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  • June 29, 2015
  • 01:51 PM
  • 49 views

The fear you experience playing video games is real, and you enjoy it

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

With the advent of video games, a frequently asked question has been whether we get as engrossed in them emotionally as we do when we see a scary movie. The answer is yes and many game players enjoy the fear caused by the zombies, disfigured humans and darkness they often encounter, the researchers found.... Read more »

  • June 25, 2015
  • 03:02 PM
  • 66 views

Synthetic biology used to engineer new route to biochemicals

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Living cells can make a vast range of products for us, but they don’t always do it in the most straightforward or efficient way. Shota Atsumi, a chemistry professor at UC Davis, aims to address that through “synthetic biology:” designing and building new biochemical pathways within living cells, based on existing pathways from other living things.... Read more »

  • June 25, 2015
  • 12:53 PM
  • 74 views

Commenters exposed to prejudiced comments more likely to display prejudice themselves

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Comment sections on websites continue to be an environment for trolls to spew racist opinions. The impact of these hateful words shouldn’t have an impact on how one views the news or others, but that may not be the case. A recent study found exposure to prejudiced online comments can increase people’s own prejudice, and increase the likelihood that they leave prejudiced comments themselves.... Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 02:05 PM
  • 65 views

Oh, to have Dr. Facebook on call!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If it were up to Internet-savvy Americans, more of them would be emailing or sending Facebook messages to their doctors to chat about their health. That’s the result of a national survey led by Joy Lee of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US.... Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 01:14 PM
  • 72 views

What your clothes may say about you

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Moving closer to the possibility of “materials that compute” and wearing your computer on your sleeve, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering have designed a responsive hybrid material that is fueled by an oscillatory chemical reaction and can perform computations based on changes in the environment or movement, and potentially even respond to human vital signs. The material system is sufficiently small and flexible that it could ultimately be integrated in........ Read more »

  • June 23, 2015
  • 12:43 PM
  • 70 views

The New Way to Track Animals Is Tagless

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



There's good news for scientists who study animals that are too small to carry a GPS monitor, or that spit ID tags back out through their arms. A setup using an off-the-shelf camera can precisely capture an animal's path in three dimensions—without anyone touching the animal.

Emmanuel de Margerie, who studies animal behavior at the University of Rennes 1 in France, says there are several reasons to seek new animal-tracking technologies. To put a GPS or other kind of tag on an animal, yo........ Read more »

de Margerie E, Simonneau M, Caudal JP, Houdelier C, & Lumineau S. (2015) 3D tracking of animals in the field, using rotational stereo videography. The Journal of experimental biology. PMID: 26056245  

  • June 21, 2015
  • 06:28 AM
  • 124 views

The Future of Depression Treatment

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

2014Jessica is depressed again. After six straight weeks of overtime, her boss blandly praised her teamwork at the product launch party. And the following week she was passed over for a promotion in favor of Jason, her junior co-worker. "It's always that way, I'll never get ahead..." She arrives at her therapist's office late, looking stressed, disheveled, and dejected. The same old feelings of worthlessness and despair prompted her to resume her medication and CBT routine."You deserve to be rec........ Read more »

Liu, X., Ramirez, S., Redondo, R., & Tonegawa, S. (2014) Identification and Manipulation of Memory Engram Cells. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology, 59-65. DOI: 10.1101/sqb.2014.79.024901  

Ramirez, S., Liu, X., MacDonald, C., Moffa, A., Zhou, J., Redondo, R., & Tonegawa, S. (2015) Activating positive memory engrams suppresses depression-like behaviour. Nature, 522(7556), 335-339. DOI: 10.1038/nature14514  

Timmins, L., & Lombard, M. (2005) When “Real” Seems Mediated: Inverse Presence. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 14(4), 492-500. DOI: 10.1162/105474605774785307  

  • June 17, 2015
  • 09:38 AM
  • 20 views

Video Tip of the Week: ZBrowse for GWAS viewing and exploration

by Mary in OpenHelix

Maybe you’ve heard of the others. ABrowse. BBrowse. CBrowse. [you get the idea] GBrowse has been widely adopted. JBrowse is picking up steam. Into the orderly arrangement we now throw ZBrowse: a new way to look at genome-wide association study data. Sharing and chatter about ZBrowse for viewing GWAS was abundant when the paper was […]... Read more »

  • June 10, 2015
  • 05:44 PM
  • 125 views

First functional, synthetic immune organ with controllable antibodies created by engineers

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Cornell University engineers have created a functional, synthetic immune organ that produces antibodies and can be controlled in the lab, completely separate from a living organism. The engineered organ has implications for everything from rapid production of immune therapies to new frontiers in cancer or infectious disease research.... Read more »

Purwada, A., Jaiswal, M., Ahn, H., Nojima, T., Kitamura, D., Gaharwar, A., Cerchietti, L., & Singh, A. (2015) Ex vivo Engineered Immune Organoids for Controlled Germinal Center Reactions. Biomaterials. DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.06.002  

  • May 25, 2015
  • 01:40 PM
  • 138 views

Echoborgs: Psychologists Bring You Face To Face With A Chat-bot

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Last year I blogged about the creepy phenomenon of cyranoids. A cyranoid is a person who speaks the words of another person. With the help of a hidden earpiece, a 'source' whispers words into the ear of a 'shadower' , who repeats them. In research published last year, British psychologists Kevin Corti and Alex Gillespie showed that cyranoids are hard to spot: if you were speaking to one, you probably wouldn't know it, even if the source was an adult and the shadower a child, or vice versa.


... Read more »

  • May 20, 2015
  • 06:04 PM
  • 184 views

Tiny grains of lithium dramatically improve performance of fusion plasma

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

While fusion might still be a far off dream, a new discovery may help bring that dream closer to reality. Scientists have discovered a phenomenon that helps them to improve fusion plasmas, a finding that could quicken the development of large scale fusion energy. The scientists found that when they injected tiny grains of lithium into a plasma undergoing a particular kind of turbulence then, under the right conditions, the temperature and pressure rose dramatically.... Read more »

Kaye, S., Abrams, T., Ahn, J., Allain, J., Andre, R., Andruczyk, D., Barchfeld, R., Battaglia, D., Bhattacharjee, A., Bedoya, F.... (2015) An overview of recent physics results from NSTX. Nuclear Fusion, 55(10), 104002. DOI: 10.1088/0029-5515/55/10/104002  

  • May 19, 2015
  • 12:30 PM
  • 89 views

When did we start using information theory in neuroscience?

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

This question came up in journal club a little while ago. The hypothesis that neurons in the brain are attempting to maximize their information about the world is a powerful one. Although usually attributed to Horace Barlow, the idea arose almost … Continue reading →... Read more »

Dimitrov, A., Lazar, A., & Victor, J. (2011) Information theory in neuroscience. Journal of Computational Neuroscience, 30(1), 1-5. DOI: 10.1007/s10827-011-0314-3  

MacKay, D., & McCulloch, W. (1952) The limiting information capacity of a neuronal link. The Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics, 14(2), 127-135. DOI: 10.1007/BF02477711  

von Neumann. (1956) Probabilistic logics and the synthesis of reliable organisms from unreliable components. Automata Studies. info:/

  • May 8, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 149 views

do memristor chips remember electric sheep?

by Greg Fish in weird things

Humans beware. Our would-be cybernetic overlords made a leap towards hyper-intelligence in the last few months as artificial neural networks can now be trained on specialized chips which use memristors, an electrical component that can remember the flow of electricity through it to help manage the amount of current required in a circuit. Using these specialized chips, robots, supercomputers, and sensors could solve complex real world problems faster, easier, and with far less energy. [...] ...... Read more »

  • April 27, 2015
  • 02:03 PM
  • 182 views

Google searches for ‘n-word’ associated with black mortality

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Google searches could unveil patterns in Black mortality rates across the US, according to a new study. Researchers found that those areas with greater levels of racism, as indexed by the proportion of Google searches containing the “n-word,” had higher mortality rates among Blacks. The study is the first to examine an Internet query-based measure of racism in relation to mortality risk.... Read more »

Chae, D., Clouston, S., Hatzenbuehler, M., Kramer, M., Cooper, H., Wilson, S., Stephens-Davidowitz, S., Gold, R., & Link, B. (2015) Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality. PLOS ONE, 10(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122963  

  • April 11, 2015
  • 01:58 PM
  • 234 views

A glass fiber that brings light to a standstill

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Light is an extremely useful tool for quantum communication, but it has one major disadvantage: it usually travels at the speed of light and cannot be kept in place. A team of scientists at the Vienna University of Technology has now demonstrated that this problem can be solved – not only in strange, unusual quantum systems, but in the glass fiber networks we are already using today.... Read more »

Sayrin, C., Clausen, C., Albrecht, B., Schneeweiss, P., & Rauschenbeutel, A. (2015) Storage of fiber-guided light in a nanofiber-trapped ensemble of cold atoms. Optica, 2(4), 353. DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.2.000353  

  • April 10, 2015
  • 08:06 PM
  • 268 views

The universe is expanding, but how fast?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We are expanding, well more accurately the universe is expanding. However researchers have found certain types of supernovae, or exploding stars, are more diverse than previously thought. The results have implications for big cosmological questions, such as how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang. Most importantly, the findings hint at the possibility that the acceleration of the expansion of the universe might not be quite as fast as textbooks say.... Read more »

  • April 7, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 301 views

Star Trek Shields For Tanks

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Star Trek deflectors absorbed or deflected energy beams, but would they work against bullets or asteroids? Scientists are on working on armors and plasma systems that can stop projectiles. In some cases we use explosions to stop explosions. In others, tanks are turned into electrical pulse generators that zap incoming rockets. But the most amazing is the wall of exploding plasma that will be the first true defensive energy shield.... Read more »

Mayseless, M. (2011) Effectiveness of Explosive Reactive Armor. Journal of Applied Mechanics, 78(5), 51006. DOI: 10.1115/1.4004398  

Yoo, Y., Zheng, H., Kim, Y., Rhee, J., Kang, J., Kim, K., Cheong, H., Kim, Y., & Lee, Y. (2014) Flexible and elastic metamaterial absorber for low frequency, based on small-size unit cell. Applied Physics Letters, 105(4), 41902. DOI: 10.1063/1.4885095  

  • March 31, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 311 views

Shields Up! Lay In A Course For Mars

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Deflector shields allowed Star Trek and other sci-fi franchises to have long space battles. Without them, one good strike and everyone was dead – that wouldn’t lend itself to sequels.

We don’t need shields for space battles yet, but we do need them to get to Mars. Cosmic radiation will kill or injure every astronaut unless we can deflect the radiation away from the spacecraft. We’re just about to build real deflectors, and our teachers are the magnetic fields we find ........ Read more »

  • March 24, 2015
  • 07:00 AM
  • 290 views

A Universal Translator By Any Other Name…

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Star Trek wouldn’t have been possible without the universal translator. Who would want to watch a show where characters don’t understand each other – of course, that doesn’t stop people from watching political debates. The technology of a universal translator is easy, we have camera phones that will show you a foreign sign in your own language. It’s the software to decipher a previously unencountered language that’s proving tough to overcome. Are there any uni........ Read more »

Rao, R., Yadav, N., Vahia, M., Joglekar, H., Adhikari, R., & Mahadevan, I. (2009) Entropic Evidence for Linguistic Structure in the Indus Script. Science, 324(5931), 1165-1165. DOI: 10.1126/science.1170391  

Snyder, Benjamin, Regina Barzilay and Kevin Knight. (2010) A Statistical Model for Lost Language Decipherment. Proceedings of the 48th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL 2010. info:/

  • March 18, 2015
  • 06:43 PM
  • 304 views

How alien cell membranes could form in methane seas

by This Science is Crazy in This Science Is Crazy!

Scientist identify 'azotosomes' - short carbon chains with a nitrogen terminus native to the atmosphere of Titan which can potentially self-assemble into bilayers in liquid methane.... Read more »

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