Post List

  • January 26, 2010
  • 12:32 PM

Cool paper, & winner of "worst new omics word award": Predatosome

by Jonathan Eisen in The Tree of Life

And the bad new omics words keep streaming in. Today's winner of the "Worst New Omics Word Award" is going to Carey Lambert, Chien-Yi Chang, Michael J. Capeness and R. Elizabeth Sockett from Nottingham for their use/ invention of "Predatosome". They use this term in the title of their new PLoS One paper: The First Bite— Profiling the Predatosome in the Bacterial Pathogen Bdellovibrio. Here is the very long sentence where the define it:The gene products required for the initial invasive predat........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2010
  • 10:39 AM

The Smart Ones are Living Longer

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

A child with a high IQ is more likely to get good grades, be accepted to a prestigious college, accrue successes in life and career, and make healthy lifestyle choices compared to lower-IQ peers. Now, a Swedish study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) concludes that children with a high IQ also have a [...]... Read more »

Aberg, M., Pedersen, N., Toren, K., Svartengren, M., Backstrand, B., Johnsson, T., Cooper-Kuhn, C., Aberg, N., Nilsson, M., & Kuhn, H. (2009) Cardiovascular fitness is associated with cognition in young adulthood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(49), 20906-20911. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0905307106  

Batty, G., Wennerstad, K., Smith, G., Gunnell, D., Deary, I., Tynelius, P., & Rasmussen, F. (2009) IQ in Early Adulthood and Mortality By Middle Age. Epidemiology, 20(1), 100-109. DOI: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e31818ba076  

  • January 26, 2010
  • 09:15 AM

The Grid in Your Head

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

According to a lovely new Nature paper combining fMRI imaging with animal experiments, the human brain encodes spatial information in the form of of a hexagonal grid - Evidence for grid cells in a human memory network.If you've ever played Chinese checkers, you'll know what a hex grid is. It's already known that in rats, the entorhinal cortex of the brain contains "grid cells", each of which fires according to where in a certain place the rat is. The diagram above left shows how one example gri........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

Dunlin Lose Weight to Avoid Peregrines

by John Beetham in A DC Birding Blog

Dunlin at Surf Beach in California / Photo by Alan VernonA new paper based on studies from the Fraser River estuary in British Columbia finds that hunting pressure from Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) is changing the behavior of Pacific Dunlin (Calidris alpina pacifica). The peregrine population crashed forty years ago, primarily thanks to pesticides, and has since rebounded. All of those new falcons need to eat, and shorebirds are suitable prey because of their size, numbers, and penchant ........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2010
  • 08:59 AM

Migratory Monarch Butterflies See Earth's GeoMagnetic Field

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

tags: evolutionary biology, behavioral ecology, biochemistry, biophysics, magnetoreception, photochemical mechanism, cryptochromes, geomagnetic fields, butterflies, Monarch Butterfly, Danaus plexippus, birds, migration, Cryptochrome,,peer-reviewed research, peer-reviewed paper

Every autumn, millions of monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, each weighing less than one gram (one US penny weighs 2.5 grams), migrate nearly 4000 kilometers (3000 miles) between their summer bree........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

The effect of predator control on aiding the recovery of at-risk birds

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Human disturbance can lead to an increase of both native and non-native predators that can subsequently lead to a decline in bird populations. For example, introduced predators such as the brown tree snake on Guam have been responsible for 34% of the 110 bird extinctions that have occurred on islands since the 1600s.

Therefore managers have undertaken predator eradication efforts to try and protect at-risk bird species. However given the cost of these programs and the controversy they can gen........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

You and your ugly avatar

by David Bradley in Sciencetext

More and more people have an online presence in virtual worlds, such as Second Life, in which their persona is encapsulated in an “avatar”, an often three-dimensional model or character meant to represent you as an individual. Of course, on the internet no one knows you’re a dog, so you can make your avatar look [...]Post from: David Bradley's Sciencetext Tech TalkYou and your ugly avatar
... Read more »

  • January 26, 2010
  • 04:00 AM

Evolutionary Linguists announce arrival of Skynet

by Sean Roberts in The Adventures of Auck

In a recent book chapter, Loreto, Baronchelli & Puglisi (2010) summarise mathematical models of language games. They minimally define a system which will allow agents to reach shared linguistic categories which describe continuous stimuli (e.g. colour). New findings include a demonstration that the number of linguistic categories will stay low, regardless of the resolution of the agents' 'eyes'. However, I was particularly struck by the last paragraph, which appears to be ominously more 6........ Read more »

Vittorio Loreto;, Andrea Baronchelli;, & Andrea Puglisi. (2009) Mathematical Modeling of Language Games. Evolution of Communication and Language in Embodied Agents, 263-281. info:/

  • January 25, 2010
  • 10:32 PM

I'm on the Internets!

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

By that, of course, I mean the more widely read internets: specificially, the Charlotte Observer's online content. They're featuring my blog this week in their science section. I knew I was going to be in print, but I didn't know I was going to be online, too! Totally cool. Anyhow, go check it out. And you can check out the full version of that blog right here.

... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 08:00 PM

What Zaps a High Achiever’s Performance Lights a Low Achiever’s Fire

by David DiSalvo in Neuronarrative

High achievers do many things well, particularly when they’re convinced that excellence requires their utmost performance. Low achievers, however, have a hard time getting motivated and often find themselves coughing in the dust of the high achievers’ hustle.

But like so many generalizations, this one has a limit.
... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 04:06 PM

Trouble in Paradise

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Coconut palms block nutrient flow in tropical ecosystems

... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 01:22 PM

Decade in review #1: the neurogenesis-depression hypothesis

by Jason Snyder in Functional Neurogenesis

A major theme in the field of adult neurogenesis is the neurogenesis-depression hypothesis, the idea that newborn neurons are protective against depression. ... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 12:18 PM

Come Home

by Richard Grant in Faculty of 1000

Back when I was an acolyte in the service of science, I worked on an interesting little big protein by the name of talin. This 270 kDa sucker is involved in focal adhesions: the ‘ankle’ of the cell, joining the actin cytoskeleton to the outside world. Focal adhesions are fascinating and complex, and if I [...]... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 11:14 AM

Single-Photon Cooling: Making Maxwell's Demon

by Chad Orzel in Uncertain Principles

As mentioned previously, I've been reading Sean Carroll's Wheel arrow of time book, which necessarily includes a good bit of discussion of "Maxwell's Demon," a thought experiment famously proposed by James Clerk Maxwell as something that would allow you to cool a gas without obviously increasing entropy. The "demon" mans a trapdoor between a sample of gas and an initially empty space, and allows only slow-moving gas atoms to pass through. After some time, the empty volume is filled with a gas at........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 09:02 AM

Money Makes Rejection Less Painful

by Daniel Hawes in Ingenious Monkey | 20-two-5

According to one of my least favorite Beatles songs, Money Can't Buy (Me) Love, but according to one of my most favorite studies to come out last year, money does go a long way in reducing the pains associated with social rejection. Indeed, the mere thought of money seems to reduce people's perception of physical I had to blog about it.... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

Underwater mushrooms?

by stajich in The Hyphal Tip

The cover of the Jan/Feb Mycologia has a picture of a pretty weird place to find a mushroom growing – a new species of mushroom that was found fruiting underwater in the Rogue river in Oregon.  This was reported about two years ago for a discovery that was made in 2005, but this is a [...]... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 08:43 AM

Exomes and Rare Disorders: Baby Steps to Personalized Medicine

by Rick Scavetta in DNA Dude

A study published in this month’s issue of Nature Genetics may provide insight into the future techniques of personalized medicine.
The articles deals with technical advancements and a proof-of-principle study in identifying the causes underlying rare Mendelian disorders.

The techniques involved re-sequencing (another name for next-generation sequencing and massively parallel sequencing) of the exome. That is [...]... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 08:32 AM

How we discovered that an attention drug successfully treats a fruit fly memory mutant

by Björn Brembs in

Blogging about one's own research always feels good: the amount of your work has accumulated enough to at least provide sufficient material for a story and some figures. It has passed the first hurdle of scientific scrutiny, peer review. On the other hand, now an exciting time begins: what will the colleagues say? Will people find the one major flaw that neither you, your co-authors, the people who proof-read the drafts before submission nor the reviewers caught? Will the results lead to new, ex........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 08:24 AM

Language Structure and Social Structure

by Sean Roberts in The Adventures of Auck

Lupyan & Dale's recent article shows that social structure (e.g. population size) affects linguistic change. But can this dynamic be extended back in time to help think about the evolution of language?... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 07:45 AM

Are you a maximiser or a satisficer?

by David Winter in Careers - in Theory

How could looking for the best option make you less happy with your choice?... Read more »

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