Unveiling of the Mother Theresa postage stamp Sept. 5th, 2010 at the National Shrine. Postmaster General Jack Potter was in attendance (immediately to the left of the stamp).
Over the recent Labor Day weekend, S and I visited Washington D.C. where purely by chance we stumbled on a stamp unveiling. We were touring the National Shrine—the mosaics are breathtaking—when we realized the ceremony occurring at the front had little to do with normal services. The United States Post Office h........ Read more »
EVANS, K. (1992) the argument of images: historical representation in Solidarity underground postage, 1981-87. American Ethnologist, 19(4), 749-767. DOI: 10.1525/ae.1992.19.4.02a00070
As a relatively infrequent airline traveler, packing for distant assignments and trips always presents me with an organizational challenge. Clothes, equipment, and supplies must be tracked down and stuffed into my cheap luggage, with frequent checks of the TSA website to ensure that I can unpack and repack my carryons with a minimum of hassle [...]... Read more »
Louchart, A., Tourment, N., & Carrier, J. (2010) The earliest known pelican reveals 30 million years of evolutionary stasis in beak morphology. Journal of Ornithology. DOI: 10.1007/s10336-010-0537-5
When you have to make a tough decision, a difficult choice, one that will affect your life and the lives of those around you, you always have to involve them in the process, and you will find that the wisest thing to do is to unite and make the decision collectively… Starting from us, humans, [...]... Read more »
Not only are a considerable proportion of medical students depressed, those who are believe they’ll lose the respect of their peers and their tutors if they speak out, according to new research in published in Journal of the American Medical Association. The study of 505 medical students in Michigan found that more than one in [...]... Read more »
Schwenk T,, Davis L,, & Wimsatt L,. (2010) Depression, Stigma, and Suicidal Ideation in Medical Students. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 304(11), 1181-1190. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.1300
Daniel Goldman (Georgia Institute of Technology, United States) and coworkers' research will be useful for Loggerhead sea turtle conservation, as well as the design of robots that can walk across challenging surfaces. This news feature was written on September 20, 2010.... Read more »
Mazouchova, N., Gravish, N., Savu, A., & Goldman, D. I. (2010) Utilization of granular solidification during terrestrial locomotion of hatchling sea turtles. Biology Letters, 6(3), 398-401. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.1041
Not an immediately obvious pairing, but still a bit more logical than a shop I once visited in UlaanBataar that sold saucepans, fur coats and guns (actually now that I think about it – one could shoot the elk, skin it and cook it up – quite the sensible shop after all). These Belgians have [...]... Read more »
 Meeus M, Nijs J, Van de Wauwer N, Toeback L, & Truijen S. (2008) Diffuse noxious inhibitory control is delayed in chronic fatigue syndrome: an experimental study. Pain, 139(2), 439-48. PMID: 18617327
 Meeus M, Nijs J, Huybrechts S, & Truijen S. (2010) Evidence for generalized hyperalgesia in chronic fatigue syndrome: a case control study. Clinical rheumatology, 29(4), 393-8. PMID: 20077123
 Van Oosterwijck J, Nijs J, Meeus M, Lefever I, Huybrechts L, Lambrecht L, & Paul L. (2010) Pain inhibition and postexertional malaise in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: an experimental study. Journal of internal medicine, 268(3), 265-78. PMID: 20412374
 Meeus M, Nijs J, Van Oosterwijck J, Van Alsenoy V, & Truijen S. (2010) Pain physiology education improves pain beliefs in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome compared with pacing and self-management education: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 91(8), 1153-9. PMID: 20684894
‘Tandem Running’ in ants is a behavioral strategy in which one ant leads another to a specific resource. This kind of behavior has received a lot of attention from the scientific community because it represents a rudimentary form of teaching and learning. Leaders ‘teach’ their followers how to find the prize, and the followers in [...]... Read more »
Franklin, E., Richardson, T., Sendova-Franks, A., Robinson, E., & Franks, N. (2010) Blinkered teaching: tandem running by visually impaired ants. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-010-1057-2
When it comes to ancient times, biologists are pretty sloppy timekeepers. They measure time with something that they call the ‘molecular clock‘. Since every gene will undergo small mutations over time, they simply look at the number of differences between two genes of two different species to estimate how long ago they shared [...]... Read more »
Wang M, Jiang YY, Kim KM, Qu G, Ji HF, Mittenthal JE, Zhang HY, & Caetano-Anollés G. (2010) A Universal Molecular Clock of Protein Folds and its Power in Tracing the Early History of Aerobic Metabolism and Planet Oxygenation. Molecular biology and evolution. PMID: 20805191
Archaea are under-rated. For one, most people don’t really know they exist – and if they do archaea are thoughtof as a type of bacteria. This goes not only for the general public also for some of my non-microbiology colleagues. (I had to correct quite a few “achaeobacteria” utterances .) The discovery that Archaea are a separate domain of life, as far from bacteria as we are, has never properly embedded itself in the way people commonly perceive life. There are some mitig........ Read more »
Muller, F., Brissac, T., Le Bris, N., Felbeck, H., & Gros, O. (2010) First description of giant Archaea (Thaumarchaeota) associated with putative bacterial ectosymbionts in a sulfidic marine habitat. Environmental Microbiology, 12(8), 2371-2383. DOI: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02309.x
I use PubMed to make RSS feeds out of searches on topics relevant to my research, because I cannot be trusted to regularly look this up on my own (I also have feeds from many of the main journals in my field, natch). One of my searches, “inflammation endometrium,” turned up an interesting article today from the European Journal of Cancer. Friedenreich et al review the literature on physical activity and cancer prevention and find a consistent relationship between physical activity and reduce........ Read more »
Clancy, K., Ellison, P., Jasienska, G., & Bribiescas, R. (2009) Endometrial thickness is not independent of luteal phase day in a rural Polish population. Anthropological Science, 117(3), 157-163. DOI: 10.1537/ase.090130
Friedenreich CM, Neilson HK, & Lynch BM. (2010) State of the epidemiological evidence on physical activity and cancer prevention. European journal of cancer (Oxford, England : 1990), 46(14), 2593-604. PMID: 20843488
Jasienska, G., & Thune, I. (2001) Research pointers: Lifestyle, hormones, and risk of breast cancer. BMJ, 322(7286), 586-587. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.322.7286.586
We often get glimpses into the overwhelming power of nature. One such was in June-July 2002 in Texas: Fearing the worst during torrential rains, the waters of Canyon Lake (a reservoir on the Guadalupe River) were diverted into an emergency spillway. The consequential flood event, with a flow rate of over 1450 cubic metres per second and duration of six weeks, destroyed a bridge and trees, and carved a 2.2 km long, 7 m (average) deep canyon into the limestone bedrock. This new Canyon Lake Gorge i........ Read more »
Lamb, M., & Fonstad, M. (2010) Rapid formation of a modern bedrock canyon by a single flood event. Nature Geoscience, 3(7), 477-481. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo894
Ouch! I just pinched my finger in the silverware drawer...again. The signal travels up my peripheral nerve fibers, contacts nociceptors, and proceed into my thalamus, insular cortex (which distunguishes pain from things like itch and cold), and other places in my brain. Soon, I'm shouting PAIN! PAIN! PAIN! But, until now, scientists had nothing but guesses as to the molecular domino that starts the cascade of effects. What happens directly after a pinch?
One team of scientists may have a ........ Read more »
Coste B, Mathur J, Schmidt M, Earley TJ, Ranade S, Petrus MJ, Dubin AE, & Patapoutian A. (2010) Piezo1 and Piezo2 Are Essential Components of Distinct Mechanically Activated Cation Channels. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 20813920
The role of stressful life events in suicide attempts and completed suicides has been a key area of study in the epidemiology of mental disorders. Although suicidal behavior often occurs in the context of acute and chronic stressor, this does not prove a causal link. We all could probably report serious life stressors throughout out lives and these could be interpreted as a reason for suicidal behavior. So these associations could simply be a coincidence and not have anything t........ Read more »
Stein DJ, Chiu WT, Hwang I, Kessler RC, Sampson N, Alonso J, Borges G, Bromet E, Bruffaerts R, de Girolamo G.... (2010) Cross-national analysis of the associations between traumatic events and suicidal behavior: findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. PloS one, 5(5). PMID: 20485530
If you are like me you have always been intrigued by magic tricks and you try to figure out the secrets behind each trick. Magic tricks have to do with something called “gaze cues”. Gaze cues, the effect of you looking where I look, are exactly what magicians utilize in their tricks. One of the [...]... Read more »
Kuhn, G., Tatler, B., & Cole, G. (2009) You look where I look! Effect of gaze cues on overt and covert attention in misdirection. Visual Cognition, 17(6), 925-944. DOI: 10.1080/13506280902826775
I said I wouldn't do any conferences this year. But I lied, and have recently returned from the 58th Symposium on Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy (SVPCA), this year held once again in Cambridge, UK. Compared to the enormous, sprawling SVP (= Society of Vertebrate Paleontology) meeting with its numerous concurrent sessions (last year held in England, but usually held in North America), SVPCA is tiny and tidy. So, ok, there's less content, but at least you get to talk to every........ Read more »
Stevens KA, & Parrish JM. (1999) Neck posture and feeding habits of two jurassic sauropod dinosaurs. Science (New York, N.Y.), 284(5415), 798-800. PMID: 10221910
Cooperation and conflict are both a part of human society. While a good deal of the academic literature addresses the evolutionary origins of conflict, in recent years there has been an increased focus on the investigation of the evolutionary origins of cooperative behavior. One component of cooperative behavior that might be present in other animals is aversion to inequity. Some scientists have suggested that inequity aversion may itself be the main factor driving the enforcement of cooperati........ Read more »
Range F, Horn L, Viranyi Z, & Huber L. (2009) The absence of reward induces inequity aversion in dogs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(1), 340-5. PMID: 19064923
Tyrannosaurus rex was an obligatory inclusion in every book and documentary about dinosaurs I saw as a kid. It was the tyrant king of all dinosaurs, the supreme predator of the end-Cretaceous, but for all its majesty no one could explain where it had come from. Along with its kin—such as Albertosaurus and Tarbosaurus—Tyrannosaurus [...]... Read more »
Brusatte SL, Norell MA, Carr TD, Erickson GM, Hutchinson JR, Balanoff AM, Bever GS, Choiniere JN, Makovicky PJ, & Xu X. (2010) Tyrannosaur Paleobiology: New Research on Ancient Exemplar Organisms. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5998), 1481-1485. PMID: 20847260
Last week, 50-year-old Paul Warren Pardus decided to express how he felt about the medical care being provided to his ailing mother. So he shot her doctor. Then he barricaded himself in his mother’s room at Johns Hopkins Hospital. When police found him, he had shot both himself and his mother to death. Her surgeon, Dr. David B. Cohen, had been shot in the abdomen and is expected to survive.... Read more »
Bruns, D., Fishbain, D., Disorbio, J., & Lewis, J. (2010) What Variables Are Associated With an Expressed Wish to Kill a Doctor in Community and Injured Patient Samples?. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 17(2), 87-97. DOI: 10.1007/s10880-010-9190-7
Studying a disease using an animal model is not as simple as merely replicating it. For instance, a variety of techniques have been used in animals to simulate the neurological disorder multiple sclerosis, where the protective myelin sheath that wraps around neuronal axons is lost, but each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Scientists have [...]... Read more »
Traka, M., Arasi, K., Avila, R., Podojil, J., Christakos, A., Miller, S., Soliven, B., & Popko, B. (2010) A genetic mouse model of adult-onset, pervasive central nervous system demyelination with robust remyelination. Brain. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awq247
In my last post on the relationship between language, thought and (thinking and talking about) space I wrote that one of the most interesting, but also one of the most difficult questions is to what extent linguistic differences in talking about space reflect conceptual and perceptual differences.
Researchers at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen, Netherlands) and at . . . → Read More: Language, Thought, and Space (IV): Comparing Different Cultures... Read more »
Haun, D., Rapold, C., Call, J., Janzen, G., & Levinson, S. (2006) Cognitive cladistics and cultural override in Hominid spatial cognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(46), 17568-17573. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0607999103
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