A couple of days ago I asked readers of my new FaceBook Page whether or not they preferred exercising in front of a mirror?
The response was mixed: for some definitely no mirrors, for some definitely yes, and for some the answer depends on the exercise (weights: yes; aerobic: no).
So what does research have to say [...]... Read more »
Martin Ginis KA, Jung ME, & Gauvin L. (2003) To see or not to see: effects of exercising in mirrored environments on sedentary women's feeling states and self-efficacy. Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 22(4), 354-61. PMID: 12940391
Picture is copyright Emily S. Damstra and used by permission.
The deep-sea sponge Monorhaphis chuni (Hexactinellida) has the world’s largest known biosilica structure! A silicate spicule that can grow up to 3 meters long. That’s at least a meter longer . . . → Read More: Huge Silicate Sponge Spicules and the Evolution of Calcification... Read more »
Jackson, D., Macis, L., Reitner, J., Degnan, B., & Worheide, G. (2007) Sponge Paleogenomics Reveals an Ancient Role for Carbonic Anhydrase in Skeletogenesis. Science, 316(5833), 1893-1895. DOI: 10.1126/science.1141560
Müller, W., Eckert, C., Kropf, K., Wang, X., Schloßmacher, U., Seckert, C., Wolf, S., Tremel, W., & Schröder, H. (2007) Formation of giant spicules in the deep-sea hexactinellid Monorhaphis chuni (Schulze 1904): electron-microscopic and biochemical studies. Cell and Tissue Research, 329(2), 363-378. DOI: 10.1007/s00441-007-0402-x
I realise that the volcano that is currently erupting in Iceland has caused a lot of problems for a lot of people. However, if I can see one plus side it’s all the impromptu atmospheric science that is going on around it. For example, the first paper about the volcano, which is looking at the [...]... Read more »
R G Harrison, K A Nicoll, Z Ulanowski and T A Mather. (2010) Self-charging of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic ash plume. Environ. Res. Lett. info:/
A groundbreaking study from researchers in Georgia unexpectedly finds that protected areas in two developing countries - Thailand and Costa Rica - have actually reduced poverty in local communities over time...... Read more »
Andam, K., Ferraro, P., Sims, K., Healy, A., & Holland, M. (2010) Protected areas reduced poverty in Costa Rica and Thailand. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914177107
When I think about the future I sometimes indulge in fantasies that include “bionic” type implants. Not so much artificial muscles that will enhance strength (check this out) but devices that will expand our mental capabilities. Implants that give us greater memory, faster thought processes, the ability to download skills and knowledge directly into our [...]... Read more »
The first set of results from the Herschel Space Telescope have been flooding out over the past couple of weeks*, so it’s about time they got a mention here. Rather than rehashing one of the many press releases, I thought I’d focus on an interesting result that I doubt will get much attention – the [...]... Read more »
There is way too much to blog about these days. I can't decide among these 3 new papers:Sometimes, Categorical Statements about Prefrontal Neurons Are Just Wrong(1) Earl K. Miller (2007) in The Prefrontal Cortex: Categories, Concepts, and Cognitive Control (PDF):There was virtually no category effect across the ITC [inferior temporal cortex] population and no examples of neurons whose activity showed the sharp across-distinction/within-category generalization that is the behavioral signature of ........ Read more »
Minamimoto T, Saunders RC, Richmond BJ. (2010) Monkeys Quickly Learn and Generalize Visual Categories without Lateral Prefrontal Cortex. Neuron, 66(4), 501-507. info:/10.1016/j.neuron.2010.04.010
Researchers have uncovered what might be a new set of genes and protein mechanisms that influence healthy longevity: the epidermal growth factor or EGF pathway. The work was carried out in nematode worms, but the track record of such metabolic influences upon longevity carrying through into higher animals is pretty good so far. The epidermal growth factor (EGF) peptide induces cellular proliferation through the EGF receptor ... Inhibitors of the EGF receptor are being pursued as potential cancer........ Read more »
Iwasa H, Yu S, Xue J, & Driscoll M. (2010) Novel EGF Pathway Regulators Modulate C. elegans Healthspan and Lifespan via EGF Receptor, PLC-gamma and IP3R Activation. Aging cell. PMID: 20497132
Methane measurements could help determine size of oil spill
... Read more »
Last Friday I attended the 30th annual 24-hour book sale at the Regent Theatre, Dunedin, held to raise funds to maintain that glorious old place, all red seating with the lolly-decorated proscenium arch and pillars of an older era. Books are donated, collected and sorted by volunteers and “sold” to the punters.
It starts at noon Friday [...]... Read more »
Michael D. Byrne. (2002) Reading vertical text: rotated vs. marquee. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 46th Annual Meeting, 1633-1635. info:other/
If you're Dr. Kate Jones of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, the answer is very.Inside of a nucleus, just like for the electrons in an atom, there are discrete energy levels into which the neutrons and protons can arrange themselves. In chemistry, this behavior - in electrons - leads to the periodic table: different elements behave in different ways chemically because of the number of electrons they have. More precisely, what matters is the number of electrons outside of a closed shell......... Read more »
Jones, K., Adekola, A., Bardayan, D., Blackmon, J., Chae, K., Chipps, K., Cizewski, J., Erikson, L., Harlin, C., Hatarik, R.... (2010) The magic nature of 132Sn explored through the single-particle states of 133Sn. Nature, 465(7297), 454-457. DOI: 10.1038/nature09048
This scandal has been reported on several websites: The sharp images from Google Earth clearly shows the North Korean communist dictatorship is logging forest areas in a UN national park. Not only does the megalomaniac Kim Jong-il seek to build a nuclear armament, impoverish his subdued people and occasionally sink South Korean ships – he's also cutting down trees in the fragile, ancient forest ... Read more »
Tang, L., Shao, G., Piao, Z., Dai, L., Jenkins, M., Wang, S., Wu, G., Wu, J., & Zhao, J. (2010) Forest degradation deepens around and within protected areas in East Asia. Biological Conservation, 143(5), 1295-1298. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.01.024
Richard Feyman once remarked “if you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don’t understand quantum mechanics” and virtually every cutting edge experiment in the field seems to prove him right. Well, to be fair, physicists understand quite a bit about quantum mechanics but there are still quite a few mysteries to clarify including that of quantum entanglement. [...]... Read more »
Salart, D., Baas, A., Branciard, C., Gisin, N., & Zbinden, H. (2008) Testing the speed of ‘spooky action at a distance’. Nature, 454(7206), 861-864. DOI: 10.1038/nature07121
Reproduces, with commentary, raw data (in the form of psychological test scores) from a study of emotional self-awareness and its effect on ability to empathize, as well as how both of those factors are affected by autism. Test scores are broken down by subscale, with special attention called to those scores that don't fit the commonly-accepted pattern of diminished empathic ability in autism... Read more »
Silani, G., Bird, G., Brindley, R., Singer, T., Frith, C., & Frith, U. (2007) Levels of emotional awareness and autism: An fMRI study. Social Neuroscience, 3(2), 97-112. DOI: 10.1080/17470910701577020
Egypt should hold a special place in historical plague research. Plague returned to Egypt on a regular basis for at least 1300 years. The first plague pandemic was first reported in Egypt in c. 541 and consistently reappeared through the 19th century. Alan Mikhail's study (1) on 18th century Ottoman Egypt brings up a number of questions on the nature of plague persistence and transmission. Mikhail argues that plague was a regular feature in an environmental pattern of flood, plague, famine ........ Read more »
Buying counterfeits might be cheaper than buying original brand names, but wearing counterfeit products might have a different cost: Your honesty and your perception of other people's honesty...... Read more »
Gino F, Norton MI, & Ariely D. (2010) The counterfeit self: the deceptive costs of faking it. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 21(5), 712-20. PMID: 20483851
What do brains and computer chips have in common? Not that much. Sure both use electricity, but in neurons the origin of electrical pulses is chemical while for computer chips it comes from electrical currents. Neurons are highly plastic, rearranging their connections to adapt to new information while computer chips are locked in their arrangement for their entire existence. But one thing they do share is the pattern of connections in their overall structure, [...]... Read more »
Bassett, D., Greenfield, D., Meyer-Lindenberg, A., Weinberger, D., Moore, S., & Bullmore, E. (2010) Efficient Physical Embedding of Topologically Complex Information Processing Networks in Brains and Computer Circuits. PLoS Computational Biology, 6(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000748
Lynden Miles (University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom) and coworkers have added to research on how different neural processes are linked together, useful for understanding certain disorders or injuries of the brain. This news feature was written on May 26, 2010.... Read more »
Miles, L. K., Karpinska, K., Lumsden, J., & Macrae, C. N. (2010) The Meandering Mind: Vection and Mental Time Travel. PLoS ONE, 5(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010825
The median age of death if you are a drug user living in the NW of England in the 21st century is 41.4 years. Just to add a little international colour to that statistic let’s put that in a global context: the life expectancy in Afghanistan is 43.8 years and only one country (out of 195) [...]... Read more »
Beynon C, McVeigh J, Hurst A, & Marr A. (2010) Older and sicker: Changing mortality of drug users in treatment in the North West of England. The International journal on drug policy. PMID: 20172707
Partula spp. from Society Islands. Photo Credit: Marc Agren
In a short, but sweet, paper by Lee et al. published in the Current Biology, there is a “glimmer of hope” for montane tahitian tree snails (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Partulidae, Partula spp.). They examined the mitochondrial haplotype diversity of tree snail specimens locked away [...]... Read more »
LEE, T., BURCH, J., JUNG, Y., COOTE, T., PEARCEKELLY, P., & OFOIGHIL, D. (2007) Tahitian tree snail mitochondrial clades survived recent mass extirpation. Current Biology, 17(13). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2007.05.006
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