Post List

  • January 31, 2011
  • 08:30 AM
  • 1,240 views

Most people are a bit crazy, and believers are a bit crazier than most

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Full-blown delusions are thought to be pretty rare. By that I mean the truly bizarre delusions, like Capgras syndrome (when you think that relatives or close friends are sometimes replaced by identical-looking impostors), or Subjective Doubles (a belief that there is another person who looks and acts like you) and Controlled Thoughts (that your thoughts are not fully under your control).

It's actually quite difficult to find out just how common these kinds of delusions are. You can't just ask p........ Read more »

  • January 31, 2011
  • 07:48 AM
  • 1,042 views

With eyes closed

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

Do we think differently with our eyes closed or closed? Apparently we do. And it is not just a simple difference like the brain having more to do when it is processing vision compared to when it is not receiving visual input. There is a difference in how we react to music with our eyes [...]... Read more »

  • January 31, 2011
  • 07:25 AM
  • 1,723 views

Fishing for unusual DNA could help to tackle cancer

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

Think of DNA and you probably think of a double helix – the spiralling ladder shape made famous by Crick and Watson. But DNA can also exist in a number of other, rarer, forms. Led by Professor Shankar Balasubramanian, scientists at our Cambridge Research Institute embarked on a molecular ‘fishing trip’ inside our cells. They [...]... Read more »

Müller, S., Kumari, S., Rodriguez, R., & Balasubramanian, S. (2010) Small-molecule-mediated G-quadruplex isolation from human cells. Nature Chemistry, 2(12), 1095-1098. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.842  

  • January 31, 2011
  • 07:02 AM
  • 1,243 views

Does ‘death qualification’ systematically bias our juries?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Despite reports that death penalty use and support continue to decline and stories of freed innocent prisoners,  researchers continue to explore the impact of ‘death qualification’ on the makeup of American juries. Recently, a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, examined whether the ‘death qualification’ process in jury selection systematically excludes jurors based [...]


Related posts:Is racial bias fueling anti-Obama rhetoric?
Propaganda, Dogmatism & B........ Read more »

Summers, A., Hayward, RD, & Miller, MK. (2010) Death qualification as systematic exclusion of jurors with certain religious and other characteristics. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40(12). info:/

  • January 31, 2011
  • 07:00 AM
  • 1,181 views

January 31, 2011

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

When many people think of membrane fusion, they often think of endocytosis and vesicle trafficking. Membrane fusion is a fascinating and dynamic process that is involved in so many processes in the cell, including nuclear envelope formation.... Read more »

  • January 31, 2011
  • 06:48 AM
  • 1,315 views

Seed dispersal: how far is far enough?

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

This barely merits the Research Blogging tag, because all I want to do here is raise a possibility, and a tenuous one at that. I confess that I was attracted in a high-speed scan of headlines, by this one: Leaving home ain’t easy: non-local seed dispersal is only evolutionarily stable in highly unpredictable environments. The [...]... Read more »

  • January 31, 2011
  • 06:00 AM
  • 1,210 views

Article Review: Morbidity and Mortality Conferences in EM

by Michelle Lin in Academic Life In Emergency Medicine

Residency training programs are required to have Morbidity and Mortality (M&M) Conferences, as mandated by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). These conferences were originally designed to look at medical errors and unforeseen complications in patient care.Traditionally, Surgery programs focus on medical error and complications in their conferences. In contrast, Internal Medicine programs tend to focus more on cases because of their intrinsic learning value. Erro........ Read more »

Seigel, T., McGillicuddy, D., Barkin, A., & Rosen, C. (2010) Morbidity and Mortality Conference in Emergency Medicine. The Journal of Emergency Medicine, 38(4), 507-511. DOI: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2008.09.018  

  • January 31, 2011
  • 03:35 AM
  • 1,963 views

Closing our eyes affects our moral judgements

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest



We experience emotion more intensely with our eyes closed
The simple act of closing our eyes has a significant effect on our moral judgement and behaviour. Eugene Caruso and Francesca Gino, who made the observation, think the effect has to do with mental simulation, whereby having our eyes closed causes us to simulate scenarios more vividly. In turn this triggers more intense emotion.

Throughout the study, Caruso and Gino concealed the true aim of the research from participants by telling the........ Read more »

  • January 31, 2011
  • 01:02 AM
  • 681 views

An unhealthy glow: Parasites may equip hosts with warning colors

by Neil Losin in Day's Edge

Earlier this month at ScienceOnline2011 (a professional meeting of science bloggers and others using the web to communicate about science), Brian Malow – aka. the Science Comedian – gave a wonderful impromptu performance. On the topic of viruses, Brian described a viral infection as “Your cells: Under new management.” It’s a clever but quite apt [...]... Read more »

  • January 31, 2011
  • 12:55 AM
  • 919 views

Do fruit flies dream of electric bananas?

by Björn Brembs in bjoern.brembs.blog

That's the title of my 'Thought Experiment' column in the next issue of 'The Scientist', due to appear on February 1. Sarah Greene from The Scientist approached me in my role as F1000 faculty member at this year's SfN annual meeting in San Diego and asked me if I didn't want to write something for The Scientist.The short article is about visualizing neuronal activity in small brains. I've recently applied for a starting grant at the European Research Council to develop a microscope which can rec........ Read more »

  • January 31, 2011
  • 12:37 AM
  • 1,280 views

This is your Brain on Music

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Sci will admit I spent most the time “preparing” for this post by listening to LOTS of music. This is your brain: (Source) Is this your brain on Music? (Source) Well, to be entirely honest…probably not. But music’s still nice. Let’s take a look at why. So, let’s start out with a little bit of [...]... Read more »

  • January 30, 2011
  • 11:44 PM
  • 2,328 views

Egypt Week – Corruption and Cooperation

by Jon Wilkins in Lost in Transcription

So, our next Egypt Week feature is a theoretical paper on a topic closely related to the last post. Once again, we are interested in understanding the mechanisms that are responsible for encouraging or enforcing cooperation, thereby facilitating collective action. Last time, we talked about a paper that found that "altruistic" or "third-party" punishment is common in large-scale, complex societies, but is rare in small-scale societies, while "spiteful" punishment is universal.

Many empirical a........ Read more »

Úbeda, F., & Duéñez-Guzmán, E. (2010) POWER AND CORRUPTION. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01194.x  

  • January 30, 2011
  • 11:22 PM
  • 1,744 views

From The Editor’s Desk: Giant Squid=Awesomesauce

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

In the following post I will enumerate the many ways in which current science repeatedly demonstrates that giant squids are awesomesauce.
Awesome: (adj) amazing, awe-inspiring, awful, awing (inspiring awe or admiration or wonder) “New York is an amazing city”; “the Grand Canyon is an awe-inspiring sight”; “the awesome complexity of the universe”; “this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of . . . → Read More: From The Editor’........ Read more »

K. S. BOLSTAD, & S. O’SHEA. (2004) Gut contents of a giant squid Architeuthis dux (Cephalopoda: Oegopsida) from New Zealand waters. Bolstad , 15-21. info:/

Roeleveld, M. (2000) Giant squid beaks: implications for systematics. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, 80(1), 185-187. DOI: 10.1017/S0025315499001769  

  • January 30, 2011
  • 07:43 PM
  • 1,850 views

When weeds are wanted

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

And in keeping with the topic of bees… – I’ve just read a very, very cool paper in Ecology Letters about something I’ve wanted to do myself for some time. It’s a fairly specific piece of work, so it could easily be reproduced elsewhere with different species. My point though is that a hell of [...]... Read more »

Carvalheiro, L., Veldtman, R., Shenkute, A., Tesfay, G., Pirk, C., Donaldson, J., & Nicolson, S. (2011) Natural and within-farmland biodiversity enhances crop productivity. Ecology Letters. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01579.x  

  • January 30, 2011
  • 05:30 PM
  • 1,002 views

Selection is random

by Bjørn Østman in Pleiotropy

When is the effect of a mutation neutral?

A mutation (by this I mean any change to the genotype/genome of an organism) is neutral when it does not change the fitness of the organism. This can happen in different ways:

1) A mutation (SNP) that changes one nucleotide in the protein coding sequence, but does not change the amino acid. These are known as synonymous substitutions, and (mostly*) do not affect fitness.
2) When the mutation does not change fitness, just because the genomic chang........ Read more »

Watson, R., Weinreich, D., & Wakeley, J. (2011) GENOME STRUCTURE AND THE BENEFIT OF SEX. Evolution, 65(2), 523-536. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01144.x  

  • January 30, 2011
  • 03:52 PM
  • 1,367 views

Smoking and the Slave Trade

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox


To Africa and back again.

[Queen Nzinga (smoking a pipe) with Her Entourage, Kingdom of Kongo, 1670s]--------->

In the 17th Century, tobacco, the prototypical New World stimulant, was introduced to Africa by European traders. By 1607, tobacco was being cultivated in Sierra Leone, and in 1611 a Swiss doctor commented on how the soldiers of the “Kingdom of Kongo” fought hunger by grinding up tobacco leaves and setting them on fire, “so that a strong smoke is produced, which they inhale........ Read more »

  • January 30, 2011
  • 11:46 AM
  • 973 views

Painkillers, pregnancy and problems of procreation

by Elements Science in Elements Science

No pain no gain: mums told to grit their teeth if they want sons with balls. Djuke Veldhuis examines how expectant mothers use painkillers could affect their son... Read more »

Kristensen, D., Hass, U., Lesne, L., Lottrup, G., Jacobsen, P., Desdoits-Lethimonier, C., Boberg, J., Petersen, J., Toppari, J., Jensen, T.... (2010) Intrauterine exposure to mild analgesics is a risk factor for development of male reproductive disorders in human and rat. Human Reproduction, 26(1), 235-244. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/deq323  

  • January 30, 2011
  • 11:11 AM
  • 1,259 views

Improving tuberculosis control in Ethiopia

by Bernt Lindtjorn in International Health Research

Ethiopia, with over 80 million people, is heavily affected by tuberculosis, complicated by poverty and HIV infection, limited access to the health service and shortage of health workers. We recently reviewed tuberculosis control programme in South Ethiopia. Although treatment success rates have improved during the last decade, low case notification rate, mainly because of inability [...]... Read more »

  • January 30, 2011
  • 09:05 AM
  • 1,704 views

Writerly scientist derided scientist-writer?

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Following up on the recent discovery that novelist and lepidopterist Vladimir Nabokov correctly supposed that Polyommatus blue butterflies colonized the New World in stages, Jessica Palmer points out that none other than Stephen Jay Gould dismissed Nabokov's scientific work as not up to the same standards of genius exhibited in his novels. She suggests that Nabokov's work may have been dismissed by his contemporaries because his scientific papers were a little too colorfully written.Roger Vila, ........ Read more »

  • January 30, 2011
  • 07:00 AM
  • 728 views

Catch Some Zzz’s to Lose Some Pounds

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The average length of a night of sleep for an adult in the United States has decreased by 2 hours in the last 50 years. Increasing evidence reports the damaging effects of sleep deprivation and restriction on hormone release, cardiovascular function, and glucose regulation. Now, in fact, evidence shows that sleep loss undermines dietary efforts [...]... Read more »

Copinschi G. (2005) Metabolic and endocrine effects of sleep deprivation. Essential psychopharmacology, 6(6), 341-7. PMID: 16459757  

Nedeltcheva AV, Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Kasza K, Schoeller DA, & Penev PD. (2009) Sleep curtailment is accompanied by increased intake of calories from snacks. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 89(1), 126-33. PMID: 19056602  

Nedeltcheva AV, Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Schoeller DA, & Penev PD. (2010) Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Annals of internal medicine, 153(7), 435-41. PMID: 20921542  

Van Cauter E, Spiegel K, Tasali E, & Leproult R. (2008) Metabolic consequences of sleep and sleep loss. Sleep medicine. PMID: 18929315  

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