Post List

  • October 31, 2009
  • 05:31 AM

In the news this month... a record-breaking distant cluster

by Megan in Rigel

Look deep enough with a sensitive telescope and a seemingly empty patch of sky is full of galaxies. Look closely and you'll see that they are often gathered together in clusters. These massive collections of galaxies are the largest gravitationally bound objects in the universe, but it is uncertain how long ago these clusters formed. Now, using a variety of instruments, a team led by Stefano Andreon of the in Milan, Italy, has the most distant galaxy cluster ever found.The cluster, known as JK........ Read more »

  • October 31, 2009
  • 04:51 AM

In the news this month... shaping the heliosphere

by Megan in Rigel

Solar physicists thought they knew the shape of the Sun's heliosphere, but new results from the have revealed a huge ribbon of intense emission that was completely unexpected. The space between stars is not empty, but filled with a very tenuous gas known as the interstellar medium. As the Sun moves through this gas it emits a fast moving plasma know as the solar wind. These charged particles spread out spherically creating the , a cavity in the interstellar medium swept out by the solar wind.La........ Read more »

McComas, D., Allegrini, F., Bochsler, P., Bzowski, M., Christian, E., Crew, G., DeMajistre, R., Fahr, H., Fichtner, H., Frisch, P.... (2009) Global Observations of the Interstellar Interaction from the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX). Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1180906  

Funsten, H., Allegrini, F., Crew, G., DeMajistre, R., Frisch, P., Fuselier, S., Gruntman, M., Janzen, P., McComas, D., Mobius, E.... (2009) Structures and Spectral Variations of the Outer Heliosphere in IBEX Energetic Neutral Atom Maps. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1180927  

Mobius, E., Bochsler, P., Bzowski, M., Crew, G., Funsten, H., Fuselier, S., Ghielmetti, A., Heirtzler, D., Izmodenov, V., Kubiak, M.... (2009) Direct Observations of Interstellar H, He, and O by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1180971  

Fuselier, S., Allegrini, F., Funsten, H., Ghielmetti, A., Heirtzler, D., Kucharek, H., Lennartsson, O., McComas, D., Mobius, E., Moore, T.... (2009) Width and Variation of the ENA Flux Ribbon Observed by the Interstellar Boundary Explorer. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1180981  

Schwadron, N., Bzowski, M., Crew, G., Gruntman, M., Fahr, H., Fichtner, H., Frisch, P., Funsten, H., Fuselier, S., Heerikhuisen, J.... (2009) Comparison of Interstellar Boundary Explorer Observations with 3-D Global Heliospheric Models. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1180986  

  • October 31, 2009
  • 12:32 AM

Curb Your Malthusiasm

by teofilo in Follow the Energy

The Economist has an interesting piece on the rapid decline in fertility rates in developing countries as they grow wealthier.  This is a strong rebuke to the recent upsurge in Neo-Malthusian thinking, which is associated with the Peak Oil crowd and various “dark green” movements.  Alex Steffen of Worldchanging makes some smart points in this [...]... Read more »

  • October 30, 2009
  • 11:00 PM

Is the First Spot Always Best in a Preference Test?

by David DiSalvo in Neuronarrative

Does someone interviewing for a job stand a better chance of getting the position if she’s first on the list of interviewees, last, or somewhere in-between? Does someone running for public office stand a better chance of getting elected if he’s first on the ballot, last, or otherwise?

These are questions of order in choice — and depending on who you’re asking, you’ll likely get a different answer about which spot in the picking order is more advantageous. The ........ Read more »

Mantonakis, A., Rodero, P., Lesschaeve, I., & Hastie, R. (2009) Order in Choice: Effects of Serial Position on Preferences. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02453.x  

  • October 30, 2009
  • 09:37 PM

Present Areas of Focus in Regenerative Medicine

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Whilst browsing PubMed today, I noticed an informative survey of publication trends in the field of regenerative medicine. The full PDF text is available from the journal for those of you who like to dig further: The articles published in the journal Cell Transplantation - The Regenerative Medicine Journal over the last two years reveal the recent and future cutting-edge research in the fields of regenerative and transplantation medicine. 437 articles were published from 2007 to 2008, a 17% incr........ Read more »

Park DH, & Eve DJ. (2009) Regenerative medicine: Advances in new methods and technologies. Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research, 15(11). PMID: 19865067  

  • October 30, 2009
  • 08:40 PM


by teofilo in Gambler's House

When I was working at Chaco, we would often get visitors who would complain about how hard it was to get there.  They usually focused on the road in and asked why there wasn’t more effort to pave it and make it more accessible to the American public.  After all, isn’t that what national parks [...]... Read more »

  • October 30, 2009
  • 05:43 PM

Lasers, telescopes & aeroplanes

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

So this post was supposed to be about the discovery of the most distant galaxy ever found, at a redshift of about 8.2 (13.1 billion light years from us, or, to put it another way, only about 630 million light years after the Big Bang), but I didn’t get round to it yesterday and I’ve [...]... Read more »

W. A. Coles, T. W. Murphy Jr., J. F. Melser, J. K. Tu, G. A. White, K. H. Kassabian, K. Bales, & B. B. Baumgartner. (2009) A Radio System for Avoiding Illuminating Aircraft with a Laser Beam. submitted to PASP. arXiv: 0910.5685v1

  • October 30, 2009
  • 05:26 PM

Which is the fairest secondary structure prediction algorithm of them all?

by Nir London in Macromolecular Modeling Blog

The importance of secondary structure prediction to bioinformatics, modeling and structure prediction cannot be overstated. In a somewhat recent paper by Palopoli et al., their group found that combining the results of mutliple algorithms (with their JSSPrediction methodology) gave major improvements in prediction accuracy (see table at right). This ‘combine and conquer’ strategy is a [...]

... Read more »

Palopoli, L., Rombo, S., Terracina, G., Tradigo, G., & Veltri, P. (2009) Improving protein secondary structure predictions by prediction fusion. Information Fusion, 10(3), 217-232. DOI: 10.1016/j.inffus.2008.11.004  

  • October 30, 2009
  • 04:53 PM

Book Review: Low Back Disorders

by Sport Injuries and Wellness Ottawa in Sport Injuries and Wellness

Low Back Disorders: Evidence-Based Prevention and Rehabilitation. 2nd Edition. Stuart McGill, PhD. Human Kinetics, 2007. 312 pages. 

Dr. Stuart McGill and his immense research based out of the University of Waterloo, Ontario can be summarized in this 2nd edition of Low Back Disorders.  Although, the back is often seen as complex by many health professions alike, Dr. McGill’s book helps to put things into a perspective which is easy to understand. The book is divided into three par........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2009
  • 04:26 PM

High-Tech Trash

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Electronic waste is a global problem

... Read more »

  • October 30, 2009
  • 03:39 PM

The epigenetics of Autism: Oxytocin factor and implications for schizophrenia

by sandygautam in The Mouse Trap

Image via Wikipedia

Autism is a hard disorder to nail down genetically- single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or even multiple locus genetic effects are not able to account for the large genetic component to the disorder. In recent times, Copy number variations (CNVs) has come to the forefront of Autism research , suggesting that microdeletions, duplications etc [...]Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Related posts:CNVs and Autism/ Schizophrenia I had been meaning to comment on a recent pa........ Read more »

Gregory, S., Connelly, J., Towers, A., Johnson, J., Biscocho, D., Markunas, C., Lintas, C., Abramson, R., Wright, H., Ellis, P.... (2009) Genomic and epigenetic evidence for oxytocin receptor deficiency in autism. BMC Medicine, 7(1), 62. DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-7-62  

  • October 30, 2009
  • 02:37 PM

Blood and Brains – can vampires survive a zombie apocalypse?

by Southern Fried Scientist in Southern Fried Science

The scenario is familiar to us all – Some sort of disease begins in a small town or large city, it spreads rapidly, infecting everyone in its wake, the infected become mindless, murderous creatures, hellbent on consuming or converting everyone they encounter, the walking dead. Finally, through some heroic effort, the survivors either turn back [...]... Read more »

C. J. Efthimiou, & S. Gandhi. (2006) Cinema Fiction vs Physics Reality: Ghosts, Vampires and Zombies. Skeptical Inquirer v. 31, issue 4 (2007), p. 27. arXiv: physics/0608059v2

D Sejdinovic. (2008) Mathematics of the Human-Vampire Conflict. Math Horizons. info:/

Hartl, R., Mehlmann, A., & Novak, A. (1992) Cycles of fear: Periodic bloodsucking rates for vampires. Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications, 75(3), 559-568. DOI: 10.1007/BF00940492  

  • October 30, 2009
  • 02:31 PM

Eradicating malaria?

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

Of the tools that are available or envisioned, only a highly efficacious, long-lasting vaccine would provide the degree and duration of transmission-blocking needed to achieve the simultaneous protection applied across a whole population at contiguous risk that is required to reduce and maintain R0 < 1 for that entire area

–Plowe, C., Alonso, P., & Hoffman, [...]... Read more »

  • October 30, 2009
  • 12:26 PM

NCRI Cancer Conference 2009: Finding the ideal cancer drug

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

The 2009 conference ended on a high note with an inspirational talk from Professor Gerard Evan, who has recently been appointed Sir William Dunn Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, where he’ll continue his cutting-edge work on studying cancer cells to find targets for new treatments.
In his talk, Professor Evan took the audience [...]... Read more »

Soucek, L., Whitfield, J., Martins, C., Finch, A., Murphy, D., Sodir, N., Karnezis, A., Swigart, L., Nasi, S., & Evan, G. (2008) Modelling Myc inhibition as a cancer therapy. Nature, 455(7213), 679-683. DOI: 10.1038/nature07260  

  • October 30, 2009
  • 12:11 PM

Big Breasts: An Indicator of Dangerous Fat Deposition?

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Back in June, I discussed the results of a large epidemiological study in women that showed that women with larger breasts have an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

As soon as Travis and I read this study, we knew we had to do a follow-up study of our own to see if this finding was simply spurious or if there was actually something to large breasts that indicated health risk – beyond that explained by obesity per se.

The project that Travis and I began over a year ago has........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2009
  • 12:08 PM

Anti-prion activity of amphotericin analogues

by Brian Appleby in CJD Blogger

One of several compounds known to inhibit and/or clear pathological prion proteins is amphotericin B.  Often called “ampho-terrible” by clinicians because of its toxic side effects, its toxicity has inhibited it from being extensively studied as an anti-prion disease treatment.  Its conventional use is as an anti-fungal agent.  Soler and colleagues have hence sought to study amphotericin analogues to investigate anti-prion activity in the setting of less toxicity.  ........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2009
  • 11:45 AM

Bat blowjobs found to increase length of sex in Cynopterus sphinx

by Colin Stuart in Just A Theory

Researchers in China have found that by practicing fellatio on their male counterparts female short-nosed fruit bats can prolong sex.
Whilst oral sex is a common part of the human mating ritual, and occasionally observed in Bonobo monkeys, this is thought to be one of the first times that fellatio has been observed outside of the [...]... Read more »

Tan, M., Jones, G., Zhu, G., Ye, J., Hong, T., Zhou, S., Zhang, S., & Zhang, L. (2009) Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time. PLoS ONE, 4(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007595  

  • October 30, 2009
  • 09:42 AM

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Depression: Not so Effective, but FDA Approved

by CL Psych in Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry

Apparently, the FDA will approve just about anything as an antidepressant. Despite patients indicating that they don't perceive Abilify to work as an antidepressant, the FDA approved it, likely leading to tens of thousands of Americans being able to enjoy a taste of akathisia while getting all the psychological benefits of a placebo. Good work, FDA. The shift of antipsychotics into antidepressants has been documented in many places and is, ironically, very depressing (1, 2, 3, 4).The FDA's "a........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Shade-grown coffee: the benefit for wintering migratory birds

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • October 30, 2009
  • 07:29 AM

Splitting the self : “me” and “I”:

by sandygautam in The Mouse Trap

Image via Wikipedia

I came across this study article today by Farb et al, that talks about two distinct neural networks in the brain that are involved in self-reference. To be fair, the networks are somewhat blurred and overlap in naive people, while in people who practice mindfulness meditation, the networks are more distinct and non-overlapping. [...]Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

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