Post List

  • January 30, 2011
  • 11:44 PM

Egypt Week – Corruption and Cooperation

by Jon Wilkins in Lost in Transcription

So, our next Egypt Week feature is a theoretical paper on a topic closely related to the last post. Once again, we are interested in understanding the mechanisms that are responsible for encouraging or enforcing cooperation, thereby facilitating collective action. Last time, we talked about a paper that found that "altruistic" or "third-party" punishment is common in large-scale, complex societies, but is rare in small-scale societies, while "spiteful" punishment is universal.

Many empirical a........ Read more »

Úbeda, F., & Duéñez-Guzmán, E. (2010) POWER AND CORRUPTION. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01194.x  

  • January 30, 2011
  • 11:22 PM

From The Editor’s Desk: Giant Squid=Awesomesauce

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

In the following post I will enumerate the many ways in which current science repeatedly demonstrates that giant squids are awesomesauce.
Awesome: (adj) amazing, awe-inspiring, awful, awing (inspiring awe or admiration or wonder) “New York is an amazing city”; “the Grand Canyon is an awe-inspiring sight”; “the awesome complexity of the universe”; “this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of . . . → Read More: From The Editor’........ Read more »

K. S. BOLSTAD, & S. O’SHEA. (2004) Gut contents of a giant squid Architeuthis dux (Cephalopoda: Oegopsida) from New Zealand waters. Bolstad , 15-21. info:/

Roeleveld, M. (2000) Giant squid beaks: implications for systematics. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, 80(1), 185-187. DOI: 10.1017/S0025315499001769  

  • January 30, 2011
  • 07:43 PM

When weeds are wanted

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

And in keeping with the topic of bees… – I’ve just read a very, very cool paper in Ecology Letters about something I’ve wanted to do myself for some time. It’s a fairly specific piece of work, so it could easily be reproduced elsewhere with different species. My point though is that a hell of [...]... Read more »

Carvalheiro, L., Veldtman, R., Shenkute, A., Tesfay, G., Pirk, C., Donaldson, J., & Nicolson, S. (2011) Natural and within-farmland biodiversity enhances crop productivity. Ecology Letters. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01579.x  

  • January 30, 2011
  • 05:30 PM

Selection is random

by Bjørn Østman in Pleiotropy

When is the effect of a mutation neutral?

A mutation (by this I mean any change to the genotype/genome of an organism) is neutral when it does not change the fitness of the organism. This can happen in different ways:

1) A mutation (SNP) that changes one nucleotide in the protein coding sequence, but does not change the amino acid. These are known as synonymous substitutions, and (mostly*) do not affect fitness.
2) When the mutation does not change fitness, just because the genomic chang........ Read more »

Watson, R., Weinreich, D., & Wakeley, J. (2011) GENOME STRUCTURE AND THE BENEFIT OF SEX. Evolution, 65(2), 523-536. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01144.x  

  • January 30, 2011
  • 03:52 PM

Smoking and the Slave Trade

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox

To Africa and back again.

[Queen Nzinga (smoking a pipe) with Her Entourage, Kingdom of Kongo, 1670s]--------->

In the 17th Century, tobacco, the prototypical New World stimulant, was introduced to Africa by European traders. By 1607, tobacco was being cultivated in Sierra Leone, and in 1611 a Swiss doctor commented on how the soldiers of the “Kingdom of Kongo” fought hunger by grinding up tobacco leaves and setting them on fire, “so that a strong smoke is produced, which they inhale........ Read more »

  • January 30, 2011
  • 11:46 AM

Painkillers, pregnancy and problems of procreation

by Elements Science in Elements Science

No pain no gain: mums told to grit their teeth if they want sons with balls. Djuke Veldhuis examines how expectant mothers use painkillers could affect their son... Read more »

Kristensen, D., Hass, U., Lesne, L., Lottrup, G., Jacobsen, P., Desdoits-Lethimonier, C., Boberg, J., Petersen, J., Toppari, J., Jensen, T.... (2010) Intrauterine exposure to mild analgesics is a risk factor for development of male reproductive disorders in human and rat. Human Reproduction, 26(1), 235-244. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/deq323  

  • January 30, 2011
  • 11:11 AM

Improving tuberculosis control in Ethiopia

by Bernt Lindtjorn in International Health Research

Ethiopia, with over 80 million people, is heavily affected by tuberculosis, complicated by poverty and HIV infection, limited access to the health service and shortage of health workers. We recently reviewed tuberculosis control programme in South Ethiopia. Although treatment success rates have improved during the last decade, low case notification rate, mainly because of inability [...]... Read more »

  • January 30, 2011
  • 09:05 AM

Writerly scientist derided scientist-writer?

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Following up on the recent discovery that novelist and lepidopterist Vladimir Nabokov correctly supposed that Polyommatus blue butterflies colonized the New World in stages, Jessica Palmer points out that none other than Stephen Jay Gould dismissed Nabokov's scientific work as not up to the same standards of genius exhibited in his novels. She suggests that Nabokov's work may have been dismissed by his contemporaries because his scientific papers were a little too colorfully written.Roger Vila, ........ Read more »

  • January 30, 2011
  • 07:00 AM

Catch Some Zzz’s to Lose Some Pounds

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The average length of a night of sleep for an adult in the United States has decreased by 2 hours in the last 50 years. Increasing evidence reports the damaging effects of sleep deprivation and restriction on hormone release, cardiovascular function, and glucose regulation. Now, in fact, evidence shows that sleep loss undermines dietary efforts [...]... Read more »

Copinschi G. (2005) Metabolic and endocrine effects of sleep deprivation. Essential psychopharmacology, 6(6), 341-7. PMID: 16459757  

Nedeltcheva AV, Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Kasza K, Schoeller DA, & Penev PD. (2009) Sleep curtailment is accompanied by increased intake of calories from snacks. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 89(1), 126-33. PMID: 19056602  

Nedeltcheva AV, Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Schoeller DA, & Penev PD. (2010) Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Annals of internal medicine, 153(7), 435-41. PMID: 20921542  

Van Cauter E, Spiegel K, Tasali E, & Leproult R. (2008) Metabolic consequences of sleep and sleep loss. Sleep medicine. PMID: 18929315  

  • January 30, 2011
  • 04:00 AM

Paleolithic Diet More Satisfying Than Mediterranean-Style

by Steve Parker, M.D. in Advanced Mediterranean Diet

Swedish researchers reported recently that a Paleolithic diet was more satiating than a Mediterranean-style diet, when compared on a calorie-for-calorie basis in heart patients.  Both groups of study subjects reported equal degrees of satiety, but the paleo dieters ended up eating 24% fewer calories over the 12-week study.
The main differences in the diets were that [...]... Read more »

  • January 30, 2011
  • 12:57 AM

Egypt Week – Spiteful versus Altruistic Punishment

by Jon Wilkins in Lost in Transcription

So, welcome to the first Egypt Week edition of Lost in Transcription. We're going to kick it off with an anthropology paper that uses a cross-cultural approach to study the origins of human punishment and cooperation.

If you're not familiar with this vein of research, let me set the stage for you. The "problem" of cooperation when people talk about it in anthropology, biology, and economics is this. If you take a super naive view of natural selection, it would say that we shou........ Read more »

Marlowe, F., Berbesque, J., Barrett, C., Bolyanatz, A., Gurven, M., & Tracer, D. (2010) The 'spiteful' origins of human cooperation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2342  

  • January 29, 2011
  • 09:00 PM

NOW That's What I Call Research, Volume 348: Perception of Musical Expression

by Luc Duval in The Pedagogic Verses

New, laudable research tries to answer, "To what extent do variations in timing and amplitude affect the perception of a performance?" I analyze it for you.... Read more »

Bhatara A, Tirovolas AK, Duan LM, Levy B, & Levitin DJ. (2011) Perception of emotional expression in musical performance. Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance. PMID: 21261418  

  • January 29, 2011
  • 08:44 PM

Radioactive decay of teaspoons in the workplace

by Captain Skellett in A Schooner of Science

Have you ever noticed a mysterious loss of teaspoons at your workplace? Maybe it’s not teaspoons, but some other cutlery item. At my old work it was forks, which dwindled even when I bought new replacement ones. At the Australian National University neither spoon nor fork were safe, causing some students to eat salad with [...]... Read more »

  • January 29, 2011
  • 04:03 PM

What, if anything, is a beaver?

by helikonios in The view from Helicon

The title of this post is a reference to this paper (only the first page is available for free, but only the first two paragraphs are relevent) and to a Stephen Jay Gould essay. Both address the question of whether the group of animals corresponding to a colloquial name is actually an evolutionary entity, a [...]... Read more »

  • January 29, 2011
  • 02:00 PM

Occupational therapy & the cognitive behavioural approach for pain management

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

I have always resisted being labelled. I am much more than my gender, my marital status, my diagnosis, my professional background.  I also feel quite uncomfortable about being told what I may or may not do (maybe that’s where my kids get it from?!). I don’t like being told what is and isn’t ‘my role’ … Read more... Read more »

  • January 29, 2011
  • 01:12 PM

Waste lands

by Sarah Stephen in An ecological oratorio

Modern cities generate huge amounts of rubbish, and disposing of this is one of the most pressing environmental problems. One can bury it of course, or burn it in incinerators, or just dump it in a big pile just outside the city. This is the approach chosen for the Jardim Gramacho in Rio, Brazil, one of the worlds largest rubbish dumps, which is the subject of the Oscar nominated film, Waste Land.*Seventy percent of Rio's rubbish arrives at Jardim Gramacho, which is an astonishing 7,0........ Read more »

Porto MF, Juncá DC, Gonçalves Rde S, & Filhote MI. (2004) [Garbage, work, and health: a case study of garbage pickers at the metropolitan landfill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil]. Cadernos de saude publica / Ministerio da Saude, Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz, Escola Nacional de Saude Publica, 20(6), 1503-14. PMID: 15608851  

  • January 29, 2011
  • 12:00 PM

Rant of the day: whales have culture no theyre just jerks like the rest of us humans

by ToonArmyMIA in If There's Grass On The Pitch

Whales, culture and three-somes... Read more »

  • January 29, 2011
  • 10:54 AM

Kids vs Psychiatrists: Final score 1-0

by Lorax in Angry by Choice

By now many have heard about the recent study published in Pediatrics which, of course, shows a clear link between extensive video game playing and depression in teenagers. You may have also heard about another recent publication of a study conducted by 8-10 year olds.

"How are these studies related?" You may ask.

"They are not." I may respond. Actually I will respond. These studies have nothing to do with each other. However, they are related from the perspective that they are BIG news!

In t........ Read more »

Blackawton PS, Airzee S, Allen A, Baker S, Berrow A, Blair C, Churchill M, Coles J, Cumming RF, Fraquelli L.... (2010) Blackawton bees. Biology letters. PMID: 21177694  

  • January 29, 2011
  • 08:56 AM

The featherless chicken

by beredim in Strange Animals

The featherless chicken is as implied by its name a chicken breed with no feathers whatsoever. Its creators claim it to be ecofriendly and better suited for hot environments.
... Read more »

  • January 29, 2011
  • 12:43 AM

Taking flight on light

by gg in Skulls in the Stars

On occasion, a scientific idea comes along that is so simple and elegant that one wonders that it hadn’t been done before!  Such is the case with the results of an article published online in Nature Photonics in December, which … Continue reading →... Read more »

Swartzlander, G., Peterson, T., Artusio-Glimpse, A., & Raisanen, A. (2010) Stable optical lift. Nature Photonics, 5(1), 48-51. DOI: 10.1038/NPHOTON.2010.266  

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