Post List

  • March 7, 2010
  • 12:00 PM
  • 1,360 views

Smell a lady, shrug off flu - how female odours give male mice an immune boost

by Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science

Sex might be fun but it's not without risks. As your partner exposes themselves to you, they also expose you to whatever bacteria, viruses or parasites they might be carrying. But some animals have a way around that. Ekaterina Litvinova has found that when male mice get a whiff of female odours, their immune systems prepare their airways for attack, increasing their resistance to flu viruses.

Litvinova worked with a group of mice that were exposed to bedding that had previously been soiled by ........ Read more »

  • March 7, 2010
  • 11:16 AM
  • 830 views

Human and Chimpanzee Handedness

by Isabelle Winder in Going Ape

Of the many mysteries surrounding human evolution, the question of why humans, alone out of all the apes, display a strong tendency towards being right-handed is perhaps less well known than uncertainties about our locomotion, brain size and cultural capacity. Yet the fact remains, over 90% of humans are right handed, and strongly so - there are proportionally few left-handed individuals and very few ambidextrous ones. Handedness is a manifestation of laterality - having a behaviourally dominant........ Read more »

Braccini S, Lambeth S, Schapiro S, & Fitch WT. (2010) Bipedal tool use strengthens chimpanzee hand preferences. Journal of human evolution, 58(3), 234-241. PMID: 20089294  

  • March 7, 2010
  • 11:01 AM
  • 1,115 views

The sociology of Chatroulette

by ---a in Bodyspacesociety.eu


by Antonio A. Casilli (Centre Edgar-Morin, Paris) [1]
By now, you might have heard about Chatroulette, if you are hip and tech-savvy if those two things at the sides of your face are your ears. By the way, I hope you did not click on the link. It’s not safe for work. And by that I [...]... Read more »

Peter M. Todd. (1997) Searching for the next best mate. In R. Conte, R. Hegselmann, and P. Terna (Eds.) Simulating social phenomena, Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 419-436. info:/

  • March 7, 2010
  • 08:10 AM
  • 741 views

Weekly Dose of Cute: World's Biggest Bunny!

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

Often, the cutest things come in small packages. Not so with Ralph - at 42 lbs, he's a record-breaking rabbit.

Ralph comes from a huge family - both his mother and father previously held the world records for largest rabbit in length and weight. And though he's already the biggest bunny in the world, Ralph is still growing! No one knows how immense this ball off fluff will get, but however big he ends up being, he's sure to still be 100% adorable.

... Read more »

  • March 7, 2010
  • 05:04 AM
  • 1,011 views

Gamma-ray bursts without the gamma rays?

by Charles Daney in Science and Reason

We discussed supernovae a bit in this recent post on gamma-ray bursts. There is now interesting new information on the connection between supernovae and gamma-ray bursts from two recently-described supernovae with atypical properties.Let's first review a little. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are identified by detection of relatively brief (usually less than a few minutes) but highly energetic emissions of gamma rays. Although there's a great deal of diversity, most events fall into one of two categori........ Read more »

Soderberg, A., Chakraborti, S., Pignata, G., Chevalier, R., Chandra, P., Ray, A., Wieringa, M., Copete, A., Chaplin, V., Connaughton, V.... (2010) A relativistic type Ibc supernova without a detected γ-ray burst. Nature, 463(7280), 513-515. DOI: 10.1038/nature08714  

Paragi, Z., Taylor, G., Kouveliotou, C., Granot, J., Ramirez-Ruiz, E., Bietenholz, M., van der Horst, A., Pidopryhora, Y., van Langevelde, H., Garrett, M.... (2010) A mildly relativistic radio jet from the otherwise normal type Ic supernova 2007gr. Nature, 463(7280), 516-518. DOI: 10.1038/nature08713  

  • March 7, 2010
  • 04:33 AM
  • 1,761 views

Let's Make Scotland More Active!

by PhD Blogger in Exercise Psychology

I thought i would post the Scottish Physical Activity strategy to demonstrate that a good strategy requires effective implementation. The document Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotlandidentified that Scotland was the third most obese country in the world after the USA and Mexico. This may actually be progress as until the report we were usually named as the second! Let's Make Scotland More Active is actually a very good strategy document. It was published in 2003 but progress has bee........ Read more »

The Scottish Government. (2003) Let's Make Scotland More Active. Government Paper. info:/

  • March 6, 2010
  • 11:30 PM
  • 1,238 views

From the Literature: Beetles that breathe through their shells!

by dragonflywoman in The Dragonfly Woman

I wrote my last three posts on insect respiration specifically because I wanted to talk about a paper that was published in the Journal of Morphology in November 2009 that deals with aquatic insect respiration.  Since this is my personal area of expertise, I find this paper fascinating!  I hope you find it as interesting [...]... Read more »

  • March 6, 2010
  • 10:18 PM
  • 864 views

Brain Scans Confirm: Men Like Curves in Women

by Wayne Hooke in The Psychology of Beauty

Platek & Singh (2010) report that stimuli depicting optimal waist-hip ratios (~0.70) activate the “reward center” in men’s brains; while stimuli depicting body mass index do not. They conclude that BMI preferences are therefore more culturally determined and, by suggestion, that WHR preferences are the result of evolved psychological mechanisms. I will point-out at the [...]... Read more »

Fliessbach, K., Rohe, T., Linder, N., Trautner, P., Elger, C., & Weber, B. (2010) Retest reliability of reward-related BOLD signals. NeuroImage, 50(3), 1168-1176. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.01.036  

Steven M. Platek, & Devendra Singh. (2010) Optimal Waist-to-Hip Ratios in Women Activate Neural Reward Centers in Men. PLoS ONE. info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0009042

  • March 6, 2010
  • 09:45 PM
  • 637 views

Climate communication: Is fear collective action a winning strategy?

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture


In a previous post from my series on why people don’t engage climate change, I described my interpretations of work by Susanne Moser and Lisa Dilling1, which suggested that the use of fear can be a poor way to motivate behavioral changes to deal with climate warming:
Challenge 6: Fear can change perception but not willingness [...]... Read more »

Martijn van Zomeren, Russell Spears, Colin Wayne Leach. (2010) Experimental evidence for a dual pathway model analysis of coping with the climate crisis . Journal of Environmental Psychology. info:/10.1016/j.jenvp.2010.02.006

  • March 6, 2010
  • 08:55 PM
  • 483 views

Secure Carbon Dioxide Sequestration in Volcanic Rock

by Michael Long in Phased

Dennis Kent (Rutgers University) and coworkers have investigated the potential of underground porous basalt formations along the east coast of the United States for secure, long-term storage of carbon dioxide. This news feature was written on March 6, 2010.... Read more »

  • March 6, 2010
  • 08:31 PM
  • 1,309 views

Nativism and Empiricism

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Nativism and Empiricism
Do we come into the world with an innate understanding of the world, like baby geese seem to (for navigation)? Are the incredible navigational skills of ants and gerbils and other animals learned with experience, or are those animals born with those cognitive constructions of the world? What about for humans?
The fourth fifth [...]... Read more »

  • March 6, 2010
  • 08:22 PM
  • 616 views

Availability decay of Bioinformatics web resources : Yes widgets can change it

by Abhishek Tiwari in Fisheye Perspective

Quality and availability of bioinformatics resources is always a matter of great debate. HTTP 404 not found is quite frequent phenomenon for bioinformatics researchers looking to use some published web accessible database or analysis tool. A 4-year follow-up survey on the lack of persistence of bioinformatics resources was published in year 2008 by Jonathan D. Wren suggests that approximately 20% of URLs published in MEDLINE abstracts are now inaccessible, and the most common types of inaccessi........ Read more »

Bourne, P., Beran, B., Bi, C., Bluhm, W., Dunbrack, R., Prlić, A., Quinn, G., Rose, P., Shah, R., Tao, W.... (2010) Will Widgets and Semantic Tagging Change Computational Biology?. PLoS Computational Biology, 6(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000673  

Wren, J., & Bateman, A. (2008) Databases, data tombs and dust in the wind. Bioinformatics, 24(19), 2127-2128. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btn464  

  • March 6, 2010
  • 08:22 PM
  • 446 views

Availability decay of Bioinformatics web resources : Yes widgets can change it

by Abhishek Tiwari in Fisheye Perspective

Quality and availability of bioinformatics resources is always a matter of great debate. HTTP 404 not found is quite frequent phenomenon for bioinformatics researchers looking to use some published web accessible database or analysis tool. A 4-year follow-up survey on the lack of persistence of bioinformatics resources was published in year 2008 by Jonathan D. [...]... Read more »

Bourne, P., Beran, B., Bi, C., Bluhm, W., Dunbrack, R., Prlić, A., Quinn, G., Rose, P., Shah, R., Tao, W.... (2010) Will Widgets and Semantic Tagging Change Computational Biology?. PLoS Computational Biology, 6(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000673  

Wren, J., & Bateman, A. (2008) Databases, data tombs and dust in the wind. Bioinformatics, 24(19), 2127-2128. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btn464  

  • March 6, 2010
  • 05:33 PM
  • 1,546 views

From Conducting Polimers to First Organic Superconductors

by Olexandr Isayev in olexandrisayev.com

This week, I returned from the historic 50th Sanibel Symposium. Over 350 chemists and physicists gathered together to celebrate half-centennial success of quantum and computational chemistry. One lecture that caught my attention was a plenary talk “Conducting Polymers: a saga of more than 50 years” by professor Jean-Marie Andre. Professor Andre emphasized a role [...]... Read more »

Su, W., Schrieffer, J., & Heeger, A. (1980) Soliton excitations in polyacetylene. Physical Review B, 22(4), 2099-2111. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.22.2099  

Mitsuhashi, R., Suzuki, Y., Yamanari, Y., Mitamura, H., Kambe, T., Ikeda, N., Okamoto, H., Fujiwara, A., Yamaji, M., Kawasaki, N.... (2010) Superconductivity in alkali-metal-doped picene. Nature, 464(7285), 76-79. DOI: 10.1038/nature08859  

  • March 6, 2010
  • 04:51 PM
  • 665 views

Ooze like an amoeba, float like a bird - wish we could still do that when stressed!

by Student @ Fresno State in Darwin's Bulldogs


Here's another fun weird science story from NPR, about a creature that might be in the dirt in your own backyard:




20100305 Me 03 by Npr
Download now or listen on posterous
Naegleria-NPR.mp3 (1426 KB)






Courtesy of Lillian Fritz-Laylan
Naegleria gruberi grows a pair of flagella when under stress. But unlike a sperm tail, it puts these appendages out front, and swims by breast stroke. The organism is stained to emphasize its anatomy.



If you prefer to read the story rather th........ Read more »

Fritz-Laylin, L., Prochnik, S., Ginger, M., Dacks, J., Carpenter, M., Field, M., Kuo, A., Paredez, A., Chapman, J., & Pham, J. (2010) The Genome of Naegleria gruberi Illuminates Early Eukaryotic Versatility. Cell, 140(5), 631-642. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.01.032  

  • March 6, 2010
  • 04:34 PM
  • 898 views

Preparedness: Bioterrorism

by C. Julian in The Swarm


Last post I briefly typed about Ebola virus as a potential bioweapon. With the ongoing advances in genetics research and technologies, biological weapons does not looks anymore as a promising movie plot (The zombie nation!) or the higher level weapon in a video game. Even so, manufacturing an effective weapon using germs (viruses, bacteria, fungi or other) would require advanced knowledge and ... Read more »

  • March 6, 2010
  • 03:04 PM
  • 692 views

Fossilisation and Vegetation Patterns: Another Study of Decay and its Implications

by Isabelle Winder in Going Ape

Following on from my recent post about the decay of chordate animals, I have encountered a related paper, this time from Quaternary Research and focusing on the preservation of plants in middens (rubbish dumps) constructed by woodrats. This paper, written by Nowak et al. (2000), explores the question of how well these middens represent the vegetation surrounding them, by developing a method which calculates the probability that species that are missing from the midden are actually not present in........ Read more »

  • March 6, 2010
  • 02:45 PM
  • 682 views

Happiness opposed to despair/ennui; sadness to anger/irritability

by sandygautam in The Mouse Trap






Image via Wikipedia



We normally view happiness and sadness to be opposites on a single continuum, but I propose that it is time to change the textbooks and view happiness as opposed to ennui/despair and sadness as opposed to anger/irritability when it comes to basic opponent affects.
But before we go down that path first a detour.
I More >Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)


Related posts:Am happy, will be selfish; Am sad, will be fair. Oh Really?!? Image via Wikipedia Many a times, rese........ Read more »

  • March 6, 2010
  • 02:02 PM
  • 763 views

A River Runs Higher

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Trees and shrubs don’t diminish streamflow after all

... Read more »

Wilcox, B.P., & Y. Huang. (2010) Woody plant encroachment paradox: Rivers rebound as degraded grasslands convert to woodlands. Geophysical Research Letters. info:/10.1029/2009GL041929

  • March 6, 2010
  • 02:00 PM
  • 498 views

Neury Thursday (Weekend Edition): Neuronal Origin of Handedness

by Allison in Dormivigilia

In this week's Journal of Neuroscience, European researchers have recognized that though humans are innately endowed with handedness, owing to a greater, hemispheric-specific distribution of cortical matter within the premotor cortex, this unequal cortical distribution can be modified post-birth through deliberate practice, producing either ambidexterity or anti-handedness (if of course, practice is maintained).... Read more »

Stefan Klo¨ppel, Jean-Francois Mangin, Anna Vongerichten, Richard S. J. Frackowiak,and Hartwig R. Siebner. (2010) Nuture versus Nature: Long-Term Impact of Forced Right-Handedness on Structure of Pericentral Cortexand Basal Ganglia. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(9), 3271-3275. info:/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4394-09.2010

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