. This news feature was written on August 4, 2010.... Read more »

Miller, A. R., Davis, G. L., Oden, Z. M., Razavi, M. R., Fateh, A., Ghazanfari, M., Abdolrahimi, F., Poorazar, S., Sakhaie, F., Olsen, R. J.... (2010) Portable, Battery-Operated, Low-Cost, Bright Field and Fluorescence Microscope. PLoS ONE, 5(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011890  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 09:51 PM

Pharmacy Customers Perception of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Pharmacies

by Darcy Cowan in Skepticon

Going through the papers cluttering my inbox I found this survey of Australian pharmacy customers relating to their use of CAM and their impressions of how pharmacists should approach the subject. Regular readers of Sciblogs may remember a kerfuffle earlier in the year regarding the sale of homeopathic remedies in pharmacies, I and others were [...]... Read more »

Braun, L., Tiralongo, E., Wilkinson, J., Spitzer, O., Bailey, M., Poole, S., & Dooley, M. (2010) Perceptions, use and attitudes of pharmacy customers on complementary medicines and pharmacy practice. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 10(1), 38. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-10-38  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 09:25 PM

Don’t Bite: The Defenestration of Cookie

by Jason Goldman in Child's Play

III. Whither the Cookie Task? WARNING: What you are about to read may contain graphic statistical content.  Side effects may include: contagious yawning, inappropriate arousal, and / or spontaneous combustion, depending on how you like your math cooked… darling. Psychologists often think about the cookie task as a test of cognitive control, and in keeping [...]... Read more »

Eigsti, I., Zayas, V., Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., Ayduk, O., Dadlani, M., Davidson, M., Aber, J., & Casey, B. (2006) Predicting Cognitive Control From Preschool to Late Adolescence and Young Adulthood. Psychological Science, 17(6), 478-484. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01732.x  

Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Rodriguez, M. (1989) Delay of gratification in children. Science, 244(4907), 933-938. DOI: 10.1126/science.2658056  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 06:05 PM

More on maternal spiders

by Africa Gomez in BugBlog

I posted recently on maternal behaviour in spiders, but I when I came across this I knew another post was in order. The photo above shows what is is most likely a Gnaphosidae spider with her eggs in her nest on the 19th of July. The spider has wrapped herself inside a silken nest she has made for her eggs, and she will remain there until they hatch and the spiderlings disperse. This behaviour, called 'egg guarding' is present in many spiders. Why would a spider do this? Do the eggs benefit ........ Read more »

Pollard, S.D. (1984) Egg guarding by Clubiona cambridgei (Araneae, Clubionidae) against conspecific predators. Journal of Arachnology, 323-326. info:/

Nyffeler, M., Breene, R., Dean, D., & Sterling, W. (1990) Spiders as predators of arthropod eggs. Journal of Applied Entomology, 109(1-5), 490-501. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0418.1990.tb00080.x  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 05:12 PM

The Palin Effect

by Bob O'Hara in This Scientific Life

As attentive readers of the New York Times are aware, science bloggers are all about being noisy and shouting at people we don’t like. As most of us have liberal leanings, that means we can be obnoxious towards people on the political right. And this week we’ve got great fodder, in the shape of a [...]... Read more »

  • August 4, 2010
  • 03:51 PM

The genetics of dystonia in CRPS – not what we were expecting

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

The genetics of dystonia in CRPS - genes don't seem to predispose or cause dystonia in CRPS. This doesn’t mean that there is no genetic contribution, but it does mean that the genes that underpin familial dystonia are not important in CRPS-dystonia.... Read more »

[1] Fahn S. (1988) Concept and classification of dystonia. Advances in neurology, 1-8. PMID: 3041755  

[2] van Rijn MA, Marinus J, Putter H, & van Hilten JJ. (2007) Onset and progression of dystonia in complex regional pain syndrome. Pain, 130(3), 287-93. PMID: 17499924  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 03:44 PM

Real Time fMRI

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Wouldn't it be cool if you could measure brain activation with fMRI... right as it happens?You could lie there in the scanner and watch your brain light up. Then you could watch your brain light up some more in response to seeing your brain light up, and watch it light up even more upon seeing your brain light up in response to seeing itself light up... like putting your brain between two mirrors and getting an infinite tunnel of activations.Ok, that would probably get boring, eventually. But th........ Read more »

Hinds, O., Ghosh, S., Thompson, T., Yoo, J., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Triantafyllou, C., & Gabrieli, J. (2010) Computing moment to moment BOLD activation for real-time neurofeedback. NeuroImage. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.07.060  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 03:30 PM

The Genetics of Being Lean: Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone Receptor

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Research addressing genetic factors in obesity grows each year.  However, there has been limited attention to the other side of the coin, the genetics of thinness and a related body composition variable lean body mass.  Some might say, why bother, isn't being thin a good thing?Thinness does confer some advantages with reduced risk of hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis and some types of cancer.  However, there are some disorders (i.e. osteoporosis) increased in those underweigh........ Read more »

Liu XG, Tan LJ, Lei SF, Liu YJ, Shen H, Wang L, Yan H, Guo YF, Xiong DH, Chen XD.... (2009) Genome-wide association and replication studies identified TRHR as an important gene for lean body mass. American journal of human genetics, 84(3), 418-23. PMID: 19268274  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 03:14 PM

Sensitivity and Specialization in the Occipitatemporal Region: Differences in Dyslexic Children

by Livia in Reading and Word Recognition Research

Accessibility: Advanced/intermediate

Early research on the role of the occipitotemporal region in reading often focused on characterizing a single region in the mid fusiform, commonly called the visual word form area. Since then, focus has gradually...

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van der Mark S, Bucher K, Maurer U, Schulz E, Brem S, Buckelmüller J, Kronbichler M, Loenneker T, Klaver P, Martin E.... (2009) Children with dyslexia lack multiple specializations along the visual word-form (VWF) system. NeuroImage, 47(4), 1940-9. PMID: 19446640  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 03:00 PM


by EcoPhysioMichelle in C6-H12-O6

In case you hadn't heard, it's Shark Week, and Michelle is here to teach you a little bit of shark physiology. In the interest of full disclosure, sharks are not my forte. I am a tetrapod girl, but I know just enough about sharks to know that they have a really, really cool electrosensory system that helps them catch prey.... Read more »

Bullock, T. (1982) Electroreception. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 5(1), 121-170. DOI: 10.1146/  

Montgomery, J., Coombs, S., & Halstead, M. (1995) Biology of the mechanosensory lateral line in fishes. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 5(4), 399-416. DOI: 10.1007/BF01103813  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 01:32 PM

Y Chromsome V: The Ampliconic Sequence Class

by Kele in Kele's Science Blog

If you recall from Y Chromosome II, the ampliconic class displays extraordinarily high sequence similarity to other sequences of the same region, has higher gene density than the X-degenerate class, and its genes are found in multiple copies and are expressed almost exclusively in the testes. The ampliconic class just doesn’t show the signs of [...]... Read more »

Skaletsky H, Kuroda-Kawaguchi T, Minx PJ, Cordum HS, Hillier L, Brown LG, Repping S, Pyntikova T, Ali J, Bieri T.... (2003) The male-specific region of the human Y chromosome is a mosaic of discrete sequence classes. Nature, 423(6942), 825-37. PMID: 12815422  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 01:30 PM

The Scientist and the Anarchist - Part I

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted by Jennifer Ouellette at her wonderful blog Cocktail Party Physics.If the city is an ecosystem, Huxley embodies the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Lanky and high-strung, estranged from his father at an early age, and the youngest of six children, Huxley was primed from birth to view life as a struggle. Born on May 4, 1825 above a butcher’s shop on London’s outskirts, Huxley was the son of a poor schoolteacher and a member of England........ Read more »

Adrian Desmond. (1997) Huxley:. From Devil's Disciple to Evolution's High Priest. info:other/

  • August 4, 2010
  • 01:30 PM

The Scientist and the Anarchist - Part I

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries in Exile

The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted by Jennifer Ouellette at her wonderful blog Cocktail Party Physics.If the city is an ecosystem, Huxley embodies the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Lanky and high-strung, estranged from his father at an early age, and the youngest of six children, Huxley was primed from birth to view life as a struggle. Born on May 4, 1825 above a butcher’s shop on London’s outskirts, Huxley was the son of a poor schoolteacher and a member of England........ Read more »

Adrian Desmond. (1997) Huxley:. From Devil's Disciple to Evolution's High Priest. info:other/

  • August 4, 2010
  • 01:15 PM

A Simplified Yet Quantitative Model for Macromolecular Crowding

by Michael Long in Phased

Nikolay Dokholyan (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States) and coworkers report a primitive theoretical model for protein folding stability in relation to macromolecular crowding, and find that it agrees with experiments as well as theoretical models which are far more complicated. This news feature was written on August 4, 2010.... Read more »

  • August 4, 2010
  • 01:10 PM

Determining the structure by looking at the molecule

by Lars Fischer in EuCheMS 2010 Blog

In many cases it is notoriously difficult to determine the exact structure of a molecule, especially with larger ones. Stereocenters tend to make things worse, and interesting molecules tend to have several of them. Have you ever sat up to the neck in a pile of inconclusive spectra and wished you could just hold it [...]... Read more »

Gross, L., Mohn, F., Moll, N., Meyer, G., Ebel, R., Abdel-Mageed, W., & Jaspars, M. (2010) Organic structure determination using atomic-resolution scanning probe microscopy. Nature Chemistry. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.765  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 01:09 PM

Fame beckons at last for the Horton Plains slender loris

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

After I'd finished writing about the new Madagascan mongoose, I thought it only right to add material to the end about some of the other new discoveries made in the world of mammalogy. But as happens on so many occasions, this made the article over-long and in the end I decided to axe that additional stuff. Plus, it makes more sense to get two, three, four or more articles out of one - another familiar theme on Tet Zoo (errr, gekkotans, anurans, babirusas, matamatas, pronghorns, bird hands............ Read more »

Gamage, S., Reardon, J. T., Padmalal, U. K. G. K., & Kotagama, S. W. (2010) First physical examination of the Horton Plains slender loris, Loris tardigradus nycticeboides, in 72 years. Primate Conservation. info:/

  • August 4, 2010
  • 12:59 PM

Persistent ethnic differences in test performance may be entirely an artifact of the method used to 'adjust' the test

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

It is well established among those who carry out, analyze, and report pre-employment performance testing that slope-based bias in those tests is rare. Why is this important? Look at the following three graphs from a recent study by Aguinis, Culpepper and Pierce (2010):
Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Aguinis, H., Culpepper, S., & Pierce, C. (2010) Revival of test bias research in preemployment testing. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(4), 648-680. DOI: 10.1037/a0018714  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 12:56 PM

I can’t hear you, the bacteria are too noisy

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Much too noisy. When looking at a population of genetically identical bacteria, the number of proteins they produce varies. The picture below shows the levels of one type of protein that was fused to a green fluorescent protein (so we can see it): clearly there is a variation in how much of the protein each cell produces (“protein expression” in molbio-speak), even though the bacteria are genetically identical. Why is that? In 2006, a group of researchers at the University of Califor........ Read more »

Guido, N., Wang, X., Adalsteinsson, D., McMillen, D., Hasty, J., Cantor, C., Elston, T., & Collins, J. (2006) A bottom-up approach to gene regulation. Nature, 439(7078), 856-860. DOI: 10.1038/nature04473  

  • August 4, 2010
  • 12:39 PM

Study Finds Brains Literally "Sync Up" In Conversation

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Good communication is a matter of getting "in sync" with others, as you've probably noticed when you've seen people match their steps perfectly as they walk, and imitate each other's gestures as they talk, and use each other's phrases and grammar. Last week, this paper reported  this kind of coordination in the most important place of all: When people converse, it reports, regions of their brains synchronize their activity. "Neural coupling," they argue, is a key part of communica........ Read more »

Stephens, G., Silbert, L., & Hasson, U. (2010) Speaker-listener neural coupling underlies successful communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1008662107  

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