Post List

  • February 13, 2011
  • 06:09 PM

Do you speak Swiss?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

A most amazing book has just landed on my desk: Do you speak Swiss, edited by Walter Haas, is the final report on a Swiss National Research Project devoted to Linguistic Diversity and Language Competence in Switzerland. Initiated by the … Continue reading →... Read more »

Walter Haas (Ed.). (2010) Do you speak Swiss? Sprachenvielfalt und Sprachkompetenz in der Schweiz. Nationales Forschungsprogramm NFP 56. NZZ Libro. info:/

  • February 13, 2011
  • 05:00 PM

Were ancient cities sustainable?

by Michael Smith in Wide Urban World

This post talks about the issue of urban sustainability as applied to ancient cities. Instead of defining sustainability in terms of values and practices, archaeologists use the perspective of longevity - how long did a city (or society) exist?... Read more »

  • February 13, 2011
  • 04:49 PM

CORKSCREW LIGHT: Measuring Orbital Angular Momentum Will Give Us Extra Information About Black Holes and Frame Dragging

by DJ Busby in Astronasty

Frame Dragging, an effect spinning black holes have on spacetime and on the light in its vicinity, is causing a measurable corkscrew effect on photons, newly discovered and published in this issue of Nature Physics. "Twisting of light around rotating black holes"... Read more »

Tamburini, F., Thidé, B., Molina-Terriza, G., & Anzolin, G. (2011) Twisting of light around rotating black holes. Nature Physics. DOI: 10.1038/nphys1907  

  • February 13, 2011
  • 02:33 PM

The Mystery of Stiff Person Syndrome

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

"Stiff Person Syndrome" (SPS) is a rare neurological disease with a silly name but serious symptoms.Not in fact a disorder caused by an overdose of Viagra, the defining feature of SPS is uncontrollable muscle rigidity, which comes and goes in bouts, but generally gets worse over time. However, other symptoms are seen including depression, anxiety, and other neurological features such as cerebellar ataxia.What causes SPS? Well, it's been known for over 20 years that most SPS patients have antibod........ Read more »

Geis, C., Weishaupt, A., Grünewald, B., Wultsch, T., Reif, A., Gerlach, M., Dirkx, R., Solimena, M., Perani, D., Heckmann, M.... (2011) Human Stiff-Person Syndrome IgG Induces Anxious Behavior in Rats. PLoS ONE, 6(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016775  

  • February 13, 2011
  • 09:09 AM

Noise of Aviation

by Frautech in Engineer Blogs

What is it that keeps us awake at night? A new study from the German Aerospace Center on sleep patterns showed the unpredictable noises are the most disturbing to our sleep patterns. Noises like an airplane taking off have a more gradual rise and fall in sound despite lasting longer than the passing of a car. And yet in sleep surveys, people report aircraft noise as disturbing their sleep. The study’s authors speculated this was because a typical sleep cycle lasts 20 minutes and so airplan........ Read more »

  • February 13, 2011
  • 12:39 AM

Cannabis Makes Young Men Jumping Mad

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Large et al. (2011) add to the mounting evidence that cannabis causes psychosis in young people. Or does it? When using such terminology, I would suggest, defining the actual psychotic experience, experienced, including its demonstrable symptoms, duration and response to treatment, would distinguish one-off freak out events from a lifetime of disabling poor mental health. There are many more such quandaries regarding this rather seductive topic, that are equally begging for resolution. ... Read more »

Large M, Sharma S, Compton MT, Slade T, & Nielssen O. (2011) Cannabis Use and Earlier Onset of Psychosis: A Systematic Meta-analysis. Archives of general psychiatry. PMID: 21300939  

  • February 12, 2011
  • 05:08 PM

Fightin’ mad: a story of squid, sex, and proteins

by Mike Mike in Cephalove

A story about squid has been making the rounds in news sources and blogs this weekend. Just two days ago, a paper came out showing that male squid (loligo peleii) react with extreme agression to a certain protein found on the surface of squid eggs. The paper was written by a group of researchers (including [...]... Read more »

Scott F. Cummins, Jean G. Boal, Kendra C. Buresch,, Chitraporn Kuanpradit, Prasert Sobhon,, Johanna B. Holm, Bernard M. Degnan, Gregg T. Nagle,, & and Roger T. Hanlon. (2011) Extreme Aggression in Male Squid Induced by a b-MSP-like Pheromone. Current Biology. info:/10.1016/j.cub.2011.01.038

Anahí Franchi N, Avendaño C, Molina RI, Tissera AD, Maldonado CA, Oehninger S, & Coronel CE. (2008) beta-Microseminoprotein in human spermatozoa and its potential role in male fertility. Reproduction (Cambridge, England), 136(2), 157-66. PMID: 18469041  

  • February 12, 2011
  • 05:05 PM

Terror Birds Ain’t What They Used to Be – A Titanis Take-Down

by Laelaps in Laelaps

You know a novel is going to be bad when the main endorsement on the jacket comes from the movie producer who is trying to turn the mass of pulp into a film. It’s the literary equivalent of saying “Well, my mom thinks I’m handsome.” All the same, I just couldn’t resist picking up James [...]... Read more »

Blanco, R., & Jones, W. (2005) Terror birds on the run: a mechanical model to estimate its maximum running speed. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 272(1574), 1769-1773. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3133  

Pierce Brodkorb. (1963) A Giant Flightless Bird from the Pleistocene of Florida. The AUk, 80(2), 111-115. info:/

  • February 12, 2011
  • 04:24 PM

Violence and Sex, Sex and Violence

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Neuroscientists have uncovered that the ventrolateral portion of the ventral medial hypothalamus governs both aggression and sex. Could this research have any impact on the legal system and the conviction of rapists???... Read more »

Lin D, Boyle MP, Dollar P, Lee H, Lein ES, Perona P, & Anderson DJ. (2011) Functional identification of an aggression locus in the mouse hypothalamus. Nature, 470(7333), 221-6. PMID: 21307935  

  • February 12, 2011
  • 03:16 PM

Cottonmouth Myths III: Moccasins North of Virginia

by David Steen in Living Alongside Wildlife

            Continuing the theme of the many myths and misunderstandings that surround Cottonmouth (AKA, Agkistrodon piscivorous) biology, I am going to spend some time debunking one of the most sacred falsehoods about the species. My hunch is that this piece may attract more aggravated comments and statements to the contrary than the other posts in the series but here it is anyway: Cottonmouths ... Read more »

  • February 12, 2011
  • 12:35 PM

Brains never rest

by davejhayes in neurosphere

Whilst part of what we perceive comes through our senses from the object before us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes out of our own head.... Read more »

  • February 12, 2011
  • 12:14 PM

Soul Beliefs, Grave Goods & Foxes

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

In many books and articles addressing the origins of “religious” behavior, one will find the assertion that deliberate burials are indicative of soul beliefs and that because people began burying the dead approximately 100,000 years ago, this marks the beginning of what we today call religion. As I noted in this post, there are several [...]... Read more »

  • February 12, 2011
  • 09:17 AM

Music is pleasure

by Hel in Substantia Innominata

We all have a system called pleasure and reward circuitry inside our brain. Thanks to this system we feel pleasure when we eat, have sex, drink beer, win something etc. It is also this circuitry which is affected by all kind of drugs. One of the neurotransmitter involved in this pleasure is Dopamine. Globally this [...]... Read more »

  • February 12, 2011
  • 03:00 AM

Crime and selection of aggressive males

by Jason Collins in Evolving Economics

As I posted a couple of months ago, a higher level of violence in a society may lead women to prefer more masculine appearing men. In such an environment, picking the healthiest appearing male is more important than the level of parental care the woman expects the man to give. The latest issue of Evolution [...]... Read more »

  • February 12, 2011
  • 12:13 AM

Friday focal mechanisms: Chile’s persistent seismic gap

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

The magnitude 8.8 earthquake that shook Chile in February 2010 occurred within a seismic gap - but new research suggests that it did not fill it. Continue reading →... Read more »

Lorito, S., Romano, F., Atzori, S., Tong, X., Avallone, A., McCloskey, J., Cocco, M., Boschi, E., & Piatanesi, A. (2011) Limited overlap between the seismic gap and coseismic slip of the great 2010 Chile earthquake. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1073  

  • February 12, 2011
  • 12:07 AM

Psycasm - Why the Ladies moan (and it's not good news for Men)

by Rift in Psycasm

---Here's where I heard about this paper first... and a pretty weak treatment at that.---In a previous post I dared suggest* that women watched porn. Several people warned me of the imminent troll-storm, and true to their predictions, I was inundated with claims that I was a misogynist, supporting 'shoddy' science, and endorsing the male status-quo. All of which was rubbish, and bas; (read more)

Source: Psycasm - Discipline: Psychology... Read more »

  • February 11, 2011
  • 09:00 PM

Belyaev’s Fox Experiment – Changes – Part II

by Leema in Some Thoughts About Dogs

Description of the changes observed in Belyaev's fox experiment.... Read more »

  • February 11, 2011
  • 06:10 PM

MSc Dissertation: Navigating expatriate waters in Abu Dhabi

by Francesca Meijer in Occ Psy Dot Com

Starting a new job will always present new challenges, and this is especially true when the new job is in a new country and requires someone to relocate (often with their families) and “become” an expatriate.... Read more »

  • February 11, 2011
  • 05:39 PM

Harnessing Nature to cure its (man-made) ills

by Anna Goldstein in Berkeley Science Review Blog

When I think about harnessing the power of water, I think of the Hoover Dam in Nevada (where I’m from) or the awesome tide-harnessing turbines that are being installed along coastlines as we speak. As scientists concerned about the future of our planet, we are always looking for ways to co-opt natural processes to greenify (buzz-word!) our energy-producing endeavors. Recently, Greg H. Rau of UC Santa Cruz and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory described how we could appropriate and intensi........ Read more »

  • February 11, 2011
  • 04:26 PM

Looking for love this Valentine's Day? Try wearing red.

by Audrey Lustig in ionpsych

This time of year, both fans of Valentine’s Day and V-day haters are bound to have a few things on the brain. One major association we have with the holiday is love and attraction. Another big one is the color red, with decorative hearts, cards, clothing and candy bombarding the senses in stores across the country. But it turns out that attraction and the color red have more in common than just Valentine’s Day; in fact, the color red may be the key to your loved one’s heart........ Read more »

Eliot, A.J., Kayser, D.N., Greitemeyer, T., Lichtenfeld, S., Gramzow, R.H., Maier, M.A., & Liu, H. (2010) Red, rank and romance in women viewing men. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. info:/

Elliot, A., & Niesta, D. (2008) Romantic red: Red enhances men's attraction to women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1150-1164. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.95.5.1150  

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