Post List

  • December 25, 2010
  • 06:41 PM

Cannibal Coprolite Christmas Continues

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In their critique of the article reporting evidence for alleged cannibalism at site 5MT10100 near Cowboy Wash on the southern piedmont of Sleeping Ute Mountain, Kurt Dongoske, Debra Martin, and T. J. Ferguson challenged many of the conclusions and lines of evidence presented in the article.  Among these was the evidence of consumption of human [...]... Read more »

  • December 25, 2010
  • 03:14 PM

Platypus: The duck-billed, egg-laying mammal

by beredim in Strange Animals

The platypus is surely one of the world strangest and most bizarre animals. For example, other than the Echidna, its the only mammal to lay eggs. It's also one of the few known mammals with electroreception, or the ability to sense electrical fields produced by other animals. Want more? The platypus is also one of the very few animals that produce venom!... Read more »

Hall, B. (1999) The Paradoxical Platypus. BioScience, 49(3), 211. DOI: 10.2307/1313511  

Bethge, P., Munks, S., Otley, H., & Nicol, S. (2003) Diving behaviour, dive cycles and aerobic dive limit in the platypus Ornithorhynchus anatinus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular , 136(4), 799-809. DOI: 10.1016/S1095-6433(03)00198-3  

Leon Hughes, R., & Hall, L. (1998) Early development and embryology of the platypus. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 353(1372), 1101-1114. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.1998.0269  

Manger PR, Hall LS, & Pettigrew JD. (1998) The development of the external features of the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 353(1372), 1115-25. PMID: 9720109  

  • December 25, 2010
  • 02:40 AM

The C Word

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Near the very end of his report on the excavations at Pueblo Bonito by the Hyde Expedition in the 1890s, George Pepper wrote the following: The finding of cracked and calcined bones in some of the rooms brings up the question of the eating of human flesh by the people of this pueblo.  There was [...]... Read more »

Dongoske, K., Martin, D., & Ferguson, T. (2000) Critique of the Claim of Cannibalism at Cowboy Wash. American Antiquity, 65(1), 179. DOI: 10.2307/2694813  

Lambert, P., Leonard, B., Billman, B., Marlar, R., Newman, M., & Reinhard, K. (2000) Response to Critique of the Claim of Cannibalism at Cowboy Wash. American Antiquity, 65(2), 397. DOI: 10.2307/2694066  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 02:05 PM


by beredim in Strange Animals

Echidnas (also knowns as spiny anteaters) are primitive mammals with a series of very strange traits. For example, they are one of the very few surviving mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live youngs. They also have a very strange, 4-headed penis with a shaft covered with spines!... Read more »

Proske U, Gregory JE, & Iggo A. (1998) Sensory receptors in monotremes. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 353(1372), 1187-98. PMID: 9720114  

Grigg GC, Beard LA, Barnes JA, Perry LI, Fry GJ, & Hawkins M. (2003) Body temperature in captive long-beaked echidnas (Zaglossus bartoni). Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular , 136(4), 911-6. PMID: 14667854  

Nicol SC, Andersen NA, Phillips NH, & Berger RJ. (2000) The echidna manifests typical characteristics of rapid eye movement sleep. Neuroscience letters, 283(1), 49-52. PMID: 10729631  

Johnston SD, Smith B, Pyne M, Stenzel D, & Holt WV. (2007) One-sided ejaculation of echidna sperm bundles. The American naturalist, 170(6). PMID: 18171162  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 12:16 PM

Seafood Safety, Part 2a: ‘safe’ criteria, PAHs

by Holly Bik in Deep Sea News

What criteria makes Gulf seafood “safe to eat”?
In part 2, we’re geting down to the nitty gritty: what guidelines and criteria are the FDA and NOAA using to approve the sale and consumption of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico?
The FDA is currently focusing its tests on two separate compounds: PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) to test . . . → Read More: Seafood Safety, Part 2a: ‘safe’ criteria, PAHs... Read more »

Yader, R., Michel, J., & Lord, C. (2002) Managing Seafood Safety after an Oil Spill. Seattle: Hazardous Materials Response Division, Office of Response and Restoration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. info:other/

  • December 24, 2010
  • 11:39 AM

in which more evidence accumulates for utility of calcium channel blockers in treating Parkinson's disease

by Ragamuffin in How We Are Hungry

Neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease is known to be specific to a group of dopamine neurons originating in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc). In nearby region, the ventral tegmental area (VTA), dopamine neurons are all but unaffected by disease progression. This selectivity has generated great interest from the PD research community. In a study out of Dr. D. James Surmeier's lab at Northwestern University, this selectivity was suggested to be related to calcium channel........ Read more »

Guzman JN, Sanchez-Padilla J, Wokosin D, Kondapalli J, Ilijic E, Schumacker PT, & Surmeier DJ. (2010) Oxidant stress evoked by pacemaking in dopaminergic neurons is attenuated by DJ-1. Nature, 468(7324), 696-700. PMID: 21068725  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 11:20 AM

Having a Very Merry Christmas Can Help You Think Creatively

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

People who watch funny videos on the internet, or in this case APS Christmas Cards , at work aren’t necessarily wasting time. They may be taking advantage of the latest ... Read more »

  • December 24, 2010
  • 10:49 AM

Don't change your worldview based on one study

by Daniel Simons in The Invisible Gorilla

Why media coverage of new and controversial scientific findings leads to the distrust of science.... Read more »

Chabris CF. (1999) Prelude or requiem for the 'Mozart effect'?. Nature, 400(6747), 826-827. PMID: 10476958  

Kaptchuk, T. J, Friedlander, E., Kelley, J. M., Sanchez, M. N., Kokkotou, E., Singer, J. P., Kowalczykowski, M., Miller, F. G., Kirsch, I., & Lembo, A. J. (2010) Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. PLoS One, 5(12). info:/

  • December 24, 2010
  • 09:18 AM

Is it cancer or is it not? A case study

by Debajyoti Datta in Medicine...Life

A diagnosis of cancer carries a lot of significance for the patient who receives the diagnosis. But is it always cancer? Can it be another disease masquerading as cancer? It is rare, but it can happen as a case report by Smulders YE et al. published in the Journal of Medical Case Reports demonstrates.They report a case of a 50 year old Caucasian male referred to their clinic. He had complaints of dysphonia (difficulty in speaking), dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), and odynophagia (pain whil........ Read more »

  • December 24, 2010
  • 07:47 AM

Fried food may cause diabetes in thin people too.

by ABK in Environment and Health

A Taiwanese research group published on the effects of high oxidized frying oil on insulin secretion (reduces insulin secretion)in 2007. In this study they (Chiang et al. 2010) attempt to determine the cause by experimenting with mice. They used three treatment groups: Low Fat DietHigh Fat DietHigh Oxidized Frying Oil Diet. The mice fed high oxidized frying oil exhibited reduced insulin secretion and high blood glucose levels. Very important here: their islets of langerhans (the tissue that ........ Read more »

Ya-Fan Chiang, Huey-Mei Shaw, Mei-Fang Yang, Chih-Yang Huang, Cheng-Hsien Hsieh and Pei-Min Chao. (2010) Dietary oxidised frying oil causes oxidative damage of pancreatic islets and impairment of insulin secretion, effects associated with vitamin E deficiency. British Journal of Nutrition. info:/10.1017/S0007114510005039

  • December 24, 2010
  • 07:34 AM

Levels of evolution

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

Eukaryotes - animals, plants, and other creatures with a nucleus, evolve relatively slowely. Genetic variation occurs through changes in the DNA between generations; each offspring will be a genetic product of their parents and nothing else. Genetic changes happen down the generations. In bacteria, however, everything is a little more insane. Because bacteria can change DNA with almost any other bacteria they come accross, there is less of a conserved genetic record. Genes are flying around all ........ Read more »

He, M., Sebaihia, M., Lawley, T., Stabler, R., Dawson, L., Martin, M., Holt, K., Seth-Smith, H., Quail, M., Rance, R.... (2010) Evolutionary dynamics of Clostridium difficile over short and long time scales. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(16), 7527-7532. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914322107  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 07:07 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Are those folks in the jury box thinkers or feelers?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Here’s a nice and very simple persuasion tactic first presented at PsyBlog in their ongoing series on 10 forms of persuasion. They cite the recent work of Nicole Mayer & Zakary Tormala (2010) and discuss the natural tendency we have to see the world (and thus describe it) via either thinking (useless or useful) or [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: I’m too smart to fall for that!
Simple Jury Persuasion: You may want to disagree with this post
Simple Jury Persuasion: Don’t co........ Read more »

Mayer ND, & Tormala ZL. (2010) "Think" versus "feel" framing effects in persuasion. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 36(4), 443-54. PMID: 20363901  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Love Can Alleviate Pain

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The early stages of a new, romantic relationship are associated with feelings of euphoria, which likely arise from brain mechanisms responsible for sensations of pleasure or reward. Imaging studies have shown that viewing pictures of a new, romantic partner elicits brain activity in multiple reward processing centers in the brain. Interestingly, these findings have now [...]... Read more »

Kelley AE, & Berridge KC. (2002) The neuroscience of natural rewards: relevance to addictive drugs. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 22(9), 3306-11. PMID: 11978804  

Master SL, Eisenberger NI, Taylor SE, Naliboff BD, Shirinyan D, & Lieberman MD. (2009) A picture's worth: partner photographs reduce experimentally induced pain. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 20(11), 1316-8. PMID: 19788531  

  • December 24, 2010
  • 06:15 AM

Dark energy as theoretical entity

by Jörg Friedrich in Reading Nature

Dark matter and dark energy are typical examples of what is known in the philosophy of science as “theoretical entity”: elements of theories, whose existence is hypothesized and their assumed properties and behaviours can be used for explanation of the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 24, 2010
  • 05:47 AM

Placebos - now with added ethics!

by Richard Morrisroe in DisgruntledPhD

Placebo effects can be induced in patients without deception, according to a new study in PLoS One. The study was an open label (no blinding for patients) single blind (the investigators did not know which treatment participants were given) controlled trial in 80 people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The patients were followed for one month, with a baseline, end and midpoint assessment. According to validated self report measures for the syndrome, the patients who were given the pill i........ Read more »

Kaptchuk, T., Friedlander, E., Kelley, J., Sanchez, M., Kokkotou, E., Singer, J., Kowalczykowski, M., Miller, F., Kirsch, I., & Lembo, A. (2010) Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. PLoS ONE, 5(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015591  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 11:12 PM


by teofilo in Gambler's House

Sand Canyon Pueblo, which I discussed in the previous post, is one of the best-known prehistoric communities in the Southwest due to the multi-year research program conducted there by Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in the 1980s and 1990s.  Crow Canyon selected it for this research for a variety of reasons, including its short period of [...]... Read more »

  • December 23, 2010
  • 09:08 PM

Three Cheers for Failure!

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Last week I vowed to pay more attention to replication in psychology experiments. Repeated experiments are an important test of whether a finding is "really out there" or an accident, so, as a number of psychologists have been saying lately to the public, it is kind of a problem that many ...Read More
... Read more »

Jennifer V. Fayard, Amandeep K. Bassi, Daniel M. Bernstein, & Brent W. Roberts. (2009) Is cleanliness next to godliness? Dispelling old wives’ tales: Failure to replicate Zhong and Liljenquist (2006). Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis, 6(2), 21-29. info:other/1539-8714

  • December 23, 2010
  • 08:34 PM

You wouldn’t lie to me, would you?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

“Fake Pills Can Work, Even If Patients Know It” “Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Placebo Works Even if Patients Know” “Knowingly taking a placebo helps, study finds” “Sugar Pills Work Even When People Know They Are Fake” That’s just a sample of the headlines accompanying a new study on placebos published in PLoS ONE.  The study attempts [...]... Read more »

Kaptchuk, T., Friedlander, E., Kelley, J., Sanchez, M., Kokkotou, E., Singer, J., Kowalczykowski, M., Miller, F., Kirsch, I., & Lembo, A. (2010) Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. PLoS ONE, 5(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015591  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 07:18 PM

How to make a transistor based on electron spin

by Joerg Heber in All That Matters

Last week I blogged about the potential of using the magnetic properties of an electron, its spin, for novel electronics. And already this week we have come a step further towards spin electronics through the demonstration of a spin-based transistor device! In spin electronics, it is the spin of the electron and not its electrical [...]... Read more »

Datta, S., & Das, B. (1990) Electronic analog of the electro-optic modulator. Applied Physics Letters, 56(7), 665. DOI: 10.1063/1.102730  

Wunderlich, J., Park, B., Irvine, A., Zarbo, L., Rozkotova, E., Nemec, P., Novak, V., Sinova, J., & Jungwirth, T. (2010) Spin Hall Effect Transistor. Science, 330(6012), 1801-1804. DOI: 10.1126/science.1195816  

  • December 23, 2010
  • 05:13 PM

Magical thinking enhances creativity

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

It's tough being an atheist dad at Christmas. I mean, the kids love the all the stories, the sense of drama, the sense of community and of being part of something big. They also love to think they have a magical friend who cares about them and watches over them.

But I still feel awkward looking them in the eyes and telling them that Santa is real. I guess it's the incorrigible rationalist in me. Arty types probably have it easier.

Well, here's a study that I was hoping would salve my conscienc........ Read more »

Subbotsky E, Hysted C, & Jones N. (2010) Watching films with magical content facilitates creativity in children. Perceptual and motor skills, 111(1), 261-77. PMID: 21058605  

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