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  • April 23, 2013
  • 05:50 AM

Why We Love When Losers Win and Heroes Fall | The Paradox Explained

by Carian Thus in United Academics

An unemployed neighbor wins the lottery, a friend who regularly boasts about his good health becomes ill. We are highly sensitive to changing fortunes of others. We want to know who’s doing worse and who’s doing better than before, as these shifts in our social environment may have implications for our own well-being. In particular we are drawn to unexpected changes: underdogs that beat the odds and top dogs that fall from grace. Whether we witness the creation of a hero or the demise of a hero – we love it.... Read more »

Brosnan SF, & De Waal FB. (2003) Monkeys reject unequal pay. Nature, 425(6955), 297-9. PMID: 13679918  

Vandello, J., Goldschmied, N., & Richards, D. (2007) The Appeal of the Underdog. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33(12), 1603-1616. DOI: 10.1177/0146167207307488  

  • April 17, 2013
  • 06:24 AM

How Can I Avoid Procrastination?

by Esther Ghijssen in United Academics

Procrastination is a common behavior in 95 percent of people ( Ellis & Knaus, 1977) and in 15 to 20 percent of that group it can be considered chronic and problematic (Harriot & Ferrari, 1996). Recent research shows that men are more likely to procrastinate than women, that procrastinators tend to be less educated, and that their marriages are more likely to fall apart.

Considering procrastination has little benefit, why is it such a common way of behaving? One of the possible causes is performance anxiety. Being afraid you will never get that job discourages you from sending out your resume, while worrying about your grades makes you not want to study for that exam. In other cases, perfectionism is the root of the problem: setting standards for yourself that you will never be able to meet – and therefore don’t even bother. And then there are those who are just plain lazy; lacking the discipline to force themselves to take care of their tasks.... Read more »

  • April 17, 2013
  • 05:03 AM

At the Mercy and Fury of Our Parent Star

by Zach Urbina in United Academics

Nearly every organism that’s ever lived and died (certainly every person you’ve ever met) owes their continued existence to the steady flow of charged, particulate energy that originates from the thermonuclear fusion of our star. It is the most perfectly spherical object ever observed in nature. The Earth, by comparison is lumpy and bulging, not a sphere, but an oblate spheroid (flat at its poles, bulbous around its equatorial regions). Once thought of as average and relatively banal, scientists now know that our star is unique, brighter than 85% of the rest of the those in our Milky Way galaxy. It has become scientifically fashionable, as a clearer picture of the chaotic nature of our star has emerged, to regard the sun as a menace, a looming threat. However, while solar dynamics do occasionally put technology in their proverbial crosshairs, without our star, Earth would be little more than a cold, desolate rock... Read more »

Kuhn, J., Bush, R., Emilio, M., & Scholl, I. (2012) The Precise Solar Shape and Its Variability. Science, 337(6102), 1638-1640. DOI: 10.1126/science.1223231  

Charles J. Lada. (2006) Stellar Multiplicity and the IMF: Most Stars Are Single. Astrophys.J. 640 (2006) L63-L66. arXiv: astro-ph/0601375v2

  • April 16, 2013
  • 01:28 PM

Don’t Worry about Your Liver!

by Geetanjali Yadav in United Academics

How would you feel if you would have an eternal liver, a liver that lasts forever? Recently, researchers have found gene targets which will boost the regenerative capacity of your liver cells. This means a complete cure for all your liver related problems!... Read more »

Wuestefeld, T., Pesic, M., Rudalska, R., Dauch, D., Longerich, T., Kang, T., Yevsa,T.,, Heinzmann, F., Hoenicke, L., Hohmeyer,A., Potapova,A., Rittelmeier, I., Jarek,M., Geffers,R.,, Scharfe, M., Klawonn, F., Schirmacher, P., Malek, N., Ott, M., Nordheim, A., Vogel, A.,, & Manns, M. . (2013) A Direct In Vivo RNAi Screen Identifies MKK4 as a Key Regulator of Liver Regeneration. Cell, 153(2). info:/

  • April 16, 2013
  • 08:39 AM

5 Ways You’re Wrong About Surviving Disasters

by Anouk Vleugels in United Academics

Everybody remembers the kind captain in Titanic, drowning in his own guilt when he realises he has comprised safety regulations for fame, and his decision to go down with the ship. Before meeting his demise, he first makes sure the women and children make it off the ship. Surely this is the proper thing to do in such situations – women and children first- right? Research suggests otherwise.... Read more »

Bruno S. Frey, David A. Savage, and Benno Torgler. (2010) Behavior under Extreme Conditions: The Titanic Disaster. Journal of Economic Perspective. info:/

  • April 15, 2013
  • 06:53 AM

Understanding Continuous High Shear Wet Granulation in Pharmaceutical Production

by Ashish Kumar in Pharmaceutical Solid State Research Cluster (PSSRC)

Continuous processing is a promising approach for solid dosage manufacturing. High-shear wet granulation is performed in continuous mode using twin screw granulators (TSG), characterized by a modular screw profile including a sequence of different screw elements with various shapes, orientation and functions. For process engineers it is a challenge to come up with prediction models to establish the relationship between equipment and material attributes, process data and the end-product testing results. If a reliable model is available which is able to predict the quality of the product, it can be inverted to obtain the design space, corresponding to that set of operating conditions required for achieving the target product quality. Such a modelling framework combined with in-process measurements, can provide a good mechanistic insight into the important parameters of continuous... Read more »

Fonteyne, M., Vercruysse, J., Díaz, D., Gildemyn, D., Vervaet, C., Remon, J., & Beer, T. (2013) Real-time assessment of critical quality attributes of a continuous granulation process. Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, 18(1), 85-97. DOI: 10.3109/10837450.2011.627869  

Vercruysse, J., Córdoba Díaz, D., Peeters, E., Fonteyne, M., Delaet, U., Van Assche, I., De Beer, T., Remon, J., & Vervaet, C. (2012) Continuous twin screw granulation: Influence of process variables on granule and tablet quality. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 82(1), 205-211. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2012.05.010  

  • April 12, 2013
  • 09:27 PM

Real Scientists Tweet

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Julie,I hope you have an awesome time at Science Online Teen tomorrow! I hope you get asked lots of questions about your presentation, Dogs: Science in Your Living Room. It's so true that dogs make for a sensational gateway to scientific enquiry - and they're right there, in front of us!If anyone happens to ask you "What's it like being a scientific canine behavioural researcher?", be sure to tell them to tune in to the @realscientists Twitter project from Sunday (or Saturday evening, USA time).  They can follow you and I for a whole week as we tweet from the @realscientists account, giving insight into our every day activities as canine scientists. Will our tweets sound like woofs? (source)If anyone out there isn't already on Twitter and/or hasn't been following @realscientists, you really should! It's a super fun insight into the world of science, science communication, writers, clinicians and more. Each week features a different flavour of scientific endeavour and I like to think we'll be bringing the real lab science into the spotlight!  So far, I've seen wild jaguars while canoeing down a river in the Amazon with Phil Torres; learned about mosquito-borne disease management from Cameron Webb and whisked along for the ride of a week in the life of futurist, with Kristin Alford.  Hypnotised by the eyes (source)It's so much fun and really important, because some people genuinely believe that scientists look like this and that conducting science looks like this.  Scary stuff!  I'm hoping that while we might not be in particularly exotic locations, we can make up for that with our enthusiasm for all things dog and science. Plus, between the two of us, being here in Australia and there New York, we're always here.  The-blog-that-never-sleeps can now be be the scientists-who-always-tweet! If anyone out there wants to know how to find out how we spend our week, you can:Follow our introductions at the Real Scientists blog hereKeep track of our tweets on Twitter hereParticipate in our live TweetUp session, being held for one hour from 10.30am Thu 18 April Melbourne time / 8.30pm Wed 17 April New York time (... Read more »

Brossard Dominique, & Scheufele Dietram A. (2012) Social science. Science, new media, and the public. Science (New York, N.Y.), 339(6115), 40-41. PMID: 23288529  

  • April 11, 2013
  • 10:32 AM

From One Heart Attack to Another Heart Attack: Can We Break the Vicious Cycle?

by Piet Carriere in United Academics

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” This quote from Albert Einstein reflects how this article approaches the underlying problem of reoccurring heart attacks, which affects millions of people. This is illustrated by statistics from the US, where around 935’000 (first and subsequent) heart attacks occur every year. The death rate after the first attack is approximately 10%, yet reoccurring heart attacks are probably even more fatal. And what is more, multiple studies have shown that a follow-up attacks are quite common within the first year (up to 54%). Why do heart attacks reoccur?... Read more »

Dutta, P., Courties, G., Wei, Y., Leuschner, F., Gorbatov, R., Robbins, C., Iwamoto, Y., Thompson, B., Carlson, A., Heidt, T.... (2012) Myocardial infarction accelerates atherosclerosis. Nature, 487(7407), 325-329. DOI: 10.1038/nature11260  

Leuschner, F., Rauch, P., Ueno, T., Gorbatov, R., Marinelli, B., Lee, W., Dutta, P., Wei, Y., Robbins, C., Iwamoto, Y.... (2012) Rapid monocyte kinetics in acute myocardial infarction are sustained by extramedullary monocytopoiesis. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 209(1), 123-137. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20111009  

Tabas, I. (2012) Cardiology: Bad matters made worse. Nature, 487(7407), 306-308. DOI: 10.1038/487306a  

  • April 8, 2013
  • 09:54 AM

Getting Science Right: “Male of the Species Is Heading for Extinction”

by Anouk Vleugels in United Academics

Today: “The end of men? Expert predicts males will be extinct in five million years… and the process has already started!” by Daily Mail. Last week, Daily Mail published a story on research conducted by Dr. Jenny Graves, Distinguished Professor of Molecular Science at La Trobe University, Melbourne. According to the story’s headline and taglines, males are basically living on borrowed time. “Professor Graves, one of Australia’s most influential scientists, believes that women will win the battle of the sexes – and in the most definitive way possible.”... Read more »


  • April 5, 2013
  • 11:25 AM

The Curious Case of Zoomosexuality

by Anouk Vleugels in United Academics

When observing homosexual behavior in animals, are biologists too quick to explain the gay away?

Two years ago, public outcry occurred when the zookeepers at Toronto Zoo separated Buddy and Pedro, a ‘gay’ penguin couple. The African penguins had been together for years, but were split up in the hope that they would find a female mate and produce some offspring. A necessary evil, the zookeepers explained, as the African penguin is an endangered species.... Read more »

Bailey, N., & Zuk, M. (2009) Same-sex sexual behavior and evolution. Trends in Ecology , 24(8), 439-446. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.03.014  

Preston-Mafham, K. (2006) Post-mounting courtship and the neutralizing of male competitors through “homosexual” mountings in the fly Hydromyza livens F. (Diptera : Scatophagidea). Journal of Natural History. info:/

  • April 4, 2013
  • 09:32 AM

We Can Get Pretty Stupid, Research Says

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

A lot of people study intelligence, or at least take it for granted. We speak, listen (sometimes—more on that in a bit), form social groups that other animals don’t. Pretty smart, eh? But humans also do some colossally dumb things—engage in unnecessary stereotyping, stick our tongues to a frozen pole, or trigger a worldwide financial crisis.... Read more »

Crabtree, G. (2013) Our fragile intellect. Part I. Trends in Genetics, 29(1), 1-3. DOI: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.10.002  

Alvesson, M., & Spicer, A. (2012) A Stupidity-Based Theory of Organizations. Journal of Management Studies, 49(7), 1194-1220. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2012.01072.x  

Schwartz, M. (2008) The importance of stupidity in scientific research. Journal of Cell Science, 121(11), 1771-1771. DOI: 10.1242/jcs.033340  

  • April 3, 2013
  • 10:59 AM

Getting Science Right: Arsenic-Based Life

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

What happened?
The paper was a bombshell. Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a microbiologist at the US Geological Survey and NASA, found very strange bacteria in a very strange lake that energized itself in a very strange way. The bacteria lived in Mono Lake, California, and used the usually toxic chemical arsenic to sustain life, whilst most other living things used the chemically similar phosphorus.... Read more »

Wolfe-Simon F, Switzer Blum J, Kulp TR, Gordon GW, Hoeft SE, Pett-Ridge J, Stolz JF, Webb SM, Weber PK, Davies PC.... (2011) A bacterium that can grow by using arsenic instead of phosphorus. Science (New York, N.Y.), 332(6034), 1163-6. PMID: 21127214  

  • April 3, 2013
  • 10:25 AM

Is It Okay For A Psychotherapist To Cry?

by Katja Keuchenius in United Academics

I guess you would be pretty surprised if you went to a psychotherapist and he or she started crying. But it sounds weirder than it actually is. In a survey among 684 American psychologists and trainees it turned out that most of them shed tears during therapy. And this wasn’t a women’s issue.... Read more »

  • April 2, 2013
  • 11:28 AM

Film preparations for oral drug delivery

by Maren Preis in Pharmaceutical Solid State Research Cluster (PSSRC)

Oral films have gained interest in the last couple of years. Films for oral application offer an interesting new approach for drug administration. Active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) can be implemented in thin-sheeted polymer film matrices. These dosage forms are intended to be placed in mouth to dissolve in the saliva without the need of additional liquid and without swallowing of a solid dosage form.... Read more »

Hoffmann EM, Breitenbach A, & Breitkreutz J. (2011) Advances in orodispersible films for drug delivery. Expert opinion on drug delivery, 8(3), 299-316. PMID: 21284577  

Janßen E.M., Schliephacke R,, Breitenbach A,, & Breitkreutz J. (2013) Drug-printing by flexographic printing technology—A new manufacturing process for orodispersible films. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 441(1-2), 818-825. info:/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2012.12.023

Garsuch V, & Breitkreutz J. (2009) Novel analytical methods for the characterization of oral wafers. European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 73(1), 195-201. PMID: 19482082  

Woertz K, Tissen C, Kleinebudde P, & Breitkreutz J. (2011) Taste sensing systems (electronic tongues) for pharmaceutical applications. International journal of pharmaceutics, 417(1-2), 256-71. PMID: 21094230  

  • April 2, 2013
  • 05:16 AM

Fairy Circles of the Namib Desert

by Carian Thus in United Academics

A scientist has discovered what animal might be responsibe for these mysterious rings.... Read more »

  • April 2, 2013
  • 04:12 AM

Storing Greenhouse Carbon, from the Ground up

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

When it comes to the sources of carbon in forests, scientists assumed that most of the sources of carbon come from dead leaves and other plant litter. Not so, say a group of Swedish researchers. ... Read more »

Clemmensen, K., Bahr, A., Ovaskainen, O., Dahlberg, A., Ekblad, A., Wallander, H., Stenlid, J., Finlay, R., Wardle, D., & Lindahl, B. (2013) Roots and Associated Fungi Drive Long-Term Carbon Sequestration in Boreal Forest. Science, 339(6127), 1615-1618. DOI: 10.1126/science.1231923  

  • March 31, 2013
  • 01:00 PM

Video: Want to See an Atom? In 3D?

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

A UCLA team has managed to look at the structure of an atom; something we’ve never been able to visualize before. Here’s a close, three-dimensional look at platinum.... Read more »

Chen, C., Zhu, C., White, E., Chiu, C., Scott, M., Regan, B., Marks, L., Huang, Y., & Miao, J. (2013) Three-dimensional imaging of dislocations in a nanoparticle at atomic resolution. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature12009  

  • March 31, 2013
  • 07:45 AM

How to Catch A Dragon

by Gunnar de Winter in United Academics

How do you catch a dragon? Do you go looking for a brave knight to send forth on a difficult quest? Or a legendary hunter without fear?

No. You use cameras to capture their image.

To be clear, the dragons we’re talking about here are Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis), the largest living lizards, which can be found on some Indonesian islands and can reach a length of 3 meters. Their size, along with the absence of large mammalian carnivores on the islands, makes them apex predators in their habitat.... Read more »

  • March 30, 2013
  • 02:39 PM

Strong Social Ties Hinder the Spread of Rumors

by Mark Fonseca Rendeiro in United Academics

How often have you accidentally or purposefully spread a rumor through a tweet, status update, or text message? Sometimes you hear or see a piece of information that you’re not totally sure is accurate, but it is so compelling, you pass it on anyway. The epitome of rumor spreading in the 21st century. You would think that with all our followers, friends and all those contacts stored in smart phones, more rumors would get circulated than ever before. That may even be true, but the new discovery in the world of networks and communication is that the stronger the ties you have to the people in your network, the less likely it is that rumors will spread.... Read more »

Márton Karsai, Nicola Perra, & Alessandro Vespignani. (2013) The emergence and role of strong ties in time-varying communication networks. Physics and Society . arXiv: 1303.5966v1

  • March 29, 2013
  • 06:41 PM

Antibodies stymie rheumatoid arthritis

by Valerie Ashton in The Molecular Scribe

What do comedian Lucille Ball, impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, actress Kathleen Turner, chemist Dorothy Hodgkin and physician Christiaan Barnard share in common? Apart from being famous, they all had rheumatoid arthritis.... Read more »

Scott DL, Wolfe F, & Huizinga TW. (2010) Rheumatoid arthritis. Lancet, 376(9746), 1094-108. PMID: 20870100  

John M. Eisenberg Center for Clinical Decisions and Communications Science. (2012) Drug Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Comparative Effectiveness. Agency for Heathcare Research and Quality. PMID: 23285486  

Maini RN, & Taylor PC. (2000) Anti-cytokine therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. Annual review of medicine, 207-29. PMID: 10774461  

Bartelds GM, Krieckaert CL, Nurmohamed MT, van Schouwenburg PA, Lems WF, Twisk JW, Dijkmans BA, Aarden L, & Wolbink GJ. (2011) Development of antidrug antibodies against adalimumab and association with disease activity and treatment failure during long-term follow-up. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 305(14), 1460-8. PMID: 21486979  

Scolnik PA. (2009) mAbs: a business perspective. mAbs, 1(2), 179-84. PMID: 20061824  

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