Post List

  • August 2, 2010
  • 05:17 PM

Do you know what you like?

by Daniel Simons in The Invisible Gorilla

Do you know what you like? (Don't) think again. The phenomenon of choice blindness shows the split between our intuitive preferences and our explanations of them. A new paper by Hall & Johansson extend the phenomenon to food preferences.... Read more »

  • August 2, 2010
  • 05:00 PM

RNA Antiprisms: Towards Encoded Intracellular Nanofactories

by Michael Long in Phased

Luc Jaeger (University of California at Santa Barbara, United States) and coworkers have designed rugged functional three-dimensional RNA nanoparticles, opening the door to nano-scale factories encoded within cellular DNA. This news feature was written on August 2, 2010.... Read more »

Severcan, I., Geary, C., Chworos, A., Voss, N., Jacovetty, E., & Jaeger, L. (2010) A polyhedron made of tRNAs. Nature Chemistry. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.733  

  • August 2, 2010
  • 04:15 PM

Cocaine...That's So 80s

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Novel research suggests that we overvalue the craving and addictive potential of cocaine, particularly in relation to other non-reward drugs ... Read more »

Lauriane Cantin, Magalie Lenoir, Eric Augier, Nathalie Vanhille, Sarah Dubreucq, Fuschia Serre, Caroline Vouillac, Serge H. Ahmed. (2010) Cocaine Is Low on the Value Ladder of Rats: Possible Evidence for Resilience to Addiction. PLoS , 5(7), 11592. info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0011592

  • August 2, 2010
  • 04:12 PM

Mating red-tailed bumblebees

by Africa Gomez in BugBlog

Amongst bees, bumblebees have very long copulations when compared to honeybees and solitary bees. Up to three hours have been recorded for Bombus lapidarius, the Red-Tailed bumblebee, closer to half an hour for B. terrestris. I came across these paired Red-Tailed bumblebees (above) yesterday in the wildlife garden. The brightly coloured, smaller male was simply riding the female, and she bumbled along, feeding on knapweed and heavily flying between flower heads. Females would be expected to be v........ Read more »

  • August 2, 2010
  • 04:09 PM

Chernobyl, 24 years on

by nuclear.kelly in Miss Atomic Bomb

An article on the BBC this morning discusses (in the usual BBC "style") the recent findings of a study by researchers conducting a wildlife census in the Chernobyl "exclusion zone," published in Ecological Indicators. The researchers concluded that the radiation contamination had a "significant impact" on the local ecology.The actual article (available for a fee from Elsevier here... don't get me started on Elsevier, those murderers of the spirit of science) concludes that, within statistically ........ Read more »

  • August 2, 2010
  • 04:00 PM

The Science of Interpersonal Trust

by Randy Borum in Science of Global Security & Armed Conflict

Interpersonal trust - a willingness to accept vulnerability or risk based on expectations regarding another person’s behavior – is a vitally important concept for human behavior, affecting our interactions both with adversaries and competitors as well as with allies and friends. Indeed, interpersonal trust could be said to be responsible in part for nudging competitors towards becoming allies, or – if betrayed – leading friends to become adversaries.

This document sum........ Read more »

Randy Borum. (2010) The Science of Interpersonal Trust. Monograph. info:/

  • August 2, 2010
  • 03:15 PM

Monday Pets: How Anteaters Decide

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

"But wait," you say. "Anteaters aren't pets!" Well, I didn't think so either. But Salvador Dali had a pet anteater. And that's good enough for me.

Figure 1: Salvador Dali taking his pet anteater for a stroll. (Source)

The Giant Anteater, Myrmecophaga tridactyla, only eats ants and termites, making it a myrmecophage. (Hey, Alex Wild, now I get what Myrmecos means!) In 1984, a researcher named Kent Redford was interested in the foraging behaviors of the giant anteater, and the relationship betw........ Read more »

KENT H. REDFORD. (1985) Feeding and food preference in captive and wild Giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla). Journal of Zoology, 559-572. info:/

  • August 2, 2010
  • 02:36 PM

You can get by with a little help from your friends…

by eHarmony Labs in eHarmony Labs Blog

New research contends that our social relationships- or lack thereof- should be considered just as dangerous to our health as smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise.... Read more »

  • August 2, 2010
  • 02:25 PM

The MolBio Carnival: the first edition

by Alejandro Montenegro-Montero in MolBio Research Highlights

I’m pleased to host the very first edition of the MolBio Carnival, your monthly roundup of interesting posts in molecular biology from the science blogosphere. There has been a great response to this initiative and I had a great time reviewing submissions and writing this post.
You can read all about this Carnival here (submission guidelines, scope, etc), but right now, let’s get down to ... Read more »

  • August 2, 2010
  • 02:07 PM

Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures: 2010

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The Alzheimer's Association sponsors a journal titled Alzheimer's & Dementia.  In the March 2010 issue, they provide a report on facts and figures related to Alzheimer's disease (AD).  The manuscript is free and can be accessed by clicking on the citation at the end of this article.  It is long and detailed with 36 pages of information.  I'm a sucker for data so I spent some time going through the manuscript and here are some of the things that stood out to me:Ninety (90)........ Read more »

Alzheimer's Association. (2010) 2010 Alzheimer's disease facts and figures. Alzheimer's , 6(2), 158-94. PMID: 20298981  

  • August 2, 2010
  • 01:15 PM

This Week in the Universe: July 27th – August 2nd

by S.C. Kavassalis in The Language of Bad Physics

What have people been talking about this week in high energy physics, astrophysics, gravitation, general relativity and quantum gravity?... Read more »

A. Kappes for the IceCube Collaboration. (2010) IceCube: Neutrino Messages from GRBs. Proceedings: Deciphering the Ancient Universe with Gamma-Ray Bursts. arXiv: 1007.4629v1

Adam Moss, James P. Zibin, & Douglas Scott. (2010) Precision Cosmology Defeats Void Models for Acceleration. arXiv. arXiv: 1007.3725v1

Stephen D. H. Hsu. (2010) White holes and eternal black holes. arXiv. arXiv: 1007.2934v1

  • August 2, 2010
  • 01:00 PM

An Inactive Mine Provides Active Opportunities

by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered

by Elio

Metagenomics is a fine tool indeed for surveying a microbial community in concert, treating both the cultured and uncultured equally. When the sample studied is rich in microbial variety, as often is the case, the pieces of genomes can be reluctant to reveal the genetic heritage of whole microbes. But there are a few particular environments that are dominated by a handful of species at most, and here this approach allows the reconstruction of complete genomes. That is the case with t........ Read more »

Baker BJ, Comolli LR, Dick GJ, Hauser LJ, Hyatt D, Dill BD, Land ML, Verberkmoes NC, Hettich RL, & Banfield JF. (2010) Enigmatic, ultrasmall, uncultivated Archaea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(19), 8806-11. PMID: 20421484  

  • August 2, 2010
  • 10:51 AM

How Bacteria Help Create Dinosaur Fossils

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

As stated in many popular-audience books and documentaries, the fossilization of a skeleton involves the gradual transformation of bone into stone, often by way of mineral-rich groundwater percolating through bones over a long period of time. Yet things are not that simple. Thanks to recent discoveries, we know that remnants of soft tissues and even [...]... Read more »


  • August 2, 2010
  • 10:44 AM

A new modern mammal for Madagascar

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology

The fact that new, modern-day mammal species are discovered on a fairly regular basis should most definitely not be a surprise to the average Tet Zoo reader. These are not all 'cryptic species' distinguishable only on the basis of DNA: many are morphologically distinctive, honest-to-goodness new animals discovered either in the field or in museum collections. And they're not all bats and rodents: new monkeys, lemurs, sloths and hoofed mammals (peccaries, deer and bovids) have been named in rec........ Read more »

Yoder AD, Burns MM, Zehr S, Delefosse T, Veron G, Goodman SM, & Flynn JJ. (2003) Single origin of Malagasy Carnivora from an African ancestor. Nature, 421(6924), 734-7. PMID: 12610623  

  • August 2, 2010
  • 10:24 AM

Epigenetics and 3-D gene structure

by Grant Jacobs in Code for life

DNA methylation controls the binding of proteins that control the 3-D structure of genes.
This is a lightly edited version of an article I wrote as a guest on Alison’s blog over a year ago, looking back a couple of years to show something of what epigenetics was bringing to genome biology. The science has advanced [...]... Read more »

  • August 2, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

The Bariatric Food Pyramid

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

The key to long-term success with bariatric surgery is certainly life-long dietary modification.
While most guidelines focus on the immediate needs of patients undergoing bariatric surgery, long term nutrition continues to be an important issue, even in weight-stable patients.
As people with bariatric surgery tend to eat far fewer calories than before and (depending on the type [...]... Read more »

Moizé VL, Pi-Sunyer X, Mochari H, & Vidal J. (2010) Nutritional Pyramid for Post-gastric Bypass Patients. Obesity surgery, 20(8), 1133-41. PMID: 20401543  

  • August 2, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Pushing towards acknowledging sex differences in physiology and treatment efficacy

by EcoPhysioMichelle in C6-H12-O6

It is no surprise to many people that men and women are sometimes more susceptible to certain diseases than the other. By virtue of having differing anatomy, physiology, and gender expectations, we are going to be prone to different types of diseases, injuries, syndromes, and whatever-you-call-its. That being said, the majority of pathologies affect both men and women relatively equally. Despite that fact, rarely do clinical trials explore the difference in response to treatments based on sex. I........ Read more »

  • August 2, 2010
  • 07:06 AM

If you can’t grow it, sequence it

by Becky in It Takes 30

Bacteria live almost everywhere, and use a staggering variety of strategies to get the energy they need to grow.  In the process, they make and recycle all kinds of globally important materials; and we often don’t understand how, biochemically, they do this.  One reason — apart from the sheer overwhelming number of different types of [...]... Read more »

Lücker S, Wagner M, Maixner F, Pelletier E, Koch H, Vacherie B, Rattei T, Damsté JS, Spieck E, Le Paslier D.... (2010) A Nitrospira metagenome illuminates the physiology and evolution of globally important nitrite-oxidizing bacteria. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 20624973  

  • August 2, 2010
  • 06:02 AM

Massive star formation not so different after all?

by sarah in One Small Step

In my previous post on the Zooniverse Project IX I’m involved in, I talked about the importance of star formation in the Universe and some of the difficulties we face in studying it. Some big unanswered question particularly remain in our understanding of how massive stars form. Fittingly, the latest edition of Nature has a [...]... Read more »

Kraus S, Hofmann KH, Menten KM, Schertl D, Weigelt G, Wyrowski F, Meilland A, Perraut K, Petrov R, Robbe-Dubois S.... (2010) A hot compact dust disk around a massive young stellar object. Nature, 466(7304), 339-42. PMID: 20631793  

  • August 2, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

How much for that tiger skin?: Modeling illegal wildlife trade markets

by DeLene Beeland in Wild Muse

While a lot of attention is paid to reporting on human warfare across the globe, the illegal war on wildlife that is carried out through trafficking, poaching, and bush meat trades is often given comparatively less coverage. (At least in U.S. mainstream media, to which I refer here.) I’ve been starting to pay more attention [...]... Read more »

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