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  • October 15, 2014
  • 08:34 AM
  • 921 views

Biochemical 'Memory' Can Help Bacteria to Grow

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

A new study explores ‘memory’ in E. coli to see how it impacts on their ability to grow in environments with fluctuating food sources. Recent exposure to a food source can reduce and even practically eliminate the 'lag' phase of growth when the food is reintroduced.... Read more »

  • October 15, 2014
  • 04:38 AM
  • 730 views

How You Feel About People is Related to How You Feel About Cities

by Mark Rubin in Mark Rubin's Social Psychology Research Blog

There are numerous structural factors that influence people’s attitudes towards cities. However, these factors may be constituents of broader sociocultural “questions” that people ask about their cities.  For example, residents’ concern about the transport and entertainment venues of a city might form part of a broader social psychological concern about the potential for the city to accommodate their need to meet friends and socialize with others. Alternatively, people might focus on a city’s economy and job opportunities because they are concerned about the ability of the city to meet their needs for personal income and wealth.Hong Kong - Why Would You Want to Live There?In some recently published research, Dr Tessa Morrison and I predicted that individual differences in individualism and collectivism operate as important predictors of people's city needs and goals. Individualism and collectivism are sociocultural orientations towards treating the self and others as individuals or group members respectively: Individualists see themselves and others as being self-reliant, autonomous, and independent, whereas collectivists are more interdependent and concerned about their social groups, including their family, friends, and community. We predicted that these dispositional orientations towards the self and others might also influence how people feel about cities.To test our predictions, we asked 148 psychology undergraduate students to take virtual guided tours around one of four Utopian historical cities - cities that had never been built and were unfamiliar to our participants. YouTube videos of the four guided tours can be viewed here: Christianopolis, City of the Sun, New Harmony, and Victoria, and the picture below shows a scene from one of the tours. Participants then evaluated the cities’ liveability and environmental quality and completed measures of individualism and collectivism.Consistent with our predictions, people with a strong sense of self-responsibility (a form of individualism) tended to evaluate the virtual cities in terms of their potential to meet the goal of acquiring resources, income, and wealth, whereas people with a strong sense of collectivism tended to evaluate the cities in terms of their potential to provide community and a sense of connection with others.Scene from a virtual tour around the Utopian city of VictoriaTo paraphrase Calvino (1978), city evaluation may be based on the answers that cities provide to our questions. However, our research suggests that different types of people have different types of questions. Individualists appear to ask: “can this city enhance my personal wealth?” whereas collectivists appear to ask: “can this city enhance my group’s community?”These findings are important because they can help us to understand why some people choose to move into certain cities and others choose to leave. However, a key limitation of our work is that it lacked ecological validity because it involved nonresidents evaluating novel, historical, virtual, and unpopulated cities. In our future research, we intend to measure residents’ evaluations of more familiar, modern, real-world, populated cities.For further information, please see the following journal article:Rubin, M., & Morrison, T. (2014). Individual Differences in Individualism and Collectivism Predict Ratings of Virtual Cities’ Liveability and Environmental Quality The Journal of General Psychology, 141 (4), 348-372 DOI: 10.1080/00221309.2014.938721  A self-archived version of this journal article is available here.... Read more »

  • October 14, 2014
  • 10:09 PM
  • 536 views

Weight Bias and Physical Activity

by Abena Edugyan in Your Active Edge

Does seeing an overweight person being active reduce weight bias? ... Read more »

  • October 13, 2014
  • 10:18 AM
  • 1,064 views

Guiding light to boost algae biofuel production

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study uses waveguides dotted with SU-8 pillars to scatter light in a tank of algae. By varying the spacing of the pillars, light intensity across the tank was approximately uniform and increased algae growth by 'at least 40%' compared to scheme with uniformly-distributed pillars... Read more »

  • October 6, 2014
  • 07:23 PM
  • 922 views

Centrifuging people to see if gravity affects perception

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study looks places test subjects in a centrifuge to see the effect of different levels of simulated gravity on the 'perceptual upright'... Read more »

  • October 6, 2014
  • 06:48 PM
  • 1,145 views

Can our brains process words while we sleep?

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study investigates whether the human brain can respond to words while in a state of sleep... Read more »

Kouider, S., Andrillon, T., Barbosa, L., Goupil, L., & Bekinschtein, T. (2014) Inducing Task-Relevant Responses to Speech in the Sleeping Brain. Current Biology, 24(18), 2208-2214. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.08.016  

  • October 6, 2014
  • 03:55 PM
  • 928 views

Orange Corn Aims to Fight Vitamin A Deficiency

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

GMO food is still a hot button topic, honestly for no other reason than fear. Sure Monsanto is a big evil corporation, but the science is only as bad as what you do with it. In the modern fortified world we don’t think about vitamin deficiency or the horrible things that come with it, however vitamin A deficiency is a huge problem in developing countries. To combat this researchers have identified a set of genes that can be used to naturally boost the provitamin A content of corn kernels, a finding that could help combat vitamin A deficiency and macular degeneration in the elderly.... Read more »

  • September 29, 2014
  • 06:07 PM
  • 764 views

Cat and Dogs: seeking solutions with sniffing canines and science

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Mia and Julie,  First of all, I LOVE your blog! After meeting at SPARCS this past summer (summer for us in North America.. I take it summer is just beginning in Australia!), I’ve followed it closely.  You do amazing things for the promotion of  canine science. Serious love. A bit of background for the readers: I’m currently doing my PhD at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Simon Gadbois. Dr. Gadbois has an amazing amount of knowledge and experience in the science of sniffing (just check out Gadbois & Reeve, 2014 link below!).  He’s trained sniffer dogs for the conservation of ribbon snakes and wood turtles, to track coyotes, and to detect invasive pests in lumber. He and I have taken on a different type of project and are studying the intricacies of biomedical detection dogs, specifically, the very interesting phenomenon of Diabetic Alert Dogs.  Cat Reeve at #SPARCS2014 where she won the 'Best Emerging Researcher' prize I say interesting because there’s anecdotal evidence suggesting that some dogs alert their owners to hypoglycemic events (low blood sugar). In 2008, Deborah Wells published a series of case studies where dogs were reported as signalling (barking, licking, pawing etc. the individual) while their owners were awake, while they were sleeping, and even when their owners were in a different room with the door closed! And this is with no previous training!  Isn’t this fantastic! Severe hypoglycemic events can be extremely dangerous for individuals with diabetes. If not treated, they can lead to seizures, comas, and even death. The fact that dogs may be able to alert an individual before a serious hypoglycemic event means less worry about hypoglycaemia unawareness, and blood sugar dropping over night when individuals are unconscious.Given that dogs are signalling through closed doors, it is assumed that the dogs smell something that alerts them to a change in the physiology of their owner (as opposed to behavioural cues, as is believed to be the case with seizure alert dogs). There are many companies that have taken advantage of this supposed ability, and have trained Diabetic Alert Dogs (DADs) to sell to individuals with diabetes.  In my own searches, I have found no company that publicly provides information as to how they train their dogs. However, according to recent studies (see Gonder-Frederick et al., 2013 and Rooney et al., 2011 below) these trained DADs dogs contribute greatly to the families of individuals’ with diabetes; they signal consistently and, consequently, significantly reduce the number of hypoglycemic events an individual experiences. Now, if it is in fact an olfactory cue that dogs use to identify a drop in blood sugar in their owners, one would expect that if you presented one of these trained DADs with the “scent” of hypoglycemia without the individual present (just like having the owner with diabetes on the other side of a door), the dog would still signal.  Dehlinger and colleagues recently tested three DADs in a lab setting, presenting the dogs with human biological samples that were obtained identically to the way the samples used to train the dogs were obtained. In this study, none of the three dogs could pick out a ... Read more »

  • September 28, 2014
  • 03:37 PM
  • 650 views

The Genetic Evolutionary Arms Race

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Genes are tricky little buggers, the stuff that makes us up has fought the test of time to make it to where we are today. It is thought that our genes changed in an attempt to outpace other life, albeit random changes.That might only be half right however, new findings suggest that there is an evolutionary arms race going on within the genome against, of all things, itself. This inherent competition of primates drove the evolution of complex regulatory networks that orchestrate the activity of genes in every cell of our bodies... Read more »

Jacobs, Greenberg, Nguyen, Haeussler, Ewing, Katzman, Paten, Salama . (2014) An evolutionary arms race betweenKRAB zinc-finger genes ZNF91/93 and SVA/L1 retrotransposons. Nature. info:/10.1038/nature13760

  • September 26, 2014
  • 02:15 PM
  • 989 views

“GMO” Foods (Once Again) Proven Safe

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

GMO, I shudder every time I hear someone talk about the “dangers”. It’s one of the new buzzwords that doesn’t actually mean anything, but still manages to scare people. Well a new scientific review reports that the performance and health of food-producing animals consuming genetically engineered feed, first introduced 18 years ago, has been comparable to that of animals consuming non-GE feed. Not that this will stop people from spreading fear, but it’s a start.... Read more »

  • September 17, 2014
  • 04:36 AM
  • 712 views

A talking powered smartphone? The chin strap that makes electricity from chewing

by Stuart Farrimond in Guru: Science Blog

Mouths – where would we be without them? We use our jaws for so many essential tasks: eating food, chewing gum, yawning when we are tired from a hard day’s work and, oh let’s not forget, talking. Most of us […]The post A talking powered smartphone? The chin strap that makes electricity from chewing appeared first on Guru Magazine.... Read more »

  • September 16, 2014
  • 01:20 PM
  • 1,130 views

GM plants with modified 'eskimo1' gene have increased 'drought tolerance'

by This Science is Crazy! in This Science Is Crazy!

New study uses siRNA and 35S promoter to regulate multiple genes including ESK1 to improve drought tolerance in Arabidopsis... Read more »

  • September 13, 2014
  • 01:13 PM
  • 727 views

Need a Kidney? Lab Grown Kidneys Coming Soon!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Stem cells offered the promise of having a patents own organ grown to replace a failing or damaged one. Unfortunately the road to that future has been paved with seemingly insurmountable challenges. Thankfully now we are one step closer, researchers have addressed a major challenge in the quest to build replacement kidneys in the lab. Working with human-sized pig kidneys, the scientists developed the most successful method to date to keep blood vessels in the new organs open and flowing with blood.... Read more »

In Kap Ko,, Mehran Abolbashari,, Jennifer Huling,, Cheil Kim,, Sayed-Hadi Mirmalek-Sani,, Mahmoudreza Moradi,, Giuseppe Orlando,, John D. Jackson,, Tamer Aboushwareb,, Shay Soker,.... (2014) Enhanced re-endothelialization of acellular kidney scaffolds for whole organ engineering via antibody conjugation of vasculatures. Technology . info:/10.1142/S2339547814500228

  • September 10, 2014
  • 04:18 PM
  • 646 views

Blind Date Resumee

by Olga Vovk in Milchstraße

Sometimes, the employer is even in a bigger need than the job seeker. And the most used instrument which can bring these two together is a resume.... Read more »

Mark Wilson. (2012) How To Redesign Your Resume For A Recruiter’s 6-Second Attention Span. fastcodesign.com. info:/

  • September 8, 2014
  • 06:07 PM
  • 695 views

Genes Smash! An Oxytricha trifallax story

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In DNA mutation is often a bad thing. It’s sort of like building a car, there are far more wrong ways to one together than there are right ways. Still, mutation happens often which brings with it good (and more often bad) things. Usually mutation is spontaneous, it has no real rhyme or reason (in a broad sense) and while it brings things like cancers, it also can bring amazingly beneficial traits too.... Read more »

Chen X, Bracht JR, Goldman AD, Dolzhenko E, Clay DM, Swart EC, Perlman DH, Doak TG, Stuart A, Amemiya CT.... (2014) The Architecture of a Scrambled Genome Reveals Massive Levels of Genomic Rearrangement during Development. Cell, 158(5), 1187-98. PMID: 25171416  

  • September 5, 2014
  • 01:56 PM
  • 835 views

Artificial Cells: They’re alive!!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Frankenstein’s monster was (in the story) a scientific marvel that could not be matched. Growing up with the story, the idea of creating life where there was none was a feat that I had once thought was going to always be science fiction. Maybe this is why I was so surprised when I found out that scientists, using only a few ingredients, have successfully implemented a minimalistic model of the cell that can change its shape and move on its own.... Read more »

Keber, F., Loiseau, E., Sanchez, T., DeCamp, S., Giomi, L., Bowick, M., Marchetti, M., Dogic, Z., & Bausch, A. (2014) Topology and dynamics of active nematic vesicles. Science, 345(6201), 1135-1139. DOI: 10.1126/science.1254784  

  • September 3, 2014
  • 08:01 AM
  • 980 views

The Kanisza Triangle: You Can’t Believe Your Eyes

by Rebecca A. Zarate in United Academics

How does the brain decide what the larger, gestalt picture is? From this demonstration, Kok and De Lange concluded it is “an interactive process between higher-order visual areas and V1, wherein activity in V1 is modulated in a highly specific way according to the perceptual hypothesis provided by higher-order areas.” In essence, higher areas of the brain (top-down processes) are making gestalt type guesses, expectations, and assumptions that affect what your senses perceive... Read more »

  • September 2, 2014
  • 12:52 PM
  • 680 views

Epigenetics: Taking Control of the Music

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When I try to explain epigenetics to someone, I like to use the musician metaphor. Your genes are the sheet music and how your body reads those genes, that is your body acting like a musician, making those notes it’s own. This is even more evident when you realize that all human cells contain essentially the same DNA sequence. Up until now we've had to be the audience to this genetic symphony, but new research is helping scientists take control of the music.... Read more »

Müller-Ott K, Erdel F, Matveeva A, Mallm JP, Rademacher A, Hahn M, Bauer C, Zhang Q, Kaltofen S, Schotta G.... (2014) Specificity, propagation, and memory of pericentric heterochromatin. Molecular systems biology, 10(8), 746. PMID: 25134515  

  • September 1, 2014
  • 02:12 PM
  • 628 views

Assemblages: 50 Years Later, We Know Nothing About Them

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

You would think we learn about every part of a cell in biology, but we really don't. Case in point, about 50 years ago, electron microscopy revealed the presence of tiny blob-like structures that form inside cells, move around and disappear. The reason you probably haven't heard of these structures is because scientists really don't know what they do even 50 years later. Although they do have an idea about them, these shifting cloud-like collections of proteins are believed to be crucial to the life of a cell, and will ideally offer a new approach to disease treatment.... Read more »

  • August 31, 2014
  • 11:31 PM
  • 864 views

August lives up to its definition: respected and impressive

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

The things we noticed in and around canine science over the past two weeks, Storified in one neat location for your convenience:[View the story "Do You Believe in Dog? [16-31 August 2014]" on Storify] Further reading:Feuerbacher E.N. (2014). Shut up and pet me! Domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) prefer petting to vocal praise in concurrent and single-alternative choice procedures, Behavioural Processes, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2014.08.019 Gygax L. (2014). The A to Z of statistics for testing cognitive judgement bias, Animal Behaviour, 95 59-69. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2014.06.013 Arnott E.R., Claire M. Wade & Paul D. McGreevy (2014). Environmental Factors Associated with Success Rates of Australian Stock Herding Dogs, PLoS ONE, 9 (8) e104457. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0104457 © Do You Believe in Dog? 2014© Do You Believe in Dog? 2014... Read more »

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