Post List

  • September 13, 2009
  • 03:18 PM
  • 1,890 views

The Selfish Bee’s Genes and the Selfish Gene’s Bees

by Johnny in Ecographica

Because of the deputation of workers as caregivers, the assigned reproductive responsibilities of the Hymenopteran queen, and other observed caste-like divisions of labor, eusocial invertebrates such as bees and ants are often presented as the exemplars of group selection theory. However, recent research published in Molecular Ecology suggests that the loyalties and actions displayed by some members of these social groups hint at far more self-centered motivations. ... Read more »

  • September 13, 2009
  • 02:53 PM
  • 736 views

It’s a long road to pain management

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living


In New Zealand there are three comprehensive pain management centres where interdisciplinary three week programmes for managing chronic pain are run. That’s not a lot for a country of 4 million or so. No wonder it takes many people a long, long time to get a referral to a pain management centre for [...]... Read more »

Ray, M., & Hester, J. (2009) Persistent pain. BMJ, 339(jul24 1). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b2786  

  • September 13, 2009
  • 02:44 PM
  • 1,157 views

Revamped Hubble breaks new ground

by sarah in One Small Step

Quick on the heels of NASA’s showcasing of the first images taken by a reborn Hubble Space Telescope come a pair of papers posted to astro-ph showing a glimpse of Hubble potential new power. These papers, by a collaboration of US, Swiss and Dutch astronomers, report the detection of galaxies using Hubble’s new optical/infrared camera [...]... Read more »

R. J. Bouwens, G. D. Illingworth, P. A. Oesch, M. Stiavelli, P. van Dokkum, M. Trenti, D. Magee, I. Labbe, M. Franx, & M. Carollo. (2009) z~8 galaxies from ultra-deep WFC3/IR Observations over the HUDF. ApJL. arXiv: 0909.1803v1

P. A. Oesch, R. J. Bouwens, G. D. Illingworth, C. M. Carollo, M. Franx, I. Labbe, D. Magee, M. Stiavelli, M. Trenti, & P. G. van Dokkum. (2009) z~7 Galaxies in the HUDF: First Epoch WFC3/IR Results. ApJL (submitted). arXiv: 0909.1806v1

  • September 13, 2009
  • 08:00 AM
  • 776 views

Logging On for Psychotherapy

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The explosion of the Internet allows people to use their computer for things that previously needed to be done in person. Now, communicating with friends and family, networking with business contacts, shopping, banking, and a host of other activities, can be done from almost anywhere in the world. While the convenience of these Internet activities [...]... Read more »

  • September 13, 2009
  • 01:20 AM
  • 1,190 views

On the loss of life in landslides during the 1949 Khait earthquake

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

Regular readers will know that one of my interests lies in trying to get a better understanding of the loss of life associated with landslides. A key realisation of this work for me has been that earthquake-triggered slides cause a very substantial proportional (probably in fact the majority) of fatalities is mass movement events. Unfortunately our understanding of seismically-driven landslides, and their impacts, remains poor, certainly in comparison with rainfall induced slides. For that r........ Read more »

  • September 12, 2009
  • 11:31 PM
  • 619 views

Growth Hormone for Survival: It's not always controversial

by staticnrg in survive the journey

"Hypopituitary adults have a reduced life expectancy, with a 2-fold higher risk of death for cardiovascular disease compared with that in the control population, and [growth hormone deficiency] has been considered the underlying factor influencing this increased mortality."Lately growth hormone has been given a bad rap because of the controversy of its abuse by healthy, adult athletes and body-builders. That's actually very sad when there is a sizable body of chronically afflicted, growth hormon........ Read more »

  • September 12, 2009
  • 09:45 PM
  • 2,041 views

A quick note on flagella, and their evolution

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

First off, 'flagella' and 'cilia' tend to be used interchangeably. I prefer to call them flagella, out of habit, but there's some who argue 'flagellum' should be reserved for bacteria, who have a fundamentally different system from us; while we have 'cilia'. Another note: 'flagella' is spelled with two l's, 'cilia' with one. Took me about two months of protistology to learn that. (also, I consistently spelled 'axopodia' as 'auxopodia', thanks to a plant biology research background. Curse you, au........ Read more »

  • September 12, 2009
  • 09:13 PM
  • 678 views

Who’s Out First?

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Invasive species need to be removed in the right order

... Read more »

  • September 12, 2009
  • 07:15 PM
  • 702 views

Destabilizing old memories with novel information

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

What if one day we could disrupt unwanted consolidated memories like those of old traumatic experiences or even unforgettable heartbreaks and replace them with novel and more pleasant ones? Sounds like a tagline from the 2004 Oscar-winning film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind doesn't it? Published in this month's issue of Learning & Memory, a study by Winters, Tucci, and DaCosta-Furtado over at the University of Guelph, Canada have managed to bring us one step closer to making this seeminl........ Read more »

  • September 12, 2009
  • 06:55 PM
  • 669 views

The Cost and Duration of Drug Discovery Must Decrease

by Michael Long in Phased

Ray Dorsey (University of Rochester, New York) and coworkers have shown that biomedical scientists are not making optimal use of the money they receive for research. This news feature was written on September 12, 2009.... Read more »

Dorsey, E. R., Thompson, J. P., Carrasco, M., de Roulet, J., Vitticore, P., Nicholson, S., Johnston, S. C., Holloway, R. G, & Moses III, H. (2009) Financing of U.S. Biomedical Research and New Drug Approvals across Therapeutic Areas. PLoS ONE, 4(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007015  

  • September 12, 2009
  • 02:50 AM
  • 735 views

Improved image quality from your camera phone

by Stuart Watson in Optical Futures

The demand for consumer electronics to get smaller, lighter and cheaper, is a stimulus for great ingenuity. Cell phones are a classic example where electrical engineers and designers are constantly working to put a whole lot more into ever smaller spaces. And now that cameras are almost as standard a feature in these devices as the ring tone, optical engineers must also devise increasingly clever ways to shrink the optics while improving their performance.
read more... Read more »

Zhou, G., Leung, H., Yu, H., Kumar, A., & Chau, F. (2009) Liquid tunable diffractive/refractive hybrid lens. Optics Letters, 34(18), 2793. DOI: 10.1364/OL.34.002793  

  • September 11, 2009
  • 10:34 PM
  • 1,588 views

Bat-eating tits!

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Like pretty much anyone else writing about this, I'm in it for the headline. Well, maybe 30% for the headline -- this is also just freaky natural history. A paper in Biology Letters reports that great tits (Parus major -- basically big chickadees) will hunt and eat hibernating bats [$-a] if they can't find other food sources.

The paper reports on ten years of recorded bat-eating by a population of great tits in Hungary, capped by two years of systematic observations and a couple simple experime........ Read more »

  • September 11, 2009
  • 04:50 PM
  • 757 views

Rugged Enzymes for Chemical Synthesis

by Michael Long in Phased

Zhi Li (National University of Singapore) and coworkers have enhanced the utility of enzymes for chemical synthesis, through the aid of metal nanoparticles. This news feature was written on September 11, 2009.... Read more »

  • September 11, 2009
  • 03:52 PM
  • 574 views

The Neural Case for Health Care Reform

by Michael in dlPFC

The moral case for health reform was not the focus of President Obama’s address to Congress Wednesday night. It did, however, form the core of the most eloquent and compelling section of the speech, which followed the invocation of the late Senator Ted Kennedy:
That large-heartedness – that concern and regard for the plight of [...]... Read more »

  • September 11, 2009
  • 01:15 PM
  • 1,912 views

engineering photo-activable proteins

by 96well in Reportergene



Plants contain proteins subjected to conformational changes in direct response to light irradiation. Moieties of those proteins, like the LOV2 domain from the Avena sativa Phototropin1 can be used to introduce light-operated switches onto other functional proteins. In a recent letter to Nature, Yi Wu and colleagues (Carolina University) poked at the Stratagene Quickchange kit to obtain a constitutive active Rac protein that was coupled to the vegetable LOV2 light switch using an overlapping PC........ Read more »

Wu, Y., Frey, D., Lungu, O., Jaehrig, A., Schlichting, I., Kuhlman, B., & Hahn, K. (2009) A genetically encoded photoactivatable Rac controls the motility of living cells. Nature, 461(7260), 104-108. DOI: 10.1038/nature08241  

  • September 11, 2009
  • 11:30 AM
  • 809 views

American Heart Association says the verdict is in - sugar is bad

by Travis Saunders, MSc in Obesity Panacea

In the past, I have written several posts about sugar (mainly fructose and high fructose corn syrup, aka HFCS), and how it is a driving force behind the current obesity epidemic. The evidence is compelling - the intake of added sugars (especially HFCS) has dramatically increased over the past 30 years, an increase which is mirrored by the increased prevalence of obesity. Further, these added sugars are "empty" calories, which tend to displace other foods that contain more nutrients. ........ Read more »

  • September 11, 2009
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,328 views

The small brain of the biggest shark in the world

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

“We’re going to have some problems getting this under the microscope...”There are just times you’d like to be a fly on the wall when certain science projects are being planned. I can’t quite imagine the conversations that led up to this paper. “Let’s look at the brain of the biggest fish in the world.” (I suppose the fish start small and have to grow up big. But still.)The brains of sharks are interesting, in part because they much larger than people would think. People tend to t........ Read more »

  • September 11, 2009
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,508 views

Influenza virus reassortment, then and now

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

I thought you might like to see how I did a similar experiment in 1979 – a very different era for laboratory techniques.... Read more »

  • September 11, 2009
  • 06:00 AM
  • 920 views

Science News: Week of September 6, 2009

by Susan Steinhardt in BioData Blogs

Our weekly compilation of science news for the week of September 6, 2009.... Read more »

Schnuelle P, Gottmann U, Hoeger S, Boesebeck D, Lauchart W, Weiss C, Fischereder M, Jauch KW, Heemann U, Zeier M.... (2009) Effects of donor pretreatment with dopamine on graft function after kidney transplantation: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 302(10), 1067-75. PMID: 19738091  

Münch, T., da Silveira, R., Siegert, S., Viney, T., Awatramani, G., & Roska, B. (2009) Approach sensitivity in the retina processed by a multifunctional neural circuit. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2389  

Childs, R., Palma, A., Wharton, S., Matrosovich, T., Liu, Y., Chai, W., Campanero-Rhodes, M., Zhang, Y., Eickmann, M., Kiso, M.... (2009) Receptor-binding specificity of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 virus determined by carbohydrate microarray. Nature Biotechnology, 27(9), 797-799. DOI: 10.1038/nbt0909-797  

  • September 11, 2009
  • 03:45 AM
  • 1,782 views

Finger-growing dinoflagellate (cute!)

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

Why must I spoil the plot by peeking into advance online publications instead of waiting for the damn issue to come out, like normal people do? Especially with an 8am class coming up so soon...Anyway, apparently Ceratium ranipes, a photosynthetic dinoflagellate, decided to grow plastid-stuffed 'fingers' during daylight:(Pizay et al. 2009 Protist, in press; light period)And retracts them back in for the night:(Pizay et al. 2009 Protist, in press; dark period)In case you're not convinced these are........ Read more »

Pizay, M., Lemée, R., Simon, N., Cras, A., Laugier, J., & Dolan, J. (2009) Night and Day Morphologies in a Planktonic Dinoflagellate. Protist. DOI: 10.1016/j.protis.2009.04.003  

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