This post brought to you by Ben and Jerry's Dublin Mudslide Ice Cream. Because the Twitter people are like little devils on my shoulder, making me eat the cake...
So Sci was going to do her final oxytocin post on another study in humans for oxytocin levels during male masturbation, but you know, you've seen one, you've seen them all. I know that they were looking at slightly different things, but...well...it all looked the same: oxytocin measured while a guy is in a room with some porn, measure some other stuff as well, look at the correlations. So Sci started digging around for something a little more unusual.
And when Sci saw this one, her little eyes brightened, and she said "oooooh! THAT ONE!"' much to the surprise of the nice evening janitorial lady in the lab. Because if you thought the LAST Friday Weird Science was one that you wouldn't want to volunteer for...
...how would you like a butterfly needle in your penis? What, that's not stimulating?!
Uckert et al. "Oxytocin plasma levels in the systemic and cavernous blood of healthy males during different penile conditions" World Journal of Urology, 2003.
For those not in the know, a butterfly needle looks like this:
(Insert into penis pointy end first)
Yadda yadda. Photos below NSFW, yadda yadda. It's Friday Weird Science, not like there's going to be puppies and kittens here. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Uckert S, Becker AJ, Ness BO, Stief CG, Scheller F, Knapp WH, & Jonas U. (2003) Oxytocin plasma levels in the systemic and cavernous blood of healthy males during different penile conditions. World journal of urology, 20(6), 323-6. PMID: 12811490
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I recently came across this article by Rosengren and Hickling about how children explain seemingly impossible or extraordinary transformations in terms of magic or trickery or natural/physical explanations based on their ages and developmental level.
To summarize the study , I’m presenting the abstract:
Children’s magical explanations and beliefs were investigated in 2 studies. In [...]Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
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Rosengren, K., & Hickling, A. (1994) Seeing Is Believing: Children's Explanations of Commonplace, Magical, and Extraordinary Transformations. Child Development, 65(6), 1605. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1994.tb00838.x
In a recent issue of Physical Review Letters was an article with the intriguing (to me) title of “Experimental verification of reversed Cherenkov radiation in left-handed metamaterial,” by a collaboration from Zhejiang University in China and MIT. The paper is an experimental verification of an effect predicted for metamaterials way back in 1968 by the [...]... Read more »
Xi, S., Chen, H., Jiang, T., Ran, L., Huangfu, J., Wu, B., Kong, J., & Chen, M. (2009) Experimental Verification of Reversed Cherenkov Radiation in Left-Handed Metamaterial. Physical Review Letters, 103(19). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.103.194801
A new study suggests that scorpionflies that lived during the Jurassic Period fed on the nectar-like juices of seed ferns, conifers, and other primitive plants. As the scorpionflies feasted on the sweet liquid from these plants, they may have also acted as animal pollinators—couriers of pollen grains that are vitally necessary to the reproductive cycle of their host plants. If this scenario is true, scorpionflies represent the earliest known animal pollinators.... Read more »
Ren, D., Labandeira, C., Santiago-Blay, J., Rasnitsyn, A., Shih, C., Bashkuev, A., Logan, M., Hotton, C., & Dilcher, D. (2009) A Probable Pollination Mode Before Angiosperms: Eurasian, Long-Proboscid Scorpionflies. Science, 326(5954), 840-847. DOI: 10.1126/science.1178338
One of the better research outcomes a biologist can hope for is to find that a particular mechanism, disease, or benefit has a single point of control somewhere in its web of interlinked genes and feedback loops. A single gene or protein that acts as a switch or a dial, and has no or few entanglements with other biological systems. That lack of entanglements is important - a switch that turns one thing off and three other things on isn't of much use, at least for those of us who like our medicine without potentially lethal side-effects, but human biochemistry contains far more multi-switches than examples of any simpler construction. Evolution is based upon the promiscuous reuse of components, and almost any protein of note involved in regulating metabolism has more than one duty to perform. In any case, researchers engaged in picking apart the mechanisms underlying calorie restriction might still manage to uncover a simple switch somewhere in amidst the all complexity and chains of genes and proteins turning one another on and off. They've been hacking away the brush for some years now, but there's no shortage of undergrowth yet to be cleared. You might see hints of...... Read more »
Zhang, M., Poplawski, M., Yen, K., Cheng, H., Bloss, E., Zhu, X., Patel, H., & Mobbs, C. (2009) Role of CBP and SATB-1 in Aging, Dietary Restriction, and Insulin-Like Signaling. PLoS Biology, 7(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000245_id
Multilevel (or hierarchical) regression modeling is very popular in the social sciences. So what I want to do is a hierarchical quantile regression of the 75% quantile of time spent in jail. And that was my question for Andrew Gelman.... Read more »
Carmichael SL, Witte JS, & Shaw GM. (2009) Nutrient pathways and neural tube defects: a semi-Bayesian hierarchical analysis. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.), 20(1), 67-73. PMID: 19234400
In the previous post I made a distinction between “affiliation” and “identity” that may not have been totally clear. In the context of Keith Kloor’s article on Navajo connections to Chaco, the basic point I want to make could be drastically oversimplified to something like this:
The Park Service’s finding that the Navajos are “affiliated” with [...]... Read more »
One of my first posts on this blog was about something referred to as a dark flow, a strange current carrying galaxy clusters to the edge of the visible universe. But last year it was just a speculation based on preliminary data. Today, the results have been double-checked, and it looks like about 1,400 galaxy [...]... Read more »
A. Kashlinsky, F. Atrio-Barandela, H. Ebeling, A. Edge, & D. Kocevski. (2009) A new measurement of the bulk flow of X-ray luminous clusters of galaxies. n/a. arXiv: 0910.4958v2
L. Mersini-Houghton, & R. Holman. (2008) 'Tilting' the Universe with the Landscape Multiverse: The 'Dark' Flow. JCAP 0902:006,2009. arXiv: 0810.5388v1
SYNAESTHESIA is a neurological condition in which there is a merging of the senses, so that activity in one sensory modality elicits sensations in another. Although first described by Francis Galton in the 1880s, little was known about this condition until recently. A rennaissance in synaesthesia research began about a decade ago; since then, three previously unrecognized forms of the condition have been described, and a possible explanation for how it arises have been put forward.
Of all the forms of this fascinating condition, the least researched is time-space synaesthesia, but two new studies provide some insight into it. One is a case study of an individual whose time-space synaesthesia has an apparently unique characteristic. The second demonstrates that time-space synaesthetes have superior cognitive abilities than non-synaesthetes, and suggests that time-space synaesthesia may underly the savant-like abilities of people with hyperthymestic (or "super-memory") syndrome.
Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Jarick, M., Dixon, M., Stewart, M., Maxwell, E., & Smilek, D. (2009) A different outlook on time: Visual and auditory month names elicit different mental vantage points for a time-space synaesthete. Cortex, 45(10), 1217-1228. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2009.05.014
Simner, J., Mayo, N., & Spiller, M. (2009) A foundation for savantism? Visuo-spatial synaesthetes present with cognitive benefits. Cortex, 45(10), 1246-1260. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2009.07.007
How does our visual system decide if something is a face? Some automated face-detecting software uses color as one cue that something is a face. For example Apple's iPhoto has no trouble determining that there are two faces in this color picture:
That's Nora in the back, and her cousin Ginger in front. In this picture, however, iPhoto can't identify a face:
That's a vintage black-and-white photo of Nora and Ginger's grandfather, but the computer can't find any faces in it. Do people, like computers, use color to help decide whether something they see is a face? Humans are excellent at identifying colors, and while faces can be many colors, there are also many colors that are very rarely seen in faces (e.g. blue, green, orange). Could we use skin-tones to help identify faces?
Markus Bindemann and Mike Burton created a set of images with faces placed in random locations, like this: Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Bindemann, M., & Burton, A.M. (2009) The Role of Color in Human Face Perception. Cognitive Science, 1144-1156. info:/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01035.x
Decline of large animals drove changes in plants and fires
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Gill, J., Williams, J., Jackson, S., Lininger, K., & Robinson, G. (2009) Pleistocene Megafaunal Collapse, Novel Plant Communities, and Enhanced Fire Regimes in North America. Science. info:/10.1126/science.1179504
A study out in Nature today puts some long-term figures on a trend that climate scientists and ecologists have seen coming for some time: Oceans are no longer absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere like they used to. Growing ocean acidity is slowing their ability to keep up as humans pump more and more greenhouse [...]
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Khatiwala, S., Primeau, F., & Hall, T. (2009) Reconstruction of the history of anthropogenic CO2 concentrations in the ocean. Nature, 462(7271), 346-349. DOI: 10.1038/nature08526
Kissing is a great way to bond and show affection to your partner, but it also has some physical and health benefits you may not know about. Find out more.... Read more »
Coan, J., Schaefer, H., & Davidson, R. (2006) Lending a Hand: Social Regulation of the Neural Response to Threat. Psychological Science, 17(12), 1032-1039. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01832.x
Floyd, K., Boren, J., Hannawa, A., Hesse, C., McEwan, B., & Veksler, A. (2009) Kissing in Marital and Cohabiting Relationships: Effects on Blood Lipids, Stress, and Relationship Satisfaction. Western Journal of Communication, 73(2), 113-133. DOI: 10.1080/10570310902856071
...compare the newly collected data to that inherited from Grinnell in aspirations of gaining insight into how a century of environmental change has impacted California’s avian, mammalian and herpetological faunas. Through application of carefully recalibrated Grinnellian field-methods, and the employment of modern techniques, the group is expanding biology’s understanding of the ecological niche.... Read more »
Moritz, C., Patton, J., Conroy, C., Parra, J., White, G., & Beissinger, S. (2008) Impact of a Century of Climate Change on Small-Mammal Communities in Yosemite National Park, USA. Science, 322(5899), 261-264. DOI: 10.1126/science.1163428
Highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza viruses possessing mammalian-type PB2-627 were detected during the Qinghai Lake outbreak in 2005 and spread to Europe and Africa. … Here, we report that H5N1 avian influenza viruses possessing mammalian-type amino acids in PB2-627 or -701 are selected during replication in ostrich cells in vitro and in vivo.
–Shinya, K., Makino, A., [...]... Read more »
Shinya, K., Makino, A., Ozawa, M., Kim, J., Sakai-Tagawa, Y., Ito, M., Le, Q., & Kawaoka, Y. (2009) Ostrich involvement in the selection of H5N1 influenza virus possessing mammalian-type amino acids in PB2. Journal of Virology. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01714-09
PGC-1alpha is my favorite gene/protein to study, as it is essential for mitochondrial regulation, influential on many diseases and ageing. I also am fascinated by the relatively new field of epigenetics and its relation to nutrition and health. So you can understand my geeky giddiness when I found that a study by Barrès et al. (1) shows [...]... Read more »
Barrès R, Osler ME, Yan J, Rune A, Fritz T, Caidahl K, Krook A, & Zierath JR. (2009) Non-CpG methylation of the PGC-1alpha promoter through DNMT3B controls mitochondrial density. Cell metabolism, 10(3), 189-98. PMID: 19723495
I’m not planning to blog a lot on the Astronomical Orientation of Ancient Greek Temples as is openly accessible. Your comments are going to carry a lot more weight there than here. But I’ll try and keep track of what other people are saying elsewhere. I’m expecting this to be the first paper of a [...]... Read more »
Salt, A. (2009) The Astronomical Orientation of Ancient Greek Temples. PLoS ONE, 4(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007903
New research on pathogens in whales and dolphins illustrates the incredible ingenuity that some scientists display in gathering data on species at risk...... Read more »
Acevedo-Whitehouse, K., Rocha-Gosselin, A., & Gendron, D. (2009) A novel non-invasive tool for disease surveillance of free-ranging whales and its relevance to conservation programs. Animal Conservation. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00326.x
A couple of years ago, I re-posted an old article of mine about homeopathy discussing its ludicrous claims, its feeble attempts to provide a scientific explanation for those claims, and basically pointing out that no solid evidence has ever been found that infinitely diluted solutions of spurious ingredients have any more beneficial effect on a [...]Homeopathy really doesn’t work is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog
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The latest meeting of the international commission created to manage harvests of tunas and other wide-ranging fish species in the Atlantic Ocean ended by setting 2010 quotas for bluefin tuna that conservation groups and United States fisheries officials said were...... Read more »
López Herráez, D., Bauchet, M., Tang, K., Theunert, C., Pugach, I., Li, J., Nandineni, M., Gross, A., Scholz, M., & Stoneking, M. (2009) Genetic Variation and Recent Positive Selection in Worldwide Human Populations: Evidence from Nearly 1 Million SNPs. PLoS ONE, 4(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007888
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