234 posts · 316,913 views
It has become virtually axiomatic that as climate shifts or other potential insults to the ecology of a given area occur, plants and animals enclosed in parks bounded by "impermeable" landscapes are at great risk. Instead of the extreme ranges of a plant or animal moving north or south, or across a gradient of rainfall, or up or down in elevation, organisms that are protected in parks are also stuck in the parks and risk local extinction when change happens or disease becomes endemic, or poachi........ Read more »
Western, D., Russell, S., & Cuthill, I. (2009) The Status of Wildlife in Protected Areas Compared to Non-Protected Areas of Kenya. PLoS ONE, 4(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006140
Although the paper addresses Tanzanian lions, this is a photograph of a Namibian lion Starting some years ago, we began to hear about revisions of the standard models of lion behavioral biology coming out of Craig Packer's research in the Serengeti. One of the most startling findings, first shown (if memory serves) as part of a dynamic optimization model and subsequently backed up with a lot of additional information, is the idea that lions do not benefit by living in a group with respect to h........ Read more »
Mosser, A., & Packer, C. (2009) Group territoriality and the benefits of sociality in the African lion, Panthera leo. Animal Behaviour. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.04.024
I have obtained a document that describes the secret, inner workings of the on line publication PLoS ONE. The document also exposes future plans for the enterprise.
The link is below the fold. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Binfield, Peter. (2009) PLoS ONE: Background, future development, and article-level metrics. PLoS ONE. DOI: http://conferences.aepic.it/index.php/elpub/elpub2009/paper/view/114/51
The new study identifies 27 loci that have rare copy number variations, where there are more or fewer repeated DNA segments than expected, common to the genomes of several children with autism spectrum disorder. These variations are not present in controls without autism spectrum disorder.
The peer reviewed paper is available in the Open Access journal PLoS Genetics.
The sample included 2,832 individuals distributed among 912 families that had multiple autistic children. The control grou........ Read more »
Bucan, M., Abrahams, B., Wang, K., Glessner, J., Herman, E., Sonnenblick, L., Alvarez Retuerto, A., Imielinski, M., Hadley, D., Bradfield, J.... (2009) Genome-Wide Analyses of Exonic Copy Number Variants in a Family-Based Study Point to Novel Autism Susceptibility Genes. PLoS Genetics, 5(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000536
This is one of those science stories that is on one hand fairly simple, and on the other hand fairly complex, where the interface between simplicity and complexity causes little balls of misunderstanding to come flying out of the mix like pieces of raw pizza dough if the guy making the pizza was the Tasmanian Devil from the cartoons.
What is true: A scientist named Ryskin proposes that decadal or century scale minor wiggling in the measured Earth's magnetic field is influenced by changes in ........ Read more »
Ryskin, G. (2009) Secular variation of the Earth's magnetic field: induced by the ocean flow?. New Journal of Physics, 11(6), 63015. DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/11/6/063015
This question is shorthand for a larger and more nuanced set of questions that has emerged over the last 24 hours here and here as people engage in this very interesting and important discussion about rape, especially wartime rape and related post-apocalyptic rape cultures.
"The switch" is a term I first heard from Victoria Brandon, who wrote a term paper for me on this in 1993. The basic idea of a switch would be supported if more or less randomly (though age biased, likely) selected men, p........ Read more »
Gottschall, Jonathan. (2004) Explaining wartime rape. Journal of sex research. DOI: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2372/is_2_41/ai_n6112867/?tag
Expanding on the discussion from here ...
In the paper Anthropology's "Fierce" Yanomami: Narratives of Sexual Politics in the Amazon, Sharon Tiffany and Kathleen Adams provide the following opening passage:
Imagine a society in which one woman in every three is raped, usually by a man she knows, consider the consequences of living in a society where one third of all women are beaten during pregnancy and 35 percent of women using emergency medical facilities are battered . Since wee are anthrop........ Read more »
Tiffany, Sharon W., & Adams, Kathleen J. (1994) Anthropology's 'Fierce' Yanomami: Narratives of Sexual Politics in the Amazon. NWSA Journal, 6(2), 169. DOI: http://search.ebscohost.com.floyd.lib.umn.edu/login.aspx?direct
NASA researchers is now reporting in the May 21st issue of Nature that water could remain liquid at sub-freezing temperatures if made stable against freezing by containing dissolved minerals. From the abstract:
Many features of the Martian landscape are thought to have been formed by liquid water flow, and water-related mineralogies on the surface of Mars are widespread and abundant. Several lines of evidence, however, suggest that Mars has been cold with mean global temperatures well below th........ Read more »
Fairén, A., Davila, A., Gago-Duport, L., Amils, R., & McKay, C. (2009) Stability against freezing of aqueous solutions on early Mars. Nature, 459(7245), 401-404. DOI: 10.1038/nature07978
It is funny how people play with history. If we talk about an important "first" that is viewed in a positive light ... the origin of beer for instance ... the slightest evidence will be used by the people of a given region to claim primacy. Also, since Africa almost always gets the shaft in this regard, all else being equal, an early African occurrence of something good will be assumed as not definitive, but vague evidence of the non-African first occurrence will be taken more seriously. Serio........ Read more »
Robbins, G., Tripathy, V., Misra, V., Mohanty, R., Shinde, V., Gray, K., & Schug, M. (2009) Ancient Skeletal Evidence for Leprosy in India (2000 B.C.). PLoS ONE, 4(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005669
One item is just published in the Journal of Climate. Simply put, the use of some very sophisticated and probably quite trustworthy models suggests that extratropical cyclones (so this means winter storms and such, mainly) will have a good deal more precipitation in them.
In the model ...
... There is a small reduction in the number of cyclones but no significant changes in the extremes of wind and vorticity in both hemispheres. ... The largest changes are in the total precipitation, where a ........ Read more »
Bengtsson, L., Hodges, K., & Keenlyside, N. (2009) Will Extratropical Storms Intensify in a Warmer Climate?. Journal of Climate, 22(9), 2276. DOI: 10.1175/2008JCLI2678.1
The Mars rover Opportunity has explored Victoria crater, a ~750-meter eroded impact crater formed in sulfate-rich sedimentary rocks. Impact-related stratigraphy is preserved in the crater walls, and meteoritic debris is present near the crater rim. The size of hematite-rich concretions decreases up-section, documenting variation in the intensity of groundwater processes. Layering in the crater walls preserves evidence of ancient wind-blown dunes. Compositional variations with depth mimic those ~........ Read more »
Squyres, S., Knoll, A., Arvidson, R., Ashley, J., Bell, J., Calvin, W., Christensen, P., Clark, B., Cohen, B., de Souza, P.... (2009) Exploration of Victoria Crater by the Mars Rover Opportunity. Science, 324(5930), 1058-1061. DOI: 10.1126/science.1170355
You probably know that there is a new primate fossil, nicknamed "Ida," and that there is quite a buzz about it.
Darwinius masillae, aka Ida
Ida comes from fossil deposits in Germany, and was originally excavated in two different parts by private collectors, and only recently rejoined and recognized for the amazing fossil it is. This is considered to be a new genus, and is named Darwinius masillae
...holotype skeleton in right lateral view... Ida is a 47 million year old adapid primate ........ Read more »
Franzen, J., Gingerich, P., Habersetzer, J., Hurum, J., von Koenigswald, W., & Smith, B. (2009) Complete Primate Skeleton from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology. PLoS ONE, 4(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005723
Murphy, W., Pringle, T., Crider, T., Springer, M., & Miller, W. (2007) Using genomic data to unravel the root of the placental mammal phylogeny. Genome Research, 17(4), 413-421. DOI: 10.1101/gr.5918807
According to a study just coming out in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, "variations in emotional intelligence--the ability to identify and manage emotions of one's self and others--are associated with orgasmic frequency during intercourse and masturbation." Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Burri, A., Cherkas, L., & Spector, T. (2009) Emotional Intelligence and Its Association with Orgasmic Frequency in Women. Journal of Sexual Medicine. DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01297.x
Lithium has long been used as a psychotherapeutic drug, and treatment with lithium demonstrably reduces incidence of suicide. Lithium also occurs naturally in groundwater to varying degrees. This study explores the relative amount of Lithium in groundwater and suicide in 18 municipalities in Oita prefecture, Japan over a period running from 2002 to 2006. There are two principle findings:
Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Ohgami, H., Terao, T., Shiotsuki, I., Ishii, N., & Iwata, N. (2009) Lithium levels in drinking water and risk of suicide. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 194(5), 464-465. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.108.055798
I have a handful of comments, mostly about how what you are seeing on the news is unimportant, and one comment about why you actually should worry. Within reason.
The new Swine Flu has now been verified in nineteen US states, with 141 cases. Technically there is 1 death, but since the young girl who died actually caught the flu in Mexico (and came to Texas for treatment) it is hard to say how that should be counted.
WHO characterizes the global spread of the flu as a "rapidly evolving" sit........ Read more »
Taubenberger, Jeffery, & Morens, David. (2006) 1918 Influenza: the Mother of All Pandemics. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 12(1).
It is theoretically impossible to observe all of the different aspects of state of matter at the subatomic "quantum" level. This means that at the tiniest level of spacetime, bits and pieces of stuff and action can only be vaguely known, and therefore, if you wanted to build a quantum computer you would have some interesting challenges.
A solution to this problem would be a key step in quantum engineerig. According to Anthony Lang, of Bristol Universtiy, "Apart from providing insight into the........ Read more »
The following is a follow up on BZ's earlier posts regarding Anonymity, Credibility, Behavior Change and other issues. BZ had posted several guest blogs here, and received useful comments from guests and other bloggers. Here, BZ summarizes and responds.
I am in the position of grading BZ for this work. His grade will be based on how many comments he gets, so please help him out!1 Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Batts, S., Anthis, N., & Smith, T. (2008) Advancing Science through Conversations: Bridging the Gap between Blogs and the Academy. PLoS Biology, 6(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060240
Or, more exactly, where are they all going to go during the next two or three months?
I'm sitting here between a large frozen lake and a small "pond" (connected to the lake with a channel) that has patches of open water on it. (The melting on the pond is probably because the bioactivity at the bottom of he pond increases water temperature.) There is a pair of mallards on the pond, and I expect that in a few weeks there will be two or three mallards and three or for merganzers, all females, a........ Read more »
Stafford, J.D., & Pearse, A.T. (2007) Survival of radio-marked Mallard ducklings in South Dakota. Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 2007(December). DOI: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5046/is_4_119/ai_n29403036/?tag
Kenow, K., Kapfer, J., & Korschgen, C. (2009) Predation of Radio-Marked Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) Ducklings by Eastern Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina serpentina) and Western Fox Snakes (Pantherophis vulpinus) on the Upper Mississippi River. Journal of Herpetology, 43(1), 154-158. DOI: 10.1670/08-003R.1
WHITEHEAD, A., EDGE, K., SMART, A., HILL, G., & WILLANS, M. (2008) Large scale predator control improves the productivity of a rare New Zealand riverine duck. Biological Conservation, 141(11), 2784-2794. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.08.013
A very large percentage of the earth's land masses were covered by glacial ice during the last glaciation. Right now it is about 10%, but during the Ice Age it was much more. Enough of the earth's water was trapped in this glacial ice that the oceans were about 120 to 150 meters lower than they are now. The thicker ice sheets were one or two kilometers thick, and they tended to slide around quite a bit, grinding down the surface of the earth and turning bedrock into dust and cobbles.
Read ........ Read more »
Vance, D., Teagle, D., & Foster, G. (2009) Variable Quaternary chemical weathering fluxes and imbalances in marine geochemical budgets. Nature, 458(7237), 493-496. DOI: 10.1038/nature07828
The question of diversity in science, and more specifically, success for women, is often discussed in relation to bench or lab oriented fields. If you read the blogs that cover this sort of topic, they are very often written by bench scientists, for bench scientists, and about bench scientists. Which makes sense because most scientists probably are bench scientists.
Here I want to talk about a successful female social scientist with a strong connection to fieldwork, as well as theoretical and........ Read more »
Isaac, Barbara. (1987) Throwing and Human Evolution. The African Archaeological Review, 3-17.
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