Post List

  • February 15, 2011
  • 09:23 AM

Why You Can't Cure a Plague of Olbermanns With An Infusion of O'Reillys

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Do left-leaning social sciences need an influx of conservatives to open their collective minds? So argues Jon Haidt, but I wonder. As I read this study in this month's Journal of Risk Research, adding another ideology to social psychology would more likely lead to a lot of pointless yelling and a ...Read More
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Kahan, D., Jenkins-Smith, H., & Braman, D. (2011) Cultural cognition of scientific consensus. Journal of Risk Research, 14(2), 147-174. DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2010.511246  

  • February 15, 2011
  • 09:05 AM

For lizards on white sands, evolution doesn't quite repeat itself, but it does rhyme

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Check back tomorrow for an interview with this study's lead author, Erica Bree Rosenblum.

If life on Earth started over from scratch, would it eventually re-evolve the world we see today? This is the kind of question that makes for an entertaining argument over beers: "Well, without the Chicxulub impact, the dinosaurs wouldn't have gotten out of the way for mammals." "But dinosaurs were already turning into birds!" You might think that to resolve that argument, we'd need a second Earth and four........ Read more »

  • February 15, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Do Nerve Genes Determine Excess Skin Fat?

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

As any clinician knows, patterns of fat deposition tend to vary greatly even in people with similar amounts of total body fat.
Not only are there the typical “male” and “female” patterns (commonly referred to as “apple” and “pear” shape) but there are also important differences in how much of excess fat is stored underneath the [...]... Read more »

  • February 15, 2011
  • 07:56 AM

The Andromeda Galaxy’s Globular Cluster System

by Christine Corbett Moran in Cosmic Rays

Globular Clusters (GCs) Globular clusters are groups of roughly spherical, densely packed stars. They are thought to have formed at the same time as most galaxies and the stars which make them up are some of the oldest known–thus GCs are an excellent probe of galaxy formation and evolution. They have a high central stellar [...]... Read more »

A. P. Huxor, A. M. N. Ferguson, N. R. Tanvir, M. J. Irwin, A. D. Mackey, R. A. Ibata, T. Bridges, S. C. Chapman, & G. F. Lewis. (2011) Exploring the Properties of the M31 Halo Globular Cluster System. MNRAS. arXiv: 1102.0403v1

Abadi, M., Navarro, J., & Steinmetz, M. (2006) Stars beyond galaxies: the origin of extended luminous haloes around galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 365(3), 747-758. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2005.09789.x  

  • February 15, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

Is a picture worth a thousand words…er, calories?

by pennydeck in Feedback Solutions for Obesity

This is Part 4 of my review of iPhone apps that track calories in and calories out (begun on Jan 31st). This week I’ll take a look at two apps that have taken a different approach to tracking calories – … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 15, 2011
  • 06:37 AM

Influencing others by showing emotion: a new emotional ability?

by Alex Fradera in BPS Occupational Digest

Many workplaces recognise that besides more cognitive notions of intelligence – our capability to solve problems, use logic, process and judge factual information – they also need Emotional Intelligence (EI): the capability to recognise, make the most of and manage emotion. Now a new theoretical paper makes the case that we should be expanding this concept of EI to include the ability to influence others through emotional displays.EI currently focuses on spotting, dealing with and making sen........ Read more »

  • February 15, 2011
  • 05:30 AM

Modeling and the scientific method

by Becky in It Takes 30

Last Friday’s Theory Lunch was interesting for a reason the speaker didn’t entirely intend.  In the preamble for his talk, Dan Beard wanted the audience to agree with him that the vision of the scientific method articulated by John R Platt — devise hypotheses, devise experiments to distinguish among them, perform said experiments, repeat (known as [...]... Read more »

Beard DA, & Kushmerick MJ. (2009) Strong inference for systems biology. PLoS computational biology, 5(8). PMID: 19714210  

  • February 15, 2011
  • 05:28 AM

Caught in the act: sneak preview of galaxy cluster that’s still forming

by Kelly Oakes in Basic Space

Galaxy clusters are some of the largest structures in the universe. Astronomers have found these clusters, which are large groups of galaxies bound together by gravity, as far back as only 4 billion years after the Big Bang (less than … Continue reading →... Read more »

Capak PL, Riechers D, Scoville NZ, Carilli C, Cox P, Neri R, Robertson B, Salvato M, Schinnerer E, Yan L.... (2011) A massive protocluster of galaxies at a redshift of z ≈ 5.3. Nature, 470(7333), 233-5. PMID: 21228776  

  • February 15, 2011
  • 05:20 AM

Learning new faces - A mental ability that doesn't peak until the early thirties

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Cognition researchers should beware assuming that people's mental faculties have finished maturing when they reach adulthood. So say Laura Germine and colleagues, whose new study shows that face learning ability continues to improve until people reach their early thirties.

Although vocabulary and other forms of acquired knowledge grow throughout the life course, it's generally accepted that the speed and efficiency of the cognitive faculties peaks in the early twenties before starting a steady ........ Read more »

  • February 15, 2011
  • 02:00 AM

New Labour’s youth justice legacy

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

The sleep of (criminological) reason: Knowledge—policy rupture and New Labour’s youth justice legacy From Criminology and Criminal Justice   This article looks at how the UK youth justice system has experienced many reforms under the 3 terms of New Labour. There is an understanding that the treatment of children— particularly those in conflict with the [...]... Read more »

  • February 14, 2011
  • 10:06 PM

“Antioxidants” in chocolate (and fruit): don’t buy the hype

by Colby in

Last week, just in time for Valentine’s day (clever science marketing or lucky peer review speed?), Hershey announced that cocoa is a “super fruit” with a paper in the Chemistry Central Journal (open access). Here is a random sampling of … Continue reading →... Read more »

Crozier SJ, Preston AG, Hurst WJ, Payne MJ, Mann J, Hainly L, & Miller DL. (2011) Cacao seeds are a "Super Fruit": A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products. Chemistry Central journal, 5(1), 5. PMID: 21299842  

  • February 14, 2011
  • 10:03 PM

Dunning-Kruger Effect

by Jon Wilkins in Lost in Transcription


Dunning-Kruger Effect by jonfwilkins
Kruger, J., & Dunning, D. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77 (6), 1121-1134 DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.77.6.1121

... Read more »

  • February 14, 2011
  • 08:25 PM

Transgenic Switchgrass for Biofuels: Feasible but Irresponsible

by Michael Long in Phased

Switchgrass has been genetically modified into a more useful fuel, but this research should not see the light of day until it's proven to be safe for the environment.... Read more »

Fu, C., Mielenz, J. R., Xiao, X., Ge, Y., Hamilton, C. Y., Rodriguez Jr, M., Chen,F., Foston, M., Ragauskas, A., Bouton, J.... (2011) Genetic manipulation of lignin reduces recalcitrance and improves ethanol production from switchgrass. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1100310108

  • February 14, 2011
  • 07:09 PM

Posterior Hippocampus and Sexual Frequency

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Fig. 2D (Acevedo et al., 2011). Image and scatter plot illustrating greater response to the Partner (vs. a highly familiar acquaintance) in the region of the posterior hippocampus is associated with higher sexual frequency.Now there's an unexpected correlation suitable for Valentine's Day. How romantic! Actually, it is romantic because the neuroimaging study by Acevedo et al. (2011) is entitled "Neural correlates of long-term intense romantic love." How do you quantify long-term intense romantic........ Read more »

Acevedo BP, Aron A, Fisher HE, & Brown LL. (2011) Neural correlates of long-term intense romantic love. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience. PMID: 21208991  

  • February 14, 2011
  • 05:18 PM

A truly dreadful study into the effects of prayer

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

In the middle of 2009, a small group of religious scholars and doctors lead by Candice Brown, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University, travelled to Mozambique to find out if charismatic healing really works. So they went to some events laid on by Evangelical missions, and ran some tests on the recipients.

Unfortunately, what resulted was one of the mos shoddy studies I've ever seen!

Basically, the set up was this. The preachers asks if there's anyone who has hearing or s........ Read more »

  • February 14, 2011
  • 03:52 PM

Repost – Q: How do you sex a Smilodon? A: Very carefully

by Laelaps in Laelaps

An animal of such habits [as Smilodon] might fulfill the legendary requirements of the ‘King of Beasts’ more nearly than does the lion. It would be bold and fearless of the most powerful, and it might well be thought to exercise a ‘magnanimous’ forbearance toward the small and weak ones, since they [...]... Read more »

  • February 14, 2011
  • 03:36 PM

Strategic plans and genome sequencing

by Sandra Porter in Discovering Biology in a Digital World

This morning I attended a "bloggers-only" conference call with Dr. Eric Green and the folks from the NIH Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) to hear about NHGRI's new strategic plan. The new plan represents a shift away from viewing the genome through a lens marked "for research use only" and towards the goal of making the genome useful as a clinical tool. As a consequence, we will see a greater emphasis on funding activities that support clinical work. For example, it's not always clear ........ Read more »

Green ED, Guyer MS, National Human Genome Research Institute, Overall leadership, Green ED, Guyer MS, Coordination of writing contributions (see Acknowledgements for list of other contributors), Manolio TA, & Peterson JL. (2011) Charting a course for genomic medicine from base pairs to bedside. Nature, 470(7333), 204-13. PMID: 21307933  

  • February 14, 2011
  • 02:46 PM

‘You had me at hello’ – Love at First Sight

by Ben Good in B Good Science

Valentine’s day is upon us. With love hearts adorning every shop window, radio stations playing non-stop love songs and an army of loved up teddy bears invading homes there is never a better time to look at the science of love. A recent meta-analysis has indicated that falling in love can take a little as … Read more... Read more »

Ortigue S, Bianchi-Demicheli F, Patel N, Frum C, & Lewis JW. (2010) Neuroimaging of love: fMRI meta-analysis evidence toward new perspectives in sexual medicine. The journal of sexual medicine, 7(11), 3541-52. PMID: 20807326  

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