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  • June 18, 2014
  • 11:00 AM
  • 150 views

Elsevier et al’s pricing douchebaggery exposed

by Juan Nunez-Iglesias in I Love Symposia!

Ted Bergstrom and a few colleagues have just come out with an epic paper in which they reveal how much for-profit academic publishing companies charge university libraries, numbers that had previously been kept secret. The paper is ostensibly in the field of economics, but it could be more accurately described as “sticking-it-to-the-man-ology”.... Read more »

Bergstrom, T., Courant, P., McAfee, R., & Williams, M. (2014) Evaluating big deal journal bundles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1403006111  

  • June 16, 2014
  • 05:51 AM
  • 124 views

Disturbing facts about sunscreen

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

What you should know about sun cream ingredients.
... Read more »

  • June 8, 2014
  • 01:22 AM
  • 168 views

What the pug is going on?

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Julie,thanks for that awesome list of canine-related citizen science projects that anyone can sink their teeth into. I have a question for you: What do you see when a pug comes into your field of vision?I'm asking you because (at the risk of inciting wrath of many) - honestly? I'm really bamboozled by some pedigree breeds and their popularity with so many people. How I feelI'm not hating on pugs or pedigree dogs, and I don't mean any offence to people who hold their love of pugs close to their hearts. I really don't. I appreciate some people are very passionate about breeding certain kinds of dogs. I don't mean them disrespect. I think I just see dogs differently to them.Pugs do make an excellent example to lay on the table for discussion when we consider inherited health and welfare issues in dog breeds. We could just as easily choose to look at any other breed where physical characteristics have been strongly selected for, like the Dalmatian, Great Dane, British Bulldog, Basset Hound, Dachshund, German Shepherd, Shar Pei, Pekingese, Neapolitan Mastiff... I could go on... but let's take the Pug as a case study today.Flickr/pugSo tell me - what do you see?Flickr/HelenMcDonaldI see a companion dog who can't really fit into the body we've given it. And by 'the body we've given it', I mean that through successive generations of human-dictated breeding that selects for an increasingly shortened muzzle (flat face), round head, big eyes, curly tail and rolls of skin, we've changed the face and body of pugs from this...Pug circa 1890 (source)...to this. I'll grant you this is an extreme example, but by golly, the fact that we've produced a dog lacking a defined muzzle like this makes me worry for the health and welfare of the dog. This dog really has no discernible nose or muzzle: Dogs should not have a concave face (source)Does it matter? Well, if you DON'T want a dog that can breathe effectively, maybe not. The (in)ability to breatheAlthough of course, it kind of makes for a sucky life for the dog. Not being able to breathe or moderate their temperature easily. I don't think many people in chronic respiratory distress report it feeling great. I don't think it's unreasonable to extrapolate that it causes dogs similar discomfort. The compromised breathing of these dogs isn't (as the tags on YouTube might lead some to believe) funny, nor ... Read more »

  • June 4, 2014
  • 04:54 AM
  • 131 views

Effects of bullying last into adulthood

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

Recent studies reveal that bullied children are at risk for chronic inflammation and illness in adult life.
... Read more »

Copeland, W., Wolke, D., Lereya, S., Shanahan, L., Worthman, C., & Costello, E. (2014) Childhood bullying involvement predicts low-grade systemic inflammation into adulthood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(21), 7570-7575. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1323641111  

  • May 30, 2014
  • 12:30 AM
  • 81 views

8 Mudras (hand gestures) in Yoga and Meditation

by Mansi Goel in Workout Trends

If you have visited India, New Delhi – the capital city precisely, you must have noticed the giant, metallic hand gestures mounted on the walls of the terminal. They are beautiful, isn’t it? I was one of the few lucky ones who got to visit the work in progress, but let me tell you, the […]
The post 8 Mudras (hand gestures) in Yoga and Meditation appeared first on .
... Read more »

Dibble SL, Chapman J, Mack KA, & Shih AS. (2000) Acupressure for nausea: results of a pilot study. Oncology nursing forum, 27(1), 41-7. PMID: 10660922  

Hu S, Stritzel R, Chandler A, & Stern RM. (1995) P6 acupressure reduces symptoms of vection-induced motion sickness. Aviation, space, and environmental medicine, 66(7), 631-4. PMID: 7575310  

Singh BB, Wu WS, Hwang SH, Khorsan R, Der-Martirosian C, Vinjamury SP, Wang CN, & Lin SY. (2006) Effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 12(2), 34-41. PMID: 16541995  

  • May 29, 2014
  • 06:16 AM
  • 182 views

Think Before You Speak: The Mental Process

by RAZ Rebecca A. Zarate in United Academics

“The erroneous theory is: to speak is to understand. Tell that to Stephen Hawking” - Speech is one of the quickest and most efficient methods of communication, but not as easy for everyone to understand.... Read more »

Houde, J., & Nagarajan, S. (2011) Speech Production as State Feedback Control. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2011.00082  

Uecker, M., Zhang, S., Voit, D., Karaus, A., Merboldt, K., & Frahm, J. (2010) Real-time MRI at a resolution of 20 ms. NMR in Biomedicine, 23(8), 986-994. DOI: 10.1002/nbm.1585  

  • May 23, 2014
  • 10:00 AM
  • 132 views

4 Reasons Why Garlic Truly IS Awesome

by Jeffrey Daniels in United Academics

(1) It is more effective than antibiotics, and it works in a fraction of the time, (2) It can cure all sorts of warts caused by HPV, (3) It has been proven to combat malaria and cancer, and (4) It puts an end to brain cancers with no side-effects.... Read more »

  • May 21, 2014
  • 07:37 PM
  • 199 views

Preventing dog bites when you don't have a hero cat

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

(source)Hey Julie! So much going on I need to take three deep breaths to calm down! Firstly - we have a winner! Actually - thanks to the awesome crew at SPARCS, we have two! Very excited to meet Marsha P and Kristi M at #SPARCS2014 and want to thank all the excellent people who responded to our giveaway shoutout on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. We hope those of your who weren't successful will consider still coming along or joining us on the livestream broadcast. Secondly - I loved learning about the differences in UK and US shelter workers perceptions of pit bulls and all the associated bits and pieces that went along with that in our latest guest post by Dr Christy Hoffman. Really, really interesting research and I look forward to the next piece of the puzzle (aka 'new science') in that area.Thirdly - it's dog bite prevention week in the USA right now! We can't all own Tara the Hero Cat (and to be fair, as much as she is worthy of her notoriety and 20million+ hits on the viral video showcasing her ninja skills, she didn't actually prevent the bite - although I'm pretty confident she helped prevent it being a whole lot worse). If you somehow missed what on earth I'm talking about - check out this clip of amazing Tara (but a warning, it does show security camera footage of a child being attacked by a dog and the subsequent wounds): Which brings us back to Dog Bite Prevention Week. We don't have a week like this in Australia, so I did some web trawling to check out what you guys have going on over there.  The AVMA have put up a whole lot of great information and resources about dog bite prevention, including this neat summary infographic: I was really pleased to see this analysis of information about the role of breed in dog bite risk and prevention, which reminded me of this piece on The Conversation by researcher Dr Rachel Casey from Bristol University in the UK, who has been part of a team investigating aggressive behaviour in dogs. The research highlights similarities across Australia, the UK and the US with most serious dog bites occurring to children by a known dog in a familiar area without direct adult supervision at the time of the attack. But of course - as Hero Cat Tara has shown us this week, not all dogs stick to these trends. It seems that there are many commonalities to serious dog bites that we can all be aware of to help reduce the risk, given that any dog can bite: Supervise children <14yo around dogs, even known dogsDon't try to pat a dog you don't know, even if it is on the other side of a fenceMake sure your dog is well socialised and trained in basic commandsKeep your dog healthyTeach your children to be mindful and careful of their actions around dogs, especially when the dog is tied up, eating or sleeping... Read more »

  • May 21, 2014
  • 05:29 AM
  • 132 views

Electrical ‘brain hacking’: the new caffeine fix?

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

The company Foc.us Labs has recently released a commercial tDCS headset directed towards video-gamers. The electrodes are placed on the gamer’s forehead so that the prefrontal cortex is targeted with 1-2 milliamps of current for 5-40 minutes. It improves performance, shows research. But is it really healthy?... Read more »

  • May 20, 2014
  • 07:23 AM
  • 157 views

Finally Solved: Why Zebra’s Wear Black And White Stripes

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

The origin of zebra stripes has long been a mystery: in over a century, scientists developed various hypotheses. Social factors, cooling mechanisms and camouflage against predators, were proposed as possible explanations. However, no striking evidence could support one particular theory, so the black and white striping in zebra was believed to remain a grey area.... Read more »

Caro, T., Izzo, A., Reiner, R., Walker, H., & Stankowich, T. (2014) The function of zebra stripes. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4535  

  • May 19, 2014
  • 08:35 AM
  • 190 views

http://www.united-academics.org/magazine/mind-brain/shock-jolt-developments-in-biomedical-research/

by Harsha Radhakrishnan in United Academics

Growth of biomedical research simultaneously hinders and advances its development.

This week brought to the forefront two important pieces of news in the field of biomedical research. Bad news first – the future of biomedical research looks bleak if things are not going to change. Then the good news – depending on your views on science, this second bit could be either head-scratching or eye opening: Scientists in the Scripps Research Institute, following years of research, have been able to create a synthetic organism with an “artificial DNA”.... Read more »

Alberts B, Kirschner MW, Tilghman S, & Varmus H. (2014) Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(16), 5773-7. PMID: 24733905  

Malyshev DA, Dhami K, Lavergne T, Chen T, Dai N, Foster JM, Corrêa IR Jr, & Romesberg FE. (2014) A semi-synthetic organism with an expanded genetic alphabet. Nature, 509(7500), 385-8. PMID: 24805238  

  • May 15, 2014
  • 05:39 AM
  • 138 views

The Dead Sea could save lives

by Q Dragon in United Academics

Research reveals that fungus from the Dead Sea can address environmental challenges.... Read more »

Kis-Papo, T., Weig, A., Riley, R., Peršoh, D., Salamov, A., Sun, H., Lipzen, A., Wasser, S., Rambold, G., Grigoriev, I.... (2014) Genomic adaptations of the halophilic Dead Sea filamentous fungus Eurotium rubrum. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4745  

  • May 5, 2014
  • 09:01 PM
  • 127 views

Isn't it a Pitty? USA & UK shelter worker differences in Pit Bull identification

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Julie and Mia, Guess what? We have something in common! Do You Believe in Dog? started as a result of you two meeting at a conference, and my latest publication also resulted from a conference-inspired, long-distance collaboration. Dr. Carri Westgarth and I met at the International Society for Anthrozoology meeting in England in 2012. We quickly realized we share both personal and professional interests in dogs. During one of our chats, I showed Carri pictures of dogs I’d worked with in a US shelter. As I flipped through the pictures, I noted out loud that many were pit bulls, and Carri responded, “We wouldn’t call most of those dogs pit bulls here in the UK.” Flickr/denial_landThis conversation motivated us to conduct a study investigating differences between which dogs shelter workers in the US and UK consider pit bulls. Following the conference, Carri and I collected pictures of shelter dogs and designed a survey to learn more about shelters’ intake policies and assess how shelter workers determine breed identity. We wanted survey participants to look at pictures of shelter dogs and then tell us what breed they thought the dog was and which characteristics led them to their conclusion. Then, we had participants go through the pictures a second time and tell us whether or not they felt each dog was a pit bull. One of the hardest parts of this project was narrowing down the pictures to just 20. We would have loved to have included more but didn’t want to make our survey so long that people became frustrated and quit before finishing. Our final set of pictures included 11 bull breeds. Twelve of the dogs were from the US, and the remaining 8 were from the UK.Some of the dogs used in our survey (excerpt from publication)We launched the survey at the end of 2012 and recruited participants via social media and an e-mail campaign directed at shelters. We ended up with responses from 416 US participants and 54 UK participants.Eleven percent of US participants reported working in shelters that are impacted by Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Although all UK shelters are impacted by BSL due to the Dangerous Dog Act, the survey results indicated that not all UK shelter workers were aware of this. That surprised us!Flickr/hand-nor-gloveWe were even more surprised by participants’ thoughts regarding which dogs were pit bulls. Over half of US participants considered 7 of the 20 dogs to be pit bulls, whereas over half of UK participants considered only 1 of the dogs to be a pit bull. Furthermore, US participants were significantly more likely than UK participants to consider 12 of the dogs to be pit bulls.Flickr/actionkat13When we provided participants with a list of 10 bull breed and Mastiff breed names and asked if they considered any of these breeds to be pit bulls, US participants were more likely than UK participants to say that 6 of the breeds were. The biggest discrepancy between US and UK participants’ responses was regarding the Staffordshire bull terrier. Two percent of UK participants considered this breed to be a pit bull, whereas 69% of US participants did!Carri and I were astonished by how much UK and US shelter workers’ perceptions of what a pit bull looks like differed. We also were surprised by how much disagreement there was amongst shelter workers within our respective countries. We thought about how many times we have seen news reports that identify aggressive dogs as "pit bulls" and how infrequently pictures of the impounded dogs accompany these articles. It made us wonder how much of the pit bull’s reputation is affected by dogs being identified as pit bulls in one location, even though they may not be considered pit bulls elsewhere.We tried to figure out why there is so much disagreement regarding what a pit bull dog is and concluded it may in part be because the American Kennel Club and the UK’s Kennel Club do not have breed standards for the pit bull or American pit bull terrier (although the United Kennel Club does!). According to the UK’s Dangerous Dog Act, a pit bull dog is one that meets the physical features described for pit bulls in a 1977 issue of the American periodical Pit Bull Gazette. American pit bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers fall under the UK’s definition of a pit bull. Notably, Staffordshire bull terriers are not classified as pit bull dogs in the UK, although as our results showed, they tend to be considered pit bulls in the US.... Read more »

  • April 28, 2014
  • 10:24 AM
  • 236 views

The Mystery of Language Evolution

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Hauser, et al. have a co-authored article on The Mystery of Language Evolution. It’s a review of current directions in the field with the basic message that we don’t yet understand enough for empirical evidence from animal studies, archaeology, palaeontology, genetics or modelling to inform theories of language evolution. Here I summarise the paper and offer some criticisms.... Read more »

Marc D. Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert C. Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky, & Richard Lewontin. (2014) The mystery of language evolution. Frontiers in Psychology. info:/

  • April 28, 2014
  • 08:09 AM
  • 231 views

Brewing New Futures: The Concoction Of Urban Laboratories

by Nura Rutten in United Academics

Urban laboratories can serve as new places for knowledge production and direct application with the goal of making cities more economically viable, socially robust and environmentally friendly.... Read more »

  • April 17, 2014
  • 06:30 AM
  • 332 views

Do nanoparticles have a "brand new" property?

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

A new study reveals that nanoparticles can break the rules of thermodynamic: what do these findings imply? An interview with one of the researchers. ... Read more »

  • April 10, 2014
  • 11:18 AM
  • 170 views

Why do dogs lick people?

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Just Wow. Photo: Chris Sembrot PhotographyHi Julie,Yes, but WHY? I loved Claudia Fugazza's guest post about drawing on dogs' social imitation capacities to learn as copy-cats in the Do as I do training technique. Good stuff! A few things collided this week that resulted in me deciding to look into why dogs lick people. The first was the Huffington Post 'This Is What Happens When You Ask People To Kiss Their Dogs In Front Of A Camera' (example above from Chris Sembrot's 'For the love of dog' photography collection) that a friend so kindly brought to my attention.  The second was this tweet that came to us on Twitter from passionate science education guru (and keen admirer of dogs), Charlotte Pezaro:@DoUBelieveInDog why do dogs lick you lots when they like you?— Chloe Zara Potter (@cpezaro) March 28, 2014Now Julie, like me, I'm sure you know there's no quick and easy answer to this - I knew I needed more than 140 characters to respond to Charlotte, and I also threw it out to the 7,500+ people (What! So exciting!) in our Facebook community:Valid point! Photo: Flickr/jmonin87 Turns out (not surprisingly!) our Facebook community is a really clued in bunch (I've hazed names to be polite). They pretty much know it all anyway. However, for Charlotte's sake, let quickly revisit why indeed, dogs lick us bipedal folk. Food: the evolutionary basis of licking?Many people have heard at some point or another that dogs lick at us -- and particularly our faces -- because young wolves lick and poke at adult wolf muzzles to trigger them to regurgitate food that they can then feed on. It's likely that the common ancestor shared by dogs, wolves and other canid species also demonstrated this behaviour, as it's also seen in foxes, African wild dogs, etc.  However, licking is also seen in young canids (and many mammal species) as a newborn behaviour when a puppy seeks the mother's nipples to feed.This suckling behaviour is thought to be re-oriented to become a useful pacifying gesture. A human analogy is to consider young children thumb-sucking to self-soothe -- imagine if they licked our faces instead when they felt a bit unsure or stressed! Dogs have been seen to use licking as a type of appeasement behaviour - often interpreted by people as intended to reduce tension or 'apologise'. This kind of 'pacifying' lick can be self directed in the absence of other dogs or people, and in extreme cases, can even be a self-mutilation health issue. Greeting: I lick you = I like you?Dogs may lick another (dog, or person) during greeting. This can be for a number of reasons as our clever Facebook team outlined. Greetings can even become ritualised, and in addition to licking, can include play bows, rubbing, jumping, running and vocalising. These can be considered affiliative behaviours - designed to elicit attachment, often interpreted as bonding and playful.  ... Read more »

Bradshaw John W.S., Blackwell Emily J., & Casey Rachel A. (2009) Dominance in domestic dogs—useful construct or bad habit?. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 4(3), 135-144. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2008.08.004  

  • April 10, 2014
  • 05:00 AM
  • 282 views

Is Sugar Bad For You? Not For Plants And Trees, Study Shows

by Geetanjali Yadav in United Academics

A new study reveals the role of sugars as initial regulator of apical dominance... Read more »

Mason MG, Ross JJ, Babst BA, Wienclaw BN, & Beveridge CA. (2014) Sugar demand, not auxin, is the initial regulator of apical dominance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 24711430  

  • April 9, 2014
  • 07:51 AM
  • 187 views

Do As I Do: Copy Cat Social Imitation in Dog Training

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Join us for another guest post, this time from Claudia Fugazza of the Family Dog Project in Budapest. Claudia's here to discuss her recent publication in Applied Animal Behaviour Science on the efficiency of new methods in dog training.Hi Mia and Julie,Formal training methods used until now rely mainly on the well-known rules of individual associative learning. These methods work perfectly well for a very wide range of animals — pigeons, rats, dogs and even crabs — and human and non-human animals can learn by ‘click and treat,’ as noted in the popular training book by Karen Pryor. However, recent research has found substantial evidence that dogs could be predisposed to acquire information socially via the ‘Do as I do’ method. Do as I Do is a relatively new training method for people to use, based on dogs’ social cognitive skills, particularly on their imitative ability.  With this training technique, dogs learn new behaviors by observing and copying their handler. The dog is a copycat. This method relies on social learning, and it was recently introduced in the applied field of dog training.  As this method has started spreading in the dog training world, we felt that its efficiency and efficacy needed scientific testing. We were also wanting to know whether this method would be more or less efficient than other current training methods in training for particular behaviors.We expected that dogs would more easily copy object-related actions from a human demonstrator so we tested dogs’ efficiency in this kind of tasks. To do this, I travelled across Italy and the UK with my video-cameras as well as a heavy Ikea cabinet filled with objects (you can imagine the weird looks I got from security personal at checkpoints!). I used these objects to test dogs learning to open or close drawers and lockers, pick up items from it etc. Since training methods can be affected by the skills of the trainer, only experienced dog-owners pairs who achieved a certificate either for the ‘Do as I do’ method or for shaping / clicker training were included in the study. Each pair was tested using ‘his’ method for teaching three different object-related actions in three testing sessions. We expected that the ‘Do as I do’ method would prove more efficient for teaching complex tasks, compared to the shaping method that relies on individual learning. This expectation comes from what we know in humans: we tend to rely more on social learning when required to learn something difficult.Our research found that the ‘Do as I do’ method proved more efficient for teaching dogs complex tasks, like close a drawer, open a locker and pick up an item that was inside (i.e., the time needed by the owner to obtain the first correct performance of the predetermined action was shorter with the ‘Do as I do’ method compared to shaping). We did not find a significant difference in the efficiency of the methods for teaching dogs simple tasks like knocking over a bottle or ringing a bell.Now that we know a bit more on how to efficiently teach complex object-related actions, we are curious to know what happens when we want to teach different kind of complex actions, like body movements. We also want to know whether introducing social learning in dog training could have an effect on learning cues for trained action. We are aware that learning rates can be influenced by many factors, and we acknowledge that this study is just a very first step towards a more scientific approach to training paradigms. However we believe that this kind of information can be very important for the practitioners working in the applied field of dog training. We hope that the readers will not misinterpret the results and will not extend them to different actions and situations that were not tested.Furthermore we would like to emphasize that, despite being efficient for training some kinds of actions, the ‘Do as I do’ method does not replace the methods based on individual learning (for example think of how many actions are not imitable at all if the demonstrator is a human and the learner is a dog!). Instead ‘Do as I do’ is a useful (and fun!) addition to existing training paradigms. Experienced dog trainers may find effective ways to mix the different training techniques in order to obtain the best results with each dog.  Claudia FugazzaDo as I Do Book and DVDhttp://www.apprendimentosociale.it/en/claudia-fugazza/Family... Read more »

  • April 8, 2014
  • 05:19 AM
  • 173 views

Narcissistic CEOs: Are They Self-Serving Takers?

by Elisabeth Buhl Thubron in United Academics

Narcissism plays a key role in the excessive executive pay culture. What is the impact of having a narcissist at the head of a company?
... Read more »

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