Post List

  • March 7, 2011
  • 06:00 AM
  • 1,038 views

Article review: Faculty skills impact their rating of residents

by Michelle Lin in Academic Life In Emergency Medicine

One of the frustrating things about reviewing evaluation cards of medical students and residents is the degree of variability in how faculty rate them. There are some faculty who can be generalized as "hawks" and "doves"-- really tough or really benign graders, respectively.Why do faculty rate the same learner differently? This has been a topic of much debate over the years. In this study in Academic Medicine, Dr. Kogan et al make an interesting hypothesis:Faculty with better clinical skills and........ Read more »

Kogan JR, Hess BJ, Conforti LN, & Holmboe ES. (2010) What drives faculty ratings of residents' clinical skills? The impact of faculty's own clinical skills. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 85(10 Suppl). PMID: 20881697  

  • March 7, 2011
  • 05:04 AM
  • 2,522 views

Research Suggests that File Sharing has a Positive Effect of Film Audiences

by Tomas Rawlings in A Great Becoming

This is an interesting bit of research, adding to the growing body of data trying to understand the positive or negative impacts of P2P downloading of films and the like. (The US General Accounting Office did a huge survey of the reseach in 2009 and were unable to conclude a positive nor negative effect either way.) This [...]... Read more »

Sung Wook Ji. (2007) Piracy Impact on the Theatrical Movie Industry. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA, San Francisco, CA Online. info:/

  • March 7, 2011
  • 03:14 AM
  • 998 views

an ancient origin for the human eye

by alison in bioblog

We understand a fair bit, these days, about the evolution of the complex, 'camera-type' vertebrate eye. Not that this has stopped creationsists (most recently the 'intelligent design' camp as represented by the Discovery Institute) from arguing that the eye is...... Read more »

Passamaneck YJ, Furchheim N, Hejnol A, Martindale MQ, & Luter C. (2011) Ciliary photoreceptors in the cerebral eyes of a protostome larva. EvoDevo, 2(1), 6. PMID: 21362157  

  • March 7, 2011
  • 01:33 AM
  • 1,074 views

Assassins vs Men of Note: the old pseudoscience of phrenology

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

I thought that I had wavy hair Until I shaved. Instead, I find that I have STRAIGHT hair And a very wavy head. -Shel Silverstein The poem above is something I think of whenever I think of phrenology (also it’s just awesome, because Shel Silverstein is always awesome). Phrenology was (and is!) a pseudoscientific practice [...]... Read more »

  • March 7, 2011
  • 12:19 AM
  • 2,579 views

When invasion isn’t such a bad thing…

by John Carroll in Chronicles of Zostera


New species get introduced into novel habitats almost like clockwork in the modern era.  These are termed introduced or exotic species.  Typically, these introductions are the effect of anthropogenic activity.  Sometimes, these species become nuisances – spreading in their new habitats via natural processes, and creating problems for native species.  These nuisance exotics are called invasive . . . → Read More: When invasion isn’t such a bad thing…... Read more »

  • March 6, 2011
  • 10:44 PM
  • 1,408 views

Message (Crammed) in a Bottle

by Kristopher Hite in Tom Paine's Ghost


To sell a bottle of Champagne as "bubbly" a vendor must ensure that the wine has absorbed between five and six atmospheres of carbon dioxide. To anyone who has ever popped the cork on champagne you know there is enough force there to do some serious damage to an innocent bystander in the event of poor aim.



Viruses spend part of their existence as a kind of bottle (capsid) with a message inside (DNA or RNA). The message inside carries the code or blueprint to make more viruses, more message........ Read more »

Yu, J., Moffitt, J., Hetherington, C., Bustamante, C., & Oster, G. (2010) Mechanochemistry of a Viral DNA Packaging Motor. Journal of Molecular Biology, 400(2), 186-203. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2010.05.002  

Moffitt, J., Chemla, Y., Aathavan, K., Grimes, S., Jardine, P., Anderson, D., & Bustamante, C. (2009) Intersubunit coordination in a homomeric ring ATPase. Nature, 457(7228), 446-450. DOI: 10.1038/nature07637  

  • March 6, 2011
  • 09:27 PM
  • 1,967 views

Health by Design 2: The Fused-Grid Neighbourhood Street Layout

by Megan Carter in Verdant Nation

Remember that neighbourhood street layout I was talking about way back when? The Fused-grid? Well finally we’ll get to see how well it does in terms of sustainability and health in this week’s post. To recap, the Fused-grid is a synthesis of the curvilinear, loop and lollipop layout and the traditional gridiron street pattern. It increases connectivity for pedestrians (and potentially cyclists) by providing green spaces in the centres of neighbourhood quadrants. It also preserves the discon........ Read more »

1. Grammenos F. (2008) Taming the flow - Better traffic and safer neighbourhoods. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Research Highlights. info:/

  • March 6, 2011
  • 09:16 AM
  • 1,581 views

Woolly Bats Use a Carnivorous Roost

by Anne-Marie Hodge in Endless Forms

Although many people tend to think of nature as being "red in tooth and claw," with different species constantly at odds with one another in a scramble for survival, ecological communities are actually bursting with mutualistic relationships in which species...... Read more »

  • March 6, 2011
  • 08:39 AM
  • 1,137 views

Is this claim of bacteria in a meteorite any better than the 1996 one?

by Rosie Redfield in RRResearch

A new paper from a NASA scientist claims to present evidence for bacteria-like organisms in some meteorites.  (Richard Hoover, 2011, Fossils of cyanobacteria in C11 carbonaceous meteorites. Journal of Cosmology 2011, vol 13.)I don't know much about meteorites, but here's my evaluation: (Executive Summary: Move along folks, there's nothing to see here.)What the author did:He fractured tiny comet-derived meteorites (0.1 - 0.6 g) from two events and examined the freshly broken surfaces.  ........ Read more »

Hoover, R. B. (2011) fossils of cyanobacteria in C11 carbonaceous meteorites. Journal of Cosmology. info:/

  • March 6, 2011
  • 06:27 AM
  • 1,168 views

Paxil: The Whole Truth?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Paroxetine, aka Paxil aka Seroxat, is an SSRI antidepressant.Like other SSRIs, its reputation has see-sawed over time. Hailed as miracle drugs in the 1990s and promoted for everything from depression to "separation anxiety" in dogs, they fell from grace over the past decade.First, concerns emerged over withdrawal symptoms and suicidality especially in young people. Then more recently their antidepressant efficacy came into serious question. Paroxetine has arguably the worst image of all SSRIs, a........ Read more »

  • March 6, 2011
  • 12:00 AM
  • 1,190 views

Timing is everything

by Neil Losin in Day's Edge

At some point in your life, you’ve probably missed out on something great because your timing was off. Maybe you waited too long to ask a cute friend on a date, and she ended up going out with some d-bag instead of you. Maybe you bought a Version 1 iPad last week, just days before [...]... Read more »

Both, C., Van Turnhout, C., Bijlsma, R., Siepel, H., Van Strien, A., & Foppen, R. (2009) Avian population consequences of climate change are most severe for long-distance migrants in seasonal habitats. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277(1685), 1259-1266. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1525  

  • March 5, 2011
  • 05:52 PM
  • 1,897 views

Origins of Life – Can RNA Spontaneously Assemble?

by ogremkv in Cassandra's Tears

We know that it is almost trivial for inorganic compounds to spontaneously react to form organic compounds.  We can see this in hundreds, if not thousands of similar experiments since Miller-Urey.  We can also observe these organic products in places … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 5, 2011
  • 05:49 PM
  • 1,070 views

Clinical research and the popular press: pins, needles and weight-watching

by Medical Media Watch in Medical Media Watch

Either research became more interesting in 2006, the press became more clued-in as to what was happening on the medical front, or both. More likely, however, is that random, yet undiscovered factors (including chance) explain why first Jack and now I, have found more clinical research papers making it into the popular press in 2006. [...]... Read more »

  • March 5, 2011
  • 03:33 PM
  • 1,268 views

Why do ladybirds hibernate in groups?

by Africa Gomez in BugBlog

You have probably come across ladybirds clustered under leaves or bark during winter. To spend the winter, seven spot ladybirds - otherwise solitary creatures -  to spend the winter, they seem to actively seek each other. I took the photo above a few minunes ago in my garden. I counted 16 ladybirds - most were 7-spots, with two Harlequins - on the shady side of an agave killed by this winters' harsh frosts. Before I go on to explain this communal hibernating behaviour I have to explain why ........ Read more »

  • March 5, 2011
  • 01:12 PM
  • 1,509 views

State of the library and information science blogosphere

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture

Back around 2006, blogs were the height of fashion, like the Tamagotchi in 1996. Blogs, like Tamagotchi, need to be cared for regularly to survive. Torres-Salinas et al. (unfortunately behind a paywall) set out to check what happened to library and information science blogs in the years 2006-2009. For the study, the authors selected to analyze the blogs indexed in the search engine Libworm (n=1108). Most of the blogs were from 2006 (n=1030), because Libworm stopped indexing new blogs since ........ Read more »

Torres-Salinas et al. (2011) State of the library and information science blogosphere after social networks boom: A metric approach. Library . info:/10.1016/j.lisr.2010.08.001

  • March 5, 2011
  • 11:18 AM
  • 1,291 views

Comment: When a medical term has someone’s name

by Débora Miranda in Elements Science

Multiple Sclerosis in times of spending cuts: Débora Miranda looks into the human side of degenerative diseases for Elements... Read more »

Huang, J., Jarjour, A., Oumesmar, B., Kerninon, C., Williams, A., Krezel, W., Kagechika, H., Bauer, J., Zhao, C., Evercooren, A.... (2010) Retinoid X receptor gamma signaling accelerates CNS remyelination. Nature Neuroscience, 14(1), 45-53. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2702  

  • March 5, 2011
  • 10:30 AM
  • 1,244 views

A case of congenital beat deafness?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Of most people that claim things like ‘Oh, but I’m not musical at all’, ‘I’m hopeless at keeping a tune’ or ‘I have no sense of rhythm’, only a small percentage turn out to be unmusical. The condition is known as amusia, and those who suffer from it are literally music-deficient. It is a rather exceptional, mostly inherited condition that comprises a range of handicaps in recognising or reproducing melodies and rhythms. It has been estimated that about 4 per cent of the people in........ Read more »

Phillips-Silver, J., Toiviainen, P., Gosselin, N., Piché, O., Nozaradan, S., Palmer, C., & Peretz, I. (2011) Born to dance but beat deaf: A new form of congenital amusia. Neuropsychologia. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.02.002  

Honing, H., Ladinig, O., Háden, G., & Winkler, I. (2009) Is Beat Induction Innate or Learned?. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1169(1), 93-96. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04761.x  

  • March 5, 2011
  • 08:48 AM
  • 1,667 views

PROTOBATS: visualising the earliest stages of bat evolution

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology



Reconstructions of the earliest phases of bird evolution - of 'near-birds' or 'protobirds', if you will - are pretty familiar, and hypothetical 'proto-pterosaurs' are also relatively familiar thanks to their appearance in the mainstream literature (Wellnhofer 1991, Unwin 2006). However, have you ever seen a reconstruction of a proto-bat? Such creatures must have existed, of course, but I'm only aware of one published effort to visualise them. Reproduced here, these reconstructions were origina........ Read more »

  • March 5, 2011
  • 08:00 AM
  • 757 views

Minimum edge length partitioning of rectilinear polygons

by Aaron Sterling in Nanoexplanations

The title of this blog post is the same as that of a seminal paper in computational geometry and VLSI design by Lingas, Pinter, Rivest and Shamir from 1982. The authors present an O(n^4) algorithm to produce a minimum-length rectangular partitioning of a rectilinear polygon without holes.... Read more »

Andrzej Lingas, Ron Y. Pinter, Ronald R. Rivest, & Adi Shamir. (1982) Minimum edge length partitioning of rectilinear polygons. Proceedings of the 20th Allerton Conference on Communication, 53-63. info:/

  • March 5, 2011
  • 03:39 AM
  • 1,471 views

Embodied robots

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts


Want to build an artificial brain? – try building an embodied robot. It makes sense that to embody an AI system implies giving it a body to embody in. A guide to the advantages, challenges and problems of artificial embodied cognition are examined in a recent Frontiers in Psychology article (citation below).
We are given useful [...]... Read more »

Pezzulo, G., Barsalou, L., Cangelosi, A., Fischer, M., McRae, K., & Spivey, M. (2011) The Mechanics of Embodiment: A Dialog on Embodiment and Computational Modeling. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00005  

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