Post List

  • February 13, 2010
  • 09:00 PM

A radical source of antibiotic resistance…

by Jim Caryl in mental indigestion

A FEW years ago, a Boston University team headed by Jim Collins published findings that suggested the means by which bactericidal antibiotics result in cell death, irrespective of the initial cellular target of the drug, was by stimulating the production of hydroxyl radicals, a reactive oxygen species 1. The hydroxyl radical is known to cause [...]... Read more »

  • February 13, 2010
  • 07:35 PM

Ancient Greenlander’s DNA reveals ugly mullet

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Seriously, this is what I first thought when I saw the cover of this week’s Nature, and the associated drawings  in the press.  The dude’s haircut seems like it was even bad in the ’80s… 2080 BCE that is, which is when his body is dated. Approximately.
A large group of researchers were involved in analyzing [...]... Read more »

Rasmussen, M., Li, Y., Lindgreen, S., Pedersen, J., Albrechtsen, A., Moltke, I., Metspalu, M., Metspalu, E., Kivisild, T., Gupta, R.... (2010) Ancient human genome sequence of an extinct Palaeo-Eskimo. Nature, 463(7282), 757-762. DOI: 10.1038/nature08835  

Gilbert MT, Kivisild T, Grønnow B, Andersen PK, Metspalu E, Reidla M, Tamm E, Axelsson E, Götherström A, Campos PF.... (2008) Paleo-Eskimo mtDNA genome reveals matrilineal discontinuity in Greenland. Science (New York, N.Y.), 320(5884), 1787-9. PMID: 18511654  

  • February 13, 2010
  • 07:32 PM

Let 'em starve

by Pamela Ronald in Tomorrow's Table

When I give lectures about the global food supply and the environment, someone in the audience will often comment that the best way to solve the problem is to quit producing so much food.

I find this type of "Let 'em starve" approach quite horrific from a humanitarian view. It also makes no sense scientifically.
Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Myrskylä, M., Kohler, H., & Billari, F. (2009) Advances in development reverse fertility declines. Nature, 460(7256), 741-743. DOI: 10.1038/nature08230  

  • February 13, 2010
  • 06:52 PM

Photic Sneezing

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Swiss researchers have discovered that bright sunlight exposure can elicit 'photic sneezing" which is characterized by the co-recruitment/hyperactivation of visual and somatosensory cortices. Though the researchers define it as a reflex, it is an anomalous reflex in that it requires activation of cortex unlike the classical knee-jerk reflex and others which only necessitate the activation of spinal cord interneurons ... Read more »

Nicolas Langer*, Gian Beeli, Lutz Jäncke. (2010) When the Sun Prickles Your Nose: An EEG Study Identifying Neural Bases of Photic Sneezing. PLoS ONE, 5(2). info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0009208

  • February 13, 2010
  • 06:25 PM

Ant Adaptation to Both Urban and Natural Environments

by Michael Long in Phased

Sean Menke (North Carolina State University) and coworkers have strong evidence that a common ant has become established in urban environments multiple times, a remarkable feat that many species can't even achieve once. This news feature was written on February 13, 2010.... Read more »

  • February 13, 2010
  • 04:28 PM

Maori Wetland Deposits

by Martin Rundkvist in Aardvarchaeology

I'm studying sacrificial deposits made by people of a lo-tech culture in Sweden 3000 years ago, largely in wetlands. This was long before any word relevant to the area was written. The objects were mainly recovered during the decades to either side of 1900. Yesterday while trawling through back issues of the Journal of Wetland Archaeology I came across a really cool paper on a similar theme. It's about wetland deposits made by lo-tech people and excavated during the 20th century. But in this cas........ Read more »

Caroline Phillips, Dilys Johns, & Harry Allen. (2002) Why did Maori bury artefacts in the wetlands of pre-contact Aotearoa / New Zealand?. Journal of Wetland Archaeology, 39-60. info:other/

  • February 13, 2010
  • 04:21 PM

Four-Winged, Psychedelic Dinosaurs

by Andrew Farke in The Open Source Paleontologist

When many of us think of viewing things under a "black light," we either think of those psychedelic posters from the 1960s or else the displays of fluorescent minerals that nearly every science museum has. It's also virtually mandatory to have a scene involving the use of "black light" in the popular CSI television programs - many bodily fluids show up nice and pretty under these conditions. "Black light," more properly known as "ultraviolet (UV) spectrum light", is just outside the visible ligh........ Read more »

David W. E. Hone1, Helmut Tischlinger, Xing Xu, & Fucheng Zhang. (2010) The extent of the preserved feathers on the four-winged dinosaur Microraptor gui under ultraviolet light. PLoS ONE, 5(2). info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0009223

  • February 13, 2010
  • 04:10 PM

Weekly Dose of Cute: American Pika

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

You may not have heard of the American Pika. Pika are small little rodent relatives most closely related to rabbits, though they look chinchilla-esque. They're native to colder climates all over the world, including Asia, Europe and North America, and they tend to live on rocky mountain slopes where they can hide in small crevices. Because they are adapted to cold mountainsides, the pika are particularly at risk is the global climate warms, as changing temperatures could push them further and f........ Read more »

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

  • February 13, 2010
  • 02:37 PM

How to Study Invasive Species, a Conservation and Ecological Imperative

by Johnny in Ecographica

...the invasive could theoretically replace the native with little ill effect to the ecosystem; the invasive could fill the niche left void by the out-competed native plant without disrupting the energetics of the plant community as a whole. BUT, at the same time, a newly arrived invasive species may have a distinct advantage over a native transient because it is completely foreign to the ecosystem. For example, being unrecognized by its new environment the invasive may, for a period of time, ........ Read more »

  • February 13, 2010
  • 12:15 PM

How many Americans are immune to H1N1?

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

I’ve been expecting a resurgence of swine-origin influenza virus (SOIV) in North America for a while now, and it hasn’t happened. The virus is still out there, still infecting a few thousand people per week, but there hasn’t been a third large-scale wave of virus transmission. That’s different from the 1918 and 1957 [...]... Read more »

Hancock, K., Veguilla, V., Lu, X., Zhong, W., Butler, E., Sun, H., Liu, F., Dong, L., DeVos, J., Gargiullo, P.... (2009) Cross-Reactive Antibody Responses to the 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Virus. New England Journal of Medicine, 361(20), 1945-1952. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0906453  

  • February 13, 2010
  • 09:31 AM

Just wow.

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

These little bejeweled cases might look strange, but they're incredible. No, they're not some kind of special modern art. They're incredible because they're made by an insect.

I'm not much of a bug lover, but this is simply one of the coolest things I've ever seen (in a totally-bio-nerdy kind of way). Hubert Duprat, a french artist, had the genius if not a little out there idea to turn caddisfly larvae into artists. In the wild, caddisfly larvae create elaborate protective tubes from materials........ Read more »

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

  • February 13, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Psychotropics and Youth, Part 1 – The Five Myths

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

“The dramatic rise in prescriptions [of psychotropics for children and young adults] has alarmed several commentators,” according to Lakhan and Hagger-Johnson. In their article, they trace this problem to five erroneous myths that influence prescribing: 1) Children are little adults. During adolescence, the brain changes rapidly. As a result, therapeutic benefits, potential adverse occurrences, and drug interactions [...]... Read more »

Lakhan, S., & Hagger-Johnson, G. (2007) The impact of prescribed psychotropics on youth. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health, 3(1), 21. DOI: 10.1186/1745-0179-3-21  

  • February 13, 2010
  • 06:47 AM

Scratch: Reducing Syntactic Complexity

by Simon Wells in Strange Aeons

... Read more »

  • February 12, 2010
  • 06:18 PM

Ground Truth

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Over-use of fertilizer has acidified China’s soil

... Read more »

  • February 12, 2010
  • 05:41 PM

What is severe autism?

by Michelle Dawson in The Autism Crisis

We have to wait, patiently, for the DSM-V people to cough up their system for ranking and classifying all autistics according autism "severity." In the meantime, some recently reported data are worth mulling over. First, here is the most current DSM-V autism "severity" ranking-system proposal, and here is my response, including information about instruments commonly claimed to measure autism "severity." The DSM-V void in this area can be located here. An increasingly prominent measure of autism ........ Read more »

Roberts TP, Khan SY, Rey M, Monroe JF, Cannon K, Blaskey L, Woldoff S, Qasmieh S, Gandal M, Schmidt GL.... (2010) MEG detection of delayed auditory evoked responses in autism spectrum disorders: towards an imaging biomarker for autism. Autism research : official journal of the International Society for Autism Research. PMID: 20063319  

  • February 12, 2010
  • 05:19 PM

Dope, Dope, Dopamine

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

When you smoke pot, you get stoned.Simple. But it's not really, because stoned can involve many different effects, depending upon the user's mental state, the situation, the variety and strength of the marijuana, and so forth. It can be pleasurable, or unpleasant. It can lead to relaxed contentment, or anxiety and panic. And it can feature hallucinations and alterations of thinking, some of which resemble psychotic symptoms.In Central nervous system effects of haloperidol on THC in healthy male ........ Read more »

Liem-Moolenaar, M., Te Beek, E., de Kam, M., Franson, K., Kahn, R., Hijman, R., Touw, D., & van Gerven, J. (2010) Central nervous system effects of haloperidol on THC in healthy male volunteers. Journal of Psychopharmacology. DOI: 10.1177/0269881109358200  

  • February 12, 2010
  • 05:00 PM

The Science of the 2010 Winter Olympics Are Here!!

by Allison in Dormivigilia

The March issue of Experimental Physiology highlights articles relevant to particular sports of the Winter Olympic Games of which I will feature in the upcoming weeks.....let the games begin!!... Read more »

Stuart Egginton and Michael J.White. (2010) 2010 Winter Games Themed Issue. Experimental Physiology, 95(3), 402-403. info:/10.1113/expphysiol.2009.047530

  • February 12, 2010
  • 04:42 PM

Fathers' Rights, Children Wronged

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Reflections on Michael Flood's (2010) article on the challenges posed by the fathers' rights movement in Australia.... Read more »

  • February 12, 2010
  • 02:30 PM

Faith-Based Birding 201: Fraudulent Photos and Federal Funding

by GrrlScientist in Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

tags: faith-based birding, mass hysteria, endangered species, extinct species, conservation, politics, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Campephilus principalis, IBWO, ornithology, birds,,peer-reviewed research, peer-reviewed paper

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has posted a reward of $50,000
to be given to anyone who can provide "video, photographic, or
other compelling information and lead a project scientist to a
living wild Ivory-billed Woodpecker."

Mass hysteria is that........ Read more »

Dalton, R. (2010) Still looking for that woodpecker. Nature, 463(7282), 718-719. DOI: 10.1038/463718a  

  • February 12, 2010
  • 02:15 PM

Neoproterozoic signs of life

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

Fossils older than the base of the Cambrian - 542 million years ago, are not exactly abundant, so it was interesting to see not one, but two interesting papers in the latest issue of Geology that describe fossils from the Neoproterozoic period, from 1000 to 542 million years ago.

The first paper reports the discovery of 565 Ma trace fossils found at Mistaken Point in Newfoundland. Mistaken Point is the location of a nice section across the Cambrian boundary, and hosts the oldest known fossil........ Read more »

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