Post List

  • January 11, 2011
  • 05:36 PM

Eta Carinae: Nature’s own Large Hadron Collider

by mithy in The Enlightenment Junkie

To say that Eta Carinae is one of the most remarkable and marvellous stars in the sky is probably an understatement of hyperbolic proportions. It is one of the most fascinating objects in the universe. Not only is it one of the most massive stars in the Universe (weighing approximately 100 solar masses), it is also amongst the [...]... Read more »

Farnier, C., Walter, R., & Leyder, J. (2010) Eta Carinae: a very large hadron collider . Astronomy and Astrophysics. DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201015590  

  • January 11, 2011
  • 03:40 PM

The Statistical Mechanics of Money

by Joseph Smidt in The Eternal Universe

Yesterday I listened to a talk by Victor Yakovenko of the University of Maryland about the physics of money and it was quite interesting. I think that after this talk I am finally beginning to understand economics while at the same time I suspect that most economists don't.

In his talk he said that back in 2000 he published a paper on how to apply statistical mechanics to free market economics.... Read more »

XI, N., DING, N., & WANG, Y. (2005) How required reserve ratio affects distribution and velocity of money☆. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 357(3-4), 543-555. DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2005.04.014  

  • January 11, 2011
  • 03:09 PM

The Genetical Book Review: Middlesex

by Jon Wilkins in Lost in Transcription

So, welcome to the first installment of Lost in Transcription's newest feature: The Genetical Book Review. For the maiden voyage, we'll cover the 2002, Pulitzer-prize-winning Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.

You're surprised? Because you assume that an eight-year-old Pulitzer winner must already have been reviewed?

Fair enough. But, here's the gimmick: we'll use the genetics angle to talk about some things that have not already been covered extensively elsewhere.

First, tho........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2011
  • 02:50 PM

Chinese Mothers, American Anxieties and the Nature of Parenting

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Over the weekend I read Amy Chua's paean to "Chinese parents" in The Wall Street Journal with morbid fascination. What felt morbid was Chua's "Mommie Dearest" anecdote about battling with her 7-year-old because the little girl couldn't master a difficult piano piece (which involved threatening to ...Read More
... Read more »

QUINN, N. (2003) Cultural Selves. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1001(1), 145-176. DOI: 10.1196/annals.1279.010  

  • January 11, 2011
  • 01:14 PM

A biological mechanism that protects against rape?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

When sex researchers compare men and women's genital arousal in response to various stimuli, they generally find that men tend only to be aroused by stimuli that match their declared sexual preferences and subjective feelings, whereas women tend to be aroused by a broad array of sexual material (even involving chimps), irrespective of their declared preferences and subjective feelings. A new study by Kelly Suschinsky and Martin Lalumiere tests the claim, which will surely prove controversial, th........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2011
  • 12:34 PM

What's in a Gene? (or miRNA gene really...)

by Linda Lin in Oz Blog No. 159

Is what I'd like to know. And what many other people would like to know too... It's oddly enigmatic. What can a few sequences of 4 letters mean biologically? (GATTACA...) Only 2% of our genomes code for proteins, so they...... Read more »

Schwab, R., Palatnik, J., Riester, M., Schommer, C., Schmid, M., & Weigel, D. (2005) Specific Effects of MicroRNAs on the Plant Transcriptome. Developmental Cell, 8(4), 517-527. DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2005.01.018  

Lanet, E., Delannoy, E., Sormani, R., Floris, M., Brodersen, P., Crete, P., Voinnet, O., & Robaglia, C. (2009) Biochemical Evidence for Translational Repression by Arabidopsis MicroRNAs. THE PLANT CELL ONLINE, 21(6), 1762-1768. DOI: 10.1105/tpc.108.063412  

Meyers, B., Simon, S., & Zhai, J. (2010) MicroRNA Processing: Battle of the Bulge. Current Biology, 20(2). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.12.008  

Schwab, R., & Voinnet, O. (2009) miRNA processing turned upside down. The EMBO Journal, 28(23), 3633-3634. DOI: 10.1038/emboj.2009.334  

  • January 11, 2011
  • 12:20 PM

What Was Lost in the Fire: A Conservation Memorial

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted by Reconciliation Ecology:The modern conservation movement began at dawn on December 8, 1850, above the north fork of California's San Joaquin river. Soft orange light had just begun to spill over the craggy peaks of the eastern Ahwahnee mountains causing the jagged minarets to ignite like still burning embers from the Indian campfires below. All remained still inside the wigwams of the Ahwahneechee camp. But an attuned ear would have noticed ........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2011
  • 12:20 PM

What Was Lost in the Fire: A Conservation Memorial

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries in Exile

The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted by Reconciliation Ecology:The modern conservation movement began at dawn on December 8, 1850, above the north fork of California's San Joaquin river. Soft orange light had just begun to spill over the craggy peaks of the eastern Ahwahnee mountains causing the jagged minarets to ignite like still burning embers from the Indian campfires below. All remained still inside the wigwams of the Ahwahneechee camp. But an attuned ear would have noticed ........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2011
  • 12:08 PM

Fat Genes Make You Happy?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Does being heavier make you happier?An interesting new paper from a British/Danish collaboration uses a clever trick based on genetics to untangle the messy correlation between obesity and mental health.They had a huge (53,221) sample of people from Copenhagen, Denmark. It measured people's height and weight to calculate their BMI, and asked them some simple questions about their mood, such as "Do you often feel nervous or stressed?"Many previous studies have found that being overweight is corre........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2011
  • 11:00 AM

Cannabis: What The BBC Forgot to Tell You

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

An analysis of the BBC program "Cannabis: How Drugs Work" based on the evidence.... Read more »

  • January 11, 2011
  • 10:55 AM

Cancer Versus the Metabolism

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

A number of complex biological forces drive the mutation and selection of cancer cells - competitive growth, angiogenesis, immune system evasion, etc. A recent review in the journal Science has shed light on another key aspect of tumor development - the hijacking of the metabolism. Over 80 years ago, Otto Warburg observed that tumor cells [...]... Read more »

  • January 11, 2011
  • 09:26 AM

Arrested Development in miRNA Mutants

by Linda in the Node

Animals and Plants have hundreds of miRNAs with diverse roles in gene regulation. In humans, each miRNA family can control up to several hundred genes (or 500 to be exact, in humans). A loss of function in one, can lead to array of developmental defects. Similarly in plants, an miRNA mutant can have a variety of phenotypes. However, interestingly, many miRNAs only have one target, which is frequently a transcription factor that in turn, controls many genes itself. It's really like a house of car........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2011
  • 09:05 AM

Gardening ants grow their own treetop nests

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

If you were to combine ants' dispersal of seeds and plant protection interactions, and maybe squint a little, you might see something like epiphitic ant gardens. Ant gardens form when tree-nesting ants collect the seeds of some epiphytes—plants evolved to grow in the branches of trees—and the collected seeds sprout. The nests provide congenial conditions for the plants, since gardening ants frequently use dung as a building material. The roots running through the nest help stabilize its stru........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

The Pedagogy of Obesity Reality Shows

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

One of the consequences of the obesity epidemic is the proliferation of “reality based” media aiming to lay bare and expose the unhealthy behaviours that lead to obesity and tout “solutions” primarily aimed at changing individual lifestyles.
Notable examples of this ‘”entertainment” genre include television programmes such as Jamie’s School Dinners and Jamie’s Ministry of Food, [...]... Read more »

  • January 11, 2011
  • 07:23 AM

A Vampire Flying Frog by any other name…

by Captain Skellett in A Schooner of Science

Actually, it’s not QUITE as cool as it sounds. This new frog species, the Vampire Flying Frog, was discovered in Vietnam by scientists from the Australian Museum. Rhacophorus vampyrus was a latecomer to the International Year of Biodiversity, which yielded a wealth of newly discovered creatures. But the name. The name. To be honest, it [...]... Read more »

Rowley, J. et al. (2010) A new tree frog of the genus Rhacophorus (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from southern Vietnam. Zootaxa. info:/

  • January 11, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

Authonomy Points the Way to Open Peer Reviewing

by Simon Harper in Thinking Out Loud

Authonomy is a unique online community that connects readers, writers and publishing professionals. It was conceived and built by editors at HarperCollins Publishers. They are in 'beta' at the moment, so they’re still developing and perfecting the site.... Read more »

Alison McCook. (2006) Is Peer Review Broken?. The Scientist, 20(2), 26-26. info:other/23061/#ixzz16smQbXG3

  • January 11, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

What music do you listen to when you’re feeling sad?

by David Bradley in Sciencetext

They tell you when you’re feeling blue to put on a sad song. But, new research published in the International Journal of Arts and Technology suggests that the music we choose to listen to is guided more by familiarity than whether we are in a happy or sad mood and whether or not a particular [...]Post from: David Bradley's Sciencetext Tech TalkWhat music do you listen to when you’re feeling sad?
... Read more »

Jiyoun Kim. (2011) Affective states, familiarity and music selection: power of familiarity. Int. J. Arts and Technology, 4(1), 74-89. info:/

  • January 11, 2011
  • 06:22 AM

Colonoscopy in prevention of colorectal carcinoma

by Debajyoti Datta in Medicine...Life

Continuing from my previous post on colorectal carcinoma, I just came across a study by Hermann Brenner et al. showing the effectiveness of colonoscopy in preventing colorectal carcinoma. They had conducted a population based case-control study in Germany to quantify the effectiveness of colonoscopy. 1688 cases and 1932 controls aged over 50 years participated in the study. ... Read more »

Brenner H, Chang-Claude J, Seiler CM, Rickert A, & Hoffmeister M. (2011) Protection from colorectal cancer after colonoscopy: a population-based, case-control study. Annals of internal medicine, 154(1), 22-30. PMID: 21200035  

  • January 11, 2011
  • 05:21 AM

There's No Prospective Information About Friction, or, Why I Fell Over on the Ice

by Andrew Wilson in Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists

In which I justify why I, a healthy perceiver-actor, slipped and fell on a clearly visible icy patch, breaking my wrist for the second time, using SCIENCE.

It's been a cold, icy winter here this year, and 6 weeks ago I slipped on a patch of ice and fell entirely on my (previously broken) wrist. The ensuing physics did enough damage that I needed surgery to set the wrist with two pins, and I am only today out of the cast. These kinds of falls and injuries are very common; half of all falls  i........ Read more »

Joh AS, Adolph KE, Campbell MR, & Eppler MA. (2006) Why walkers slip: shine is not a reliable cue for slippery ground. Perception , 68(3), 339-52. PMID: 16900828  

Joh AS, Adolph KE, Narayanan PJ, & Dietz VA. (2007) Gauging possibilities for action based on friction underfoot. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance, 33(5), 1145-57. PMID: 17924813  

  • January 11, 2011
  • 02:00 AM

Introducing the ‘gay gene’: media and scientific representations

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

From Public Understanding of Science  There is an established link between genetics and male homosexuality, popularly dubbed the ‘gay gene’. This article examines the reporting of the ‘gay gene’ in the British press compared with scientific journals to illustrate the conflicts between science and the media, it attempts to suggest steps to improve the relationship [...]... Read more »

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