Post List

  • January 13, 2011
  • 01:17 PM

Playing chicken, single molecule

by Vasili Hauryliuk in stringent response

Many things happen to DNA. Proteins bind, slide along, dissociate. Sometimes they bump into each other, and then... what happens then?This was exactly the question adressed in Finkelstein at al, Nature 2010. They were particularly interested in a bacterial protein called RecBCD, which is a powerful helicase. Using single-molecule microscopy theyhad a look at what happens when RecBCD rams into some other protein.And they had several to look at. RNA polymerase was the........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 12:30 PM

Nicotinic agonist improves cognitive performance

by Tantalus Prime in Tantalus Prime

Anyone who has spent some time around individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia can tell you one thing: they smoke. Even now that smoking amongst the general population has fallen to around 25% (depending upon who is doing the measuring and who is being measured) prevalence of smoking behavior amongst patients with schizophrenia ranges from 60 to 90%. So, why is that?Researchers have believed for some time that this is a form of self-medication, and there is evidence that smoking improves perform........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 11:03 AM

The Tangled History of Connecticut’s Anchisaurus

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

East Coast dinosaurs are relatively rare finds, often because the geological formations in which they rest have been built over. Dinosaurs surely remain to be found under parking lots, housing developments and city streets, and one of the now-lost dinosaur quarries is located in Manchester, Connecticut. During the 19th century the remains of several sauropodomorph [...]... Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 10:00 AM

Help Jurors Detect (or Protect) Holes in Expert Analysis

by Dr. Kevin Boully in Persuasive Litigator

by: Dr. Kevin Boully Infamous rock singer Courtney Love is in trouble again. Unless you’re her lawyer (or one of her forgiving fans)1, you are probably wondering what Love’s troubles have to do with your persuasive advocacy. Fair question. The Hole lead singer’s 2009 Twitter tirade against fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir made her a defendant in a defamation lawsuit that may be headed for trial in early February.2 Most importantly, Ms. Simorangkir has reportedly retained a social media ........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 09:08 AM

Third-hand tobacco smoke

by David Bradley in SciScoop Science Forum

Smokers, primarily, put their own health at risk with their habit, but their second-hand smoke puts others at risk too. New research now suggests that there are risks from so-called “thirdhand smoke”, toxic particles and aerosols released from surfaces that have previously been exposed to tobacco smoke. Now, I hate tobacco smoke as much as [...]Third-hand tobacco smoke is a post from: SciScoop Science News
... Read more »

Lauren M. Petrick, Alona Svidovsky, & Yael Dubowski. (2011) Thirdhand Smoke: Heterogeneous Oxidation of Nicotine and Secondary Aerosol Formation in the Indoor Environment. Environ Sci Tech, 45(1), 328-333. info:/10.1021/es10206

  • January 13, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

How Circadian Disruption Can Cause Obesity

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

Regular readers of these pages should be well aware of the mounting evidence that points to lack of sleep as an important driver of the obesity epidemic. Not only does lack of sleep increase cravings for “junk” foods, reduce energy levels and physical activity, but it also negatively affects metabolism.
In addition, it now seems that [...]... Read more »

Karatsoreos IN, Bhagat S, Bloss EB, Morrison JH, & McEwen BS. (2011) Disruption of circadian clocks has ramifications for metabolism, brain, and behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21220317  

  • January 13, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Sexy swords support startled swimming

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

I’ll give you that a massive sword looks cool...

But is it practical? What if you came up against someone with, I dunno, a longbow and you had to run? Things could be worse, though. At least that sword can be dropped. If you’re Xiphophorus helleri, you’re not so lucky: you’re stuck with your sword.

Xiphophorus helleri is a good old swordtail, known to anyone who’s ever been in a pet store. Why does this fish have a sword? The answer seems obvious once you realize that only males hav........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 07:54 AM

January 13, 2011

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Even if you don’t know what synaptic plasticity is, you should be thankful for it. Synaptic plasticity is the adjustment of a neuron’s response to a signal based on previous signal transmission, and many theorize that synaptic plasticity is the foundation for learning and memory. Today’s image is from a fascinating paper showing the role of myosin in organelle transport within a specific type of neuron, in a process that is important for synaptic plasticity. Purkinje neurons are found i........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 07:52 AM

Dog Exhibits Mutual Exclusivity Bias

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Pilley & Reid (2010) describe the incredible Chaser: A border collie who knows over 1,000 words. But does he really have a mutual exclusivity bias?... Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 07:49 AM

Dog exhibits mutual exclusivity bias

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0


Pilley & Reid (2010) describe an experiment where a border collie was trained to learn proper nouns for objects.  After 3 years of training, the dog had learned over 1,000 proper names and showed no sign of slowing.  Experiments were run to test whether the dog understood the difference between nouns and commands and whether the . . . → Read More: Dog exhibits mutual exclusivity bias... Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 07:22 AM

When it's moving, it's hard to see it changing.

by Psychothalamus in Psychothalamus

Change blindness is a phenomenon whereby people fail to detect sizable changes in a visual scene. This can occur even when they are actively trying to locate the change (Simons & Ambinder, 2005). If you are unaware of this phenomenon, you can go to UBC's psychology department where they have some interesting video examples. In a new study, Suchow & Alvarez (2011) demonstrates a novel visual illusion whereby motion induces failure to detect change - or what they call 'silencing'. Look at the........ Read more »

Suchow JW, & Alvarez GA. (2011) Motion Silences Awareness of Visual Change. Current biology : CB. PMID: 21215632  

Simons, D., & Ambinder, M. (2005) Change Blindness. Theory and Consequences. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(1), 44-48. DOI: 10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00332.x  

  • January 13, 2011
  • 05:05 AM

What makes revenge sweet?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Does it matter if the punished don't understand what they did wrong?
 'To bring him back to a more just sense of what he owes us, and of the wrong that he has done to us, is frequently the principal end posed in our revenge, which is always imperfect when it cannot accomplish this.' Adam SmithWhat makes revenge satisfying? Is it merely ensuring the transgressor receives their just deserts, or is it also about ensuring that they understand the error of their ways. Mario Gollwitzer and col........ Read more »

Gollwitzer, M., Meder, M., & Schmitt, M. (2010) What gives victims satisfaction when they seek revenge?. European Journal of Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.782  

  • January 13, 2011
  • 04:58 AM

More bad mutations = greater fitness

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

Does the chart above strike you as strange? What it shows is that the mean fitness of a population drops as you increase the rate of deleterious mutation (many more mutations are deleterious than favorable)…but at some point the fitness of the population bounces back, despite (or perhaps because of?) the deleterious mutations! This would [...]... Read more »

  • January 13, 2011
  • 02:00 AM

When a “home” becomes a “house”: care and caring in the flood recovery process

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

From Space and Culture             As Australia has become the latest victim of severe flooding, we are mindful of the potentially devastating consequences. This article looks back to the 2007 floods in North East England, to consider the care needs that are revealed, disrupted, and produced by the dependencies and vulnerabilities associated with flood recovery. It also uses diaries [...]... Read more »

  • January 12, 2011
  • 11:43 PM

Self-reflection In the Brain

by Colin Clark in Mens Rea

How do you know how well you're doing when you perform a task? Let's make it really easy -- let's say I quickly flash a word in front of your eyes, and you have to say what that word is. Now how confident are you that you got it right?Making this kind of decision falls into the realm of metacognition, or thinking about thinking. It's something that we do all the time -- "Am I remembering that ... Read more »

Fleming SM, Weil RS, Nagy Z, Dolan RJ, & Rees G. (2010) Relating introspective accuracy to individual differences in brain structure. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5998), 1541-3. PMID: 20847276  

  • January 12, 2011
  • 09:45 PM

Chimpanzee Warfare?

by Dan Bailey in Smells Like Science

The Chimpanzees who live at the Ngogo site deep within Uganda’s Kibale National Park spend their days foraging and feeding, wrestling and playing, grooming and socializing. But every 10 to 14 days a group of males gathers and moves away from the rest of the group. They form a single-file line as they walk purposefully toward the edge of their territory, eventually striking out into the territory of a neighboring group of chimpanzees. They move in atypical silence, scanning the underbrush and ........ Read more »

  • January 12, 2011
  • 09:30 PM

Sleep Deprivation, Beta-Amyloid, and Alzheimer's

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Research in the magazine Science found a retardation in the daily clearance rate of beta-amyloid from the CNS in Alzheimer's patients compared to matched healthy controls. Behaviorally, could sleep disturbances been a contributing factor??... Read more »

Mawuenyega KG, Sigurdson W, Ovod V, Munsell L, Kasten T, Morris JC, Yarasheski KE, & Bateman RJ. (2010) Decreased clearance of CNS beta-amyloid in Alzheimer's disease. Science (New York, N.Y.), 330(6012), 1774. PMID: 21148344  

  • January 12, 2011
  • 07:53 PM

Inositol Phosphates and Insulin Signaling

by Dave Bridges in Dave's Blog

When most people think of the role of inositols in Akt signaling, they immediately think about the role of PIP3 in the PDK1-Akt signaling axis.  A recent paper published in Cell by Solomon Snyder's group at John's Hopkins highlights the role of soluble inositol phosphates in insulin signaling.Soluble Inositol PhosphatesInositol is best known as a lipid head group, that can be phosphorylated to form 8 potential phosphorylated phosphatidylinositols. These membrane bound signaling lipids have ........ Read more »

Chakraborty, A., Koldobskiy, M., Bello, N., Maxwell, M., Potter, J., Juluri, K., Maag, D., Kim, S., Huang, A., & Dailey, M. (2010) Inositol Pyrophosphates Inhibit Akt Signaling, Thereby Regulating Insulin Sensitivity and Weight Gain. Cell, 143(6), 897-910. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.11.032  

  • January 12, 2011
  • 06:50 PM

Dialects in Tweets

by Richard in A Replicated Typo 2.0

A recent study published in the proceedings of the Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing Conference (EMNLP) in October and presented in the LSA conference last week found evidence of geographical lexical variation in Twitter posts. (For news stories on it, see here and here.) Eisenstein, O’Connor, Smith and Xing took a batch of Twitter posts from a . . . → Read More: Dialects in Tweets... Read more »

Jacob Eisenstein, Brendan O'Connor, Noah A. Smith, & Eric P. Xing. (2010) A Latent Variable Model for Geographic Lexical Variation. . Proceedings of EMNLP. info:/

  • January 12, 2011
  • 05:15 PM

Banded Penguins Do Not Reflect the Ecology of Climate Change

by Michael Long in Phased

Banding penguins on their flipper greatly reduces their reproductive fitness and lifespan. Consequently, inferences of the ecological impacts of climate change, based on banded penguins, are fundamentally flawed.... Read more »

Saraux, C., Le Bohec, C., Durant, J. M., Viblanc, V. A., Gauthier-Clerc, M., Beaune, D., Park, Y.-H., Yoccoz, N. G., Stenseth, N. C., & Le Maho, Y. (2011) Reliability of flipper-banded penguins as indicators of climate change. Nature, 469(7329), 203-206. DOI: 10.1038/nature09630  

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