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  • October 29, 2015
  • 01:59 PM
  • 508 views

What blocks pro-vaccine beliefs?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite rhetoric that pits “anti-vaxxers” versus “pro-vaxxers,” most new parents probably qualify as vaccine-neutral–that is, they passively accept rather than actively demand vaccination. Unless there is an active threat of polio or whooping cough, they have to remind themselves that injecting their crying infant with disease antigens is a good thing.... Read more »

Miton, & Mercier. (2015) Cognitive Obstacles to Pro-Vaccination Beliefs. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2015.08.007

  • October 28, 2015
  • 08:20 PM
  • 657 views

How common is sexting among married couples?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Earlier this year, we looked at a study that suggested sexting can be healthy in a relationship, but that study primarily looked at non-married couples and the average age for the behavior was, as you may expect, young adult. Which may lead you to think that married couples don’t sext. In fact, married couples do report sexting, but it is much less common than in young adult relationships and consists more of intimate talk with their partners than sending nude or nearly nude photos via mobile phones, according to a new study.... Read more »

  • October 27, 2015
  • 06:09 PM
  • 965 views

“Made in Germany” at risk? Volkswagen and the German trademark

by Rahel Cramer in Language on the Move

The Volkswagen (VW) emissions scandal has received significant media coverage in and outside of Germany. Besides accounts of the developments that led to the discovery of Volkswagen’s unethical behaviour, the immediate impacts on the company’s finances, CEO Martin Winterkorn’s resignation … Continue reading →... Read more »

Piller, I. (2003) Advertising as a site of language contact. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 170-183. DOI: 10.1017/S0267190503000254  

  • October 27, 2015
  • 03:58 PM
  • 537 views

Intestinal worms ‘talk’ to gut bacteria to boost immune system

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

When you think parasites you probably don’t think of anything helpful. However, this isn’t the case and certain parasites inadvertently help the host by helping themselves. In fact, researchers have discovered how intestinal worm infections cross-talk with gut bacteria to help the immune system.... Read more »

Zaiss MM,, Rapin A,, Lebon L,, Kumar Dubey L,, Mosconi I,, Sarter L,, Piersigilli A,, Menin L,, Walker AW,, Rougemont J,.... (2015) The intestinal microbiota contributes to the ability of helminths to modulate allergic inflammation. Immunity. info:/

  • October 25, 2015
  • 01:28 PM
  • 604 views

Gracile & robust Australopithecus

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

Last week, I introduced my Human Evolution students to the “robust” australopithecines. It was a very delicate time, when we had to have a grown up, mature conversation about adult things. I reminded the students that they’re only human, but they must resist urges that seem only natural. No matter how much they want to, even if their friends are doing it, […]... Read more »

Asfaw B, White T, Lovejoy O, Latimer B, Simpson S, & Suwa G. (1999) Australopithecus garhi: a new species of early hominid from Ethiopia. Science (New York, N.Y.), 284(5414), 629-35. PMID: 10213683  

Domínguez-Rodrigo, M., Pickering, T., Baquedano, E., Mabulla, A., Mark, D., Musiba, C., Bunn, H., Uribelarrea, D., Smith, V., Diez-Martin, F.... (2013) First Partial Skeleton of a 1.34-Million-Year-Old Paranthropus boisei from Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. PLoS ONE, 8(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080347  

Haile-Selassie Y, Gibert L, Melillo SM, Ryan TM, Alene M, Deino A, Levin NE, Scott G, & Saylor BZ. (2015) New species from Ethiopia further expands Middle Pliocene hominin diversity. Nature, 521(7553), 483-8. PMID: 26017448  

Walker, A., Leakey, R., Harris, J., & Brown, F. (1986) 2.5-Myr Australopithecus boisei from west of Lake Turkana, Kenya. Nature, 322(6079), 517-522. DOI: 10.1038/322517a0  

  • October 23, 2015
  • 10:25 AM
  • 903 views

The Witches In The Rye

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Can the Salem Witches of 1692 be explained by a fungus?... Read more »

Caporael LR. (1976) Ergotism: the satan loosed in Salem?. Science (New York, N.Y.), 192(4234), 21-6. PMID: 769159  

  • October 22, 2015
  • 12:35 PM
  • 680 views

Genetics uncovers the earliest cases of plague

by Cath Jex in Tak Fur The Kaffe

DNA from Bronze Age skeletons shows that the plague is truly an ancient disease, and was endemic across Eurasia at least 3,000 years earlier than previously thought.... Read more »

Simon Rasmussen, Morten Erik Allentoft, Kasper Nielsen, Ludovic Orlando, Martin Sikora, Karl-Göran Sjögren, Anders Gorm Pedersen, Mikkel Schubert, Alex Van Dam, Christian Moliin Outzen Kapel.... (2015) Early Divergent Strains of Yersinia pestis in Eurasia 5,000 Years Ago. Cell, 163(3). info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.10.009

  • October 21, 2015
  • 06:42 PM
  • 538 views

Bacteria communicate like neurons in the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Biologists discovered that bacteria–often viewed as lowly, solitary creatures–are actually quite sophisticated in their social interactions and communicate with one another through similar electrical signaling mechanisms as neurons in the human brain. In the study, scientists detail the manner by which bacteria living in communities communicate with one another electrically through proteins called “ion channels.”... Read more »

  • October 21, 2015
  • 09:49 AM
  • 813 views

Scurvy- Not Just For Pirates Anymore!

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

Regardless of how many articles I read on scurvy, or how many skeletons I’ve seen showing evidence of the deficiency of vitamin C, or how many times I’m reminding that […]... Read more »

  • October 21, 2015
  • 06:00 AM
  • 595 views

Prehistoric Utah Rock Art Does Not Depict a Pterosaur, Study Confirms

by Blake de Pastino in Western Digs

Dealing what they say is a “mortal blow” to the interpretation of some creationists, a team of archaeologists has concluded that a panel of rock art in Utah portrays all manner of fantastic figures, but it does not, in fact, depict a pterosaur.
... Read more »

Le Quellec, J., Bahn, P., & Rowe, M. (2015) The death of a pterodactyl. Antiquity, 89(346), 872-884. DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2015.54  

  • October 20, 2015
  • 10:30 AM
  • 734 views

Isotopes

by JB in Bone Broke

In essence, isotopes are different varieties of the same kind of element. Their atoms have the same number of protons but variable numbers of neutrons, meaning that they differ from each other in terms of their atomic weight.

For example, carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14 are all isotopes of carbon. The numeric modifier reflects the differing weights of each isotope. Every atom of these isotopes contains 6 protons and then 6 (12C), 7 (13C), or 8 (14C) neutrons respectively.... Read more »

Tykot, R. (2006) Isotope Analyses and the Histories of Maize. Histories of maize: multidisciplinary approaches to the prehistory, linguistics, biogeography, domestication, and evolution of maize, 131-142. DOI: 10.1016/B978-012369364-8/50262-X  

  • October 19, 2015
  • 06:42 PM
  • 489 views

Finding the brain circuitry for gratitude with help from Holocaust survivors’ memories

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Neuroscientists have mapped how the human brain experiences gratitude with help from an unexpected resource: Holocaust survivors’ testimonies. “In the midst of this awful tragedy, there were many acts of bravery and life-saving aid,” said lead author Glenn Fox, a post-doctoral researcher at the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC who led the study. “With […]... Read more »

Fox, G., Kaplan, J., Damasio, H., & Damasio, A. (2015) Neural correlates of gratitude. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01491  

  • October 15, 2015
  • 01:46 PM
  • 529 views

‘Paleo’ style sleep? Think again…

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It's tempting to believe that people these days aren't getting enough sleep, living as we do in our well-lit houses with TVs blaring, cell phones buzzing, and a well-used coffee maker in every kitchen. But new evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 15 shows that three ancient groups of hunter-gatherers--living in different parts of the world without any of those trappings of modern life--don't get any more sleep than we do.... Read more »

Yetish et al. (2015) Natural Sleep and Its Seasonal Variations in Three Pre-industrial Societies. Current Biology. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.046

  • October 15, 2015
  • 09:20 AM
  • 617 views

Fire & Bone: Using Burnt Bone to Interpret Neolithic Burials in France

by Katy Meyers Emery in Bones Don't Lie

The big news today was that a man in California set fire to an aisle of Halloween costumes in a Walmart. Honestly, this shouldn’t be the biggest news story of […]... Read more »

  • October 14, 2015
  • 11:57 PM
  • 454 views

What metabolism could reveal about aging and mortality

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Why some people live much longer than others is an enduring mystery. Now, based on a study of a worm, scientists are getting one step closer to understanding longevity. They report that the metabolic profiles of the worms could accurately predict how long they would live and that middle age could be a key turning point.... Read more »

Sarah K. Davies, Jacob G. Bundy, & Armand M. Leroi. (2015) Metabolic Youth in Middle Age: Predicting Aging in Caenorhabditis elegans Using Metabolomics. Journal of proteome research. info:/10.1021/acs.jproteome.5b00442

  • October 14, 2015
  • 09:53 AM
  • 1,235 views

Feel Our Pain: Empathy and Moral Behavior

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

"It's empathy that makes us help other people. It's empathy that makes us moral." The economist Paul Zak casually makes this comment in his widely watched TED talk about the hormone oxytocin, which he dubs the "moral molecule". Zak quotes a number of behavioral studies to support his claim that oxytocin increases empathy and trust, which in turn increases moral behavior. If all humans regularly inhaled a few puffs of oxytocin through a nasal spray, we could become more compassionate and caring. It sounds too good to be true. And recent research now suggests that this overly simplistic view of oxytocin, empathy and morality is indeed too good to be true.... Read more »

De Dreu, C., Greer, L., Van Kleef, G., Shalvi, S., & Handgraaf, M. (2011) Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(4), 1262-1266. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1015316108  

Shalvi S, & De Dreu CK. (2014) Oxytocin promotes group-serving dishonesty. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(15), 5503-7. PMID: 24706799  

Xu X, Zuo X, Wang X, & Han S. (2009) Do you feel my pain? Racial group membership modulates empathic neural responses. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 29(26), 8525-9. PMID: 19571143  

  • October 10, 2015
  • 07:34 AM
  • 559 views

Can Google Books Really Tell Us About Cultural Evolution?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In 2009, Google made available Google Books (also known as the Ngram corpus), a database that now includes over 8 million books from libraries around the world. The books comprise a collection of words (over 500 billion English words) and phrases and this dataset is freely available for research use. The Books corpus allows researchers to examine changes in the frequency of word use in books over time, dating back to 1800.



This has led a lot of striking findings. So for instance, it has b... Read more »

  • October 7, 2015
  • 06:19 PM
  • 589 views

Parents influence children’s play of violent video games

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Parents who are more anxious and emotional can impact the amount of violent video games their children play, according to new consumer research from Iowa State University. Russell Laczniak, a professor of marketing and the John and Connie Stafford Professor in Business, says given the harmful effects of violent video games, he and his colleagues wanted to better understand how parents influence children’s behavior.... Read more »

  • October 7, 2015
  • 12:28 AM
  • 795 views

Children as language brokers

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Some of the most striking images from the refugees who have been trekking across Europe are of families and children. Beyond the immediate perils of their journeys, migration inevitably changes families. As children are usually much quicker to learn new … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • October 6, 2015
  • 01:51 PM
  • 559 views

American placebo – An increase in the placebo response, but only in America?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study finds that rising placebo responses may play a part in the increasingly high failure rate for clinical trials of drugs designed to control chronic pain caused by nerve damage. Surprisingly, however, the analysis of clinical trials conducted since 1990 found that the increase in placebo responses occurred only in trials conducted wholly in the U.S.; trials conducted in Europe or Asia showed no changes in placebo responses over that period.... Read more »

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