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  • April 9, 2012
  • 12:40 PM

The idiot savant story

by Michelle Dawson in The Autism Crisis

In a commentary epublished in March, about savant syndrome in autism, Patricia Howlin wrote: In 1887 Langdon Down was the first to coin the term ‘idiot savant’Howlin and several co-authors, including Sir Michael Rutter, wrote in a 2009 paper:Down (1887) was the first to coin the term ‘idiot savant’Here are Pam Heaton and Gregory Wallace from a major 2004 review:The term ‘idiot-savant’ was first used by Down (1887)From 1999, Pam Heaton again, as well as Linda Pring, Beate Hermelin, an........ Read more »

Seguin, E. (1870) Art. XXXIII.-New Facts and Remarks concerning Idiocy: being a Lecture delivered before the New York Medical Journal Association, October 15, 1869. American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 59(129), 518-519. info:other/

  • April 5, 2012
  • 09:31 PM

What Should Be Done about Reproducibility

by Dave Bridges in Dave's Blog

A recent Commentary and linked editorial in Nature regarding reproducible science (or rather the lack thereof in science) has been troubling me for a few days now. The article brings to light a huge problem in the current academic science enterprise.

What am I talking about?

In the comment, two former Amgen researchers describe some of the efforts of that company to reproduce "landmark studies" in cancer biology. Amgen had a team of about a hundred researchers called the reproducib........ Read more »

  • April 4, 2012
  • 11:20 AM

The Daily Mail incorrectly correct article describing cannabis-schizophrenia research

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

The Daily Mail have issued a "correction" repeating their belief that just one cannabis joint can cause schizophrenia.... Read more »

Kucewicz MT, Tricklebank MD, Bogacz R, & Jones MW. (2011) Dysfunctional prefrontal cortical network activity and interactions following cannabinoid receptor activation. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31(43), 15560-8. PMID: 22031901  

  • April 4, 2012
  • 08:00 AM

Science careers: fair play or field of bullets?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Yesterday, Elizabeth Sandquist posed an hypothesis:

You can't just be good to succeed in #science, you have to be exceptional. Any thoughts?
NeuroPolarBear replied with a post, and Drugmonkey pulled out an older post.

But my post will be the best, for I shall cite peer-reviewed data in the primary literature.

As it happened, Petersen and colleague published a paper yesterday looking at career success in physics. Appropriately enough, even though it’s a career paper, it feels very much like ........ Read more »

Petersen A, Riccaboni M, Stanley H, & Pammolli F. (2012) Persistence and uncertainty in the academic career. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(14), 5213-5218. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1121429109  

  • April 2, 2012
  • 08:04 AM

Open Data Manchester: Twenty Four Hour Data People

by Duncan Hull in O'Really?

According to Francis Maude, Open Data is the “next industrial revolution”. Now you should obviously take everything politicians say with a large pinch of salt (especially Maude) but despite the political hyperbole, when it comes to data he is onto something.... Read more »

  • March 30, 2012
  • 10:46 PM

When prince charming kissed Mendel: delayed recognition in science.

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture

Monk Gregor Mendel hadn't lived to see his peas become famous; his paper has been asleep, waiting for prince charming to cite it awake. Of course, not all "delay recognition" papers sleep as long as Mendel's, but "sleeping beauty" or "Mendel's syndrome" papers do exist in science. A "sleeping beauty" paper can go uncited for years, until suddenly it's awakened. Costas, van Leeuwen and van Raan (2010) classify published scientific papers according to three general types: Normal-type: these ha........ Read more »

Costas, van Leeuwen, & van Raan. (2011) The ‘‘Mendel syndrome’’ in science: durability of scientific literature and its effects on bibliometric analysis of individual scientists. Scientometrics, 177-205. info:/

van Raan, A. (2004) Sleeping Beauties in science. Scientometrics, 59(3), 467-472. DOI: 10.1023/B:SCIE.0000018543.82441.f1  

Rodrigo Costas, Thed N. van Leeuwen, & Anthony F. J. van Raan. (2009) Is scientific literature subject to a sell-by-date? A general methodology to analyze the durability of scientific documents. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. arXiv: 0907.1455v1

Wang, Chen, & Rao. (2012) Why and how can "sleeping beauties" be awakened?. The Electronic Library, 30(1), 5-18. info:/

  • March 29, 2012
  • 08:04 AM

Colour clash

by Zen Faulkes in Better Posters

What should you wear to a poster session? Never mind the formal versus casual versus comfortable dilemma, what colour should you wear? A nearly decade old paper making the social media rounds last week suggests looking at your poster while picking your outfit.Several people, knowing I’m the poster blog guy, asked me what I thought.The authors themselves write:Our study had several limitations.This is an understatement. This study, by Keegan and Bannister, is almost nothing but limitations. It........ Read more »

  • March 27, 2012
  • 12:01 AM

Writing a Good Review

by agoldstein in WiSci

Andrew Moore, Editor-in-Chief of the review-and-discussion journal BioEssays, discusses the perks and pitfalls of writing a good review.... Read more »

  • March 26, 2012
  • 08:00 AM

Seeing is Believing: The Story Behind Henry Heinz’s Condiment Empire

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

Do me a favor: Go open your refrigerator and look at the labels on your condiments. Alternatively, if you’re at work, open your drawer and flip through your stash of condiment packets. (Don’t look at me like that. I know you have a stash. Or you know where to find one. It’s practically Office Survival [...]

... Read more »

  • March 21, 2012
  • 12:13 PM

Science Integrators

by Matt & Cris in Originus

Andrew Moore, editor in chief of BioEssays, recently published a piece that makes so much sense it will probably never …Continue reading »... Read more »

  • March 21, 2012
  • 08:00 AM

The myth of fingerprints

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Could you have made a mistake?

If you are a fingerprint examiner in court giving testimony, the answer was once, “No,” according to Mnookin (2001).

(T)he primary professional organization for fingerprint examiners, the International Association for Identification, passed a resolution in 1979 making it professional misconduct for any fingerprint examiner to provide courtroom testimony that labeled a match “possible, probable or likely “rather than “certain.”
(I’ve been unable to f........ Read more »

  • March 15, 2012
  • 05:55 AM

Is Your Newspaper Making You Ignorant?

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

Why does there appear to be such a strong correlation between newspaper circulation and bullshit?... Read more »

Frankfurt, H. (2005) On Bullshit. Princeton University Press. info:other/

  • March 13, 2012
  • 06:56 PM

5 things CSI gets right

by Stuart Farrimond in Guru: Science Blog

For Brits, this week sees the return of everybody’s favourite team of armed Police/crime scene/forensic scientist hybrids: the night shift of the Las Vegas Crime Scene Investigation dpt. (UK Channel 5, Tuesdays 9PM). Now entering its 12th season – it’s even been around since ‘seasons’ were called ‘series’ – CSI is the most watched TV [...]... Read more »

Durnal, E. (2010) Crime scene investigation (as seen on TV). Forensic Science International, 199(1-3), 1-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2010.02.015  

  • March 13, 2012
  • 03:23 PM

Unrequited love: What to do when the feeling isn’t mutual

by eHarmony Labs in eHarmony Labs Blog

What happens when you spill your guts and declare your love to a friend, only to find your advance is unrequited? Can the friendship be saved, or is it doomed? Read on to find out how to predict what will happen to your friendship.... Read more »

  • March 13, 2012
  • 02:00 PM

On March 15, 5 suborbital sounding rockets are scheduled to launch from the NASA Wallops Facility, VA

by Olga Vovk in Milchstraße

This is part of a study of the upper level jet stream located in the mesosphere.

These five rockets will release an aluminum based chemical into the upper layers of atmosphere (the mesosphere) that will form milky-white clouds that will trace winds in space. These clouds might be visible for public up to 20 minutes by East coast residents from southern parts of New Hampshire and Vermont till South Carolina.... Read more »

Larsen, M. F., and C. G. Fesen. (2009) Accuracy issues of the existing thermospheric wind models: Can we rely on them in seeking solutions to wind-driven problems?. Ann. Geophys., 27, 2277–2284. info:/

  • March 9, 2012
  • 04:46 AM

A Yale Professor's Rampage on PLoS and a Group That Failed To Replicate His Research

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

John Bargh, a Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University has written a blog post that’s currently receiving a thorough dressing down by the academic community. The title of the blog post, “Nothing in Their Heads” is a scathing ad-hom attack on a research group that failed to replicate his research. The opening gambit is an attack on, well the entire academic community.... Read more »

Doyen S, Klein O, Pichon CL, & Cleeremans A. (2012) Behavioral priming: it's all in the mind, but whose mind?. PloS one, 7(1). PMID: 22279526  

Bargh, J. Chen, M. Burrows, L. (1996) Automaticity of Social Behaviour: Direct Effects of Trait Construct and Stereotype Activation on Action. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. info:/

  • March 8, 2012
  • 06:13 PM

The Origin of Gender Symbols

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

A quick post for International Women’s Day: how did the gender symbols originate in biology? What do ♀ and ♂ actually stand for?

The answer starts in antiquity, when planets and gods were almost synonymous. Religious rites (at least in Europe) were also associated with the working of metals. Thus, each heavenly body was associated with a metal, a god and provided with a proper symbol, thus... Read more »

William T. Stearn. (1962) The Origin of the Male and Female Symbols of Biology. Taxon, 11(4), 109-113. info:other/

  • March 6, 2012
  • 09:10 AM

The statistical fallacy that trips up everyone from journalists to gynecologists

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

How most gynecologists that were given a simple stats problem relating to their work gave the wrong answer, why the problem appears in even the most respectable of publications and how the same fallacy led to 13,000 unnecessary abortions.... Read more »

Gigerenzer, G., Gaissmaier, W., Kurz-Milcke, E., Schwartz, L., & Woloshin, S. (2007) Helping Doctors and Patients Make Sense of Health Statistics. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 8(2), 53-96. DOI: 10.1111/j.1539-6053.2008.00033.x  

  • March 5, 2012
  • 01:19 PM

Time for neuroimaging to clean up its act

by Dorothy Bishop in bishopblog

I suggest that people find brain images so compelling that they are blinded to the poor methodological quality of many studies. I illustrate with a study by Temple et al (2003) that appeared in PNAS.... Read more »

  • February 28, 2012
  • 04:01 PM

Not every radical idea is right

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

It’s too hard to do groundbreaking science. Hutchinson, who self identifies as a student (though what level is not clear) argues in forthcoming paper in BioEssays that the reason it’s hard to do original science is all because of how science is funded.

As it stands, our current system may work well in weeding out technically flawed proposals and advancing incremental work, yet truly novel ideas will rarely be funded or even tolerated.
This is not a particularly new insight. I’ve written a........ Read more »

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