REMOTE-CONTROLLED insects may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but they have already been under development for some time now. In 2006, for example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA, the Pentagon's research and development branch) launched the Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems project, whose ultimate aim is turn insects into unmanned aerial vehicles.Such projects provide proof of principle, but have met with limited success. Until now, that is. In the ope........ Read more »
Sato, H., et al. (2009) Remote Radio Control of Insect Flight. Front. Integr. Neurosci. , 3(24). info:/
I'm kicking the mirror neuron habit after just one more puff (don't worry, I never inhale). I got to page 100 in Rizzolatti & Sinigaglia's Mirrors in the Brain (2008, Oxford Press) and had to stop. The logic just became so incoherent and one-sided that I decided it is a waste of time even to consider the arguments seriously. Here's what they wrote (italics theirs):...these [mirror] neurons are primarily involved in the understanding of the meaning of 'motor events', i.e., of actions performed ........ Read more »
Catmur C, Walsh V, & Heyes C. (2007) Sensorimotor learning configures the human mirror system. Current biology : CB, 17(17), 1527-31. PMID: 17716898
Drugmaker Vivus saw its experimental weight-loss medication, Qnexa, pass two Phase III clinical trials C&EN reported on September 10, and the company’s share price skyrocket.
The rewards of developing a safe and effective anti-obesity medication will be in the tens of billions of dollars, according to Bloomberg. Of course, such apparent breakthroughs are going to hit [...]Treating the Obesity Epidemic is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog
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Andreas G. Anastasiou, & Athanasios Anastasiou. (2009) The effects of current dietary trends and consumption patterns on health: evidence from the UK. Int. J. Behavioural and Healthcare Research, 1(3), 318-333. info:/
The Arizona Chemical wood pulp mill in Panama City, Florida sits within a stone's throw of the Gulf of Mexico.By Kristopher Hite Walking on a balance beam, the idea of ethanol powering America's future took a shove from the scientific community this week. A new study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology indicates that no matter the starting material whether it be corn kernels or the wood chips, switch grass, and corn stover (all forms of cellulose), the environmental........ Read more »
Heinzelman, P., Snow, C., Smith, M., Yu, X., Kannan, A., Boulware, K., Villalobos, A., Govindarajan, S., Minshull, J., & Arnold, F. (2009) SCHEMA Recombination of a Fungal Cellulase Uncovers a Single Mutation That Contributes Markedly to Stability. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284(39), 26229-26233. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.C109.034058
Costello, C., Griffin, W., Landis, A., & Matthews, H. (2009) Impact of Biofuel Crop Production on the Formation of Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental Science , 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/es9011433
The Wittig reaction, discovered in 1954 by George Wittig, couples ketones and aldehydes with phosponium ylides to alkenes. Although this organic reaction is extensively used in organic chemistry, it suffers from one major drawback: removal of the phosphonium oxide waste product. O'Brien et al. think they have the solution: a Wittig reaction that is catalytic in the ylide.
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O'Brien, C., Tellez, J., Nixon, Z., Kang, L., Carter, A., Kunkel, S., Przeworski, K., & Chass, G. (2009) Recycling the Waste: The Development of a Catalytic Wittig Reaction. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 48(37), 6836-6839. DOI: 10.1002/anie.200902525
What happens when the commercial fishing industry and recreational fishers target certain species for size? Do these practices of selective harvest equate to active artificial selection for smaller fish? Do these practices reverberate in the fish DNA in such a way that humans can be said to be manipulating the evolutionary trajectory of marine life? Thanks to the journal of Evolutionary Applications, here’s your chance to find out!... Read more »
McClenachan, L. (2009) Historical declines of goliath grouper populations in South Florida, USA. Endangered Species Research, 175-181. DOI: 10.3354/esr00167
A group of over 20 biodiversity experts from a slew of international conservation agencies have a paper out in Science bemoaning the state of the biodiversity indicators agreed in 2006. These indicators are important because they are supposed to be used to track progress towards fulfillment of the promise made by Parties under the Convention [...]... Read more »
Walpole, M., Almond, R., Besancon, C., Butchart, S., Campbell-Lendrum, D., Carr, G., Collen, B., Collette, L., Davidson, N., Dulloo, E.... (2009) Tracking Progress Toward the 2010 Biodiversity Target and Beyond. Science, 325(5947), 1503-1504. DOI: 10.1126/science.1175466
Female monarch butterflies are dwindling in parts of North America
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Davis, A.K., & Rendón-Salinas, E. (2009) Are female monarch butterflies declining in eastern North America? Evidence of a 30-year change in sex ratios at Mexican overwintering sites. Biology Letters. info:/10.1098/rsbl.2009.0632
ome posts take quite a while to write. This is a response to Candy Minx and Martin Rundkvist who were discussing the Antikythera Mechanism in 2006. Candy Minx thought the Antikythera Mechanism was an expression of what was already known and embedded in a society through things like myth and ritual. Martin thought that the mechanism was far more complex. Originally I planned to write a fence-sitting compromise. Here it is. This is science turned up to 11.... Read more »
Freeth, T., Bitsakis, Y., Moussas, X., Seiradakis, J., Tselikas, A., Mangou, H., Zafeiropoulou, M., Hadland, R., Bate, D., Ramsey, A.... (2006) Decoding the ancient Greek astronomical calculator known as the Antikythera Mechanism. Nature, 444(7119), 587-591. DOI: 10.1038/nature05357
Freeth, T., Jones, A., Steele, J., & Bitsakis, Y. (2008) Calendars with Olympiad display and eclipse prediction on the Antikythera Mechanism. Nature, 454(7204), 614-617. DOI: 10.1038/nature07130
In most of software and database development the changes that are coming along all the time seem to be tweaks and polishes on the existing strategies. Every so often, though, there’s a big shift in the strategy or mechanism. This week the JBrowse paper I read made me realize that is now firmly underway. Today’s tip of the week will introduce JBrowse, and here I’ll describe some of the reasons this is a game changer.... Read more »
Having written about hedgehog signalling in cancer a few times on this blog (see here, here and here for examples), including it's potential role in CML, it came as no surprise to see some very exciting new data presented in...... Read more »
Von Hoff, D., LoRusso, P., Rudin, C., Reddy, J., Yauch, R., Tibes, R., Weiss, G., Borad, M., Hann, C., Brahmer, J.... (2009) Inhibition of the Hedgehog Pathway in Advanced Basal-Cell Carcinoma. New England Journal of Medicine, 361(12), 1164-1172. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0905360
Rudin, C., Hann, C., Laterra, J., Yauch, R., Callahan, C., Fu, L., Holcomb, T., Stinson, J., Gould, S., Coleman, B.... (2009) Treatment of Medulloblastoma with Hedgehog Pathway Inhibitor GDC-0449. New England Journal of Medicine, 361(12), 1173-1178. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0902903
Good news for sun-loving Germans. By 2071-2080 parts of their country are going to have the climate that parts of Greece have now. That’s according to a paper in Plant Ecology which ran a bunch of climate change models for Europe. Have a look at the money map.
On the left are today’s Germany-like climates in [...]... Read more »
Bergmann, J., Pompe, S., Ohlemüller, R., Freiberg, M., Klotz, S., & Kühn, I. (2009) The Iberian Peninsula as a potential source for the plant species pool in Germany under projected climate change. Plant Ecology. DOI: 10.1007/s11258-009-9664-6
How do natural, restored, and created wetlands match up when it comes to vegetation and soil properties? A new study looks at wetlands in Hawaii...read more... Read more »
Bantilan-Smith, M., Bruland, G., MacKenzie, R., Henry, A., & Ryder, C. (2009) A Comparison of the Vegetation and Soils of Natural, Restored, and Created Coastal Lowland Wetlands in Hawai‘i. Wetlands, 29(3), 1023-1035. DOI: 10.1672/08-127.1
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or Winter Depression can be succesfully treated with bright light therapy. Across studies, 53% of cases of SAD remit with bright light therapy. This involves sitting in front of full-spectrum lights that mimic sunlight on a regular basis — typically for about 30 minutes to 60 minutes each morning. Sometimes one [...]
Related posts:Winter Depression Or Seasonal Affective Disorder It’s the time of year again, the time for...Prevention of the onset of D........ Read more »
Rohan, K., Roecklein, K., Lacy, T., & Vacek, P. (2009) Winter Depression Recurrence One Year After Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Light Therapy, or Combination Treatment. Behavior Therapy, 40(3), 225-238. DOI: 10.1016/j.beth.2008.06.004
Sci is still tracking her caloric intake every day for the goddess (well, mostly for herself, but also for the goddess). It's very long, slow haul. Sci still considers days when she eats no more than 2000 calories (preferably a little less) as good days. That may not seem like much of a diet, but compared to my previous intake, it's quite a big cut. And many days I just don't make it.
But obviously, this has stayed on my mind. I can't help thinking about how we register food in the brain........ Read more »
Tomasi D, Wang GJ, Wang R, Backus W, Geliebter A, Telang F, Jayne MC, Wong C, Fowler JS, & Volkow ND. (2009) Association of body mass and brain activation during gastric distention: implications for obesity. PloS one, 4(8). PMID: 19718256
Physiognomy - inferring personality traits from facial features - was outlawed by King George II in 1743, and has for many years been dismissed as a pseudoscience. However, modern research is showing not only that observers readily make inferences about other people's traits based on their facial appearance, but that these inferences are often highly accurate. For example, people can use facial appearance to judge a man or woman's sexual orientation and to predict the success of chief executives........ Read more »
Carré JM, McCormick CM, & Mondloch CJ. (2009) Facial Structure Is a Reliable Cue of Aggressive Behavior. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS. PMID: 19686297
Some time back Deepak Singh wrote an interesting post The curse of BLAST describing how BLAST has become synonymous to the bioinformatics. Although his article highlights a general perception about bioinformatics especially within bench scientists it does not account for the reason which lead us to generalize bioinformatics with BLAST or any other protocol. I was reading an article by Pavel A. Pevzner, Educating Biologists in the 21st Century: Bioinformatics Scientists vs. Bioinformatics Techni........ Read more »
Pevzner, P. (2004) Educating biologists in the 21st century: bioinformatics scientists versus bioinformatics technicians. Bioinformatics, 20(14), 2159-2161. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/bth217
A lovely new paper reports in fascinating detail on a man who lost a uniquely large portion of his brain: Bilateral limbic system destruction in man.The authors, Feinstein et al from Iowa City, have studied the patient, "Roger", for 14 years. Roger was born in 1952, and lived a fairly uneventful life until he contracted herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) at the age of 28.HSE is an extremely rare condition in which the herpes virus infects the central nervous system. Untreated, it is fatal in 70% ........ Read more »
Pereira, T., & Lopes-Cendes, I. (2009). Cryptic anhydrobiotic potential in man: Implications in medicine Medical Hypotheses, 73 (4), 506-507 DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.06.012The Elsevier journal Medical Hypotheses has been in publication since 1975. I am not familiar with the journal's requirements for manuscripts, but judging from this particular paper, they don't appear to be stringent at all. I get the impression that if you include in your manuscript some buzz words and phrases, such as, "........ Read more »
Pereira, T., & Lopes-Cendes, I. (2009) Cryptic anhydrobiotic potential in man: Implications in medicine. Medical Hypotheses, 73(4), 506-507. DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.06.012
Imagine your neighbor has a dog that regularly escapes her yard. One day you see the dog escape and return it to her. She thanks you by giving you a piece of delicious home-made apple pie. This happens several days in a row. Then one day when you return the dog, there's no pie, no thanks, and no explanation. Would you return the dog the next time it escapes?
You might be disinclined. But what if there had never been any reward? Wouldn't returning her dog be the right thing to do?
Children as y........ Read more »
Warneken, F., & Tomasello, M. (2008) Extrinsic rewards undermine altruistic tendencies in 20-month-olds. Developmental Psychology, 44(6), 1785-1788. DOI: 10.1037/a0013860
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