284 posts · 406,181 views
I am a freelance writer, former editor, and co-founder of ResearchBlogging.org. I'm the author of three different books for college writing students: 80 Readings (HarperCollins, 1992), The Pocket Reader (Longman, 2000), and Researching Online (Longman, 1999-2001). I hold a B.A. (1989) from the University of Chicago, a Master's in Science Education (1994) from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Master's in English (2004) from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
How do you measure a non-human animal’s VO2 max? Put it on a treadmill, just like you would with a human. What do you do with that information? If you’re David Raichlen and Adam Gordon, you use it to figure out if there’s any relationship between an animal’s ability as an “endurance athlete” and its [...]... Read more »
Raichlen, D., & Gordon, A. (2011) Relationship between Exercise Capacity and Brain Size in Mammals. PLoS ONE, 6(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020601
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services currently recommends that adults engage in exercise at least 150 minutes per week. They also say that more exercise is even better, but that also suggests that doing somewhat less than 150 minutes per week might be better than nothing. If you’re an active runner, you might [...]... Read more »
Wen, C., Wai, J., Tsai, M., Yang, Y., Cheng, T., Lee, M., Chan, H., Tsao, C., Tsai, S., & Wu, X. (2011) Minimum amount of physical activity for reduced mortality and extended life expectancy: a prospective cohort study. The Lancet. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60749-6
The speeds attained by world-class sprinters like Usain Bolt are simply unfathomable to me. During today’s workout, I ran at nearly top speed for a set of 400-meter repetitions: About 6-minute-mile pace, or 10 miles per hour. Sure, I could probably hit 15 mph over 50 meters or so, but that would be about it. [...]... Read more »
Weyand PG, Sternlight DB, Bellizzi MJ, & Wright S. (2000) Faster top running speeds are achieved with greater ground forces not more rapid leg movements. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 89(5), 1991-9. PMID: 11053354
This summer I’m reading Tim Noakes’ massive volume Lore of Running, bit by bit, then reporting the critical bits back to you. Last week I covered fatigue and exhaustion, discussing why we get tired when we do. This week I’m finishing up Noakes’ chapter on energy systems and running performance. I started running in the [...]... Read more »
Coyle EF, Coggan AR, Hemmert MK, & Ivy JL. (1986) Muscle glycogen utilization during prolonged strenuous exercise when fed carbohydrate. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 61(1), 165-72. PMID: 3525502
The plan for this site has always been to supplement discussion of peer-reviewed science with other reasoned discussions based on anecdotes and experience. When I’m discussing the peer-reviewed research, I always include the Research Blogging icon you see at the top of this post. When I’m discussing books or other non-peer-reviewed sources, I don’t. That [...]... Read more »
Runners around the world are currently engaged in an epic battle about the future of their sport: Whether running barefoot is better than running wearing shoes. I wrote an article about it last year, and despite the fact that Seed’s website doesn’t accept comments, I heard from a lot of runners on both sides of [...]... Read more »
In 1967, a landmark study led by Bjorn Ahlborg found that military recruits could improve their ability to perform endurance tasks after a carbohydrate depletion and loading regimen over the preceding week. The dietary restrictions were quite extreme, and were coupled with exhausting exercise: A hard workout followed by three days of a low-carb diet, [...]... Read more »
Fogelholm, G., Tikkanen, H., Naveri, H., Naveri, L., & Harkonen, M. (1991) Carbohydrate loading in practice: high muscle glycogen concentration is not certain. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 25(1), 41-44. DOI: 10.1136/bjsm.25.1.41
Sure, marathons are enjoying a tremendous rise in popularity, as the above video from the 2010 New York Marathon illustrates vividly, but is it possible that running too many marathons can be harmful to your health? This is the second of a pair of posts on the issue. On Friday, I discussed a 2009 report [...]... Read more »
Wilson M, O'Hanlon R, Prasad S, Deighan A, Macmillan P, Oxborough D, Godfrey R, Smith G, Maceira A, Sharma S.... (2011) Diverse patterns of myocardial fibrosis in lifelong, veteran endurance athletes. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 110(6), 1622-6. PMID: 21330616
Jim Fixx was an overnight sensation as a recreational runner who had worked himself into shape and written a book about the health benefits of running. But when he died of a heart attack shortly after a run at age 43, he became the poster-child for the idea that running can actually be hazardous to [...]... Read more »
Breuckmann, F., Mohlenkamp, S., Nassenstein, K., Lehmann, N., Ladd, S., Schmermund, A., Sievers, B., Schlosser, T., Jockel, K., Heusch, G.... (2009) Myocardial Late Gadolinium Enhancement: Prevalence, Pattern, and Prognostic Relevance in Marathon Runners1. Radiology, 251(1), 50-57. DOI: 10.1148/radiol.2511081118
How do you define a species? Most people would probably say species are similar organisms that can reproduce sexually to produce viable offspring. But what about organisms that don’t reproduce sexually? Surely they have species too.
Today we’re discussing new research suggesting a different way to define species, using their genomes. It’s an intriguing study that [...]... Read more »
Birky, C., Adams, J., Gemmel, M., & Perry, J. (2010) Using Population Genetic Theory and DNA Sequences for Species Detection and Identification in Asexual Organisms. PLoS ONE, 5(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010609
Throughout history we’ve seen examples of artists and others who, while possessing amazing talent, also don’t seem “normal.” Whether it be tormented artists like Vincent van Gogh, or the stereotype of the “mad scientist,” it often seems like a little schizophrenia might underlie amazing genius.
In fact, some psychological studies have found that schizophrenics do tend [...]... Read more »
de Manzano, �., Cervenka, S., Karabanov, A., Farde, L., & Ullén, F. (2010) Thinking Outside a Less Intact Box: Thalamic Dopamine D2 Receptor Densities Are Negatively Related to Psychometric Creativity in Healthy Individuals. PLoS ONE, 5(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010670
Why would a deadly genetically-transmitted disease persist? Doesn’t “survival of the fittest” mean that any genetic mutation that causes premature death should quickly be extinguished? In the case of Cystic Fibrosis, the problem is even more dramatic, because CF causes infertility in men. How could this gene possibly survive? Yet it not only survives, it [...]... Read more »
Kosova, G., Pickrell, J., Kelley, J., McArdle, P., Shuldiner, A., Abney, M., & Ober, C. (2010) The CFTR Met 470 Allele Is Associated with Lower Birth Rates in Fertile Men from a Population Isolate. PLoS Genetics, 6(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000974
Some of the most bio-diverse areas of the world are also some of the most impoverished, which is why it can seem cruel to create national parks and other protected areas to preserve these ecosystems. Aren’t the human lives in those regions more important than plants or other animals? Some research has supported the idea [...]... Read more »
Andam, K., Ferraro, P., Sims, K., Healy, A., & Holland, M. (2010) Protected areas reduced poverty in Costa Rica and Thailand. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(22), 9996-10001. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914177107
Cooperation is seen not only in humans, but in societies formed by organisms from ants to baboons. But in many cases, it’s difficult to figure out why any individual would want to cooperate. Wouldn’t it be easier just to take what you want without doing any work? While cooperation is good for the group, why [...]... Read more »
Boyd, R., Gintis, H., & Bowles, S. (2010) Coordinated Punishment of Defectors Sustains Cooperation and Can Proliferate When Rare. Science, 328(5978), 617-620. DOI: 10.1126/science.1183665
Cyber-bullying is a growing problem, but it’s so new that there’s not much research about it. So Krystal D’Costa begins her work studying cyber-bullying by considering what goes into real-world bullying.
Each week, Kevin Zelnio, Razib Khan, and I choose one or more journal articles to discuss in podcast form. This week, while Kevin is on [...]... Read more »
Mayer, J., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. (2004) TARGET ARTICLES: "Emotional Intelligence: Theory, Findings, and Implications". Psychological Inquiry, 15(3), 197-215. DOI: 10.1207/s15327965pli1503_02
Snyder, J., Brooker, M., Patrick, M., Snyder, A., Schrepferman, L., & Stoolmiller, M. (2003) Observed Peer Victimization During Early Elementary School: Continuity, Growth, and Relation to Risk for Child Antisocial and Depressive Behavior. Child Development, 74(6), 1881-1898. DOI: 10.1046/j.1467-8624.2003.00644.x
The hollow face mask illusion is a great three-dimensional effect that’s remarkable because it not only works in movies, it also works in real life. Check this out:
This is a computer-generated image (from the Max-Planck-Institut für biologische Kybernetik in Tübingen), but it can just as easily be perceived with a real hollow mask. Here’s [...]... Read more »
Papathomas, T. (2007) Art pieces that 'move' in our minds — an explanation of illusory motion based on depth reversal. Spatial Vision, 21(1), 79-95. DOI: 10.1163/156856807782753958
Take a look at this video (Click on the image to play, QuickTime required):
Which ellipse is rotating faster?
While at first it seems quite obvious that the ellipse on the right is rotating faster, if you download the movie and play in loop mode, by counting rotations you should be able to convince yourself that they [...]... Read more »
Caplovitz, G., Hsieh, P., & Tse, P. (2006) Mechanisms underlying the perceived angular velocity of a rigidly rotating object. Vision Research, 46(18), 2877-2893. DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2006.02.026
One of the most amazing visual illusions is also one of the simplest. It’s called the Troxler effect for Ignaz Troxler, the scientist who discovered it in 1804. To experience it, just stare at the central dot in this figure for 30 seconds or so, with your head about 12 inches from your computer monitor. [...]... Read more »
HSIEH, P., & TSE, P. (2006) Illusory color mixing upon perceptual fading and filling-in does not result in ‘forbidden colors’. Vision Research, 46(14), 2251-2258. DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2005.11.030
For the next month, I’m going to be blogging about illusions and the people who create them. So let’s get started. Take a look at the following short movie, following the on-screen instructions. Just watch it once!
This one is based on an illusion by Stuart Anstis, who in turn based it on a very popular [...]... Read more »
There’s no denying that global warming will impose massive changes on the environment. But a recent paper suggests that the models ecologists typically use to assess the effects of environmental changes may be neglecting a key factor: The ability of organisms to adapt to the environment. What are the implications of incorporating the capacity for [...]... Read more »
Chevin, L., Lande, R., & Mace, G. (2010) Adaptation, Plasticity, and Extinction in a Changing Environment: Towards a Predictive Theory. PLoS Biology, 8(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000357
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