Post List

  • September 2, 2010
  • 07:49 PM
  • 712 views

But Science Doesn’t Work That Way : Miller and Chomsky (1963)

by melodye in Child's Play

In this post, our heroine — spurred on by her godly pursuit of science and a bevy of caffeinated drinks — compares the standard approach to language to intelligent design.  It might get noodly. Pick one : Does language “emerge” full-blown in children, guided by a hierarchy of inbuilt grammatical rules for sentence formation and comprehension? Or [...]... Read more »

Bannard C, Lieven E, & Tomasello M. (2009) Modeling children's early grammatical knowledge. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(41), 17284-9. PMID: 19805057  

Ramscar, M., Yarlett, D., Dye, M., Denny, K., & Thorpe, K. (2010) The Effects of Feature-Label-Order and their Implications for Symbolic Learning. Cognitive Science, 34(7), 909-957. info:/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01092.x

Scholz, B., & Pullum, G. (2006) Irrational Nativist Exuberance. Contemporary Debates in Cognitive Science, 59-80. info:/

  • September 2, 2010
  • 07:25 PM
  • 819 views

Spider chat up lines

by Africa Gomez in BugBlog

In summer and autumn, spiders become more noticeable. The tiny spiderlings born in the spring have now become adults and males are wandering in search of females. One of the most common spider species in the UK is the elegantly marked Linyphia triangularis (female above). This spider makes a sheet web with criss-crossing silk lines over it in low bushes and trees. The spider hangs belly up from the underneath the sheet. Flying insects colliding with the transversal lines  fall onto the........ Read more »

Nielsen, N and Toft, S. (1990) Alternative male mating strategies in Linyphia triangularis (Araneae, Linyphiidae). Acta Zoologica Fennica. info:/

  • September 2, 2010
  • 06:26 PM
  • 456 views

…give a dog a bad name, and shoot him

by Rift in Psycasm

[Wherein our hero - having gone AWOL - is posting old thoughts that might still be relevant. They're interesting, at the very least.... one hopes] As I’ve mentioned previously I’ve already attained a degree. I mention this because the body of this post represents the strangest assignment I’ve received in a full 6 years of [...]... Read more »

  • September 2, 2010
  • 06:20 PM
  • 1,084 views

Probing the atmospheres of extrasolar planets

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

Ok, so you’re young, you’re surprisingly dusty, and you don’t match the models. No, not a picture of my geeky childhood, but the extrasolar planet HR 8799b. It orbits the star HR 8799 and, along with its two companions, is one of the two extrasolar planetary systems to be directly imaged, as shown above. Unsurprisingly [...]... Read more »

Brendan P. Bowler, Michael C. Liu, Trent J. Dupuy, Michael C. Cushing. (2010) Near-Infrared Spectroscopy of the Extrasolar Planet HR 8799 b. accepted by ApJ. info:/1008.4582

Knicole D. Colon, Eric B. Ford, Seth Redfield, Jonathan J. Fortney, Megan Shabram, Hans J. Deeg, & Suvrath Mahadevan. (2010) Probing potassium in the atmosphere of HD 80606b with tunable filter transit spectrophotometry from the Gran Telescopio Canarias. submitted to MNRAS. arXiv: 1008.4800v1

D. K. Sing, J.-M. Desert, J. J. Fortney, A. Lecavelier des Etangs, G. E. Ballester, J. Cepa, D. Ehrenreich, M. Lopez-Morales, F. Pont, M. Shabram, A. Vidal-Madjar. (2010) GTC OSIRIS Transiting Exoplanet Atmospheric Survey: Detection of potassium in XO-2b from spectrophotometry. submitted to A. info:/1008.4795

  • September 2, 2010
  • 05:51 PM
  • 1,134 views

The difference between being religous and being a believer

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

One of the big news stories from last year was the revelation that Americans are leaving their churches and religious institutions in droves. They are becoming "unaffiliated", although there was a lot of debate over what that meant. Are Americans losing religion, or is it simply that they are disillusioned with what they're being offered?

A new analysis, using data collected over the last three decades by the General Social Survey, sheds some light on this - and also tells us more about just wh........ Read more »

  • September 2, 2010
  • 04:35 PM
  • 1,524 views

HPV prevalence in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

by epibio in EpiCentral

Esophageal cancer is currently the eighth most common human cancer, with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) being the most common subtype. Tobacco and alcohol use are the most prevalent causes of ESCC; however, limited evidence suggests that infectious agents--in particular, human papillomavirus (HPV)--are linked to ESCC. Antonsson et al. recently analyzed HPV prevalence and lifestyle factors in ESCC patients. Archived tumor samples from a nationwide cohort of 222 ESCC patients in Austral........ Read more »

  • September 2, 2010
  • 04:33 PM
  • 974 views

Free Kick Physics, Roberto Carlos Style

by Michael Gutbrod in A Scientific Nature

For all you soccer/football/fútbol/calcio fans out there, you may have been watching the 1997 Confederations Cup match between Brazil and France when Roberto Carlos lined up for a 35 meter (115 ft.), relatively long, free kick.  Then you either screamed in unbridled joy or a crying disgust as Carlos appeared to botch the free kick [...]... Read more »

Guillaume Dupeux, Anne Le Goff, David Quéré and Christophe Clanet. (2010) The spinning ball spiral. New Journal of Physics. info:/

  • September 2, 2010
  • 04:23 PM
  • 1,792 views

Baseball Fans Behaving Badly

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

So it's done. I've accepted it. There will be no playoff entry for the Mets this year—something that was evident earlier in the year, but the motto of this team is "Ya gotta believe." So you know, I had to believe. Am I disappointed? Yes. What fan wouldn't be? Am I surprised? No. What Mets fan would be? Does it mean that I won't be there come spring anxiously awaiting the crack of the bat?

... Read more »

Brearley M. (2000) Teams: lessons from the world of sport. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 321(7269), 1141-3. PMID: 11061741  

  • September 2, 2010
  • 04:16 PM
  • 554 views

Walking sub-optimally: redux

by Carl in The motor chauvinist

I haven’t done this before but I wanted to revisit the post I made last week about sub-optimal walking in the light of new information. You see, we had a journal club about the paper yesterday in which interesting discussions were had about the paper and the results – and the conclusions drawn from those results.If you recall, the central thesis of the paper is that we over-correct for deviations in our stride length and stride time that draw us away from the line of constant velocity (the G........ Read more »

  • September 2, 2010
  • 03:00 PM
  • 906 views

Should Mother Nature have to sign the Copenhagen Accord?

by Maria José Viñas in GeoSpace

Carbon dioxide releases by hurricanes are significant, but offset by ocean cooling and phytoplankton growth

A hurricane’s passage over warm ocean waters can drive a significant amount of carbon dioxide from the waves to the sky. The violent winds associated with a passing storm can dramatically increase the gas exchange between the ocean and [...]... Read more »

P. Huang, & J. Imberger. (2010) Variation of pCO2 in ocean surface water in response to the passage of a hurricane. J. Geophys. Res. info:/10.1029/2010JC006185

  • September 2, 2010
  • 02:36 PM
  • 758 views

In a Data-Swamped World, Connecting the Dots Is All Too Easy

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

An information-saturated society is going to notice plenty of weird correlations, like the Blade Runner curse or the unfortunate fate of American presidents elected in years that ended in a zero (for a long time beginning in 1860, all died in office). The more data we collect, the more patterns we see. Iran leads the world in nose-jobs per capita. Major wars have been preceded by stock-market plunges on the other side of the world. It's increasingly easy to find unexpected alignments betw........ Read more »

Berreby, D. (2010) On markets and collective mood. Nature, 467(7311), 31-31. DOI: 10.1038/467031a  

  • September 2, 2010
  • 12:55 PM
  • 801 views

The Science of Sexism: Primate Behavior and the Culture of Sexual Coercion

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries in Exile

The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted by The Intersection at Discover magazine.Despite the advances our society has made for women’s rights and sexual equality during the last century this example is just one more sign of how far we still have to go. It’s not an isolated incident. According to statistics compiled by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission there were 12,696 workplace sexual harassment cases filed in 2009 (which would be a fraction of the number that actuall........ Read more »

Martin N. Muller and Richard W. Wrangham. (2009) Sexual Coercion in Primates and Humans: An Evolutionary Perspective on Male Aggression Against Females. Harvard University Press. info:/

  • September 2, 2010
  • 12:55 PM
  • 1,005 views

The Science of Sexism: Primate Behavior and the Culture of Sexual Coercion

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted by The Intersection at Discover magazine.Despite the advances our society has made for women’s rights and sexual equality during the last century this example is just one more sign of how far we still have to go. It’s not an isolated incident. According to statistics compiled by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission there were 12,696 workplace sexual harassment cases filed in 2009 (which would be a fraction of the number that actuall........ Read more »

Martin N. Muller and Richard W. Wrangham. (2009) Sexual Coercion in Primates and Humans: An Evolutionary Perspective on Male Aggression Against Females. Harvard University Press. info:/

  • September 2, 2010
  • 12:39 PM
  • 942 views

Finland removes displays of tobacco in shops as evidence mounts for UK action

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

In August, the Finnish President signed a new law to end the display of tobacco products in the country’s shops. It’s a timely move and one that’s being mirrored across the world. Scotland, for example, is pressing ahead with its own law. The Coalition Government in Westminster is considering whether to take this step, given [...]... Read more »

  • September 2, 2010
  • 12:17 PM
  • 991 views

Six Months to a Sexy New Body

by Paul Statt in Paul Statt Communications

Public transportation, like, say, public health or the public library, just isn’t sexy. But a fat slob isn’t sexy, either, is he? And with public transportation, he could build a sexy new physique in only 6 to 8 months, according to a recent publication in the the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.... Read more »

MacDonald JM, Stokes RJ, Cohen DA, Kofner A, & Ridgeway GK. (2010) The effect of light rail transit on body mass index and physical activity. American journal of preventive medicine, 39(2), 105-12. PMID: 20621257  

  • September 2, 2010
  • 12:14 PM
  • 1,012 views

How To Fight Loneliness

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

Loneliness is bad for your health. The work of John Cacioppo and others has proven this connection repeatedly over the last decade, finding links between loneliness and blood pressure, sleep quality, dementia, gene expression, and many other medical measures. The evidence has built to the point that loneliness could be considered a serious risk factor [...]... Read more »

Masi CM, Chen HY, Hawkley LC, & Cacioppo JT. (2010) A Meta-Analysis of Interventions to Reduce Loneliness. Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc. PMID: 20716644  

  • September 2, 2010
  • 12:08 PM
  • 896 views

Diabetes drug may protect against cancer

by Sally Church in Pharma Strategy Blog

Yesterday, I covered some of the key pathways and kinases associated with cell energy metabolism, LKB1 and AMPK. These, together with Insulin-like Growth Factor-I (IGF-I) and the insulin receptor (IR), appear to play important roles in the broader regulation of...... Read more »

  • September 2, 2010
  • 12:01 PM
  • 2,165 views

Evolution of cerebral cortex traced back to Precambrian era

by Eva Amsen in the Node

In a paper published today in Cell, Detlev Arendt, Raju Tomer and colleagues reveal evidence that the cerebral cortex evolved much earlier than previously believed. Using a new technique to detect and image simultaneously expressed genes in a compact brain area, they discovered that the gene expression patterns in the olfactory processing region (mushroom bodies) [...]... Read more »

Raju Tomer, Alexandru S. Denes, Kristin Tessmar-Raible, & Detlev Arendt. (2010) Profiling by Image Registration Reveals Common Origin of Annelid Mushroom Bodies and Vertebrate Pallium. Cell, 142(5), 800-809. info:/10.1016/j.cell.2010.07.043

  • September 2, 2010
  • 11:33 AM
  • 573 views

Racial Bias of Adult Sensitivity to Infant Facial Care-Seeking Cues

by Michael Long in Phased

John Hodsoll (Queen Mary University, United Kingdom) and coworkers have shown that preferential adult attention to infant facial features is affected by the race of the infant relative to that of the adult, suggesting an influence of experience and environment. This news feature was written on September 2, 2010.... Read more »

Hodsoll, J., Quinn, K. A., & Hodsoll, S. (2010) Attentional Prioritization of Infant Faces Is Limited to Own-Race Infants. PLoS ONE, 5(9). info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0012509

  • September 2, 2010
  • 11:02 AM
  • 499 views

War & Fish

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

War isn’t the answer — but it wasn’t so bad if you were a Scottish haddock. A 6-year pause in commercial fishing caused by World War II helped cod, haddock and whiting populations in Europe’s North Sea recover from years of pre-war exploitation, according to a new analysis. The “accidental” reserve suggests that cold-water fish […] Read More »... Read more »

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