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  • December 7, 2014
  • 01:16 PM
  • 265 views

Study suggests lefties actually earn less

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Much has been thrown at left-handed people—they are quick to anger, quickly scared and, with the exception of heads of state, are more or less life’s losers. There was even a time where left handedness was “beaten out” of children in school. Conversely, there have been much bestowed upon left-handed people—they are creative and score highly on certain tests. Obviously, scientists need to rely on more than popular notions to make connections, if any, between left-handed people and succe........ Read more »

  • December 7, 2014
  • 03:23 AM
  • 427 views

Building the Best Computer

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

The American spy/intelligence agency, IARPA, is working to address the shortcomings of existing supercomputers through its program, C3. [Infographic]... Read more »

Holmes, D., Ripple, A., & Manheimer, M. (2013) Energy-Efficient Superconducting Computing—Power Budgets and Requirements. IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, 23(3), 1701610-1701610. DOI: 10.1109/TASC.2013.2244634  

  • December 6, 2014
  • 02:19 PM
  • 246 views

Mapping the spinal circuitry to fight phantom pain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Pain typically has a clear cause–but not always. When a person touches something hot or bumps into a sharp object, it’s no surprise that it hurts. But for people with certain chronic pain disorders, including fibromyalgia and phantom limb pain, even a gentle caress can result in agony and for some — like my sister — the pain can be almost never ending.... Read more »

Duan B, Cheng L, Bourane S, Britz O, Padilla C, Garcia-Campmany L, Krashes M, Knowlton W, Velasquez T, Ren X.... (2014) Identification of Spinal Circuits Transmitting and Gating Mechanical Pain. Cell, 159(6), 1417-1432. PMID: 25467445  

  • December 5, 2014
  • 03:58 PM
  • 426 views

Move over solar pannels, introducing spray-on solar cells

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Solar panels, they are big, heavy, cannot flex, and are still very inefficient. While efficiency isn’t the big issue, flexibility has relegated solar panels to rooftops and solar farms. Well that is until now, researchers have just invented a new way to spray solar cells onto flexible surfaces using miniscule light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots (CQDs)—a major step toward making spray-on solar cells easy and cheap to manufacture.... Read more »

Kramer, I., Moreno-Bautista, G., Minor, J., Kopilovic, D., & Sargent, E. (2014) Colloidal quantum dot solar cells on curved and flexible substrates. Applied Physics Letters, 105(16), 163902. DOI: 10.1063/1.4898635  

Carey GH, Kramer IJ, Kanjanaboos P, Moreno-Bautista G, Voznyy O, Rollny L, Tang JA, Hoogland S, & Sargent EH. (2014) Electronically active impurities in colloidal quantum dot solids. ACS nano, 8(11), 11763-9. PMID: 25376698  

Kramer, I., Minor, J., Moreno-Bautista, G., Rollny, L., Kanjanaboos, P., Kopilovic, D., Thon, S., Carey, G., Chou, K., Zhitomirsky, D.... (2014) Efficient Spray-Coated Colloidal Quantum Dot Solar Cells. Advanced Materials. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201403281  

  • December 5, 2014
  • 11:56 AM
  • 294 views

“Evaluating Information Literacy Educators’ Practices”: Journal Club Report by Emily Delahaye

by Emily Delahaye in DIS Student Blog

Summary of the article by Susie Andretta about a programme to educate Information Literacy educators, and of the discussion of the article at the UCL Department of Information Studies MA Library and Information Studies Journal Club meeting.... Read more »

  • December 4, 2014
  • 04:30 PM
  • 395 views

Finding the real cost of climate change

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

How much does global warming really cost the world? Determining the Social Cost of Carbon helps put a actual dollar value on the climate damages per ton of CO2 released, and is used by -- among others -- policymakers to help determine the costs and benefits of climate policies. Remember, even on a global scale, the bottom line will always be profit. But now a group of economists and lawyers urge several improvements to the government's Social Cost of Carbon figure that would impose a regular, tr........ Read more »

Pizer, W., Adler, M., Aldy, J., Anthoff, D., Cropper, M., Gillingham, K., Greenstone, M., Murray, B., Newell, R., Richels, R.... (2014) Using and improving the social cost of carbon. Science, 346(6214), 1189-1190. DOI: 10.1126/science.1259774  

  • December 4, 2014
  • 12:34 PM
  • 332 views

Hoe komt het dat een liedje in je hoofd blijft hangen? [Dutch]

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

De hele dag dat ene hitje in je hoofd: een oorwurm! Muziekproducenten kunnen het zich niet beter wensen. Wat maakt dat liedje nou zo makkelijk te onthouden? En hoe kan het dat je dat ene nummer zo snel herkent? Muziekwetenschapper prof. dr. Henkjan Honing (UvA) legt uit wat de ingrediënten zijn voor het maken van een ware muziekhit en waardoor luisteraars zo ‘Hooked on Music’ zijn…... Read more »

Gjerdingen, R., & Perrott, D. (2008) Scanning the Dial: The Rapid Recognition of Music Genres. Journal of New Music Research, 37(2), 93-100. DOI: 10.1080/09298210802479268  

J.A. Burgoyne, D. Bountouridis, J. van Balen, & H. Honing. (2013) Hooked: A Game for Discovering What Makes Music Catchy. Proceedings of the 14th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference , 245-250. info:/

Salimpoor, V., van den Bosch, I., Kovacevic, N., McIntosh, A., Dagher, A., & Zatorre, R. (2013) Interactions Between the Nucleus Accumbens and Auditory Cortices Predict Music Reward Value. Science, 340(6129), 216-219. DOI: 10.1126/science.1231059  

  • December 3, 2014
  • 04:35 PM
  • 335 views

New peptide might treat spinal cord injury

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In nature there are plenty of animals that can regenerate nerves, even some mammals have the ability to regenerate them, but unfortunately we do not. However, there is some great news on the horizon, scientists have developed a new chemical compound that shows extraordinary promise in restoring function lost to spinal cord injury. The compound, which the researchers dubbed intracellular sigma peptide (ISP), allowed paralyzed muscles to activate in more than 80 percent of the animals tested.... Read more »

Lang, B., Cregg, J., DePaul, M., Tran, A., Xu, K., Dyck, S., Madalena, K., Brown, B., Weng, Y., Li, S.... (2014) Modulation of the proteoglycan receptor PTPσ promotes recovery after spinal cord injury. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13974  

  • December 2, 2014
  • 04:31 PM
  • 311 views

Synthetic biology breakthrough: The world’s first artificial enzymes

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Like mad scientists working away in some secret location we have created life… well sort of. It may sound like something out of a Sci fi movie, but scientists have created the world’s first enzymes made from artificial genetic material. Their synthetic enzymes (which are made from molecules that do not occur anywhere in nature) are capable of triggering chemical reactions in the lab and are the building blocks for life.... Read more »

Taylor, A., Pinheiro, V., Smola, M., Morgunov, A., Peak-Chew, S., Cozens, C., Weeks, K., Herdewijn, P., & Holliger, P. (2014) Catalysts from synthetic genetic polymers. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13982  

Pinheiro, V., Taylor, A., Cozens, C., Abramov, M., Renders, M., Zhang, S., Chaput, J., Wengel, J., Peak-Chew, S., McLaughlin, S.... (2012) Synthetic Genetic Polymers Capable of Heredity and Evolution. Science, 336(6079), 341-344. DOI: 10.1126/science.1217622  

  • December 2, 2014
  • 12:51 PM
  • 477 views

Our Increased carbon dioxide output causes global warming and now we have proof

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Global warming, it’s a bigger deal than some people seem to realize. For years science has pointed to the increased carbon dioxide output as the main reason for man-made global warming. However, there has been no evidence to directly link CO2 output to global warming, well until now. Research has identified, for the first time, how global warming is related to the amount of carbon emitted.... Read more »

  • December 2, 2014
  • 12:34 PM
  • 237 views

Word je slimmer van luisteren naar Mozart? [Dutch]

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Het Mozarteffect. Studenten halen gegarandeerd hun tentamens, koeien zullen meer melk produceren en zelfs tomaten gaan beter smaken wanneer ze ‘luisteren’ naar klassieke muziek. Is dat zo? Waar heeft dit mee te maken? Muziekwetenschapper prof. dr. Henkjan Honing (UvA) legt je uit wat het effect is van klassieke muziek.... Read more »

Rauscher, F., Shaw, G., & Ky, C. (1993) Music and spatial task performance. Nature, 365(6447), 611-611. DOI: 10.1038/365611a0  

Thompson, W., Schellenberg, E., & Husain, G. (2001) Arousal, Mood, and The Mozart Effect. Psychological Science, 12(3), 248-251. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9280.00345  

Glenn Schellenberg, E. (2004) Music Lessons Enhance IQ. Psychological Science, 15(8), 511-514. DOI: 10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00711.x  

  • December 2, 2014
  • 02:27 AM
  • 251 views

What Effect Does Your Shampoo Really Have on Your Hair?

by Wiley Asia Blog in Wiley Asia Blog - Social Science

New analytical techniques can show how different hair care products affect the hair, with some leaving isolated deposits behind and others leaving layers of material that wet the hair surface.

Researchers used atomic force microscopy in a variety of imaging modes to garner more detailed information and at smaller scales than has been presented before for hair product analyses. The methods can be used to study the varying effects of different hair care products.... Read more »

  • November 30, 2014
  • 01:31 PM
  • 351 views

Even more bad global warming news

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

While everyone (but seemingly the media) is on basically the same page with the fact that global warming is a human caused problem — and one we need to fix the effects of this change are still coming to light. Human-induced changes to Earth’s carbon cycle – for example, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and ocean acidification – have been observed for decades. However, a new study showed human activities, in particular industrial and agricultural processes, have also had significant impa........ Read more »

Kim IN, Lee K, Gruber N, Karl DM, Bullister JL, Yang S, & Kim TW. (2014) Chemical oceanography. Increasing anthropogenic nitrogen in the North Pacific Ocean. Science (New York, N.Y.), 346(6213), 1102-6. PMID: 25430767  

  • November 30, 2014
  • 06:36 AM
  • 358 views

Graphene is the New Kevlar

by Viputheshwar Sitaraman in Draw Science

Graphene is twice as strong as kevlar, extremely light, and can absorb mach 9 impacts with atom-thick layers. [Infographic]... Read more »

  • November 29, 2014
  • 10:23 PM
  • 444 views

Global Warming Denial: What Does it Take? A Case Study of Climate Change Denialists

by Nick in How to Paint Your Panda

Despite the established scientific consensus on global climate change, a substantial number of people, specifically Americans, deny its effects or its taking place. Why does this form of denialism persist so feverishly? What can mitigate this gap between the scientific community and the public?... Read more »

Finucane, M., Slovic, P., Mertz, C., Flynn, J., & Satterfield, T. (2000) Gender, race, and perceived risk: The 'white male' effect. Health, Risk , 2(2), 159-172. DOI: 10.1080/713670162  

Hamilton, L., & Keim, B. (2009) Regional variation in perceptions about climate change. International Journal of Climatology, 29(15), 2348-2352. DOI: 10.1002/joc.1930  

Kahan, D., Peters, E., Wittlin, M., Slovic, P., Ouellette, L., Braman, D., & Mandel, G. (2012) The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks. Nature Climate Change, 2(10), 732-735. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1547  

  • November 29, 2014
  • 03:35 PM
  • 261 views

Vegetable oil in the fight against gastric disease

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The bacterium Helicobacter pylori is strongly associated with gastric ulcers and cancer. Unfortunately, treating the bacteria with antibiotics is difficult and with the increase in antibiotic resistance it can be a dangerous fight to take on. Given the high rate of ulcers and stomach cancers, the need for a better treatment is becoming more apparent. New research may bring hope (and of all things) in the form of vegetable oil.
... Read more »

  • November 28, 2014
  • 11:56 AM
  • 269 views

New discovery sheds light on the forming brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The cerebral cortex, which controls higher processes such as perception, thought and cognition, is the most complex structure in the mammalian central nervous system. Although much is known about the intricate structure of this brain region, the processes governing its formation remain uncertain. Research has now uncovered how feedback between cells, as well as molecular factors, helps shape cortical development during mouse embryogenesis.... Read more »

  • November 27, 2014
  • 12:40 PM
  • 323 views

Fragile X and a new autism treatment

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

There are many roads to autism, none of them involve vaccination. I get tired of saying that, but it’s simple science, vaccines do not cause autism. Thankfully science knows this and is looking at not only what actually causes autism (Since again there are many different ways to develop on the spectrum). Well they may have found a new treatment for people affected by a common inherited form of autism by using a drug that is being tested as a treatment for cancer.... Read more »

Gkogkas, C., Khoutorsky, A., Cao, R., Jafarnejad, S., Prager-Khoutorsky, M., Giannakas, N., Kaminari, A., Fragkouli, A., Nader, K., Price, T.... (2014) Pharmacogenetic Inhibition of eIF4E-Dependent Mmp9 mRNA Translation Reverses Fragile X Syndrome-like Phenotypes. Cell Reports. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.10.064  

  • November 26, 2014
  • 03:20 PM
  • 277 views

Need to turn off the pain? Well now we can!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

My sister suffers from chronic pain issues. I’ve written several posts about how her autoimmune disease is a special brand of pain that you will thankfully (almost certainly) never have to feel. While great strides have been made in pain management, there are still relatively few options that do not carry the risk of being extremely addictive. Well thankfully there is some new research and it offers hope, not just for my sister, but for the millions of people suffering from chronic pain that ........ Read more »

Little JW, Ford A, Symons-Liguori AM, Chen Z, Janes K, Doyle T, Xie J, Luongo L, Tosh DK, Maione S.... (2014) Endogenous adenosine A3 receptor activation selectively alleviates persistent pain states. Brain : a journal of neurology. PMID: 25414036  

  • November 25, 2014
  • 05:17 PM
  • 436 views

Blu-ray solar power

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

So here’s something you don’t see everyday. Blu-ray disks, you know the stuff we use for video games or DVDs also improve the performance of solar cells—suggesting a second use for unwanted discs—according to new research from Northwestern University. As surprising as this was, there is even better news, we know why they improve performance.... Read more »

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