Post List

  • November 3, 2010
  • 05:04 AM
  • 1,137 views

Bats harbor many viral sequences

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

How large is the zoonotic pool – all the animal viruses that could one day infect humans? Assuming that there are 50,000 vertebrates on earth, each with 20 viruses, the number is one million – probably a vast underestimate. Determining just how many viruses exist in a variety of animal species is technically feasible, limited [...]... Read more »

  • November 3, 2010
  • 05:00 AM
  • 1,058 views

Paleo and Low-Carb Diets: Much In Common?

by Steve Parker, M.D. in Diabetic Mediterranean Diet Blog

My superficial reading of the paleo diet literature led me to think Dr. Loren Cordain was the modern originator of this trend, so I was surprised to find an article on the Stone Age diet and modern degenerative diseases in a 1988 American Journal of Medicine.  Dr. Cordain started writing about the paleo diet around 2000, [...]... Read more »

Kuipers, R., Luxwolda, M., Janneke Dijck-Brouwer, D., Eaton, S., Crawford, M., Cordain, L., & Muskiet, F. (2010) Estimated macronutrient and fatty acid intakes from an East African Paleolithic diet. British Journal of Nutrition, 1-22. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114510002679  

  • November 3, 2010
  • 04:50 AM
  • 651 views

Nutrition and the naming of plants

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

Just in time for the big meeting on Biodiversity and Sustainable Diets, opening today at FAO in Rome and part organized by our pal Jess, comes shocking news: Of 502 sample plants, only 36 followed best practice for plant identification, and 37 followed best practice for plant nomenclature. Overall, 27% of sample plants were listed [...]... Read more »

  • November 3, 2010
  • 12:06 AM
  • 434 views

Data-driven dieting

by Michelle Greene in NeurRealism

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} The interesting thing about dieting is that while everyone knows what you need to do to lose weight (eat less and move more), very few people know much about how to get yourself to do these things. So, how do you increase your willpower?  1. Don’t get too hungry.It seems that there is a link between blood sugar and self control. For example, this study showed that when you perform an act requiring self-control, your blood sugar drops, and that when you have low blood sugar, your performance on subsequent self-control tasks decreases. This is a good reason to heed the oft-quoted diet advice to eat small meals 5-6 times a day as this stabilizes the blood sugar and keeps the cookie monster at bay. Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} 2. Use your imagination.Tempting treats are nearly everywhere around us at this time of year: leftover Halloween candy, holiday parties, home-baked treats, etc. How should you respond to a tempting, but fattening treat in your vicinity? According to this study, try to imagine it in non-food context. Instead of seeing brownies, see chocolate door stops. Instead of candies, checkers pieces. Just try to think of as many non-food uses for the item. Researchers found that subjects who were told to think of non-food uses for tempting chocolate rated chocolate as less appealing than those who were instructed to think of chocolate as delicious. Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} 3. Adjust your mental model.Earlier, I wrote about a recent paper refuting a long-held model of self-control that asserted that self-control is a limited resource that gets depleted with use. This paper demonstrated that not believing in this model led to higher performance on a self-control task.Gailliot, M., Baumeister, R., DeWall, C., Maner, J., Plant, E., Tice, D., Brewer, L., & Schmeichel, B. (2007). Self-control relies on glucose as a limited energy source: Willpower is more than a metaphor. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92 (2), 325-336 DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.92.2.325Hofmann, W., Deutsch, R., Lancaster, K., & Banaji, M. (2009). Cooling the heat of temptation: Mental self-control and the automatic evaluation of tempting stimuli European Journal of Social Psychology DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.708... Read more »

Gailliot, M., Baumeister, R., DeWall, C., Maner, J., Plant, E., Tice, D., Brewer, L., & Schmeichel, B. (2007) Self-control relies on glucose as a limited energy source: Willpower is more than a metaphor. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(2), 325-336. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.92.2.325  

  • November 2, 2010
  • 10:21 PM
  • 1,033 views

A graceful collapse

by The Curious Wavefunction in The Curious Wavefunction

Vijay Pande's group at Stanford has become well-known for using the collective force of millions of CPUs around the world for simulating protein folding in the project known as Folding@home. One of the enduring challenges in simulating folding has been to sample the long timescales that are common in real-life folding events, and recent breakthroughs have made accessing such time domains realistic. We should expect long protein folding simulations to be within the reach of many non-specialists in the next few years. In the latest issue of JACS, Pande's group provides an example of such advances by simulating the folding of a 39 residue protein called NTL9. The actual folding time is 1.5 ms so this is a substantially long MD simulation. To achieve this, Pande's group uses Graphic Processor Units (GPUs) of the kind that are found in video game modules. Over the last few years these units have made interesting biological phenomena accessible to chemists. C & EN has a nice article on the increasing use of GPUs for biomolecular simulation.Pande's group also uses a set of statistical tools called Markov State Models (MSMs) to identify metastable folding states and the transition trajectories between them. MSMs provide a nifty strategy to bridge the results from several short trajectories (rather than running one long one).What is endearing about the simulation is that that the correct structure doesn't form until much later and then quickly falls in place, like a lost kid suddenly remembering his place in the marching band. As can be seen in the video below, the missing piece of the puzzle is a short C-terminal part of a beta-sheet which seems to linger as part of an alpha helix while the rest of the sheet structure forms. After comfortably waltzing around as a little helical piece for a long time, it seems to suddenly remember its correct identity and snaps and collapses into place as part of the beta sheet. Very nice!Admittedly, a 39 residue protein is minuscule compared to most typical proteins. But the results provide a neat proof of concept. Importantly, they also show that current force fields with implicit solvent models can be accurate enough for this kind of simulation. Further validation will test these force fields more stringently.Voelz VA, Bowman GR, Beauchamp K, & Pande VS (2010). Molecular simulation of ab initio protein folding for a millisecond folder NTL9(1-39). Journal of the American Chemical Society, 132 (5), 1526-8 PMID: 20070076... Read more »

Voelz VA, Bowman GR, Beauchamp K, & Pande VS. (2010) Molecular simulation of ab initio protein folding for a millisecond folder NTL9(1-39). Journal of the American Chemical Society, 132(5), 1526-8. PMID: 20070076  

  • November 2, 2010
  • 08:21 PM
  • 1,410 views

The Dinosaur Footprint Puzzle: A Content or Process Approach?

by Jack Hassard in The Art of Teaching Science

“Tracking the Footprints Puzzle: The problematic persistence of science-as-process in teaching the nature and culture of science” by Charles R. Ault, Jr. and Jeff Dodick, which was published this month in the journal Science Education, is the research basis for this post.  The article was especially interesting for me since I have used the Footprint [...]


Related posts:Adventures in Geology: Darwin & Fossils
New Generation of Science Standards: Look to an Earlier Report
Iceland’s Volcanic Activity
... Read more »

  • November 2, 2010
  • 07:01 PM
  • 1,019 views

The impact of supply chain glitches

by Jan Husdal in husdal.com

This is an investigation of the effects on shareholder wealth of supply chain glitches that resulted in production or shipment delays, using a sample of 519 announcements made during 1989-2000. On average, shareholder value is decrease by near 11% following an announcement of supply chain problems. » Read more » » »
... Read more »

  • November 2, 2010
  • 06:55 PM
  • 1,121 views

Scary spider story

by Africa Gomez in BugBlog

For a belated Halloween celebration how about some cannibalism on spiders? I have posted before on maternal behaviour in spiders, but, after coming across this species a few times in the last few days (a male above) I had to write on its bizarre, and utterly horrifying behaviour. Amaurobius are common spiders, with three British species which often live on holes in house and garden walls, fence posts or tree trunks. Their holes' entrance is surrounded by a characteristic radial and random web of white silk, with adheres to prey like velcro. These spiders are mainly nocturnal and can trap relatively large prey such as bees and droneflies, presumably as the sit nearby the entrance hole.Amaurobius hole in a wall......and its owner with a trapped a droneflyThe unusual behaviour relates to reproduction. Females lay their egg clutch during June and July inside their holes and sit over it for three weeks, when she opens the egg sac the spiderlings hatch. The interaction between the spiderlings and their mother stimulates her and inhibits the maturation of the eggs of a second clutch. The female instead solicits the young to migrate to her ventral side and lays immature eggs, the so called trophic eggs, for the spiderlings to eat. (from Kim and Roland 2000)Spiderlings deprived of this extra food do not survive as well and gain weight much more slowly. A few days later, the female dies and the spiderlings promptly cannibalize her, gaining further weight and increasing their chances of survival when they disperse. The trophic eggs are fertilized and apparently viable, so the female is actually increasing the survival of her first clutch by sacrificing a possible second. Does she produce more or less offspring as a result? Kim and Roland, in experiments in which they compared spiderlings with access to trophic eggs with deprived spiderlings could assess that the mother produced an average of 104 viable spiderlings of the first clutch at day 6 when fed with trophic eggs, compared with a total number of 102 when they removed females from the first clutch and allowed to lay again. This similar number of total spiderlings is, however, misleading as six out of the 10 females removed from their offspring either had abortive clutches or ate them themselves, suggesting that the viability of the second clutch as a replacement clutch is decreasing and the eggs of the second clutch could be specialising in their function as trophic eggs. Trophic egg feeding might have evolved as a way of reducing intra-clutch cannibalism at a time in the spiderling's life when they cannot produce the sticky silk required to catch their own prey. Next time you see Amaurobius holes in your wall, have a thought for these hair-raising behaviours happening so near you at night.Kim KW, & Roland C (2000). Trophic egg laying in the spider, Amaurobius ferox: mother-offspring interactions and functional value. Behavioural processes, 50 (1), 31-42 PMID: 10925034... Read more »

  • November 2, 2010
  • 06:43 PM
  • 1,196 views

From the depths of the North Sea, a new ’spoon-nosed’ dolphin

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Paleontology, at least in part, owes its beginnings to fossils turning up where they were not expected. The distribution of shark teeth and fossil shells over the European countryside – vestiges of prehistoric seabeds which had been thrust up to become land over millions of years – were essential clues which naturalists such as the [...]... Read more »

Klaas Post, Erwin J.O. Kompanje. (2010) A new dolphin (Cetacea, Delphinidae) from the Plio-Pleistocene of the North Sea. Deinsea, 1-14. info:/

  • November 2, 2010
  • 05:15 PM
  • 764 views

Bee-havioral epigenetics

by Colby in nutsci.org

A great debate right now that is very relevant to nutrition is to what extent genes vs. environment (or genes in the context of certain environments) influence health and behavior.  The following is an extreme example that cannot be extrapolated … Continue reading →... Read more »

Lyko F, Foret S, Kucharski R, Wolf S, Falckenhayn C, & Maleszka R. (2010) The Honey Bee Epigenomes: Differential Methylation of Brain DNA in Queens and Workers. PLoS Biology. info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1000506

  • November 2, 2010
  • 05:04 PM
  • 1,309 views

Standing on the shoulders of tyrants

by Duncan Hull in O'Really?

There are at least two ways of looking at the history of Science: If we have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. If we have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of tyrants. Take Isaac Newton for example, a giant whose shoulders we all stand on today. [...]... Read more »

  • November 2, 2010
  • 04:57 PM
  • 473 views

Cell Traction Forces Independent of Intracellular Biochemistry

by Michael Long in Phased

How may cell shape regulate cell adhesion and spreading, important to many physiological processes, independent of intracellular biochemistry? A predictive model has been developed by Christopher Lemmon (Duke University Medical Center, United States) and Lewis Romer (John Hopkins Medical Institutions, United States) to answer this question.... Read more »

  • November 2, 2010
  • 04:10 PM
  • 834 views

A Side Benefit of the ‘Flu Vaccine – Reduction in Heart Attacks

by Darcy Cowan in Skepticon

It’s a bold claim, that being vaccinated for Influenza will protect you against having a heart attack or Myocardial Infarction (MI). Well according to a study published last month in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that could well be the case. The study, “Influenza vaccination, pneumococcal vaccination and risk of acute myocardial infarction: matched case–control [...]... Read more »

  • November 2, 2010
  • 03:49 PM
  • 1,083 views

Is Bipolar Disorder an Autoimmune Disorder?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Hemmo Drexhage, M.D. from Erasmus Medical College presented the November lecture in the Warren Frontiers of Neuroscience Series in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  His presentation was titled "Immunology Meets Psychiatry" and the lecture covered a series of research efforts examining immunological abnormalities in psychiatric conditions.  Here is a summary of my notes from the presentation:Although we know genetic factors account for 60-80% of the variance for the schizophrenia and bipolar disease risk, the search for specific genes has been disappointingMany genes linked to these two disorders relate to immune function or neurodevelopmentIt might be better to look at patterns of gene expression involving immune function in these disorders compared to controlsSmith in 1991 proposed the macrophage-T cell theory of psychiatric disordersThis theory proposed immune cells (monocytes and T cells) are activated in bipolar disorder and schizophreniaThis upregulation releases abnormal levels of cytokines (inflammatory chemicals) that affect the brainThis effect directly or indirectly produces symptoms of bipolar disorder and/or schizophreniaDrexhage and colleagues research supports the macrophage-T cell theory of psychiatric disordersPro-inflammatory monocyte gene upregulation has been demonstrated in bipolar disorder and depressionBoth disorders upregulate two clusters of gene products but the disorders differ in a third clusterThe 2C cluster upregulation is found in schizophrenia but not bipolar disorderTranscription factors appear important in driving this inflammatory stateEnvironmental factors appear key in this inflammation based on a twin studySo what is this environmental trigger?Candidates include viruses, bacteria, diet, toxin, stressIn animal models, inflammation and increased cytokines during pregnancy cause brain microglial abnormalities and behavioral abnormalities in the offspringAntidepressant responders in depression show reduction in inflammatory gene expression to control levels or belowGene expression pro-inflammatory effects are also in the periphery (benzodiazepine receptors) and in the brain hippocampusHigh risk children for bipolar disorder (children of bipolar parents) show increased levels of inflammatory markers before the onset of illnessInflammatory gene expression studies are hampered by confounders that also increase inflammatory signals--obesity, hyperlipidemia, smokingPotential implications are clearAnti-inflammatory drugs (i.e. Celebrex or similar) deserve study in these disordersSearch for viral or bacteria triggers is necessary (i.e. abnormal gut bacterial flora, viral antibody titers)Specific patterns of immunological response may be useful diagnostic markersPhoto of a monocyte in a group of red blood cells from Wikipedia courtesy licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.  Author Bobjgalindo... Read more »

Drexhage RC, van der Heul-Nieuwenhuijsen L, Padmos RC, van Beveren N, Cohen D, Versnel MA, Nolen WA, & Drexhage HA. (2010) Inflammatory gene expression in monocytes of patients with schizophrenia: overlap and difference with bipolar disorder. A study in naturalistically treated patients. The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology / official scientific journal of the Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacologicum (CINP), 13(10), 1369-81. PMID: 20633309  

Drexhage RC, Knijff EM, Padmos RC, Heul-Nieuwenhuijzen L, Beumer W, Versnel MA, & Drexhage HA. (2010) The mononuclear phagocyte system and its cytokine inflammatory networks in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Expert review of neurotherapeutics, 10(1), 59-76. PMID: 20021321  

Padmos RC, Hillegers MH, Knijff EM, Vonk R, Bouvy A, Staal FJ, de Ridder D, Kupka RW, Nolen WA, & Drexhage HA. (2008) A discriminating messenger RNA signature for bipolar disorder formed by an aberrant expression of inflammatory genes in monocytes. Archives of general psychiatry, 65(4), 395-407. PMID: 18391128  

  • November 2, 2010
  • 02:00 PM
  • 885 views

Waking sleeping bacteria

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

There are quite a few bacteria that, when times are hard, are able to put themselves into a state of metabolic inactivity. They are still technically alive - just not really eating, growing or changing in any way, just waiting until conditions become more favourable so that they can regain normal active behaviour. The bacteria used most frequently to explore this behaviour is B. subtilis which frequently form spores in response to adverse conditions, such as lack of nutrients or extremes of temperature.Getting into a dormant state is fairly understandable, bacteria have lots of sensing systems which can tell whats going on in their surrounding environment, and dormancy is just a response to that. However getting out of a dormant state is a little more complicated. Once the cell is dormant hardly any of it is active, whatever signal system is used to activate the cells, it has to require very few cellular componants.In some bacteria (particularly E. coli persisters) exit from dormancy seems to be a fairly random, stochastic effect. Every now and then, one of the cells will simply switch back to being active. If conditions are good it will replicate and re-colonise, whereas if conditions are bad it can either switch back to dormancy or, if it dies, be later replaced as its fellow bacteria come back. It's not a wonderfully good strategy for individuals, but for the species, and for the genes, it works very well.One possibility the paper in the reference was looking at is that bacteria exit dormancy in response to growth signals from other surrounding bacteria. The idea behind this is that once bacteria start growing and dividing they start secreting signaling molecules such as muropeptides from the cell wall. If these muropeptides are present, it means that bacteria are able to grow and survive, and this might serve as a signal to other bacteria: "conditions are good enough for us!"Diagram from the reference. a) bacteria switching from dormancy (light brown) to growth (green) in response to environmental signals. b) growing bacteria releasing signals to activate surrounding bacteria.Addition of amino-acids and other required nutrients can activate B. subtilis spores, but the concentrations of amino-acids needed are so high that this is unlikely to be a natural response. On the other hand, addition of even small amounts of muropeptide leads to spore activation, strongly suggesting that it may be a relavent signal.With this and the data from stochastic E. coli persisters it is tempting to see this as a full mechanism: exit from dormancy is random, but once one bacteria has grown and survived it can signal to the others that conditions are safe for growth. The only problem with this is that it has the potential to produce large amounts of bacterial growth independent of any signal from the actual environment. It has also been found (via "unpublished observations") that germinating spores don't release the same kind of murapeptide signal, and are unable to activate surrounding spores.It was also found that the murapeptide signal was not really species specific, which is fascinating from the point of view of bacterial ecology. Growing bacteria, especially Gram-positive species, release large quantities of muropeptides as they grow, and it is a very well conserved molecule, found in the cell wall of other bacteria. A dormant bacteria might therefore not even need one of its own species to report back on conditions outside the cell, it can rely on signals from other bacteria in the surrounding environment.---Dworkin J, & Shah IM (2010). Exit from dormancy in microbial organisms. Nature reviews. Microbiology PMID: 20972452---Follow me on Twitter!... Read more »

Dworkin J, & Shah IM. (2010) Exit from dormancy in microbial organisms. Nature reviews. Microbiology. PMID: 20972452  

  • November 2, 2010
  • 02:00 PM
  • 796 views

Food is Not Medicine - Almond Edition

by Kevin Bonham in Food Matters

A while back, ERV had a post about the tenuous link between Vitamin D and all sorts of effects on health (and I shamelessly co-opted her title). Then, PalMD dissected the spurious link between Broccoli and cancer. Now it's my turn:

A new study has revealed that naturally occurring chemicals found in the skin of the nut boost the immune system's response to such infections.
Researchers found almond skins improved the ability of the white blood cells to detect viruses while also increasing the body's ability to prevent viruses from replicating and so spreading inside the body.

Oh Guardian, I thought you were better than this[Telegraph - my bad]. Let's see what the actual paper showed.
Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Arena, A., Bisignano, C., Stassi, G., Mandalari, G., Wickham, M., & Bisignano, G. (2010) Immunomodulatory and antiviral activity of almond skins. Immunology Letters, 132(1-2), 18-23. DOI: 10.1016/j.imlet.2010.04.010  

  • November 2, 2010
  • 01:18 PM
  • 796 views

Food is Not Medicine - Almond Edition [We Beasties]

by Kevin none@example.com in Food Matters

A while back, ERV had a post about the tenuous link between Vitamin D and all sorts of effects on health (and I shamelessly co-opted her title). Then, PalMD dissected the spurious link between Broccoli and cancer. Now it's my turn:

A new study has revealed that naturally occurring chemicals found in the skin of the nut boost the immune system's response to such infections.
Researchers found almond skins improved the ability of the white blood cells to detect viruses while also increasing the body's ability to prevent viruses from replicating and so spreading inside the body.

Oh Guardian, I thought you were better than this. Let's see what the actual paper showed.
Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...

... Read more »

Arena, A., Bisignano, C., Stassi, G., Mandalari, G., Wickham, M., & Bisignano, G. (2010) Immunomodulatory and antiviral activity of almond skins. Immunology Letters, 132(1-2), 18-23. DOI: 10.1016/j.imlet.2010.04.010  

  • November 2, 2010
  • 12:00 PM
  • 160 views

Rafflesia arnoldii

by beredim in Strange Animals

R. arnoldii is a plant best known for producing the largest flowers in the world and for its hideous, rotten flesh-like odor. The article contains images, videos and facts about this rare plant.... Read more »

Nikolov LA, Endress PK, Sugumaran M, Sasirat S, Vessabutr S, Kramer EM, & Davis CC. (2013) Developmental origins of the world's largest flowers, Rafflesiaceae. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(46), 18578-83. PMID: 24167265  

Schmid, R., & Nais, J. (2003) Rafflesia of the World. Taxon, 52(4), 884. DOI: 10.2307/3647375  

  • November 2, 2010
  • 11:38 AM
  • 1,457 views

This Week in the Universe: October 26th – November 1st

by S.C. Kavassalis in The Language of Bad Physics

Astrophysics and Gravitation:
Hubble Tries to See into the Future
Illustration Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI), Science Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Anderson and R. van der Marel (STScI)
From NASA, ESA, and J. Anderson and R. van der Marel (STScI):
The multicolor snapshot, at top, taken with Wide Field Camera 3 aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, captures the central region of the giant globular cluster Omega Centauri. All the stars in the image are moving in random directions, like a swarm of bees. Astronomers used Hubble’s exquisite resolving power to measure positions for stars in 2002 and 2006.
From these measurements, they can predict the stars’ future movement. The bottom illustration charts the future positions of the stars highlighted by the white box in the top image. Each streak represents the motion of the star over the next 600 years. The motion between dots corresponds to 30 years.
By precisely observing the stars in Omega Centauri, a 10 million star globular cluster within our galaxy, the NASA/ESA team has been able to predict the stars’ movements over the next 10,000 years.  Considering how many variables are in this system, this is an awfully impressive achievement.
For more, see Hubble Data Used to Look 10,000 Years into the Future.
High Energy Physics and Particles:
ANITA Balloon sees Cosmic Rays by Accident
Hoover, S., & et al. (2010). Observation of Ultrahigh-Energy Cosmic Rays with the ANITA Balloon-Borne Radio Interferometer Physical Review Letters, 105 (15) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.151101
Credit: Physical Review Letters » Covers » Vol. 105, Iss. 15- Locations of direct (black) and reflected (red) detection of ultrahigh energy cosmic ray events by the ANITA balloon experiment over Antarctica. The field of view is delineated by the dashed blue line.
From the abstract:
We report the observation of 16 cosmic ray events with a mean energy of 1.5×1019 eV via radio pulses originating from the interaction of the cosmic ray air shower with the Antarctic geomagnetic field, a process known as geosynchrotron emission. We present measurements in the 300–900 MHz range, which are the first self-triggered, first ultrawide band, first far-field, and the highest energy sample of cosmic ray events collected with the radio technique. Their properties are inconsistent with current ground-based geosynchrotron models.
The ANITA Experiment, while on the hunt for cosmic neutrinos, ended up seeing 16 exceptionally high energy cosmic ray events (particles with energy several orders of magnitude greater than those made in the LHC).  Accidental observations are always fun, especially when they suggest a new technique for observing known phenomena.  Perhaps radio interferometer equipped balloons will now be used to detect these rare cosmic ray events.
For more, see Antarctic balloon sees particles with a million times more energy than the Large Hadron Collider.
Confirmed Top Quark Observation in the LHC
CMS Collaboration (2010). First Measurement of the Cross Section for Top-Quark Pair Production in Proton-Proton Collisions at sqrt(s)=7 TeV arXiv arXiv: 1010.5994v1
Exciting news! The CMS Collaboration has published their first confirmed observations of top quark production at the LHC this week.  This is especially exciting because it means that we’ll be able to study top quarks in multi-TeV proton-proton collisions for the first time.  At the Tevatron, top quark pairs are mainly produced via quark-antiquark annihilation, while at the LHC top quark pair production is expected to be dominated by a gluon fusion process.  Thus, observing top quark production is crucial to our understanding of this new mechanism. This is an important step in the early physics program at the LHC, since, “many signatures of new physics models accessible at the LHC either suffer from top-quark production as a significant background or contain top quarks themselves.”
The US at the Large Hadron Collider Photo of the Week

Credit: US/LHC - Candidate W-boson decay to tau and neutrino in ATLAS
The US/LHC has started an Event of the Week flickr account, showcasing an exciting and beautiful particle event from the current LHC runs every week.  This weeks was a candidate W-boson decaying into a tau and a neutrino within the ATLAS detector!
General Relativity, Quantum Gravity, et al.:
Want to Learn More about Gauge Gravity?
Andrew Randono (2010). Gauge Gravity: a forward-looking introduction arXiv arXiv: 1010.5822v1
... Read more »

  • November 2, 2010
  • 11:34 AM
  • 1,008 views

Language Skills Help Boys Develop Self-Regulation

by Amy Webb in The Thoughtful Parent

Many a parent of a toddler has encouraged their child to "use your words" in dealing with a problem or request, instead of crying, acting out, or whining. It turns out that teaching toddlers to "use their words" is especially useful in helping boys develop self-regulation. A recent study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly found that language skills are more important in the development of self-regulation skills in young boys than young girls.The study looked at children as they developed from age 1 to 3. As previous research has shown, this study replicated the finding that language skills, particularly vocabulary, helps kids regulate their emotions and behavior. Research has often found that girls are typically more advanced in their language skills, and thus self-regulation skills, at this young age. What was different about this study, however, is that it showed that toddler boys with strong language skills can be as skilled in self-regulation as girls at this age. What's so important about self-regulation? Well, besides the obvious encounters in daily life (e.g., not running out in the street), self-regulation has been highlighted as one of the key aspects to success in school, career, and life. Ellen Galinsky in her book Mind in the Making, lists focus and self-control as one of the 7 essential skills kids need to learn in order to be successful. She states the following about these crucial skills,"Focus and self control involve many executive functions of the brain, such as paying attention, remembering the rules, and inhibiting one’s initial response to achieve a larger goal. Scientists call these executive functions because these are the brain functions we use to manage our attention, our emotions, and our behavior in pursuit of our goals. Many scientists now believe that executive functions predict children’s success as well as—if not better than—IQ tests."So it seems the early development of self-regulation skills can only help our children as they move through life.Being mom to a 16-month-old boy, made reading this article particularly relevant to me. Even at this young age, I am already beginning to see how language is helping him with self-regulation. He is starting to learn that certain items are off-limits (e.g., trash can, toilet bowl) and when he gets close to them he says "no, no." This "self-talk" is the early stages of this development of self-regulation. He has heard his dad and I say "no" to these items enough that he has begun to internalize it. Of course, at this age, he is not always successful in staying away from these items, but at least he's learning :) Hopefully, as he learns more and more vocabulary he will be able to say what he needs or wants, as well as continue this internal dialog to help control his actions. I think it is helpful to know that boys really are able to learn language skills to help self-regulation at the same level as girls. Although girls usually have a natural tendency to pick up language earlier, it is important to encourage language skills as much as possible with boys too. Photo creditClaire Vallotton, & Catherine Ayoub (2010). Use your words: The role of language in the development of toddlers' self-regulation. Early Childhood Research Quarterly... Read more »

Claire Vallotton, & Catherine Ayoub. (2010) Use your words: The role of language in the development of toddlers' self-regulation. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. info:/

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