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United Academics Magazine publishes popular science news on a daily basis.
A UCLA team has managed to look at the structure of an atom; something we’ve never been able to visualize before. Here’s a close, three-dimensional look at platinum.... Read more »
Chen, C., Zhu, C., White, E., Chiu, C., Scott, M., Regan, B., Marks, L., Huang, Y., & Miao, J. (2013) Three-dimensional imaging of dislocations in a nanoparticle at atomic resolution. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature12009
How do you catch a dragon? Do you go looking for a brave knight to send forth on a difficult quest? Or a legendary hunter without fear?
No. You use cameras to capture their image.
To be clear, the dragons we’re talking about here are Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis), the largest living lizards, which can be found on some Indonesian islands and can reach a length of 3 meters. Their size, along with the absence of large mammalian carnivores on the islands, makes them apex predators in their habitat.... Read more »
Ariefiandy, A., Purwandana, D., Seno, A., Ciofi, C., & Jessop, T. (2013) Can Camera Traps Monitor Komodo Dragons a Large Ectothermic Predator?. PLoS ONE, 8(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058800
How often have you accidentally or purposefully spread a rumor through a tweet, status update, or text message? Sometimes you hear or see a piece of information that you’re not totally sure is accurate, but it is so compelling, you pass it on anyway. The epitome of rumor spreading in the 21st century. You would think that with all our followers, friends and all those contacts stored in smart phones, more rumors would get circulated than ever before. That may even be true, but the new discovery in the world of networks and communication is that the stronger the ties you have to the people in your network, the less likely it is that rumors will spread.... Read more »
Márton Karsai, Nicola Perra, & Alessandro Vespignani. (2013) The emergence and role of strong ties in time-varying communication networks. Physics and Society . arXiv: 1303.5966v1
In my previous blogs I have mainly discussed casual sex and the hookup culture from a female perspective. But how do men feel about hooking up? It’s easy to rely on stereotypes: “Men are only out to have casual sex, they do not want commitment. They are only in relationships because girls want to.” But how true is this stereotype?... Read more »
Epstein, M., Calzo, J., Smiler, A., & Ward, L. (2009) “Anything From Making Out to Having Sex”: Men's Negotiations of Hooking Up and Friends With Benefits Scripts. Journal of Sex Research, 46(5), 414-424. DOI: 10.1080/00224490902775801
One of the discoverers of DNA’s structure, James Watson was never known for his modesty. Now, 60 years after the discovery that earned him, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins a Nobel Prize, Watson’s at it again; he’s criticizing cancer researchers worldwide for being too lazy, and relying too much on genetic answers. “The now much-touted genome-based personal cancer therapies may turn out to be much less important tools for future medicine than the newspapers of today lead us to hope,” he says in his latest “manifesto” in Open Biology. At a conference in San Diego, he actually touted the benefits of Metformin, a drug commonly used against diabetes.... Read more »
Watson, J. (2013) Oxidants, antioxidants and the current incurability of metastatic cancers. Open Biology, 3(1), 120144-120144. DOI: 10.1098/rsob.120144
The US are fighting over the legalization of same sex marriage and Turkey is worried about children being adopted by Dutch lesbian mothers. It seems a controversial and difficult question: is homosexual parenting bad for children? Here’s what scientists say.... Read more »
van Gelderen L, Bos HM, Gartrell N, Hermanns J, & Perrin EC. (2012) Quality of life of adolescents raised from birth by lesbian mothers: the US National Longitudinal Family Study. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, 33(1), 17-23. PMID: 22157352
COMMITTEE ON PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF CHILD AND FAMILY HEALTH. (2013) Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian. Pediatrics. PMID: 23519941
Most people in the world now live in a city, feeling pretty anonymous. An even bigger number of people don’t have to defocate out in the open anymore, but have access to a toilet. And then there’s this growing amount of people that can talk in private on their cells. But beware, these are false senses of privacy.... Read more »
de Montjoye YA, Hidalgo CA, Verleysen M, & Blondel VD. (2013) Unique in the Crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility. Scientific reports, 1376. PMID: 23524645
Mindfulness is a technique that encourages people to become more aware of the present moment by paying attention to current sensations, thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental way. Previous research already demonstrated that mindfulness-based meditation can enhance multitasking behavior, improve skin conditions, and sooth pain. Now a new study shows that it also improves self-knowledge.... Read more »
Carlson, E. (2013) Overcoming the Barriers to Self-Knowledge: Mindfulness as a Path to Seeing Yourself as You Really Are. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8(2), 173-186. DOI: 10.1177/1745691612462584
Insomnia, euphoria, anxiety and obsession; modern science shows us that these symptoms are just as likely to be found in someone who is deeply in love as someone who is having mental problems. Should these people be once again diagnosed as having “lovesickness”, as they would have been in the past? Or do we now have a better way to approach the connection between these conditions?... Read more »
Brand, S., Luethi, M., von Planta, A., Hatzinger, M., & Holsboer-Trachsler, E. (2007) Romantic Love, Hypomania, and Sleep Pattern in Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41(1), 69-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.01.012
MARAZZITI, D., AKISKAL, H., ROSSI, A., & CASSANO, G. (1999) Alteration of the platelet serotonin transporter in romantic love. Psychological Medicine, 29(3), 741-745. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291798007946
In Africa people eat monkey meat for the protein it contains. You can guess this is bad news for the monkey population, but it actually has far bigger consequences for the whole forrest and eventually for humans themselves. It could lead to less fruits and nuts, typically those that men also eat, like mango’s.... Read more »
Effiom EO, Nuñez-Iturri G, Smith HG, Ottosson U, & Olsson O. (2013) Bushmeat hunting changes regeneration of African rainforests. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 280(1759), 20130246. PMID: 23516245
Male fiddler crabs face two major challenges to their dominance; attracting females, and fending off other males competing for those females. The crabs rely on an extra-large claw to achieve both these goals. However, most scientists studying these crabs have assumed that as the male crab evolved, it was forced to make a tradeoff between an attractive, long claw, and a shorter one that’s more effective in combat.... Read more »
Dennenmoser, S., & Christy, J. (2012) THE DESIGN OF A BEAUTIFUL WEAPON: COMPENSATION FOR OPPOSING SEXUAL SELECTION ON A TRAIT WITH TWO FUNCTIONS. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12018
Researchers have discovered that the look of a female great tits (Parus major) signals reproductive success. ... Read more »
Remeš, V., & Matysioková, B. (2013) More ornamented females produce higher-quality offspring in a socially monogamous bird: an experimental study in the great tit (Parus major). Frontiers in Zoology, 10(14). info:/
Bad science reporting happens on a daily basis and is perpetuated by both the media as well as the scientists themselves. UA Magazine checks whether science related media are doing justice to the research papers they mention. ... Read more »
Bloom, T., & Friedman, H. (2013) Classifying dogs’ (Canis familiaris) facial expressions from photographs. Behavioural Processes. DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2013.02.010
One of the many revelations about the new Pope Francis I is that he has one lung, surgically removed when he was a teenager. At age 76, clearly he has been able to function, but his condition begs two questions: can you thrive with just one lung? And, why do we have two, anyway?... Read more »
Bolliger, C., Jordan, P., Solèr, M., Stulz, P., Tamm, M., Wyser, C., Gonon, M., & Perruchoud, A. (1996) Pulmonary function and exercise capacity after lung resection. European Respiratory Journal, 9(3), 415-421. DOI: 10.1183/09031936.96.09030415
It can be hard job for truck drivers to stay alert while working, so, as you can imagine, they like to consume coffee and energy drinks. But do these really help? A new study took the first step in proving they can.... Read more »
Sharwood LN, Elkington J, Meuleners L, Ivers R, Boufous S, & Stevenson M. (2013) Use of caffeinated substances and risk of crashes in long distance drivers of commercial vehicles: case-control study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 23511947
Sociological research into the world of prostitution and sex work has always been accompanied by references to the role and impact of the infamous pimp. This name, which carries with it many associations and assumptions, has actually been the source of changing and controversial meaning. A meaning that researchers like Holly Davis at the University of Edinburgh, see as badly needing explicit definition. By using data from in-depth interviews with pimps, Davis seeks “to draw attention to the problematic definitional trends, and propose new foundations for defining ‘pimp’ within social research.”... Read more »
Davis, H. (2013) Defining 'Pimp': Working Towards a Definition in Social Research. Sociological Research Online, 18(1). DOI: 10.5153/sro.2826
It’s pretty rare that we can watch evolution actually happen, especially in more complex animals and plants. But a study on Nebraska cliff swallows, done over 30 years, shows that the birds have changed their wingspan in order to avoid being hit by cars and trucks.... Read more »
brighter future for our environment because of the new findings about plankton? Jef Huisman, Professor in Aquatic Microbiology at the University of Amsterdam, doesn’t agree. He thinks the recently published ratios of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in plankton actually paint a gloomy picture of future marine life on our planet. It means less food for the fish.... Read more »
Martiny, A., Pham, C., Primeau, F., Vrugt, J., Moore, J., Levin, S., & Lomas, M. (2013) Strong latitudinal patterns in the elemental ratios of marine plankton and organic matter. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1757
New research explains why roosters make sound just before dawn.... Read more »
Shimmura, T., & Yoshimura, T. (2013) Circadian clock determines the timing of rooster crowing. Current Biology, 23(6). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.02.015
There’s a new way to search for gold. Just look for old earthquake faults. A team of Australian scientists have discovered that gold is created, almost instantly, during a major earthquake, and that amounts of gold created by a long-active fault can be substantial.... Read more »
Weatherley, D., & Henley, R. (2013) Flash vaporization during earthquakes evidenced by gold deposits. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1759
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