Post List

  • December 5, 2010
  • 08:25 PM

Always a Bigger Fish Part 1 – Dogfish as Predators

by Chuck in Ya Like Dags?

I’ve found myself with some breathing room between grading my students and studying for my own exams, so it’s time to write up a post I’ve been thinking about for a while.  I’ve been wanting to do a quick summary … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 5, 2010
  • 05:19 PM

Psycasm - Half Full, or Half Empty? Well, That Depends on the Shape of the Glass.

by Rift in Psycasm

[Wherein our hero investigates why our eyes are frequently bigger than our bellies]To welcome the new blogger to the LabSpaces line-up (JaySeeDub, here), I have themed my post accordingly. To Food.My girlfriend has this rediculous (and infuriating) habit. When I pour her a glass of water it needs to be filled to within millimeters of the brim. It doesn't matter the size of the glass, just tha; (read more)

Source: Rift - Discipline: Psychology... Read more »

  • December 5, 2010
  • 03:03 PM

Science and Hype – Arsenic Life?

by Paul Vallett in Electron Cafe

One of the things that inspired me to write a blog about science is that I believe science does not have to be “dumbed down” for everyone to think that it is interesting. Researchers shouldn’t be afraid to use clear and understandable language to explain what is interesting about their results. Sometimes scientists (and science [...]... Read more »

Wolfe-Simon, F., Blum, J., Kulp, T., Gordon, G., Hoeft, S., Pett-Ridge, J., Stolz, J., Webb, S., Weber, P., Davies, P.... (2010) A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1197258  

  • December 5, 2010
  • 02:58 PM

[guest post: Alex Bradley, PhD] Arsenate-based DNA: a big idea with big holes

by Kevin Bonham in Food Matters

In the wake of the NASA excitement over the new arsenic study, and my promise to give a detailed review of the paper itself, I have recruited a colleague with strong opinons about the work, a solid chemistry and microbiology background, and "Dr." in front of his name to share his analysis. I will be posting my personal and less-technical take on the whole thing soon, so stay tuned.

Dr. Alex Bradley uses modern geochemistry and microbiology tools to study the evolution of life and Earth. He........ Read more »

Wolfe-Simon F, Blum JS, Kulp TR, Gordon GW, Hoeft SE, Pett-Ridge J, Stolz JF, Webb SM, Weber PK, Davies PC.... (2010) A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 21127214  

  • December 5, 2010
  • 02:00 PM

Acupuncture, some dodgy maths and a cracking review paper

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

I have a challenge for you. Imagine you’re in ancient China and you’ve had this idea that health and disease hang on the flow of energy through invisible energy pathways called meridians that can be manipulated by applying needles in certain specific points. How do you go about systematically validating this theory? How do you [...]... Read more »

Donald M. Marcus. (2010) Is Acupuncture for Pain a Placebo Treatment? An examination of the evidence. The Rheumatologist. info:/

  • December 5, 2010
  • 12:57 PM

How do you spell "success" after bariatric surgery?

by Maureen McCormick in GourMind

The sweet smell of "success" . . . it's so intangible, so personal, so dependent on the point of view. Here's a sampling of what I have heard from patients:"I can buy clothes in a regular department store!"Often after years of buying shapeless clothes in specialty stores, many people - women and men! - enjoy trying on clothes in a department store, feeling stylish and reveling in colors other than black."I don't need a seat belt extender on airplanes anymore! And I actually fit into the seat ........ Read more »

  • December 5, 2010
  • 12:02 PM

Bilingual Brains: Reading in Hebrew and in English

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

I've got an article that appeared in this week's Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles about recent research from Hadassah University on the neurobiology of bilingual (English-Hebrew) reading.

Is the English-reading brain somehow different from the Hebrew-reading brain? You might not expect any major differences; after all, both languages are alphabetic and are read more or less phonetically by breaking words into their constituent sounds. Compare English and Hebrew to a logographic language........ Read more »

  • December 5, 2010
  • 08:56 AM

Are we ‘illiterate listeners’?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

'French babies cry differently as compared to German babies. This was the conclusion from a study that was published a year ago in Current Biology (see earlier entry). Three day old German babies cry in a downward fashion, their French contemporaries showed an increasing swelling of the cry and stop abruptly. It was a surprising observation, especially in the light of the general belief that in crying the pitch should always drop as a physiological consequence of the respiratory cycle. Apparentl........ Read more »

Mampe, B., Friederici, A., Christophe, A., & Wermke, K. (2009) Newborns' Cry Melody Is Shaped by Their Native Language. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.09.064  

  • December 5, 2010
  • 08:25 AM

searching for wormholes with general relativity

by Greg Fish in weird things

When you’re reading sci-fi stories in which some of the characters find themselves in need to cover hundreds or thousands of light years very quickly without a warp drive, they manage to make it through time and space via a convenient wormhole. It’s not the worst way to go since wormholes are supposed to exist, [...]... Read more »

  • December 5, 2010
  • 07:03 AM

Debates on Emotions II

by Dana Sugu in Cogitation on Emotions

Ekman (1994), influenced by Darwin (1872/1997) and his mentor Tomkins(1962/2008), classified the characteristics of basic emotions, which distinguishthem from one another and other affective phenomena as follows: (1) Distinctiveuniversal signals (facial expression); (2) Presence in other primates; (3)Distinctive physiology (such as a specific ANS reaction for each emotion); (4)Distinctive universal antecedents – there are certain stimuli, preprogrammedevolutionarily, that will elicit each of t........ Read more »

Dana SUGU . (2010) Flashback: Reshuffling Emotions. International Journal on Humanistic Ideology, 3(1), 109-133. info:/

  • December 5, 2010
  • 04:55 AM

The Neuroscience of Kitchen Cabinetry

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Neurokitchen Design is the latest fad among the rich and famous, according to a poorly researched article in the Wall Street Journal:A Kitchen to Comfort Your SoulCombining psychology and neuroscience, Johnny Grey is an interior designer with a special recipeBy TARA LOADER WILKINSON'You can tell a lot about a person from their kitchen," says Johnny Grey, an award-winning interior designer specializing in "happy kitchens," a design philosophy that focuses on bringing emotional, physical and psy........ Read more »

  • December 4, 2010
  • 10:29 PM

Gay Men Take Drugs to Fit In

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

It is widely assumed that gay men take more drugs and have more sex than their straight counterparts have, but the motivation behind such enhanced behaviours tends to veer toward psychopathological explanations. Could it really be that simple? Ueno (2010) argues for greater contemplation.... Read more »

  • December 4, 2010
  • 07:59 PM

Arsenic-associated bacteria (NASA's claims)

by Rosie Redfield in RRResearch

Here's a detailed review of the new paper from NASA claiming to have isolated a bacterium that substitutes arsenic for phosphorus on its macromolecules and metabolites.  (Wolfe-Simon et al. 2010, A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus.)  NASA's shameful analysis of the alleged bacteria in the Mars meteorite made me very suspicious of their microbiology, an attitude that's only strengthened by my reading of this paper.  Basically, it don........ Read more »

Wolfe-Simon F, Blum JS, Kulp TR, Gordon GW, Hoeft SE, Pett-Ridge J, Stolz JF, Webb SM, Weber PK, Davies PC.... (2010) A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 21127214  

  • December 4, 2010
  • 07:35 PM

Happy birthday, UAE!

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

The United Arab Emirates are celebrating their 39th national day this month. Trucial Oman, as it was then known, became independent from their semi-colonial relationship with Britain in December 1971 and the country has since experienced some dramatic changes: its … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 4, 2010
  • 06:34 PM

Quantum Teleportation: Science Fiction? NOPE! It's been here, is real, is documented, here's the proof, and here's how it works!

by DJ Busby in Astronasty

An in depth look at Quantum Teleportation... Read more »

DJ Busby. (2010) Quantum Teleportation: Science Fiction? NOPE! It's been here, is real, is documented, here's the proof, and here's how it works!. info:/

  • December 4, 2010
  • 05:40 PM

The emotional problems of the slightly religious

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

It's generally taken as fact that religion is linked to happiness - happier people are more likely to be religious,  if you take into account other circumstances. There are loads of studies, of varying quality, that support this idea.

However, most people who interpret these data make a couple of assumptions that are probably not valid. Firstly, the assume that they can be generalised across cultures. However most studies are  done in the USA, where being non-religious often leads to ........ Read more »

  • December 4, 2010
  • 02:56 PM

Compelling Research on Writer’s Block, applicable to blogs?

by Mary in OpenHelix

Upper, D. (1974). The unsuccessful self-treatment of a case of “writer’s block”1 Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 7 (3), 497-497 DOI: 10.1901/jaba.1974.7-497a
Didden, R., Sigafoos, J., O’Reilly, M., Lancioni, G., & Sturmey, P. (2007). A Multisite Cross-Cultural Replication of Upper’s (1974) Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of Writer’s Block Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40 (4), 773-773 DOI: 10.1901/jaba.2007.773 Note: Must see the PDF version ........ Read more »

  • December 4, 2010
  • 01:34 PM

Psi Skeptics: If Psychologists Find Signs of ESP, Maybe Psychologists Have a Problem

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Daryl J. Bem's experiments on psi caught the world's attention, as I posted last month, because he used standard psychology-lab methods to gather and analyze his data. Imagine what astronomers might feel if NASA announced that the Hubble space telescope had found evidence for astrology: How do you ...Read More... Read more »

Daryl J. Bem. (2011) Feeling the future: Experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on cognition and affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. info:/10.1037/a0021524

  • December 4, 2010
  • 12:58 PM

Martin Seligman & Learned Helplessness

by John Wayland in The Darwin Tribune

The following is taken from Dr. Seligman's Biography: "Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D., works on positive psychology, learned helplessness, depression, and on optimism and pessimism. He is currently Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology and Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He is well known in academic and clinical circles and is a best-selling author.His bibliography includes twenty books and 200 articles on motivation and personality. Among his bette........ Read more »

  • December 4, 2010
  • 11:04 AM

Walsby's Square Archaea! Haloquadratum walsbyi

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

Procrastination and overwhelming itch to get back to blogging win over the more pressing obligations tonight. Fuck'em, it's Friday night, I can write about protists if I feel like it. Moreover, I can even write about non-protists, especially those I've been meaning to write about for a month now. Square Archaea!Despite their awesome morphological diversity, seldom do cells take the shape of a flat square. Or any other flat geometric shape. In fact, there are reasons for this – the cell cytopla........ Read more »

Bolhuis, H., Poele, E., & Rodriguez-Valera, F. (2004) Isolation and cultivation of Walsby's square archaeon. Environmental Microbiology, 6(12), 1287-1291. DOI: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2004.00692.x  

Bolhuis, H., Palm, P., Wende, A., Falb, M., Rampp, M., Rodriguez-Valera, F., Pfeiffer, F., & Oesterhelt, D. (2006) The genome of the square archaeon Haloquadratum walsbyi : life at the limits of water activity . BMC Genomics, 7(1), 169. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-7-169  

Burns, D., Janssen, P., Itoh, T., Kamekura, M., Li, Z., Jensen, G., Rodriguez-Valera, F., Bolhuis, H., & Dyall-Smith, M. (2007) Haloquadratum walsbyi gen. nov., sp. nov., the square haloarchaeon of Walsby, isolated from saltern crystallizers in Australia and Spain. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY MICROBIOLOGY, 57(2), 387-392. DOI: 10.1099/ijs.0.64690-0  

Hamamoto, T., Takashina, T., Grant, W., & Horikoshi, K. (1988) Asymmetric cell division of a triangular halophilic archaebacterium. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 56(2), 221-224. DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1988.tb03181.x  

Minegishi, H., Kamekura, M., Itoh, T., Echigo, A., Usami, R., & Hashimoto, T. (2009) Further refinement of the phylogeny of the Halobacteriaceae based on the full-length RNA polymerase subunit B' (rpoB') gene. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY MICROBIOLOGY, 60(10), 2398-2408. DOI: 10.1099/ijs.0.017160-0  

Walsby, A. (2005) Archaea with square cells. Trends in Microbiology, 13(5), 193-195. DOI: 10.1016/j.tim.2005.03.002  

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