Post List

  • October 10, 2010
  • 11:51 AM
  • 1,766 views

Twisting light into a Möbius strip

by gg in Skulls in the Stars

Some months ago, I wrote a post introducing the subfield of optics known as singular optics.  Singular optics is concerned with the behavior of wavefields in the neighborhood of regions where the intensity of the wave is zero, and the … Continue reading →... Read more »

Freund I. (2010) Multitwist optical Möbius strips. Optics letters, 35(2), 148-50. PMID: 20081950  

  • October 10, 2010
  • 10:36 AM
  • 1,101 views

The Onion on two Nobel Prizes

by David Kroll in Take As Directed

Upon hearing that Robert Edwards won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine last Monday for the biological studies and medical implementation of in vitro fertilization, an inkling of cynic in me thought about how this advance primarily serves the relatively wealthy nations of the world.
Not that this is terribly different from any other medicine prize that recognizes contributions to the richest segment of society. For example, malaria has not been the subject of the prize since 1902 and 190........ Read more »

  • October 10, 2010
  • 10:35 AM
  • 805 views

Pavlovsk’s potato problems

by Jeremy in The Vaviblog

A paper published earlier this year used the historic potato collections assembled at the Pavlvosk Experiment Station to shed light on the confused and confusing taxonomy of potatoes. The good news is that the conclusions of the paper “are very similar to other recent studies of cultivated species, and show the need to reclassify the [...]... Read more »

Gavrilenko, T., Antonova, O., Ovchinnikova, A., Novikova, L., Krylova, E., Mironenko, N., Pendinen, G., Islamshina, A., Shvachko, N., Kiru, S.... (2010) A microsatellite and morphological assessment of the Russian National cultivated potato collection. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. DOI: 10.1007/s10722-010-9554-8  

  • October 10, 2010
  • 09:22 AM
  • 881 views

Walking with bacteria

by geekheartsscience in geek!

They swim, they swarm, they twitch and glide…they even ride on comet tails, and now it seems that bacteria can ‘walk’ as Maxsim Gibiansky and colleagues demonstrate in their short but sweet research published in Science. Gibiansky et al. studied the behaviour of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria that is ordinarily found in soil and water, [...]... Read more »

Gibiansky, M., Conrad, J., Jin, F., Gordon, V., Motto, D., Mathewson, M., Stopka, W., Zelasko, D., Shrout, J., & Wong, G. (2010) Bacteria Use Type IV Pili to Walk Upright and Detach from Surfaces. Science, 330(6001), 197-197. DOI: 10.1126/science.1194238  

  • October 10, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 443 views

Translational Neuroscience – Untapped Potential for Education and Policy

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Recent decades have seen extraordinary advances in the fields of neuroscience, molecular biology, genetics, psychology, and cognitive science. In particular, the National Institutes of Health called the last 10 years of the 20th century the “Decade of the Brain.” Aside from the scientific advances made during that time, government agencies, foundations, and professional organizations put [...]... Read more »

  • October 9, 2010
  • 11:04 PM
  • 1,099 views

Testosterone Made Me Gay!

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Research by Bao and Swabb (2010), which leans pretty heavily on testosterone's alleged, determinative role in sexual orientation, gender identity, psychopathology,and paedophilia, etc. In staking their considerable claims, the authors dismiss the role of social context on such aforementioned behaviours.... Read more »

Bao AM, & Swaab DF. (2010) Sex differences in the brain, behavior, and neuropsychiatric disorders. The Neuroscientist : a review journal bringing neurobiology, neurology and psychiatry, 16(5), 550-65. PMID: 20889965  

  • October 9, 2010
  • 07:30 AM
  • 768 views

Suicide in American colleges - the importance of existential well being

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

In the past couple of posts I've taken a look at new studies that are exploring the complex relationship between religion and suicide. In general, religious people have lower suicide rates, and these are helping to shed light on why, and also why the relationship is not as straightforward as it sometimes seems.

That's the case too, for this third and final recent study on this topic. It examined suicidal feelings among US college students - a critically important issue given that suicide is the........ Read more »

Taliaferro LA, Rienzo BA, Pigg RM Jr, Miller MD, & Dodd VJ. (2009) Spiritual well-being and suicidal ideation among college students. Journal of American college health : J of ACH, 58(1), 83-90. PMID: 19592357  

  • October 9, 2010
  • 04:51 AM
  • 971 views

Friston and Freud

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts


I have liked Friston’s ideas for some time, so what a shock it is to find him defending Freudian ideas. Naïve me, I thought that Freud’s model was dead in the water. Why? It is untested, does not fit with current evidence and, further, is probably untestable therefore not good science. It fails the Occam’s [...]... Read more »

  • October 9, 2010
  • 04:44 AM
  • 586 views

Character In The Walk

by John Wayland in The Darwin Tribune

To some extent, the way we carry ourselves does speak volumes. Non-Verbal Communication (NVC) often plays a larger role in socialisation than we realise, and we often gain a lot of information about someone through body pose and facial expression. Do you ever notice friends and family, or people in the street carry themselves in a particular manner, or do you think it's just Quackery? The article asserts that there are 12 Characteristics of the Walk. Unfortunately, it is uncl........ Read more »

Wells, SR. (1896) Characteristic In The Walk. The Illustrated Annuals of Phrenology , 8-11. info:/

  • October 8, 2010
  • 09:10 PM
  • 888 views

Sea Squirts, SLOSS, and Sex

by Miriam Goldstein in The Oyster's Garter


Long time readers will know how perverse and socially inappropriate the unseemly sea squirt is. But there is an interesting property of sea squirt pornography and local oceanography that may have consequences in the debates surrounding marine reserve design. Castillo and colleagues examined the spawning behavior of intertidal tunicates (Pyura praeputialis, an invasive) . . . → Read More: Sea Squirts, SLOSS, and Sex... Read more »

Castilla, J., Manriquez, P., Delgado, A., Gargallo, L., Leiva, A., & Radic, D. (2007) Bio-foam enhances larval retention in a free-spawning marine tunicate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(46), 18120-18122. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0708233104  

  • October 8, 2010
  • 09:10 PM
  • 1,778 views

Sea Squirts, SLOSS, and Sex

by Kevin Zelnio in Deep Sea News

Long time readers will know how perverse and socially inappropriate the unseemly sea squirt is. But there is an interesting property of sea squirt pornography and local oceanography that may have consequences in the debates surrounding marine reserve design. Castillo and colleagues examined the spawning behavior of intertidal tunicates (Pyura praeputialis, an invasive) . . . → Read More: Sea Squirts, SLOSS, and Sex... Read more »

Castilla, J., Manriquez, P., Delgado, A., Gargallo, L., Leiva, A., & Radic, D. (2007) Bio-foam enhances larval retention in a free-spawning marine tunicate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(46), 18120-18122. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0708233104  

  • October 8, 2010
  • 09:00 PM
  • 740 views

Neury Thursday: Ontogeny of Slow Wave Sleep

by Allison in Dormivigilia

A familiar group of researchers have discovered ontogenic differences in slow wave activity and cortical localization of such activity. Such plasticity nicely complements the substantial growth and wiring of the cortex early during development, and expresses why sleep is important and critical during this time of development... Read more »

Salome´ Kurth,1 Maya Ringli,1 Anja Geiger,1,2 Monique LeBourgeois,3,4 Oskar G. Jenni,1,2 and Reto Huber1,2. (2010) Mapping of Cortical Activity in the First Two Decades of Life: A High-Density Sleep Electroencephalogram Study. Journal of Neuroscience. info:/

  • October 8, 2010
  • 05:54 PM
  • 519 views

The Restoration Underground

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Forget The Weather Underground. What we need now is The Restoration Underground. Ecologists interested in restoration need to pay greater heed to what is going on beneath the soil’s surface, two researchers argue in a new scientific manifesto of sorts. The health of belowground communities can make a big difference for aboveground ecosystems, they note […] Read More »... Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 05:47 PM
  • 755 views

What's in a vaccine?

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

In all my undergrad classes I don’t think we ever talked about what else was in a vaccine apart from the intended target of the immune response. This is actually a really important consideration as some people have serious concerns over the safety of the ‘other bits’, which include aluminium, mercury, alcohols and hydrochloric acid.... Read more »

Ribeiro CM, & Schijns VE. (2010) Immunology of vaccine adjuvants. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 1-14. PMID: 20099117  

  • October 8, 2010
  • 03:48 PM
  • 869 views

Bee decline by virus and parasite co-infection

by Aaron Berdanier in Biological Posteriors

A group of United States researchers think they have identified the agents that cause Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in US bee colonies: an RNA virus (invertebrate iridescent virus, IIV) and a fungal parasite (Nosema sp.). The researchers came to this conclusion by 1.) analyzing samples from colonies around the country and 2.) conducting laboratory survival tests with infected bees.... Read more »

Bromenshenk, J., Henderson, C., Wick, C., Stanford, M., Zulich, A., Jabbour, R., Deshpande, S., McCubbin, P., Seccomb, R., Welch, P.... (2010) Iridovirus and Microsporidian Linked to Honey Bee Colony Decline. PLoS ONE, 5(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013181  

  • October 8, 2010
  • 03:17 PM
  • 800 views

Some yogurt each day keeps the doctor away?

by microbialmodus in Microbial Modus

There’s a great deal of debate these days about the sometimes wild and often wondrous health claims touted by the probiotics movement.  These special beneficial bacteria (mostly lactic acid bacteria like those found in yogurt, and available now it the convenient pill or capsule form) are claimed to not only cure everything including digestive disorders, [...]... Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 03:05 PM
  • 551 views

Towards a Conclusive Test of Termite Eradication

by Michael Long in Phased

Why would anyone collect thousands of individual pieces of termite poo? If you're Michael Haverty (University of California Berkeley, United States) or one of his coworkers, you need them to develop an analytical protocol for determining the success of termite eradication. This news feature was written on October 8, 2010.... Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 01:52 PM
  • 1,097 views

Virtual cataract surgery: advanced optics helping surgeons and... patients

by Pablo Artal in Optics confidential

Virtual cataract surgery is a customized optical modeling helping the design of intraocular lenses and improving vision of cataract patients... learn more... Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 01:18 PM
  • 916 views

Still More on Why the Tears of Strangers Are Only Water

by David Berreby in Mind Matters


This paper in the current issue of the journal Neuron claims to add some MRI findings to the evidence that human empathy and kindness stop at the border between "our group" and "others." Tania Singer, Grit Hein and their colleagues found that Swiss soccer fans feel more, and do more, about the suffering of fellow fans than they do for supporters of a rival team.
The researchers recruited 16 Zurich men from a local fan club, telling them they would be involved in a comparison of brain ........ Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 09:35 AM
  • 514 views

Friday Weird Science: IgNobels Post 1. The Bacterial Beard

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

So I heard recently the IgNobels were announced!!! I... Read more »

Barbeito MS, Mathews CT, & Taylor LA. (1967) Microbiological laboratory hazard of bearded men. Applied microbiology, 15(4), 899-906. PMID: 4963447  

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