31 posts · 29,384 views
Forensic experts are unable to accurately determine the age of bruises on the bodies of crime victims, say researchers at Queen Mary, University of London. A study published in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, suggests that sentencing of criminal cases involving bruising, such as child abuse or assault, could be based on flawed [...]... Read more »
Pilling, M., Vanezis, P., Perrett, D., & Johnston, A. (2010) Visual assessment of the timing of bruising by forensic experts. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 17(3), 143-149. DOI: 10.1016/j.jflm.2009.10.002
Students and alcohol are never far apart, but most manage to hold off the booze when they’ve got an important test the next morning. Now it seems they needn’t worry, as researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health have found that combining last-minute revision with a couple of beers isn’t a problem. Heavy [...]... Read more »
Howland, J., Rohsenow, D., Greece, J., Littlefield, C., Almeida, A., Heeren, T., Winter, M., Bliss, C., Hunt, S., & Hermos, J. (2010) The effects of binge drinking on college students' next-day academic test-taking performance and mood state. Addiction, 105(4), 655-665. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02880.x
People restricted to watching half their usual amount of television burned more calories in a three-week period, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers at the University of Vermont found that while cutting back on television didn’t affect the amount of food people ate, it did mean they were more [...]... Read more »
Otten, J., Jones, K., Littenberg, B., & Harvey-Berino, J. (2009) Effects of Television Viewing Reduction on Energy Intake and Expenditure in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(22), 2109-2115. DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2009.430
With banks being bailed out all over the place these days, many people are asking themselves why those in charge get paid such high salaries. Are CEOs really worth their million pound bonuses? Not according to Venkat Venkatasubramanian, who has calculated that US chief executives get paid nearly 130 times what they should.
As a professor [...]... Read more »
Venkatasubramanian, V. (2009) What is Fair Pay for Executives? An Information Theoretic Analysis of Wage Distributions. Entropy, 11(4), 766-781. DOI: 10.3390/e11040766
Smokers looking to quit could be helped by a cigarette-crushing video game, according to a study published in the journal CyberPsychology & Behavior. A group of Canadian researchers discovered that smokers placed in a virtual reality environment full of cigarettes to be destroyed showed a significant reduction in nicotine cravings.
The study took 91 regular smokers [...]... Read more »
Girard, B., Turcotte, V., Bouchard, S., & Girard, B. (2009) Crushing Virtual Cigarettes Reduces Tobacco Addiction and Treatment Discontinuation. CyberPsychology , 12(5), 477-483. DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2009.0118
Like many young children, I went through a phase of being obsessed with dinosaurs. I think the appeal is the idea that these monstrous animals actually existed, but are also safely locked away in the past and can’t hurt you.
Now, a new discovery by George Poinar Jr of Oregon State University shows that the dinosaurs [...]... Read more »
Poinar Jr., G. (2009) Cascoplecia insolitis (Diptera: Cascopleciidae), a new family, genus, and species of flower-visiting, unicorn fly (Bibionomorpha) in Early Cretaceous Burmese amber. Cretaceous Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.cretres.2009.09.007
Turning our waste paper in to biofuel could replace over 5% of global petrol consumption, say scientists from Singapore and Switzerland. It would also reduce the burden on our rapidly filling landfills.
So-called “first generation” biofuels made from food crops such as corn or soy have been widely criticised as an unworkable solution to the energy [...]... Read more »
In a world where anyone can edit a movie and stick it up on YouTube, can we still trust video evidence of a crime? Research from the University of Warwick suggests maybe not. By altering video footage, Kimberley Wade and colleagues were able to convince people they witnessed an event that never actually occurred.
In a [...]... Read more »
Wade, K., Green, S., & Nash, R. (2009) Can fabricated evidence induce false eyewitness testimony?. Applied Cognitive Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/acp.1607
What happens to fat left over from a liposuction procedure? Brad Pitt might choose to turn it in to soap, but scientists at Stanford University have figured out a surprising alternative: stem cells. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are highly sought after because of their ability to transform in to many other types of cells [...]... Read more »
Sun, N., Panetta, N., Gupta, D., Wilson, K., Lee, A., Jia, F., Hu, S., Cherry, A., Robbins, R., Longaker, M.... (2009) Feeder-free derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells from adult human adipose stem cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0908450106
Picture a dog playing with a ball. The dog is alive, and the ball is inanimate. Obvious stuff, but how do we know? You might think our brains use visual cues to sort the living from the non-living, but research published in the journal Neuron this week proves it’s a little more complicated.
A team of [...]... Read more »
Mahon, B., Anzellotti, S., Schwarzbach, J., Zampini, M., & Caramazza, A. (2009) Category-Specific Organization in the Human Brain Does Not Require Visual Experience. Neuron, 63(3), 397-405. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.07.012
A woman’s choice of food is influenced by the gender of her dining companions, according to a study published in the journal Appetite. Meredith Young, a psychologist at McMaster University in Canada, lead a team observing 469 students as they ate in university cafes. She found that the more men a woman dined with, the [...]... Read more »
Young, M., Mizzau, M., Mai, N., Sirisegaram, A., & Wilson, M. (2009) Food for thought. What you eat depends on your sex and eating companions. Appetite. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2009.07.021
The science news reported by the mainstream media makes up just a small fraction of research being done. Every day, scientists publish their work in a multitude of journals, but science journalists only really pay attention to the big ones: Nature, Science and so on.
Why? Simply because these journals often publish the best and most [...]... Read more »
Michon, F., & Tummers, M. (2009) The Dynamic Interest in Topics within the Biomedical Scientific Community. PLoS ONE, 4(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006544
You grip the nail tightly in one hand, a hammer ready to swing in the other. Lift it up – and bam! You’ve just hit own thumb and are now turning the air blue. Swearing is a common reaction to pain, and a new study published in the journal NeuroReport suggests it can actually help [...]... Read more »
A common trope in science fiction: the hero is presented with two people of identical appearance, one a loyal ally and the other a dastardly villain. “Shoot him!” they both cry, “I’m the real one!”
It seems that this scenario is also played out in the natural world. A species of orb spider called Cyclosa [...]... Read more »
Tseng, L., & I-Min Tso, . (2009) A risky defence by a spider using conspicuous decoys resembling itself in appearance. Animal Behaviour. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.05.017
It’s quite likely that a number of people reading this went out for a drink last night. After all, it was Friday and that’s what people do. I went to a rather enjoyable end-of-term party, and of course had a few beers. Alcohol consumption is such a normal component of our society that when you’re [...]... Read more »
Rehm, J., Mathers, C., Popova, S., Thavorncharoensap, M., Teerawattananon, Y., & Patra, J. (2009) Global burden of disease and injury and economic cost attributable to alcohol use and alcohol-use disorders. The Lancet, 373(9682), 2223-2233. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60746-7
A Canadian study published in the journal Obesity has found that overweight people are 17% more likely to live longer than those of normal weight. In response, the Daily Mail instructed their readers to fatten up, but I would advise against it.
The study looked at data from the Canadian National Population Health Survey, which monitors [...]... Read more »
Orpana, H., Berthelot, J., Kaplan, M., Feeny, D., McFarland, B., & Ross, N. (2009) BMI and Mortality: Results From a National Longitudinal Study of Canadian Adults. Obesity. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2009.191
“Science is inevitably biased to some extent,” says Dr Daniele Fanelli, “because it’s made by human beings.” One might easily dismiss this claim as unfounded, but Fanelli has the numbers to back it up. His recent research paper combined over 20 previous studies on scientific misconduct, and found that nearly 2% of scientists admit to [...]... Read more »
Fanelli, D. (2009) How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data. PLoS ONE, 4(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005738
Much of the scientific research in to the effects of video games on players’ behaviour concludes that violent games promote aggression. Gamers (including myself) often dismiss these findings, resulting as they nearly always do from poorly designed studies. One infamous experiment used the length of time a person held an air horn down before and [...]... Read more »
Gentile, D., Anderson, C., Yukawa, S., Ihori, N., Saleem, M., Lim Kam Ming, ., Shibuya, A., Liau, A., Khoo, A., Bushman, B.... (2009) The Effects of Prosocial Video Games on Prosocial Behaviors: International Evidence From Correlational, Longitudinal, and Experimental Studies. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(6), 752-763. DOI: 10.1177/0146167209333045
It is an undeniable fact that if we are to successfully hold back climate change, people are going to have to make some adjustments to their lifestyles. We simply can’t afford to continue using energy at the current rate, and carbon emissions must be cut. You already know this of course, in fact you are [...]... Read more »
Matthews, H., Gillett, N., Stott, P., & Zickfeld, K. (2009) The proportionality of global warming to cumulative carbon emissions. Nature, 459(7248), 829-832. DOI: 10.1038/nature08047
Place your hand over your heart. Now move it to your stomach. How about your thyroid? Ok, that last one is a little trickier, but I’d be shocked to meet anyone who couldn’t do the first two. Well, it’s time to be shocked.
A study published in the journal BMC Family Practice has found an appalling [...]... Read more »
John Weinma, Gibran Yusuf, Robert Berks, Sam Rayner, & Keith Petrie. (2009) How accurate is patients' anatomical knowledge: a cross-sectional, questionnaire study of six patient groups and a general public sample. BMC Family Practice, 10(1). DOI: 10.1186/1471-2296-10-43
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