Post List

  • February 3, 2010
  • 12:56 PM

Times Online Best Blogs

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

Eureka has come out with a list of the 30 best science blogs, including greats like Not Exactly Rocket Science and Neurotopia. Congrats! Everyone should go check out the top 30!

While you're at it, though, be sure to tell Eureka YOUR favorites - they're looking for a top 100, and they want to know which ones they missed. Just send an e-mail to eureka [at] thetimes [dot] co [dot] uk with "Best Blogs" in the subject to submit observations of a nerd your picks for the best science blogs not on tha........ Read more »

Price, T., Hurst, G., & Wedell, N. (2010) Polyandry Prevents Extinction. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.050  

  • February 3, 2010
  • 12:53 PM

Deep-Water Origin of Freshwater Eels

by Kevin Zelnio in Deep Sea News

Larval eel jaw diversity from Michael Miller 2009 ASMB 2(4): 1-94.

There are all sort of eels in this world. Big ones, small ones, gulper eels, morays. But the most tastiest are the Japanese freshwater eel. Nothing says Ohayo Gozaimasu like fresh eel sushi topped with a mountain of pickled ginger and lightly spackled with sweet [...]... Read more »

Inoue, J., Miya, M., Miller, M., Sado, T., Hanel, R., Hatooka, K., Aoyama, J., Minegishi, Y., Nishida, M., & Tsukamoto, K. (2010) Deep-ocean origin of the freshwater eels. Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0989  

  • February 3, 2010
  • 11:55 AM

Forest fragmentation and the isolation of the giant panda (a goodbye to Tai Shan and Mei Lan)

by Jeremy in Voltage Gate

In recent surveys, researchers have shown that the number of individual pandas has increased due to conservation efforts in the country, but the populations remain disparate. A recent study published in the Journal of Biogeography takes a look at how exactly these pandas are distributed in the forests of Southwest China, in relation to the level of fragmentation.... Read more »

  • February 3, 2010
  • 11:45 AM

Canadian Adults: Remarkably Less Healthy Than 30 Years Ago

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

Last Friday I discussed the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), which I feel is among the most important surveys in the world of health research (along with its American counterpart, the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey). The CHMS is nationally representative and has directly measured physical activity and physical fitness, not to mention every type of medical test under the sun, which allows researchers to examine questions that would just not be possible any other way. ........ Read more »

Shields, M, Tremblay, MS, Laviolette, M, Craig, CL, Janssen, I, & Connor Gorber, S. (2010) Fitness of Canadian adults: Results from the 2007-2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Health Reports, 21(1), 1-15. info:/

  • February 3, 2010
  • 11:23 AM

Special needs children: Depression and anxiety symptoms

by Nestor Lopez-Duran PhD in Child-Psych

In our neuropsychology practice we see a large number of children with special health care needs (i.e., medical conditions) as well as children with neurodevelopmental or psychiatric conditions (autism, language impaiments, ADHD). Although the main goal of these evaluations is to identify their patterns of cognitive strengths and weaknesses to guide intervention, we always evaluate [...]... Read more »

  • February 3, 2010
  • 11:13 AM

New study names a Titanoboa menu item

by Laelaps in Laelaps

A restoration of Titanoboa (foreground) and Cerrejonisuchus improcerus (background, left) in their natural setting. (By Jason Bourque, image from Wikipedia.)

When I was growing up I used to spend hours poring over the Time/Life series of nature books in my little library, absolutely enthralled by images of strange creatures from all over the world, but one photograph was particularly arresting. A grainy black-and-white double-page spread showed an anaconda that had wrapped its crushing coi........ Read more »

Alexander K. Hastings; Jonathan I. Bloch; Edwin A. Cadena; Carlos A. Jaramillo. (2010) A new small short-snouted dyrosaurid (Crocodylomorpha, Mesoeucrocodylia) from the Paleocene of northeastern Colombia. Journal of Verterbrate Paleontology, 30(1), 139-162. info:/10.1080/02724630903409204

  • February 3, 2010
  • 11:01 AM

Tree Plantations as Biological Deserts

by Johnny in Ecographica

If I had a nickel for every time a biologist told me that tree plantations are nothing but “biological deserts” I’d be a rich man!

Well, at least a rich-er man anyway…
... Read more »

  • February 3, 2010
  • 10:55 AM

Accelerated Twins: The Answer

by Chad Orzel in Uncertain Principles

Yesterday's post on a variation of the "Twin Paradox" with both twins accelerating was very successful-- 337 people voted in the first poll question, as of a little before 9am, and the comments to the original post are full of lively discussion. That's awesome.

I wish I could take credit for it, but the problem posed is not original to me. It comes from a 1989 paper in the American Journal of Physics, which also includes the following illustration setting up the situation:

The article contai........ Read more »

  • February 3, 2010
  • 10:53 AM

Story behind the science: #PLoS Genetics "Evolutionary mirages" paper

by Jonathan Eisen in The Tree of Life

So there is this cool new paper out in PLoS Genetics: Evolutionary Mirages: Selection on Binding Site Composition Creates the Illusion of Conserved Grammars in Drosophila Enhancers. and I have wanted to write about it for a week or so. You see, the paper is about something I have been interested in for most of my career - how the particular processes by which mutations occur can sometimes be biased (i.e., some types of mutations are more common than others) and that these biases can create high........ Read more »

  • February 3, 2010
  • 10:37 AM

Journal Retracts Autism Research

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

In 1998, a landmark study was published in the medical journal The Lancet. It was the first major research that suggested a link between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. Almost immediately following publication, the rates of vaccination plummeted and the incidence of measles escalated among children. Since then, the subject has been the source [...]... Read more »

  • February 3, 2010
  • 10:10 AM

Girls and Math - Part II : Teacher Anxiety

by Daniel Hawes in Ingenious Monkey | 20-two-5

A study in PNAS looks at the link between teacher anxiety and the gender gap in math achievement...... Read more »

Beilock, S., Gunderson, E., Ramirez, G., & Levine, S. (2010) Female teachers' math anxiety affects girls' math achievement. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(5), 1860-1863. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0910967107  

  • February 3, 2010
  • 10:05 AM

Dethroning the Red Queen?

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Regular readers of Denim and Tweed know that I'm fascinated by the evolution of species interactions: interactions between plants and nitrogen-fixing bacteria, Joshua trees and yucca moths, parasitoid wasps and butterflies, and between ants and the trees they guard. I tend to think that coevolutionary interactions not only determine the health of natural populations, but shape their evolutionary history. But would I feel that way if I were a paleontologist?

Running just to stay in place

The id........ Read more »

Futuyma, D. (1987) On the role of species in anagenesis. The American Naturalist, 130(3), 465-73. DOI: 10.1086/284724  

Van Valen, L. (1973) A new evolutionary law. Evolutionary Theory, 1(1), 1-30. info:/

  • February 3, 2010
  • 09:22 AM

Skepticism or denial?

by Andy Russell in Our Clouded Hills

Whilst I would describe myself as a scientific skeptic, in that I will try to investigate claims before coming to a judgement, I would not say I was a “climate change skeptic”. This term is often used to label those that are irrationally dismissive of the scientific evidence (or worse). Several commentators on [...]... Read more »

M. J. Menne, C. N. Williams, & M. A. Palecki. (2010) On the reliability of the U.S. Surface Temperature Record. Journal of Geophysical Research. info:/doi:10.1029/2009JD013094

  • February 3, 2010
  • 08:24 AM

Salamander Longshanks – breed them out

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

Patrick McGoohan in his role as the less-than-sentimental King Edward ‘Longshanks’ in the 1995 production of ‘Braveheart’ said it best in his references to the invocation of ius primæ noctis:

If we can’t get them out, we’ll breed them out

What a charmer.
Dabbling in molecular ecology myself over the past few years with some gel-jockey types (e.g., [...]... Read more »

Fitzpatrick, B., Johnson, J., Kump, D., Smith, J., Voss, S., & Shaffer, H. (2010) Rapid spread of invasive genes into a threatened native species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0911802107  

  • February 3, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Science based risk assessment

by sciencebase in Sciencebase Science Blog

Ask people why the enter the lottery and they will usually tell you that “you’ve got to be in it to win it”. As far as it goes that’s true, but it still doesn’t get around the odds of you picking the right numbers being vanishingly (although not quite homeopathically) small at 14 million to [...]Science based risk assessment is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog
... Read more »

Terje Aven. (2009) A new scientific framework for quantitative risk assessments. Int. J. Business Continuity and Risk Management, 1(1), 67-77. info:/

  • February 3, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

When the going gets tough, do the puffs get going?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

You would think that having a dedicated set of neurons that triggered super-fast escape responses to get away from fast predator attacks and other sudden events in your area would be something that you’d want to keep around. This is usually so, but it turns out, not always. This is a problem I’ve been struggling with for some time now, and I’m thrilled to bits to find another example.

Fish have a group of neurons that trigger escape responses called C-starts, so called because the fish b........ Read more »

  • February 3, 2010
  • 07:45 AM

The Attraction of Curves

by Brian Koberlein in Upon Reflection

Figure 1: Newton's gravity predicts an elliptical orbit for Mercury (similar to the red path). Mercury's orbit actually shifts over time (similar to the path in blue). Mercury's motion agrees with Einstein's model of gravity. (Source: Wikipedia) Last time I...... Read more »

Dyson, F., Eddington, A., & Davidson, C. (1920) A Determination of the Deflection of Light by the Sun's Gravitational Field, from Observations Made at the Total Eclipse of May 29, 1919. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Containing Papers of a Mathematical or Physical Character (1896-1934), 220(1), 291-333. DOI: 10.1098/rsta.1920.0009  

  • February 3, 2010
  • 07:05 AM

Imaging the Brain Better, Faster,Thinner

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

A lot of the studies that I cast my Neuroskeptical eye over are related to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).This is because, in my opinion, quite a lot of today's fMRI work suffers from methodological flaws. But that's not to say that all fMRI work is suspect, or, worse, that there's something inherently unscientific about fMRI as such. fMRI's a tool, an amazing one in a lot of ways, but like any tool it needs to be used well. Along with others, I've criticized various aspects of re........ Read more »

Sabatinelli D, Lang PJ, Bradley MM, Costa VD, & Keil A. (2009) The timing of emotional discrimination in human amygdala and ventral visual cortex. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 29(47), 14864-8. PMID: 19940182  

  • February 3, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Following the money: do conservation expenditures match priorities?

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • February 3, 2010
  • 06:59 AM

Now playing: Viral plaque formation

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

One of the most important procedures in virology is measuring the virus titer – the concentration of viruses in a sample. A widely used approach for determining the quantity of infectious virus is the plaque assay. In this technique, the spread of progeny viruses released by individually infected cells is restricted to neighboring cells by [...]... Read more »

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