Post List

  • August 14, 2010
  • 02:49 PM
  • 910 views

Seagull Poo

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

Scientists are only human, and one of the defining features of humanity is the ability to snigger at the thought of bodily waste. Which was why the Carnal Carnival was set up, in a twittered flurry of excitement to cover all such bodily functions normally thought of as disgusting. And of course my main thought, when I saw all those eukaryote-specific processes going up on the topic list, was "How many of those can I twist into a post about bacteria"The first topic was poo - which automatically s........ Read more »

Lu J, Santo Domingo JW, Lamendella R, Edge T, & Hill S. (2008) Phylogenetic diversity and molecular detection of bacteria in gull feces. Applied and environmental microbiology, 74(13), 3969-76. PMID: 18469128  

  • August 14, 2010
  • 06:09 AM
  • 1,022 views

Cognitive Inferences and Optical Illusions

by Psychothalamus in Psychothalamus

Ever wondered what allows us to be so perceptive about the world around us that it's almost taken for granted? Or why it is so difficult to create a robot with human-like perception, intelligence and understanding?The discovery that the brain forms assumptions about the world in order to facilitate our lives has been one of the most illuminating insights from psychology and neuroscience.Assumptions, or cognitive inferences, are what separates humans from robots. One very salient instance of........ Read more »

  • August 14, 2010
  • 04:00 AM
  • 1,893 views

Smooth evolution: spider silk proteins

by Lucas in thoughtomics

Like a spider web, the evolution of spider silk proteins looks pretty complex. New research sheds some light on the evolution of these stretchy, sticky and tough proteins.

Everyone knows Spider-Man’s main (and only?) talent is shooting sticky liquid from his “web-shooters”. Often his webs take the form of a rope that is perfect [...]... Read more »

Garb JE, Ayoub NA, & Hayashi CY. (2010) Untangling spider silk evolution with spidroin terminal domains. BMC evolutionary biology, 10(1), 243. PMID: 20696068  

  • August 13, 2010
  • 09:31 PM
  • 945 views

Gender X = Mental Illness Y = Physical Illness Z…

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Needham and Hill (2010) claim to have conjured up 'the first study (ever) to consider whether gender differences in mental health contribute to gendered
patterns of (physical) disease'. In the end, it all seems to rest on the plausability of internalised (female) vs. externalised (male) disorders.... Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 07:15 PM
  • 827 views

Scientific Casualties – Infectious disease research can be life threatening

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

Before this weeks post I would like to make an announcement. At this stage I am claiming victory in the debate. You can check out the results on the poll itself here. First I would like to thank myself for putting up such an amazing argument. I would also like to thank Thomas for putting [...]... Read more »

Marmion BP, Burrell CJ, Tonkin RW, & Dickson J. (1982) Dialysis-associated hepatitis in Edinburgh; 1969-1978. Reviews of infectious diseases, 4(3), 619-37. PMID: 6812192  

Burrell CJ, Tonkin RW, Proudfoot E, Leadbetter G, Cowan P, Lockerbie L, Gore S, Lutz W, & Marmion BP. (1977) Prevalence of antibody to hepatitits B surface antigen among staff in an Edinburgh hospital. The Journal of hygiene, 78(1), 57-68. PMID: 264499  

  • August 13, 2010
  • 06:38 PM
  • 940 views

A Curious Look At The 3.39 Million Year Old “Stone Tool Markings” From Dikika, Ethiopia

by Anthropology.net in Anthropology.net

I don’t know who this is worse for, the editors & reviewers over at Nature or the authors of the article who can’t tell the difference between crocodile teeth markings and stone tool modification, nor raise the possibility. The paper, “Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia,” very [...]... Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 04:07 PM
  • 1,416 views

To live deep and suck out all the marrow of life

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

There are few procedures in medicine more complex, dangerous, and remarkable than stem cell transplantation. This procedure has enabled us to successfully treat cancers that were previously uniformly fatal. For certain types of acute myeloid leukemia, for example, stem cell transplant increases 5-year survival from less than 15% to about 44%. But the full story [...]... Read more »

Hsieh, M., Kang, E., Fitzhugh, C., Link, M., Bolan, C., Kurlander, R., Childs, R., Rodgers, G., Powell, J., & Tisdale, J. (2009) Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplantation for Sickle Cell Disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 361(24), 2309-2317. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0904971  

  • August 13, 2010
  • 02:56 PM
  • 477 views

More Turkey Stuff

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In looking into recent research on Southwestern turkeys, I found an interesting paper from 2007 by E. Bradley Beacham and Stephen R. Durand about turkey eggshell.  Specifically, they came up with a new technique for analyzing archaeological eggshell to determine whether or not the egg had hatched.  The idea behind it, confirmed by an experiment [...]... Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 01:53 PM
  • 768 views

The Scientist and the Anarchist - Part II

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted by Dr. SkySkull at his Scientopia blog Skulls in the Stars.Peter Kropotkin's notoriety as a political radical was equaled only by the high esteem held for his scientific and scholarly achievements. The discoveries he had made of glacial formations during the Quaternary Period in Russia were received with international acclaim and earned him invitations to join the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, the British Association for the Advancement........ Read more »

Daniel P. Todes. (1989) Darwin Without Malthus: The Struggle for Existence in Russian Evolutionary Thought. London: Oxford University Press. info:/

  • August 13, 2010
  • 01:53 PM
  • 759 views

The Scientist and the Anarchist - Part II

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries in Exile

The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted by Dr. SkySkull at his Scientopia blog Skulls in the Stars.Peter Kropotkin's notoriety as a political radical was equaled only by the high esteem held for his scientific and scholarly achievements. The discoveries he had made of glacial formations during the Quaternary Period in Russia were received with international acclaim and earned him invitations to join the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, the British Association for the Advancement........ Read more »

Daniel P. Todes. (1989) Darwin Without Malthus: The Struggle for Existence in Russian Evolutionary Thought. London: Oxford University Press. info:/

  • August 13, 2010
  • 12:14 PM
  • 1,085 views

New Studies: Music Makes People Nicer

by David Berreby in Mind Matters


Birds do it. Bees do it. But primate species don't sing and dance, except for Homo sapiens. Why is music-making part of human nature, then? Why do we enjoy singing in three-part harmony or clapping together in church, which wouldn't appeal for a single second to our chimp or orangutan cousins? This paper proposes an explanation: Music, it says, makes little kids nicer. Maybe it evolved because it made our ancestors more cooperative, and hence more successful.
Sebastian Kirschner and ........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 11:43 AM
  • 852 views

XMRV not detected in seminal plasma

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

How XMRV, the new human retrovirus associated with prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome, might be transmitted among humans is unknown. The finding that the virus can be detected in prostate cancer cells, and in prostatic secretions of men with prostate cancer suggests that it could be sexually transmitted. To address this question, the presence [...]... Read more »

Marion Cornelissen, Fokla Zorgdrager, Petra Blom, Suzanne Jurriaans, Sjoerd Repping, Elisabeth van Leeuwen, Margreet Bakker, Ben Berkhout, & Antoinette C. van der Kuyl. (2010) Lack of Detection of XMRV in Seminal Plasma from HIV-1 Infected Men in The Netherlands. PLoS One. info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0012040

  • August 13, 2010
  • 11:22 AM
  • 347 views

This is your brain on sleep... fakin' it.

by 神経オタク in Cognitive Convolutions

So I've talked a little bit about sleep and memory formation prior, and it's actually a fun topic for me. So I'm running with it.Now, there's a lot more in the field of normal memory, and I'll get to that eventually, but there's always a fun side-field to memory research - FALSE memories. In other words, you just KNOW it happened... except it didn't. You made it up. Except you didn't really make... Read more »

Payne, J., Schacter, D., Propper, R., Huang, L., Wamsley, E., Tucker, M., Walker, M., & Stickgold, R. (2009) The role of sleep in false memory formation. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 92(3), 327-334. DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2009.03.007  

  • August 13, 2010
  • 11:16 AM
  • 1,504 views

Is a Low-Carb Diet Safe For Obese Adolescents?

by Steve Parker, M.D. in Diabetic Mediterranean Diet Blog

High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are safe and effective for severely obese adolescent, according to University of Colorado researchers. Childhood obesity in the U.S. tripled from the early 1980s to 2000, ending with a 17% obesity rate.  Overweight and obesity together describe 32% of U.S. children.  Some experts believe this generation of kids will be the first in U.S. history to suffer [...]... Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 11:01 AM
  • 1,756 views

Does Cranberry Juice Help Repress or Reduce Urinary Tract Infections? A study in skeptical juice drinking.

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

After I reported this recent and interesting research paper about urinary tract inflictions, a number of conversations broke out on that post, on my facebook page, and via email, and some of these conversations raised the question of cranberry juice and whether the idea that it prevents, reduces, or shortens the duration of UTIs is real or woo.

So, I decided to use Gooogle Scholar (which is a version of Google that you should probably use more often than you currently do) to find out what the........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 10:05 AM
  • 1,904 views

How Wright was wrong: When is it genetic drift?

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Science is often said to work in three easy steps: (1) observe something interesting, (2) formulate a hypothesis for why that something is interesting in the way it is, and (3) collect more observations to see if they also support that hypothesis. Wash, rinse, repeat, and you eventually get from Newton to Einstein, from Aristotle to Darwin.

.flickr-photo { }.flickr-frameright { float: right; text-align: left; margin-left: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; width:40%;}.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em........ Read more »

Epling, C., & Dobzhansky, T. (1942) Genetics of natural populations. VI. Micro-geographic races in Linanthus parryae. Genetics, 27(3), 318-32. info:other/

Epling, C., Lewis, H., & Ball, F.M. (1960) The breeding group and seed storage: A study in population dynamics. Evolution, 14(4), 238-55. info:/

  • August 13, 2010
  • 09:10 AM
  • 979 views

What We Can Learn From a Lowly Sponge

by Terri Sundquist in Promega Connections

When you hear the word “sponge”, what comes to mind? Perhaps your favorite bath-time cleaning implement? It turns out that the humble sponge can do more than just scrub away dirt; it can provide researchers with a glimpse into the evolution of multicellular organisms. In a recent Nature paper (1), Mansi Srivastava et al. presented [...]... Read more »

Srivastava M, Simakov O, Chapman J, Fahey B, Gauthier ME, Mitros T, Richards GS, Conaco C, Dacre M, Hellsten U.... (2010) The Amphimedon queenslandica genome and the evolution of animal complexity. Nature, 466(7307), 720-7. PMID: 20686567  

  • August 13, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,743 views

Obesity is a Major Risk Factor for Cancer in Asia-Pacific Populations

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

Overweight and obesity are now increasingly recognized as a major driver of cancers in the Western world. For example, recent estimates suggest that almost 1 in 3 cases or breast cancer are related to excess weight.
A new study, published last month in Lancet Oncology, by Christine Parr and colleagues from the Asia-Pacific Cohort Studies Collaboration [...]... Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 07:52 AM
  • 688 views

Out of randomness, order

by Becky in It Takes 30

I really shouldn’t need help to spot a paper from the Elowitz lab, but Marc Kirschner had to remind me to write on this one (Sprinzak et al. 2010 Cis-interactions between Notch and Delta generate mutually exclusive signalling states. Nature 465 86-90 PMID: 20418862).  Obviously I haven’t been paying enough attention to cell-cell communication.  This [...]... Read more »

Sprinzak D, Lakhanpal A, Lebon L, Santat LA, Fontes ME, Anderson GA, Garcia-Ojalvo J, & Elowitz MB. (2010) Cis-interactions between Notch and Delta generate mutually exclusive signalling states. Nature, 465(7294), 86-90. PMID: 20418862  

  • August 13, 2010
  • 06:48 AM
  • 947 views

Language Evolution and Language Acquisition

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

The way children learn language sets the adaptive landscape on which languages evolve. This is acknowledged by many, but there are few connections between models of language acquisition and models of language Evolution. Here I review previous models of Language Acquisition and a recent model by Fazly et al.... Read more »

Nick Chater, & Morten H. Christiansen. (2010) Language Acquisition Meets Language Evolution. Cognitive Science. info:/

Frank MC, Goodman ND, & Tenenbaum JB. (2009) Using speakers' referential intentions to model early cross-situational word learning. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 20(5), 578-85. PMID: 19389131  

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