Post List

  • January 23, 2010
  • 06:54 PM

Were the Maya noble savages?

by Thomas Kluyver in Thomas' Plant-Related Blog

Somewhere between 700 and 900 AD, the Maya civilisation in Central America seemed to collapse. Why? For some time, the conventional explanation has been deforestation. They were so efficient at chopping down trees for timber and for farmland that they got rid of the forest, and without it, the fertile soil was eroded. It’s not [...]... Read more »

  • January 23, 2010
  • 04:10 PM

The Response of Butterflies to Habitat Loss and Climate Change

by Michael Long in Phased

Matthew Forister (University of Nevada, Reno) and coworkers have unambiguously investigated the differential effects of climate change and habitat loss on butterfly populations in northern California. This news feature was written on January 23, 2010.... Read more »

Forister, M. L., McCall, A. C., Sanders, N. J., Fordyce, J. A., Thorne, J. H., O'Brien, J., Waetjen, D. P., & Shapiro, A. M. (2010) Compounded effects of climate change and habitat alteration shift patterns of butterfly diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909686107  

  • January 23, 2010
  • 03:34 PM

Study finds nutrients homogenize the biodiversity of lakes

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study from researchers at Trinity College has found that the addition of nutrients like nitrogen can homogenize the benthic diversity of lakes...... Read more »

  • January 23, 2010
  • 12:44 PM

Can science be artistic?

by nuclear.kelly in Miss Atomic Bomb

In light of the lack of effective communication between scientists (and science generally) and the public, I posed a challenge to the graduate students in my department: write a story about your research. It seemed a simple task, but there was one catch - the story had to be a fictional tale about their actual work.Can science be artistic? Is it only a chosen few who can turn science into the kind of thing that people on the street (or in the pub) find interesting; people like Carl Sagan, Brian ........ Read more »

Chipps, K., Blackmon, J., Chae, K., Moazen, B., Pittman, S., Greife, U., Hatarik, R., Peters, W., Kozub, R., Shriner, J.... (2009) The ^{17}F(p,γ)^{18}Ne resonant cross section. Physical Review C, 80(6). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.80.065810  

  • January 23, 2010
  • 11:52 AM

ADHD in Flies?

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Researchers have discovered a mutation encoding for memory formation in Drosophila (radish) that elicits attention-like deficit symptoms which can subsequently be treated with Ritalin... Read more »

Owens JA. (2005) The ADHD and sleep conundrum: a review. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP, 26(4), 312-22. PMID: 16100507  

van Swinderen B, & Brembs B. (2010) Attention-like deficit and hyperactivity in a Drosophila memory mutant. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(3), 1003-14. PMID: 20089909  

  • January 23, 2010
  • 10:40 AM

Is time dilated during a threatening situation?

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

"WHEN a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour," said Albert Einstein, "it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute, and it's longer than any hour." Einstein was describing one of the most profound insights of his Theory of General Relativity - that the perception of time is subjective. This is something we all know from experience: time flies when we are enjoying ourselves, but seems to drag on when we are doing something tedious.

The subjective experience of time can ........ Read more »

Wittmann, M., et al. (2010) The neural substrates of subjective time dilation . Front. Hum. Neurosci. info:/

  • January 22, 2010
  • 09:20 PM

A Small Selection of Calorie Restriction Mimetic Drug Research

by Reason in Fight Aging!

Could a drug introduced in the 2010s be able to induce rejuvenation, the repair of age-related damage? To a very limited degree, yes. We would expect some types of drug, early and poor examples of which are presently undergoing investigation in the laboratory, to be able to stimulate the aged body to repair certain types of cellular damage and aggregate buildup that it would otherwise be unable to deal with - in other words to rejuvenate some aspects of cellular biology to their youthful states ........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 08:57 PM

Better Linguistic Evidence for the Spread of Agriculture

by teofilo in Gambler's House

Since it seems to be Linguistics Week here at Gambler’s House, here’s another post on Jane Hill’s theory that the spread of agriculture into the Southwest was associated with a migration of speakers of Proto-Northern-Uto-Aztecan (PNUA) from somewhere in Mexico.  Previously I discussed an article of hers from 2001 in which she tried to show [...]... Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 06:32 PM

Brain Scanning Software Showdown

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

You've just finished doing some research using fMRI to measure brain activity. You designed the study, recruited the volunteers, and did all the scans. Phew. Is that it? Can you publish the findings yet?Unfortunately, no. You still need to do the analysis, and this is often the most trickiest stage. The raw data produced during an fMRI experiment are meaningless - in most cases, each scan will give you a few hundred almost-identical grey pictures of the person's brain. Making sense of them requi........ Read more »

Fusar-Poli, P., Bhattacharyya, S., Allen, P., Crippa, J., Borgwardt, S., Martin-Santos, R., Seal, M., O’Carroll, C., Atakan, Z., & Zuardi, A. (2010) Effect of image analysis software on neurofunctional activation during processing of emotional human faces. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1016/j.jocn.2009.06.027  

  • January 22, 2010
  • 05:39 PM

Mutations and the escape from immunity

by Atila Iamarino in Influenza A (H1N1) Blog – English

If measles is caused by a virus and it can only be caught once in a life time, why do we catch the flu every year?

When we have the flu, in a few days the body seems to get rid of the virus. The symptoms rarely last for two weeks and, in a higher period; [...]... Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 05:14 PM

Coastal dune ecology: Invasive grass driving native herb to extinction through direct and apparent competition

by Jeremy in Voltage Gate

I was reading through this study from Ecology yesterday, which tells the interesting story of how coastal dune ecology in northern California was invaded in the 19th century and subsequently disrupted. In order to stabilize the ever-shifting sand dunes, a grass called Ammophila arenaria, the European beachgrass, was planted along the coastline. A. arenaria grows from a strong, thick network of branching rhizomes, allowing it create a fast hold on loose soil and, as the coastal managers intended,........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 04:22 PM

Scientists challenge century-old understanding of rain-soil interaction

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

In a recent Nature Geoscience study, scientists discovered that soil clings to water from the first rainfall of the summer and holds it so tightly it almost never mixes with other water. This discovery challenges the century-old assumption that rainwater, after it enters the soil through precipitation, displaces leftover water and pushes it deeper into [...]

... Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 03:37 PM

Neanderthal wooden structures, sleeping areas and group size at Abric Romaní

by Julien Riel-Salvatore in A Very Remote Period Indeed

Well, what do you know... it looks as though Neanderthals in Mediterranean Spain were up to all sorts of interesting stuff ca. 55-50kya! Hot on the heels of the news that ornaments and coloring materials were found in Mousterian deposits at Cueva Anton and Cueva de los Aviones, we get news that Neanderthals at Abric Romaní (Spain, near Barcelona) appear to have had well defined sleeping areas that bear striking resemblance to those found in rockshelters used by extant hunter-gatherers (Vallverd........ Read more »

Vallverdú, J., Vaquero, M., Cáceres, I., Allué, E., Rosell, J., Saladié, P., Chacón, G., Ollé, A., Canals, A., Sala, R.... (2010) Sleeping Activity Area within the Site Structure of Archaic Human Groups. Current Anthropology, 51(1), 137-145. DOI: 10.1086/649499  

  • January 22, 2010
  • 03:16 PM

Too Much Information?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

How things have changed. Once information was a precious commodity, jealously guarded by the elite who deliberately withheld it from the masses in order to keep them in their place. Now information is everywhere, available to everybody, all of the time. While the democratization of information is undoubtedly a force for good, is there such [...]... Read more »

Clauson, K., Polen, H., Boulos, M., & Dzenowagis, J. (2008) Scope, Completeness, and Accuracy of Drug Information in Wikipedia. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 42(12), 1814-1821. DOI: 10.1345/aph.1L474  

  • January 22, 2010
  • 02:18 PM

Climate Change May Make Fish Commit Predator-Assisted Suicide

by Kelsey in Mauka to Makai

Remember the tale of Nemo (the juvenile clownfish that was fish-napped by a dentist) and Marlin (Nemo’s dad)? Marlin braves the open ocean to find Nemo, meeting a whale-speaking blue tang and a few non-piscivorous sharks along the way. Of course, Marlin and Nemo are reunited (it’s a Disney movie), but could a little clownfish [...]... Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 11:51 AM

Colorful Tits Produce Speedier Sperm

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

tags: evolution, evolutionary biology, evolutionary ecology, plumage color,carotenoid-based colour, carotenoids, lipid peroxidation, oxidative stress, sperm motility, sperm quality, sperm velocity, birds, ornithology, Great Tit, Parus major,,peer-reviewed research, peer-reviewed paper

Great Tit, Parus major.

Image: Luc Viatour, Creative Commons/Wikipedia [larger view]

In some species of birds, males are more brightly colored than females. This phenomenon is due to female ........ Read more »

Helfenstein, F., Losdat, S., Møller, A., Blount, J., & Richner, H. (2010) Sperm of colourful males are better protected against oxidative stress. Ecology Letters, 13(2), 213-222. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01419.x  

  • January 22, 2010
  • 11:17 AM

High-impact science: Kaposi sarcoma and AIDS – unravelling a medical mystery

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

Cancer and AIDS – two of the most powerful and emotive words in the English language, and two diseases that touch the lives of millions of people across the world.  Many researchers dedicate their lives to studying them.
Cancer Research UK is working tirelessly towards beating cancer. And thanks to our pioneering work, countless lives have [...]... Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 08:57 AM

Quorum Sensing in Bacteria: How a Picture can be Worth a Thousand Words

by Promega Corporation in Promega Connections

Increasingly, multimedia and video are being used in addition to traditional delivery methods to communicate scientific findings. Journals such as PLoS ONE, Cell, Nature and others often use video to either showcase particular articles, or offer authors the opportunity to include multimedia elements as part of their article. Some subjects lend themselves better to video [...]... Read more »

Danino, T., Mondragón-Palomino, O., Tsimring, L., & Hasty, J. (2010) A synchronized quorum of genetic clocks. Nature, 463(7279), 326-330. DOI: 10.1038/nature08753  

  • January 22, 2010
  • 08:15 AM

Climate change reducing stream habitat for fish

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Koch’s postulates in the 21st century

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

For thousands of years, epidemics of contagious diseases were believed to be caused by the wrath of the gods, configuration of stars, or miasma. The association of specific microorganisms with disease came about as a consequence of the work of the German physician Robert Koch. He formulated a set of criteria that could be used [...]... Read more »

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