Post List

  • January 14, 2010
  • 01:00 PM
  • 578 views

Quantum Chemistry FTW!

by Lars Fischer in EuCheMS 2010 Blog

There have been many new developments in quantum computing during the last few years, but last Sunday a paper appeared in Nature Chemistry that shows how far the area really has come. It seems that now things are getting really interesting: American and Australian scientists just built a quantum circuit that calculated the energy Eigenvalues [...]... Read more »

Lanyon, B., Whitfield, J., Gillett, G., Goggin, M., Almeida, M., Kassal, I., Biamonte, J., Mohseni, M., Powell, B., Barbieri, M.... (2010) Towards quantum chemistry on a quantum computer. Nature Chemistry, 2(2), 106-111. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.483  

  • January 14, 2010
  • 12:06 PM
  • 1,208 views

Irreplaceable natural services: A look at the plight of the Chihuahuan grasslands and the black-tailed prairie dog

by Jeremy in Voltage Gate

This article from PLoS ONE, provides a very clear, apt example of just how delicate this biome can be, and illustrates the services that native animals can provide in an ecosystem that would cost considerable sums to replace.... Read more »

Ceballos, G., Davidson, A., List, R., Pacheco, J., Manzano-Fischer, P., Santos-Barrera, G., & Cruzado, J. (2010) Rapid Decline of a Grassland System and Its Ecological and Conservation Implications. PLoS ONE, 5(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008562  

  • January 14, 2010
  • 12:05 PM
  • 1,345 views

Synesthesia and the McGurk effect

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

We've discussed synesthesia many times before on Cognitive Daily -- it's the seemingly bizarre phenomenon when one stimulus (e.g. a sight or a sound) is experienced in multiple modalities (e.g. taste, vision, or colors). For example, a person might experience a particular smell whenever a given word or letter is seen or heard. Sometimes particular faces are associated with specific colors or auras. Synesthesia is relatively rare, but the people who experience it are genuine: their perceptions ar........ Read more »

Bargary G, Barnett KJ, Mitchell KJ, & Newell FN. (2009) Colored-speech synaesthesia is triggered by multisensory, not unisensory, perception. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 20(5), 529-33. PMID: 19476587  

  • January 14, 2010
  • 12:00 PM
  • 1,066 views

Is Childhood Obesity The Parent's Fault?

by Christie Wilcox in Nutrition Wonderland

Childhood obesity is becoming a hot topic in health circles, even to the point of being called an epidemic. Experts estimate that 20% of children between the ages of 6 and 17 are overweight, predisposing them to terrible diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Why have the world’s children ballooned over the past hundred years?... Read more »

  • January 14, 2010
  • 11:35 AM
  • 497 views

A Previously Unknown Toxin in Treated Water

by Michael Long in Phased

Xing-Fang Li (University of Alberta, Canada) and coworkers have added to concerns that unknown carcinogens may be lurking in treated water. This news feature was written on January 14, 2010.... Read more »

  • January 14, 2010
  • 11:12 AM
  • 1,877 views

Fitter healthier

by Richard Grant in Faculty of 1000

The necessary length of time from an initial scientific breakthrough to a tried and tested application, clinical or otherwise, can often tarnish the initial thrill of that first result, or even make you forget about it altogether. I have a photograph of my then three year old daughter sitting on the breakfast bar in the [...]... Read more »

  • January 14, 2010
  • 10:26 AM
  • 794 views

Lost City ecosystem predisposes marine microbes

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Scientists studying the Lost City hydrothermal vent field have found what appears to be microbes just waiting to thrive; that is, when their perfect ecosystem arrives. At the Lost City, microbes known to be rare in hotter, more active vents flourish in the cooler, moderated ecosystem of the older vent. And when those microbes’ ideal environment [...]

... Read more »

  • January 14, 2010
  • 09:29 AM
  • 1,045 views

PhyloTree.org

by Kris in Ge·knit·ics

As a grad student in anthropological genetics, one of the more tedious tasks I had was aligning mtDNA sequences manually, noting the mutations (differences from the revised Cambridge Reference Sequence, which belongs to haplogroup H), and determining the haplogroup (or lineage).  The difficulty was compounded by a lack of comprehensive definitions.  I had a stack [...]... Read more »

  • January 14, 2010
  • 09:00 AM
  • 30,376 views

What Makes Birds Cooperate Against Predators?

by John Beetham in A DC Birding Blog

Pied Flycatcher / Photo by Simon Eugster via WikimediaMany bird species are known to cooperate to mob and scold predators such as hawks, owls, or outdoor cats. In North America this behavior is probably most noticeable among jays and crows since they form the loudest mobs. Chickadees and titmice likewise gather to scold a predator when one is found. Other species may participate or use their own cooperative actions to confuse and drive away predators. The general strategy is to gather around a p........ Read more »

Krams, I., Berzins, A., Krama, T., Wheatcroft, D., Igaune, K., & Rantala, M. (2009) The increased risk of predation enhances cooperation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277(1681), 513-518. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1614  

  • January 14, 2010
  • 08:55 AM
  • 809 views

Transliterated brand names

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move


















I’ve just come across a 2006 University of South Africa MA thesis investigating Saudi fast-food ads. The author, Basem Abbas Al Agha, finds that
[…] 97% of the respondents believed that the translations are incomprehensible in Arabic. The other 3% stated that they sometimes understand the translations. (p. 92)
Even if the sample size is rather small, [...]... Read more »

Al Agha, Basem Abbas. (2006) The translation of fast-food advertising texts from English into Arabic. Unpublished MA dissertation, University of South Africa. info:/

  • January 14, 2010
  • 08:25 AM
  • 581 views

A Brief History of Bipolar Kids

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Can children get bipolar disorder?It depends who you ask. It's "controversial". Some say that, like schizophrenia, bipolar strikes in adolescence or after, and that pre-pubertal onset is extraordinarily rare. Others say that kids can be, and often are, bipolar, but their symptoms may differ from the ones seen in adults. You know a 20 year old's manic when they stay up for 3 days straight writing a book about how God's chosen them to save the world. A 10 year old, though, is more likely to show ........ Read more »

  • January 14, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,265 views

How enzymes don’t work

by David Bradley in Reactive Reports Chemistry Blog

The late, great Linus Paul, twice Nobel laureate (chemistry and peace) and advocate of mega doses of vitamin C for beating disease and extending life (he died at the ripe old age of 93) was one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century.
He worked out how nature’s catalysts, proteins known as enzymes, speed [...]... Read more »

  • January 14, 2010
  • 07:00 AM
  • 773 views

The ecological benefits of reduced stream flows

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

In the conservation world, conventional wisdom holds that restricting the hydrology of a stream is a bad thing. However, a new article in the journal BioSciences provides a contrarian perspective...... Read more »

  • January 14, 2010
  • 05:45 AM
  • 666 views

Migraines and Depression, or, How to Uncover Genetic Links Without Using DNA

by Rick Scavetta in DNA Dude


The first step in understanding a genetic disease is learning to which extent genetics play a role in it’s development, i.e. Is is really a genetic disease? For many illnesses, it’s not entirely clear what role genetics versus environment play, or how complex their interaction is. There are several tests geneticists can use to uncover [...]... Read more »

Stam, A., de Vries, B., Janssens, A., Vanmolkot, K., Aulchenko, Y., Henneman, P., Oostra, B., Frants, R., van den Maagdenberg, A., Ferrari, M.... (2010) Shared genetic factors in migraine and depression. Evidence from a genetic isolate. Neurology. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181cbcd19  

  • January 13, 2010
  • 11:40 PM
  • 1,359 views

Can Religion Explain Prosociality and Can Science Explain Religion?

by Alexander in The Astronomist.

Today, a philosophical diversion on the evolution of religion. Specifically I was thinking about the metaphorical evolution of religion and the Darwinian evolution of the human mind with a predisposition to the mystical. I was reminded about this topic and a Science article from some time ago when I saw a review for The Evolution of God a new book by Robert Right. My thesis on the topic is that as long as religion infers a survival advantage upon a group then evolution will select individuals wh........ Read more »

Norenzayan A, & Shariff AF. (2008) The origin and evolution of religious prosociality. Science (New York, N.Y.), 322(5898), 58-62. PMID: 18832637  

  • January 13, 2010
  • 10:44 PM
  • 1,189 views

Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres: ALT 101

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Telomeres are the protective caps of material at the ends of your chromosomes. As normal somatic cells divide, telomeres become shorter and shorter until the lack of telomere length halts the cell division process - in effect this limits normal cellular replication. But stem cells, the source of our tissues during growth and maintainers of adult tissue, use the enzyme telomerase to keep their telomeres long, enabling them to divide long past the point at which somatic cells would halt. In additi........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2010
  • 08:48 PM
  • 1,563 views

Are Redheads Bleeders?

by sandnsurf in Life in the Fast Lane

I first became aware that redheads were treated differently in medicine when I started hanging around anaesthetists. Most anaesthetists i know tend to get slightly more uptight when they see the phaeomelanin-laden locks of a freckled UV-sensitive patient. Especially in obstetrics. Why is this you ask?... Read more »

Liem EB, Lin CM, Suleman MI, Doufas AG, Gregg RG, Veauthier JM, Loyd G, & Sessler DI. (2004) Anesthetic requirement is increased in redheads. Anesthesiology, 101(2), 279-83. PMID: 15277908  

  • January 13, 2010
  • 06:11 PM
  • 477 views

Open Lab 2009!

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

It's finally here! We have a list of elite blog posts chosen by the best of the best to publish in this year's Open Laboratory.

Yours truly got the double honor - I got to help judge the entries and, by some miracle, one of mine made the cut!

I display these proudly:



Anyhow, go check out all the winners and congrats to all who made it!

... Read more »

  • January 13, 2010
  • 06:10 PM
  • 1,907 views

EXTassays, toward maturity of RNA reporters

by 96well in Reportergene

I read with some interest a recent Nature Methods paper appeared this January. Anna Botvinnik and colleagues from Max Planck Institute, conceived a new reporter system able to measure receptor activation (receptor dimerization), downstream signaling (adapter recruitment) and subsequnent cis-regulatory responsive elements transactivation efficacies by...

...no, you don't need a 64-milion new-generation machine, you need Trizol!

As I reviewed in my first 2010 post, there is a trend to develop mu........ Read more »

  • January 13, 2010
  • 05:17 PM
  • 1,504 views

Farm Fugitives Feasting On Fiji's Fish?

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

Tilapia has quickly risen the ranks as an important aquaculture fish. It's third in production behind carps and salmon, with over 1,500,000 metric tons produced every year. They're ideal fish farm species because they're omnivorous, fairly big, quick-growing, tolerate high densities quite well and are mighty tasty. More than anything else, tilapia are hailed as one of aquaculture's greatest successes. Cheap and easy, they breed well and are considered far more environmentally friendly than other........ Read more »

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