Post List

  • July 5, 2010
  • 05:50 PM

Enhanced Forelimb Strength in Sabertooth Cats

by Michael Long in Phased

Julie Meachen-Samuels and Blaire Van Valkenburgh (University of California Los Angeles, United States) show that sabertooth cats had unusually strong forelimb bones, which may have led to their decline. This news feature was written on July 5, 2010.... Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 05:13 PM

Endosymbiotic bacteria in leafhoppers

by Ryan Kitko in Cunabulum

Graphocephala coccinea, the candy-striped leafhopper. Source: Wikimedia Commons.Several weeks ago, urbpan posted about this pleasantly colorful species, Graphocephala coccinea, commonly known as the candy-stripe leafhopper. (cottonmanifesto also took some amazing photos of this species and displays one here.) If you live in North or Central America, you would probably recognize this species as a common visitor of gardens and cultivated areas. Urbpan noted that leafhoppers are frequently vectors ........ Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 04:53 PM

Are Headlines Hogwash? Part Deux

by Dr. Carin Bondar in Dr. Carin Bondar - Biologist With a Twist

In this series of posts, my esteemed colleague Dr. Zen Faulkes (neurodojo) and I are examining some recently published work that grabbed the headlines. We will ask the question: is the science accurately portrayed?

Hau, M., Ricklefs, R., Wikelski, M., Lee, K., & Brawn, J. (2010). Corticosterone, testosterone and life-history strategies of birds Proceedings [...]... Read more »

Hau M, Ricklefs RE, Wikelski M, Lee KA, & Brawn JD. (2010) Corticosterone, testosterone and life-history strategies of birds. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society. PMID: 20554550  

  • July 5, 2010
  • 04:41 PM

Baby (not quite) steps

by Carl in The motor chauvinist

Many non-scientists misunderstand the basic way science works. While there are indeed huge discoveries that fundamentally change the way we think about things, the vast majority of the time published papers are a steady plod onwards, adding in very modest amounts to the staggering array of human knowledge. Often seismic shifts in scientific opinion don’t come from great discoveries but from many scientists reading the literature and arguing among themselves and coming to different conclusions ........ Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 03:32 PM

Who looks for treatment when they have back pain?

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

I’m not a primary care clinician. The people I see with pain have long-term, chronic, persistent pain that has been around for ages. I think the shortest time someone might have had pain before I see them is 4 months! The average is something like more than 4 years. But I AM interested in who … Read more... Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 01:49 PM

Bolero, Meet Vuvuzela

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

The vuvuzela is not a popular instrument outside of South Africa. World Cup players from other nations complain that it breaks their concentration, broadcasters have trouble making their commentaries heard over the buzzing, and there is plenty of evidence that vuvuzela blasts can cause hearing loss and spread germs. Still, there is something special—something in the realm of dogs walking upright or porpoises tending bar—about a vuvuzela version of Ravel's Bolero.
Wind-inst........ Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 01:44 PM

FAO Tuna Fisheries Catch Trends in the Pacific Ocean and the China Anomaly ~ EDA of one year differences

by apeescape in mind of a Markov chain

In 2001, Reg Watson and Daniel Pauly published a paper in Nature (“Systematic distortions in world fisheries catch trends”) that showed anomalous trends for China’s marine fisheries catch trends. They took fisheries catch data within various countries’ EEZs and saw the difference between the predicted catch and the observed catch. China apparently had catches exponentially [...]... Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 01:00 PM

The Sea Slug's Guide to Plastid Adoption

by Merry Youle in Small Things Considered

Having an intimate relationship with photosynthetic microbes is a widespread strategy adopted by numerous unicellular and multicellular organisms. Some eschew a committed relationship, and simply nab the plastids, sequestering them...... Read more »

Rumpho ME, Worful JM, Lee J, Kannan K, Tyler MS, Bhattacharya D, Moustafa A, & Manhart JR. (2008) Horizontal gene transfer of the algal nuclear gene psbO to the photosynthetic sea slug Elysia chlorotica. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(46), 17867-71. PMID: 19004808  

  • July 5, 2010
  • 01:00 PM

The Sea Slug's Guide to Plastid Adoption

by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered

by Merry A handsome E. chlorotica. Its rich green pigmentation is courtesy of plastids captured from its food source, the siphonaceous marine alga Vaucheria litorea (seen in the background). Source. Having an intimate relationship with photosynthetic microbes is a widespread strategy adopted by numerous unicellular and multicellular organisms. Some eschew a committed relationship, and simply nab the plastids, sequestering them...... Read more »

Rumpho ME, Worful JM, Lee J, Kannan K, Tyler MS, Bhattacharya D, Moustafa A, & Manhart JR. (2008) Horizontal gene transfer of the algal nuclear gene psbO to the photosynthetic sea slug Elysia chlorotica. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(46), 17867-71. PMID: 19004808  

  • July 5, 2010
  • 12:55 PM

Standardization cause of poor replicability?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

In the last few years Web-based experiments have become an attractive alternative to lab-based experiments. Next to the advantages of versatility and the ecological validity of the results, Web-based experiments can potentially reach a much larger, more varied and intrinsically motivated participant pool. Especially in the domain of music perception and cognition it is important to probe a wide variety of participants, with different levels of training and cultural backgrounds.Nevertheless, to g........ Read more »

Richter, S., Garner, J., Auer, C., Kunert, J., & Würbel, H. (2010) Systematic variation improves reproducibility of animal experiments. Nature Methods, 7(3), 167-168. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth0310-167  

Honing, H., & Reips, U.-D. (2008) Web-based versus lab-based studies: a response to Kendall (2008). Empirical Musicology Review, 3(2), 73-77. info:/

  • July 5, 2010
  • 12:48 PM

Parental Age as a Risk Factor for Bipolar Disorder

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Advanced parental age appears to confer increased risk for a variety of clinical neuroscience disorders. First described in Down syndrome, advanced parental age at conception has now been linked to schizophrenia and autism. Effects of advanced parental age on risk have been found for both fathers and mothers. Some disorders appear to have more risk with paternal age while other appear to have more effect with maternal age. The presumed mechanism is sporadic mutations in male germ cells and fe........ Read more »

Menezes PR, Lewis G, Rasmussen F, Zammit S, Sipos A, Harrison GL, Tynelius P, & Gunnell D. (2010) Paternal and maternal ages at conception and risk of bipolar affective disorder in their offspring. Psychological medicine, 40(3), 477-85. PMID: 19627644  

  • July 5, 2010
  • 10:18 AM

Boney lumps and fast ways to the genetic cause of a disease

by Grant Jacobs in Code for life

We all have our lumps, the quirky features we develop with time.
Some of these are bone spurs, extra growths of bone.
These can be caused from damage to joints, like the lumpy joints seen in elderly people with arthritis. Bone spurs from differing causes can develop in many parts of the body, spine, toes, heel and [...]... Read more »

Sobreira NL, Cirulli ET, Avramopoulos D, Wohler E, Oswald GL, Stevens EL, Ge D, Shianna KV, Smith JP, Maia JM.... (2010) Whole-genome sequencing of a single proband together with linkage analysis identifies a Mendelian disease gene. PLoS genetics, 6(6). PMID: 20577567  

  • July 5, 2010
  • 10:05 AM

Losing the scientific lede

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Over at SEED, Dave Munger reflects on how online publishing and dissemination methods can strip the nuance from scientific news:I thought I was being careful to explain the results of several studies, showing that suicide is a difficult problem with many potential contributing factors and confounding variables, including mental illness, depression, and the seemingly contradictory influences of intelligence. Yet on social-networking sites, many readers latched on to one finding: That countries wi........ Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 09:30 AM

Homeopathy in the ICU?

by David Gorski in Science-Based Medicine

Editor’s note: It’s still a holiday weekend in the United States. I had considered simply taking the day off altogether, particularly since I’m busily working on my talk for TAM8–which (holy crap!) is in a mere three days, but then I figured today’s a good time to resurrect a “classic” (if you will) post that [...]... Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 08:29 AM

XMRV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Continued (Again)

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Yet more twists have emerged in the already serpentine tale of XMRV, the virus that may or may not be responsible for causing some cases of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), aka myalgic encephalomyelitis, (ME).First off, on Saturday 2nd July, a news item in Science magazine reported that two papers on XMRV were about to be published, but that the publication of both was "on hold" because they contradicted each other. One paper, from the US federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), supposedly foun........ Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

The hidden, invisible, and private web

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Everyone knows that Google and the other search engines between them crawl, spider, and slurp up the whole internet, right? Wrong! The millions of websites that are obviously available on the internet are readily searchable, Google Bing, Yahoo, and their ilk have seen to that, we can usually find documents, pages, digital images, videos, music, [...]The hidden, invisible, and private web is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog

You can also connect with Sciencebase on Facebook and Twitter
... Read more »

Peter Mork, Ken Smith, Barbara Blaustein, Christopher Wolf, Ken Samuel, Keri Sarver, & Irina Vayndiner. (2010) Facilitating discovery on the private web using dataset digests. International Journal of Metadata, Semantics and Ontologies, 5(3), 170-183. info:/

  • July 5, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Island getaway, or: A lizard in a life-boat

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Bermuda. Famous for its sun. Sand. Surf. Shorts. Triangles. Lizards.

Okay, maybe not the lizards. Not yet.

Islands and lakes hold a special place in the heart of evolutionary biologists (here’s a few examples from this blog: sticklebacks, crickets). As Jerry Coyne likes to say, island biogeography provides evidence for evolution so strong that most creationists simply ignore it.

View Larger Map

Bermuda formed about two million years ago. It’s small and a long way from the mainland, and ........ Read more »

Brandley, M., Wang, Y., Guo, X., Nieto Montes de Oca, A., Fería Ortíz, M., Hikida, T., & Ota, H. (2010) Bermuda as an evolutionary life raft for an ancient lineage of endangered Lizards. PLoS ONE, 5(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011375  

  • July 5, 2010
  • 06:57 AM

History of Medicine: ‘Natural’ eugenics

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

I always enjoy hearing about those exceptional people who can step outside the general buzz and flow of events and current thinking to see where it is meeting resistance and problems. And who then have the force of personality, intellect and ingenuity to change its direction, so that the desired end is met. Sometimes the [...]... Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 06:06 AM

Large flat whites taste stronger than regular flat whites

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

Australia is, I think, the home of the Flat White – a coffee that is a bit like a latte with less milk and that has quite recently started infiltrating the UK coffee scene. Of course, Monmouth at Borough Market has been doing a very good flat white for a few years, but then again, [...]... Read more »

  • July 5, 2010
  • 04:53 AM

With wrinkles, it's the quantity, not their location, that ages you most

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

You emerge from bed, drag yourself to the bathroom and peer through heavy, hooded eyelids at the mirror. There to your horror you see last night's frivolities etched into your face: freshly dug, trench-like furrows, and spidery lines scrawled across your skin as if by a mindless, scribbling toddler. It's aged you by about ten years - or has it? Actually, the impact of wrinkles, both in terms of quantity and type, on perceptions of age has been little researched since the early 1980s [pdf]. Accor........ Read more »

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