Post List

  • December 13, 2010
  • 11:14 AM

This “Week” in the Universe: November 30th – December 13th

by S.C. Kavassalis in The Language of Bad Physics

Astrophysics and Gravitation:
The Milky Way Project
The Milky Way Project aims to sort and measure our galaxy, the Milky Way. Initially we’re asking you to help us find and draw bubbles in beautiful infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope.
Understanding the cold, dusty material that we see in these images, helps scientists to learn how stars form and how our galaxy changes and evolves with time.
The GalaxyZoo project expands! Help astronomers out when you’re feeling in the........ Read more »

Abhay Ashtekar, Frans Pretorius, & Fethi M. Ramazanoğlu. (2010) Surprises in the Evaporation of 2-Dimensional Black Holes. arXiv. arXiv: 1011.6442v1

I. K. Wehus, & H. K. Eriksen. (2010) A search for concentric circles in the 7-year WMAP temperature sky maps. arXiv. arXiv: 1012.1268v1

Adam Moss, Douglas Scott, & James P. Zibin. (2010) No evidence for anomalously low variance circles on the sky. arXiv. arXiv: 1012.1305v1

V. G. Gurzadyan, & R. Penrose. (2010) More on the low variance circles in CMB sky. arXiv. arXiv: 1012.1486v1

  • December 13, 2010
  • 10:12 AM

The Vitamin D Controversy

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

Vitamin D could quite possibly be one of the most controversial supplements of the decade. Deficiency can cause rickets (in children) or osteoporosis, and experts such as Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University assert that the average modern-world citizen doesn’t get enough.1 Alternatively, other researchers such as Dr. Clifford Rosen of the Maine Medical Center [...]... Read more »

Sullivan SS, Rosen CJ, Halteman WA, Chen TC, . (2005) Adolescent Girls in Maine Are at Risk for Vitamin D Insufficiency. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 105(6), 971-974. DOI: 10.1016/j.jada.2005.03.002  

Ross AC, Manson JE, Abrams SA, Aloia JF, Brannon PM, Clinton SK, Durazo-Arvizu RA, Gallagher JC, Gallo RL, Jones G.... (2010) The 2011 Report on Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D from the Institute of Medicine: What Clinicians Need to Know. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. PMID: 21118827  

  • December 13, 2010
  • 10:05 AM

DNA Deniers

by Mary in OpenHelix

From Michael Pollan:
"How the gene-disease paradigm appears to be collapsing. Why aren't we hearing about this?!"

Michael Pollan and his flock became all aerated the other day when Michael tweeted this tidbit. It links to a story with quite the title:
The Great DNA Data Deficit: Are Genes for Disease a Mirage?
Srsly. That’s what it says.
What do I think this is? The second case of gene denialism that I have observed. (The first was a group disputing autism........ Read more »

Baker, M. (2010) Genomics: The search for association. Nature, 467(7319), 1135-1138. DOI: 10.1038/4671135a  

Cyranoski, D. (2010) Genetics: Pet project. Nature, 466(7310), 1036-1038. DOI: 10.1038/4661036a  

  • December 13, 2010
  • 10:00 AM

An Archival Treasure: Singing Mice?

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Sometimes, when trolling through your institution's journal subscriptions online, you wander into a treasure trove. I happened upon such a treasure trove recently: the Journal of Animal Behavior, which was published for just six years, between 1911 and 1916.

The studies described in this journal were being conducted at a time when experimental psychology was just emerging as a serious scientific discipline. In 1881, for example, Wilhelm Wundt organized the first scientific journal devoted to ps........ Read more »

Charles A. Coburn. (1912) Singing Mice. Journal of Animal Behavior, 2(5), 364-366. info:/

  • December 13, 2010
  • 09:50 AM

After the dung-fly: parasite effects on human behaviour

by davesbrain in Dave Hubble's ecology spot

Following my recent post about behavioural modification of insects by Fungi such as Entomophthora, I was sufficiently intrigued to digress from my usual ecological and entomological subject matter and look at work on related processes in humans. Rather than a fungus, the organism I am particularly interested in is the widespread parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. Spread to humans (and many, many other species) by various mechanisms including handling and consumption of raw meat, transplacent........ Read more »

Henriquez, S.A., Brett, R., Alexander, J., Pratt, J., & Roberts, C.W. (2009) Neuropsychiatric disease and Toxoplasma gondii infection. Neuroimmunomodulation, 16(2), 122-133. PMID: 19212132  

  • December 13, 2010
  • 09:15 AM

Does snacking from a large bowl result in overeating?

by Peter Janiszewski, Ph.D. in Obesity Panacea

It is often stated that the accumulation of excess body weight is a simple matter of energy intake exceeding energy expenditure. While this notion is certainly correct, it does not account for the myriad of factors that drive one to consume more calories than necessary.
Take for example the size of a bowl from which you eat your snacks.
Could this simple factor play a role in the number of calories you may consume?
Back in 2005, Wansink and Cheney performed a wonderfully simple study and found t........ Read more »

Wansink, B. (2005) Super Bowls: Serving Bowl Size and Food Consumption. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 293(14), 1727-1728. DOI: 10.1001/jama.293.14.1727  

  • December 13, 2010
  • 08:33 AM

BDNF and Depression

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

I’ve written a bunch of posts in the past on serotonin, the serotonin theory of depression (and why it’s probably wrong), and some stuff on current antidepressant treatments. And I even talked before a little bit about the serotonin theory vs the BDNF theory. But I’ve never really COVERED what the BDNF theory IS and [...]... Read more »

Schmidt HD, & Duman RS. (2010) Peripheral BDNF Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects in Cellular and Behavioral Models. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 21085113  

  • December 13, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

The lonely places: Where could life exist, but doesn’t?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Our planet is covered with life. Birds fly over Mount Everest; ecosystems thrive at hot vents at the bottom of the ocean. And the more we have looked, the more and more weird places we find organisms living in places we thought was completely uninhabitable.

Given all the interest in the idea that life could exist without phosphorus, this new article by Cockell is extremely timely. Cockell points out that if we want to understand life, we have to pay attention not just to where life is present, ........ Read more »

Cockell CS. (2011) Vacant habitats in the Universe. Trends in Ecology . info:/10.1016/j.tree.2010.11.004

  • December 13, 2010
  • 07:12 AM

Arsenic-based life and the nature of science

by Kent in Uncommon Ground

If you read this blog, you probably read about the report in Science describing a claim that scientists had isolated a bacterium from Mono Lake in California that substitutes arsenic for phosphorus to sustain its growth. Our data show evidence...... 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 13, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

December 13, 2010

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

It is always exciting to read a paper that describes a fascinating discovery. It is even more exciting when that discovery opens the door to so many interesting questions. The paper that brought us today’s image is a great example of this.... Read more »

  • December 13, 2010
  • 06:07 AM

When cross-examination [of the expert witness] offends

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Your witnesses can make your case. They can also make your case a dog.  I was called several months ago to do witness preparation for trial on a commercial case that was, before our key witnesses flamed out in deposition, viewed as a mid-7 figure case.  After a dismal deposition performance, the plaintiff attorneys that [...]

Related posts:Overdoing it: Is there such a thing as too little anxiety in your witness?
“I didn’t know truth had a gender”
Tattoos: When should you clean up your........ Read more »

  • December 13, 2010
  • 05:45 AM

Redefining Great Britain

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

This research paper describes a clever way to redefine and redraw geographical areas using telephone communication networks... Read more »

Carlo Ratti, Stanislav Sobolevsky, Francesco Calabrese, Clio Andris, Jonathan Reades, Mauro Martino, Rob Claxton, & Steven H. Strogatz. (2010) Redrawing the Map of Great Britain from a Network of Human Interactions. . PLoS ONE, 5(12). info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0014248

  • December 13, 2010
  • 05:28 AM

When and how psychological data is collected affects the kind of students who volunteer

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Psychology has a serious problem. You may have heard about its over-dependence on WEIRD participants - that is, those from Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich Democracies. More specifically, as regular readers will be aware, countless psychology studies (especially those with a social bent) involve undergraduate students, often those studying psychology. Apart from the obvious fact that this limits the generalisability of the findings, Edward Witt and his colleagues provide evidence in a new........ Read more »

  • December 13, 2010
  • 05:14 AM

Enablers and Barriers to Risk Mitigation

by Daniel Dumke in SCRM Blog - Supply Chain Risk Management

Everybody concerned with the task of developing risk mitigation strategies has a list in his mind of different factors influencing a company's exposure to risk and if you think about it: those factors are probably related.
Example: The number of suppliers for one component can have a huge impact on risk, but the necessity of a high number of (redundant) suppliers may itself be affected by the trust you built with your main supplier. Both trust and having multiple suppliers affect supply cha........ Read more »

Faisal, M. N., Banwet, D.K., & Shankar, R. (2006) Supply Chain Risk Mitigation: Modeling the Enablers. Business Process Management Journal, 12(4), 535-552. info:/

  • December 13, 2010
  • 04:54 AM

Live not by visualization alone

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

Synthetic map
In the age of 500,000 SNP studies of genetic variation across dozens of populations obviously we’re a bit beyond lists of ABO blood frequencies. There’s no real way that a conventional human is going to be able to discern patterns of correlated allele frequency variations which point to between population genetic differences on this [...]... Read more »

Olivier François, Mathias Currat, Nicolas Ray, Eunjung Han, Laurent Excoffier, & John Novembre. (2010) Principal Component Analysis under Population Genetic Models of Range Expansion and Admixture. Mol Biol Evol . info:/

  • December 13, 2010
  • 03:52 AM

Novel, fast DNA nanopore detector features integrated tunneling electrodes

by Michael Berger in nanowerk

Researchers worldwide are working on fast and low-cost strategies to sequence DNA, that is, to read off the content of our genome. Particularly promising for future genome sequencing are devices that measure single molecules. In this respect, the creation of nanochannels or nanopores in thin membranes has attracted much interest due to the potential to isolate and sense single DNA molecules while they translocate through the highly confined channels. Particularly interesting are techniques that ........ Read more »

Ivanov, A., Instuli, E., McGilvery, C., Baldwin, G., McComb, D., Albrecht, T., & Edel, J. (2010) DNA Tunneling Detector Embedded in a Nanopore. Nano Letters, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/nl103873a  

  • December 13, 2010
  • 01:56 AM

How to run a succesful research faculty

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Besides patient care and education, research is also an important part of a med school. Funding and keeping a research department alive in medicine is very complicated. Below are some suggestions from a approach as published in a recent article from the Advances in Health Sciences Education. It’s my own interpretation of the suggestions made [...]

Related posts:On Leading a Research Group
16 Factors that could Make a Portfolio Succesful in Medical Education?
Under-representation of wome........ Read more »

  • December 13, 2010
  • 12:43 AM

Study: Dialysis Death Risk Is Higher in For-Profit Clinics

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

A majority of Americans who've suffered kidney failure go to Medicare-certified treatment centers three times weekly for dialysis. Many of these are part of large chains, that are for-profit businesses. According to this study, that's unfortunate: It found that patients at for-profit centers had a ...Read More
... Read more »

  • December 12, 2010
  • 10:41 PM

Not Miley Cyrus: A small human trial of salvinorin A

by David J Kroll in Terra Sigillata

Some interesting news came out last week regarding Salvia divinorum, the hallucinogenic mint plant, whose primary active constituent, salvinorin A, is a highly selective kappa opioid receptor agonist that is remarkable as a nonnitrogenous psychoactive compound. However, my interest had nothing to do with the widely-discussed video at showing actress and singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus doing a [...]... Read more »

  • December 12, 2010
  • 07:45 PM

Work Habits of Highly Cited Scientists

by Samuel Arbesman in

In a recent paper in Scientometrics, a group of scientists examined what the social properties are of the most highly cited scientists in the fields of environmental science and ecology. They asked highly cited scientists (determined using to complete an online survey, and collected a wide variety of information, from demographics to perspectives on [...]... Read more »

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