Post List

  • June 7, 2010
  • 02:21 PM

Paper trail, or: Did they say that? Peer-reviewed journal edition

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Everybody makes mistakes. But the peer-reviewed scientific literature tries to reduce mistakes by having fairly rigorous rules for citation. Citing original sources increases transparency and greatly facilitates fact-checking.

For instance, in one of our recent papers, we pointed out that a reference given in another paper did not support the point being made (as far as we could tell). Probably most practicing scientists have a story like that. But how common is that sort of error?

A new paper........ Read more »

Todd, P., Guest, J., Lu, J., & Chou, L. (2010) One in four citations in marine biology papers is inappropriate. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 299-303. DOI: 10.3354/meps08587  

  • June 7, 2010
  • 02:17 PM

What in Darwin’s Name Are Chaetognaths?!

by Kevin Zelnio in Deep Sea News

Lynn Margulis classified the Chaetognaths, known as arrow worms, as deuterostomes. Deuterostomy is characterized by  several developmental characteristics including radial, indeterminate cleavage, a posterior position of the blastopore (deuterostomy=”second mouth”), enterocoelous coelom formation and a tripartite adult body plan . . . → Read More: What in Darwin’s Name Are Chaetognaths?!... Read more »

Marlétaz, F., Martin, E., Perez, Y., Papillon, D., Caubit, X., Lowe, C., Freeman, B., Fasano, L., Dossat, C., & Wincker, P. (2006) Chaetognath phylogenomics: a protostome with deuterostome-like development. Current Biology, 16(15). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2006.07.016  

  • June 7, 2010
  • 01:00 PM

Ptychozoon: the geckos that glide with flaps and fringes (gekkotans part VIII)

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

In the previous few gekkotan articles we looked at the seriously weird and highly distinctive leaf-tailed geckos of Madagascar. There's another group of especially unusual, highly notable gekkonid gekkotans I want to write about: the flying, gliding or parachute geckos (Ptychozoon) of south-east Asia and India. These geckos are weird: the adjacent pic (widely available online, but only at frustratingly small size; it's credited to Tim Macmillan/John Downer) makes them look like tiny screamin........ Read more »

Brown, R. M., Ferner, J. W., & Diesmos, A. C. (1997) Definition of the Philippine parachute gecko, Ptychozoon intermedium Taylor 1915 (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae): redescription, designation of a neotype, comparisons with related species. Herpetologica, 373-373. info:/

  • June 7, 2010
  • 12:52 PM

Awesomest Cola & Mentos yet

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Yeah, yeah, Cola & Mentos videos are getting somewhat tired. Still, this one really goes overboard:

Ha! Now how does the Cola & Mentos reaction work?

Well, first, the Cola & Mentos thing is a physical reaction, more than  a chemical one: it happens mainly due to nucleation sites provided by the pitted surface of the Mentos [...]... Read more »

  • June 7, 2010
  • 09:06 AM

Are Baseball Announcers Necessary?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

As digital and social media infiltrate the world of sports, and make teams, athletes, reporters, and information overall more accessible for fans, there is a greater opportunity for fans to connect to the game. This connection is important to the longevity of the franchises, and has largely been borne on the shoulders of the games' announcers. But why bother turning up the volume on the radio or

... Read more »

  • June 7, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

200,000 Cyclists Swarm Berlin

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

One of my favourite memories of Berlin (my home town) is the annual bicycle day, when hundreds of thousands of cyclists from all corners of Berlin converge to the centre of the city, essentially stopping all other traffic (at least for a while).
Yesterday, as I arrived in Berlin it was hard to overlook the fact [...]... Read more »

Böhning D, Boose R, Kurzawski S, & Saul N. (2002) Bicycle safety helmet usage in Berlin 1999: an observational study. Sozial- und Praventivmedizin, 47(2), 124-7. PMID: 12134730  

  • June 7, 2010
  • 06:05 AM

Acupuncture – the mysterious case of the missing razor

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

Acupuncture is all the rage in the treatment of pain. Recent clinical guidelines in the UK recommend it in the treatment of persistent back pain. This decision is somewhat controversial and has led to much discussion, because while the research in back pain suggests people feel somewhat better after acupuncture, it also demonstrates with clarity [...]... Read more »

Kaptchuk TJ, Stason WB, Davis RB, Legedza AR, Schnyer RN, Kerr CE, Stone DA, Nam BH, Kirsch I, & Goldman RH. (2006) Sham device v inert pill: randomised controlled trial of two placebo treatments. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 332(7538), 391-7. PMID: 16452103  

Kaptchuk TJ, Kelley JM, Conboy LA, Davis RB, Kerr CE, Jacobson EE, Kirsch I, Schyner RN, Nam BH, Nguyen LT.... (2008) Components of placebo effect: randomised controlled trial in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 336(7651), 999-1003. PMID: 18390493  

  • June 7, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Sex discrimination in graduate admissions? A real-life aggregation paradox

by Rense Nieuwenhuis in Curving Normality

A 1975 study on graduate admissions at Berkeley found that male applicants had a substantially higher likelihood of being admitted, compared to women. However, upon closer examination the presence of aggregation paradoxes do not legitimize the conclusion that women were discriminated against.... Read more »

Bickel PJ, Hammel EA, & O'connell JW. (1975) Sex Bias in Graduate Admissions: Data from Berkeley. Science (New York, N.Y.), 187(4175), 398-404. PMID: 17835295  

  • June 7, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Article Review: Conceptual Model on Learner Reflection

by Michelle Lin in Academic Life In Emergency Medicine

Reflective journals and electronic portfolios are becoming increasingly popular within undergraduate and graduate medical education. I'm starting to be a believer in this learning approach, which teaches learners about professional development and life-long learning principles. Academic Medicine just published a great qualitative paper proposing a conceptual model for reflection.What is "reflection"?In an Medical Teacher article by Sandars, the author defines reflection broadly as:"a metacogniti........ Read more »

  • June 7, 2010
  • 05:50 AM

Drawing out the truth

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Forget expensive fMRI-based lie detection or iffy polygraph tests, give your suspect a pencil and paper and get them to draw what happened - a new study suggests their artistic efforts will betray whether they are telling the truth or not. Aldert Vrij's new study involved 31 police and military participants going on a mock mission to pick up a package from another agent before delivering it somewhere else. Afterwards the participants answered questions about the mission. Crucially, they were als........ Read more »

Vrij, A., Leal, S., Mann, S., Warmelink, L., Granhag, P., & Fisher, R. (2009) Drawings as an innovative and successful lie detection tool. Applied Cognitive Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/acp.1627  

  • June 7, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

Priortizing restoration across agricultural landscapes

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new case study presents a planning method for prioritizing ecosystem restoration efforts across an agricultural region. While this type of systematic approach to prioritization has been widely used in land protection, it is much less common in restoration...... Read more »

  • June 7, 2010
  • 04:20 AM

In the news this month... Hubble spots a planet-eating star

by Megan in Rigel

Most of the discovered so far are in the class known as "", large gas giants orbiting close to their parent stars, since many of the search techniques used are most sensitive to this type of planet. Usually these planets are located close enough to their parent star that they orbit in just a few days, but a team that is orbiting so close to its parent star that it is actually being disrupted.The planet, known as WASP-12b, is located in the constellation of Auriga and was discovered in the , or........ Read more »

Fossati, L., Haswell, C., Froning, C., Hebb, L., Holmes, S., Kolb, U., Helling, C., Carter, A., Wheatley, P., Cameron, A.... (2010) METALS IN THE EXOSPHERE OF THE HIGHLY IRRADIATED PLANET WASP-12b. The Astrophysical Journal, 714(2). DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/714/2/L222  

  • June 7, 2010
  • 04:00 AM

In the news this month... runaway star in 30 Doradus

by Megan in Rigel

One of the most spectacular examples of a star formation region in the nearby universe is , also known as the , located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. This region is a giant stellar nursery, similar to the , but much larger, containing many clusters of recently formed young, hot stars. Some of the young stars in the nebula are many tens of times more massive than the Sun, making them some of the most massive stars known. New observations, on May 5th, show that one particular star is travelling ........ Read more »

Evans, C., Walborn, N., Crowther, P., Hénault-Brunet, V., Massa, D., Taylor, W., Howarth, I., Sana, H., Lennon, D., & van Loon, J. (2010) A MASSIVE RUNAWAY STAR FROM 30 DORADUS. The Astrophysical Journal, 715(2). DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/715/2/L74  

  • June 7, 2010
  • 03:45 AM

In the news this month... a possible new class of supernova

by Megan in Rigel

Most supernovae are classified as one of two different types of explosion: single massive short-lived stars that explode when their cores run out of fuel at the end of their lives and undergo gravitational collapse, and old evolved white dwarfs in binary systems which accrete hydrogen from a companion star before exploding catastrophically.; are generally seen only in regions of ongoing star formation since, by stellar standards, their supergiant progenitors do not live for very long. In contra........ Read more »

Perets, H., Gal-Yam, A., Mazzali, P., Arnett, D., Kagan, D., Filippenko, A., Li, W., Arcavi, I., Cenko, S., Fox, D.... (2010) A faint type of supernova from a white dwarf with a helium-rich companion. Nature, 465(7296), 322-325. DOI: 10.1038/nature09056  

Kawabata, K., Maeda, K., Nomoto, K., Taubenberger, S., Tanaka, M., Deng, J., Pian, E., Hattori, T., & Itagaki, K. (2010) A massive star origin for an unusual helium-rich supernova in an elliptical galaxy. Nature, 465(7296), 326-328. DOI: 10.1038/nature09055  

  • June 7, 2010
  • 01:24 AM

Landau on the second law

by Ponder Stibbons in The truth makes me fret.

I was browsing through a collection of Landau’s papers and came across one of the more bizarre explanations of the second law of thermodynamics that I’ve seen. The few people who frequent this blog probably don’t need this explained to them, but the reason why many philosophers think that the second law needs ‘explaining’ is [...]... Read more »

M. Bronstein, & L. Landau. (1933) Über den zweiten Wärmesatz und die Zusammenhangsverhältnisse der Welt im Großen. Physikalische zeitschrift der Sowjetunion, 114. info:/

  • June 7, 2010
  • 01:11 AM

…like, do I have the job?

by Rift in Psycasm

I recently applied for the Mitsui Educational Foundation Scholarship. It’s essentially a cultural scholarship set up the by the Mitsui company in Japan in order to exercise it’s role as a responsible corporate citizen. The idea is that the Mitsui company will take 8 Aussie students and fly them to Japan for a three 3-week [...]... Read more »

  • June 7, 2010
  • 12:47 AM

Is Mr. S more flexible than Sci? Cognitive flexibility and first-person shooter games.

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

This post comes to you courtesy, actually, of Sci-Dad, who sent an email to Sci saying wasn't this cool. Sci then showed it to Mr. SiT, and he was very intrigued, and insisted she cover it. Sci kind of wanted to make cake balls. Maybe that will be tomorrow.



Colzato et al. "DOOM'd to switch: superior cognitive flexibility in players of first person shooter games" Frontiers in Psychology, 2010.

(First, a brief tribute to Mr. SiT's current favorite FPS "Battlefield:........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2010
  • 09:26 PM

Best Drugs for Alcohol Withdrawal

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Alcohol withdrawal is a physically and psychologically painful experience. Some patients with alcohol dependence have physiological tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous. Some will experience withdrawal seizures and death during withdrawal can occur.Treatment of alcohol withdrawal typically involves medication to reduce the effects of detoxification. Benzodiazepines such as Valium (diazepam) or Ativan (lorazepam) typically are effective and routinely used. H........ Read more »

Martinotti G, di Nicola M, Frustaci A, Romanelli R, Tedeschi D, Guglielmo R, Guerriero L, Bruschi A, De Filippis R, Pozzi G.... (2010) Pregabalin, tiapride and lorazepam in alcohol withdrawal syndrome: a multi-centre, randomized, single-blind comparison trial. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 105(2), 288-99. PMID: 20078487  

  • June 6, 2010
  • 08:38 PM

Sustainable de-growth: a new paradigm for meeting environmental goals

by Paul Spraycar in Beyond Climate Change

For those who have run out of patience for the promised benefits of ‘sustainable development,’ there is a new alternative paradigm: sustainable de-growth.The objective of sustainable de-growth is characterized by “an equitable and democratic transition to a smaller economy with less production and consumption,” with the goal of creating a “society built on quality rather than on quantity, on cooperation rather than on competition.”The authors of a new paper in Ecological Economics la........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2010
  • 07:42 PM

H5N1, the bird flu: the virus

by Atila Iamarino in Influenza A (H1N1) Blog – English

In the last text, it was discussed the capacity of H5N1 of infecting a number of hosts and causing very harsh symptoms, causing deaths in over 50% of the recorded human cases. Despite this, its transmission from person to person seems to be well limited. Now we will see its characteristics that contribute to this.
As [...]... Read more »

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