What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day scenario? What about candlelight, romantic music, the smell of oil and the hands of your lover on your naked body, massaging your back.. We all love it when others stimulate our skin, but why is it experienced as such a pleasure? A recent study provides the neurological reason.... Read more »
Vrontou, S., Wong, A., Rau, K., Koerber, H., & Anderson, D. (2013) Genetic identification of C fibres that detect massage-like stroking of hairy skin in vivo. Nature, 493(7434), 669-673. DOI: 10.1038/nature11810
Hey Julie,Thanks for the run down on ScienceOnline and ‘Lend a Paw’ month. I completed the survey about my cat’s behaviour, it was quick and easy to do. I also liked your stroking video, but I’ll get back to that later, right now I need to tell you how dog poo (I think you usually say ‘poop’ in the USA?) is turning green.Dog poo is turning greenIt’s turning green and it’s thanks to the power of science. Or perhaps it’s the science of power? It’s easy to get confused. (source)The important bit is that a Melbourne-based entrepreneur, Duncan Chew, received funding in 2012 from the Inspiring Australia strategy for his idea to turn dog waste into energy to light up parks around Australia. Titled Poo Power!, his project is using science to help our communities live more sustainably. How big is this issue?In Australia, we have one of the highest incidences of pet ownership in the world with over 60% of households owning a pet. The average dog produces 0.34 kilograms (that’s 0.75 lb) of faeces per day.Do the maths, and that’s around 1.4 tonnes of dog poo needing to be disposed of DAILY in Australia, which adds up to a colossal 490,000 tonnes each year!490 MILLION KG! That’s 1,080,270 MILLION lbs! (or almost 20 million labradors if you were following my pre-post riddle clues on our Facebook page!)The USA have more than 20 times the number of dogs as Australia. Just saying.The issue of dog waste disposal (what I like to call Poo-llution!) is an especially important issue in areas of growing urbanisation, cities with limited park spaces and in light of declining landfill site availability.Using our love of dogs to brighten the futureDog poo light? Not as silly as it might seem! (source) The project will see a series of biogas generators turn dog waste into energy for lighting up Melbourne parks, at the same time as engaging audiences on the issue of ‘what is waste?’, and the potential opportunities posed by reassessing waste management practices. 1kg of dog poo will give you about 25-30 litres of raw biogas.... Read more »
Miller Rohan, & Howell Gwyneth V.J. (2008) Regulating consumption with bite: Building a contemporary framework for urban dog management. Journal of Business Research, 61(5), 525-531. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2007.07.006
Wells D. L. (2006) Factors Influencing Owners' Reactions to Their Dogs' Fouling. Environment and Behavior, 38(5), 707-714. DOI: 10.1177/0013916505284794
Okoroigwe E.C., Ibeto C.N., & Okpara C.G. (2010) Comparative Study of the Potential of Dog Waste for Biogas Production. Trends in Applied Sciences Research, 5(1), 71-77. DOI: 10.3923/tasr.2010.71.77
Nemiroff Leah. (2007) Design, Testing and Implementation of a Large-Scale Urban Dog Waste Composting Program. Compost Science , 15(4), 237-242. info:other/http://montrealndgdogrun.org/image/downloads/compost studies.pdf
Many of you have likely been following the progression of the Mars Rover Curiosity in recent weeks. I’ve personally developed an interest in the types of tests that are being done on the red planet during the mission. This interest led me to think about the types of test equipment that is being utilized not [...]... Read more »
Archibald, R., & Finifter, D. (2003) Evaluating the NASA small business innovation research program: preliminary evidence of a trade-off between commercialization and basic research. Research Policy, 32(4), 605-619. DOI: 10.1016/S0048-7333(02)00046-X
Cancer, one of the oldest and most formidable foes of humanity has an advanced, new adversary. 16 terminally-ill liver cancer patients treated with a high dose of the vaccine Pexa-Vec survived an average of 14.1 months, compared to 6.7 for patients receiving a low dose.... Read more »
Heo J, Reid T, Ruo L, Breitbach, C., Rose S, Bloomston M, Cho M, Lim H, Chung H, Kim, C.... (2013) Randomized Dose-Finding Clinical Trial of Oncolytic Immunotherapeutic Vaccinia JX-594 in Liver Cancer. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.3089
Courtney killed Kurt. Cancer has a cure. Aliens built the pyramids. 9/11 was an inside job. Territory once regarded as the domain of your hare-brained uncle, eccentric neighbor, or other vaguely threatening social leper, seems lately to have leaked precariously into the mainstream. The idea that elaborate conspiracies are being worked upon the nation –nay, the world – seem to be accepted more and more as not just true, but worthy of vitriolic defense by anyone who might call into question their claims.
Some are simplistic, many are complicated, few meet standard criteria of cause and effect. Virtually all rely on top-down thinking.
Inevitably, a layperson begins his/her story couched in a tone meant to warn against the offending they. What they do is… They do this all the time. Laypeople everywhere seem dead-serious that there exists a cadre of surreptitious malignancy, which simultaneously means us harm, yet is somehow profiting from said harm.... Read more »
Marathe, A., Lewis, B., Barrett, C., Chen, J., Marathe, M., Eubank, S., & Ma, Y. (2011) Comparing Effectiveness of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Strategies in Containing Influenza. PLoS ONE, 6(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025149
Grapefruits, albeit sour, are nutritious and can be delicious. But they’ve also been known to interfere with many medications, and even some dietary supplements. So, many doctors try to steer some patients away from eating grapefruit.... Read more »
Greenblatt, D., Zhao, Y., Hanley, M., Chen, C., Harmatz, J., Cancalon, P., & Gmitter, F. (2012) Mechanism-based inhibition of human Cytochrome P450-3A activity by grapefruit hybrids having low furanocoumarin content. Xenobiotica, 42(12), 1163-1169. DOI: 10.3109/00498254.2012.700428
What do you do when you’re single and want to have sex? There’s the option to hookup with strangers. But you can also stay in your “comfort zone” and have sex with someone you already hang out with.... Read more »
Lehmiller, J., VanderDrift, L., & Kelly, J. (2012) Sexual Communication, Satisfaction, and Condom Use Behavior in Friends with Benefits and Romantic Partners. Journal of Sex Research, 1-12. DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2012.719167
If you are reading things from home or from the office, chances are there is something from Ikea in the room. Over the past decade, the affordable and semi-clever designs from the Swedish furniture juggernaut have become one of those recognizable symbols regardless of where in the world you live. And one aspect that is true about most Ikea stuff, is that you probably built it yourself. And if you built it yourself, there is a certain satisfaction that comes with having used that strange little tool and fit “wood screw A” into “panel 3″, a feeling that is know in the world of psychology as the “Ikea Effect”.... Read more »
If the quest for the perfect night’s sleep remains one of your goals, you might need to start at the grocery store.
A recently published study out of the University of Pennsylvania isolated a few key nutrients and total caloric intake as contributing factors for length and duration of sleep. They also looked at the role that overall diet, demographics, socioeconomics, physical activity, and obesity, to rule out other potential causes.... Read more »
Grandner M, Jackson N, Gerstner J, & Knutson K. (2013) Dietary nutrients associated with short and long sleep duration. Data from a nationally representative sample. Appetite. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.01.004
North Americans and Europeans have ballooned up to noticeably fatter proportions in recent decades, and new research originating from the University of Granada has revealed a direct connection between exposure to pesticides in food, air, and water & incidence of adult-onset type 2 diabetes. The relationship was found to exist without respect to age, gender or body mass index, according to data in the study.... Read more »
Arrebola, J., Pumarega, J., Gasull, M., Fernandez, M., Martin-Olmedo, P., Molina-Molina, J., Fernández-Rodríguez, M., Porta, M., & Olea, N. (2013) Adipose tissue concentrations of persistent organic pollutants and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in adults from Southern Spain. Environmental Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2012.12.001
It’s important to find a balance in life between work and relaxation. In order to put your mind and body at ease, you may like to take a hot bath, roll out a yoga mat or enjoy a massage. But according to science there are more ways that lead to calmness. ... Read more »
Barker, R., Knisely, J., Barker, S., Cobb, R., & Schubert, C. (2012) Preliminary investigation of employee's dog presence on stress and organizational perceptions. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 5(1), 15-30. DOI: 10.1108/17538351211215366
Lee, J., Lee, J., Lim, H., Son, J., Lee, J., Kim, D., & Ko, S. (2012) Cartoon Distraction Alleviates Anxiety in Children During Induction of Anesthesia. Anesthesia , 115(5), 1168-1173. DOI: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e31824fb469
Martin, F., Rezzi, S., Peré-Trepat, E., Kamlage, B., Collino, S., Leibold, E., Kastler, J., Rein, D., Fay, L., & Kochhar, S. (2009) Metabolic Effects of Dark Chocolate Consumption on Energy, Gut Microbiota, and Stress-Related Metabolism in Free-Living Subjects. Journal of Proteome Research, 8(12), 5568-5579. DOI: 10.1021/pr900607v
Historical accounts tell us that the stimulating power of caffeine was first noticed in the 9th century by an Ethiopian goatherd who found his flock wildly excited after consuming coffee berries. Whoever he was, a substantial portion from the efforts of human progress since remains indebted to that discovery.... Read more »
Shown at three times natural speed, this video the first ever thought being documented while it was being formed. The zebrafish is an ideal candidate for this advanced area of study as its skin remains transparent during early development. The brilliant flash in this particular moment coincided with the passing of a nearby paramecium, and correlated with hunting behavior in the zebrafish. To put it bluntly, the fish was thinking; dinner. Truly a remarkable leap forward in field of neuroscience... Read more »
Muto, A., Ohkura, M., Abe, G., Nakai, J., & Kawakami, K. (2013) Real-Time Visualization of Neuronal Activity during Perception. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.12.040
The skulls have very different forms, they lay in a seemingly insignificant location, and some of them have fingers in their eyes. What happened here?... Read more »
Morehart, C., Peñaloza, A., Sánchez, C., de Tapia, E., & Morales, E. (2012) Human Sacrifice During the Epiclassic Period in the Northern Basin of Mexico. Latin American Antiquity, 23(4), 426-448. DOI: 10.7183/1045-66126.96.36.1996
In the book ‘The Science of Yoga,’ William J. Broad discusses more than a century of research on the risks and rewards of yoga, confirming what we may already know about the ancient practice, but also revealing its dirty little secrets.... Read more »
Balasubramaniam M, Telles S, & Doraiswamy PM. (2012) Yoga on our minds: a systematic review of yoga for neuropsychiatric disorders. Frontiers in psychiatry / Frontiers Research Foundation, 117. PMID: 23355825
Hi Julie!What a busy week I’ve found myself having! Very productive indeed, with a lot of this:and some more of that: Fuelled by a ton of this:But I did take time to notice that your cat Josh broke something new. Oh Josh! Thanks for telling me about your ISHAR presentation about dogs and cats in the home. I can definitely relate to the importance of early socialisation = best chance at harmony. Take my dog Elke, for example.As a pup, she met and spent time around mature cat Bobby (who opted to ignore her for the most part).Elke grew up around cats and kittens.Then she helped me raise a bunch of Shelter foster kittens until they were old enough to be adopted.By the time Tonto came to live with us as permanent family member, she was an old hand in living around cats. And when Caleb later joined us as a young adult dog, Tonto was pretty relaxed around dogs. He tended to be confident in interactions; not running away (importantly, not triggering any chase responses from our new dog).Elke ably demonstrating in top image that a cat is not worth waking up for.Gidget and some enthusiastic GDsThis was also true when we brought a new kennel cat into the Training Kennel and Vet Clinic facility I managed at Guide Dogs Victoria (GDV). We selected a kitten from the Shelter who was outgoing and confident around people and dogs. We then set her up in the main foyer of our facility to have a slow and positive introduction to the visiting puppies and dogs that we could control to maximise the positives for all the animals. Gidget now plays an important role at GDV helping to desensitise the dogs to cats by reducing their level of interest and distraction. If their key learning experiences about cats with Gidget are 'boring', they associate future cats with 'boring' and will be less likely to want to chase them. Important when you are a working Guide Dog. Or a Police Dog. Or any number of other types of working dogs. Working Dog kennel cats are really common!(source)GDV Puppy Class (source)... Read more »
Mellor David J., & Bayvel Angus Campbell David. (2008) New Zealand's inclusive science-based system for setting animal welfare standards. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 113(4), 313-329. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2008.01.010
Mellor DJ. (2012) Animal emotions, behaviour and the promotion of positive welfare states. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 60(1), 1-8. DOI: 10.1080/00480169.2011.619047
Feeling like you’re falling behind on sleep lately? Don’t worry too much. Recently published research from the University of Sydney demonstrated that sleep duration shifts periodically over the course of the month. These shifts occur independent of lifestyle, social, and/or environmental influences.
‘Sleep requirements vary in a cyclical fashion and between individuals. If you incur a sleep debt, your body will signal a need to catch up on extra sleep,’ said Dr. Chin Moi Chow, principal investigator of the article published this month in Nature and Science of Sleep.... Read more »
Wong, S., Halaki, ., & Chow, . (2013) The periodicity of sleep duration – an infradian rhythm in spontaneous living. Nature and Science of Sleep, 1. DOI: 10.2147/NSS.S38116
There is quite a bit of debate about the scientific validity of the proverb “money can’t buy happiness”, because studies on this topic have resulted in discordant results. Some studies support the idea that richer people are happier on average than poor people, but there are also reports that while the median income in the US has grown in recent decades, average happiness among Americans has hardly changed.... Read more »
De Neve, J., & Oswald, A. (2012) Estimating the influence of life satisfaction and positive affect on later income using sibling fixed effects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(49), 19953-19958. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1211437109
Since 2007 when terahertz pulsed imaging (TPI) was first developed to non-destructively measure the coating thickness of pharmaceutical tablets there has been intense research in the PSSRC into how this technique can help improve the quality of pharmaceutical coatings and thus make controlled release technology based on coatings of single dosage forms attractive to industry.... Read more »
Zeitler, J., Shen, Y., Baker, C., Taday, P., Pepper, M., & Rades, T. (2007) Analysis of coating structures and interfaces in solid oral dosage forms by three dimensional terahertz pulsed imaging. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 96(2), 330-340. DOI: 10.1002/jps.20789
Brock, D., Zeitler, J., Funke, A., Knop, K., & Kleinebudde, P. (2012) A comparison of quality control methods for active coating processes. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 439(1-2), 289-295. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2012.09.021
Sex, it turns out, is a risky affair. Besides infidelity, sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy, it can also perpetuate harmful genes. Also, compared to asexual reproduction, it’s very inefficient—bacteria, strawberries and even some amphibians don’t have to look for a mate. So, why have sex—sexual reproduction, that is?... Read more »
Otto, S. (2008) Sexual reproduction and the evolution of sex. Nature Education, 1(1). info:/
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