Post List

  • December 4, 2010
  • 03:44 AM
  • 1,710 views

Conservation is all about prioritisation

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

Another great guest post from a previous contributor, Piero Visconti. – Biodiversity conservation is about prioritisation – making difficult choices. With limited money and so many habitats and species in need of protection, deciding where not to expend resources is as important as deciding where to act. Saying ‘no’ will be crucial for ensuring the [...]... Read more »

  • December 3, 2010
  • 11:16 PM
  • 2,486 views

Re (not the sun god) hypothesizes a solar atom (1903)

by gg in Skulls in the Stars

It is fair to say that the decade surrounding the start of the 20th century was an amazingly perplexing time to be a physicist.  Mounting experimental evidence strongly suggested that something was amiss with classical physics, especially in the understanding … Continue reading →... Read more »

Fillipo Re. (1903) Hypothése sur la nature des corps radioactifs. Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences, 1393-1395. info:other/

  • December 3, 2010
  • 09:48 PM
  • 1,727 views

Small rocky exoplanets galore

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

A recent study presents some promising data regarding the abundance of rocky planets around other stars. Continue reading →... Read more »

Howard, A., Marcy, G., Johnson, J., Fischer, D., Wright, J., Isaacson, H., Valenti, J., Anderson, J., Lin, D., & Ida, S. (2010) The Occurrence and Mass Distribution of Close-in Super-Earths, Neptunes, and Jupiters. Science, 330(6004), 653-655. DOI: 10.1126/science.1194854  

  • December 3, 2010
  • 09:03 PM
  • 709 views

Neury Thursday: Odor Avoidance in a Nematode

by Allison in Dormivigilia

In this week’s Journal of Neuroscience, researchers in Japan have elucidated the neural mechanisms of odor avoidance in transgenic nematodes. Basically, previous and repeated exposure to an overwhelming smell (such as a day after heavily drinking flatulence) enhanced odor avoidance instead of allowing the nematode to habituate. In most cases, the human olfactory system is [...]... Read more »

Kimura KD, Fujita K, & Katsura I. (2010) Enhancement of Odor Avoidance Regulated by Dopamine Signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(48), 16365-16375. PMID: 21123582  

  • December 3, 2010
  • 08:00 PM
  • 2,318 views

Supernovae – setting the standard, part II

by Rita in we are all in the gutter

In part I of this blog post I told you how supernovae type Ia have proven to be so important in defining today’s standard model of Cosmology. I did, however, leave out some important details so let’s get stuck right in.... Read more »

J. Nordin, L. Ostman, A. Goobar, R. Amanullah, R. C. Nichol, M. Smith, J. Sollerman, B. A. Bassett, J. Frieman, P. M. Garnavich.... (2010) Spectral properties of Type Ia supernovae up to z~0.3. Astronomy and Astrophysics. arXiv: 1011.6227v1

  • December 3, 2010
  • 07:27 PM
  • 2,126 views

Networks in the autistic brain: insights from graph theory

by Jon Brock in Cracking the Enigma

A couple of weeks ago I travelled from Sydney to a conference taking place in San Diego, California. There isn't a direct flight to San Diego so instead I had to fly via Los Angeles. Colleagues coming from Melbourne had an even more convoluted journey - they had to get a connecting flight to Sydney first before they could fly to LA. The point here is that airline routes are determined by economic pressures. There simply aren't enough people wanting to travel from Sydney or Melbourne to San Dieg........ Read more »

Pablo Barttfeld, Bruno Wicker, Sebastián Cukier, Silvana Navarta, Sergio Lew, & Mariano Sigman. (2010) A big-world network in ASD: Dynamical connectivity analysis reflects a deficit in long-range connections and an excess of short-range connections. Neuropsychologia. arXiv: 1007.5471v1

  • December 3, 2010
  • 07:01 PM
  • 838 views

Off the straight and narrow: The kinky jets of Blazars

by mithy in The Enlightenment Junkie

Google any of the myriad artists impressions of blazars and relativistic jets available online and they all share one common feature: the jet streams out helically from the central accretion disc/black hole region in a long thin straight line that would make any Roman road builder green with envy. For example (image: University of Michigan): Artists Impression of a [...]... Read more »

Raiteri, C., Villata, M., Bruschini, L., Capetti, A., Kurtanidze, O., Larionov, V., Romano, P., Vercellone, S., Agudo, I., Aller, H.... (2010) Another look at the BL Lacertae flux and spectral variability. Astronomy and Astrophysics. DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201015191  

  • December 3, 2010
  • 06:48 PM
  • 1,197 views

My summary of NASA's arsenic-thriving bacteria story

by Daniel in Ego sum Daniel

Almost instantly after coming home from work yesterday, I noticed a steady stream of mentions of a mysterious and hugely hyped NASA press conference scheduled for later in the day trickling in via Facebook, Twitter, blogs and news sites. I got excited, but also a bit confused. NASA's announcement seemed spectacular enough:

NASA will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. PST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.
Af........ Read more »

Wolfe-Simon, F., Switzer Blum, J., Kulp, T.R., Gordon, G.W., Hoeft, S.E., Pett-Ridge, J., Stolz, J.F., Webb, S.M., Weber, P.K., Davies, P.C.W., Anbar, A.D., Oremland, R.S. (2010) A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science. info:/10.1126/science.1197258

  • December 3, 2010
  • 06:07 PM
  • 816 views

The bacteria in your belly Pt. 3 – Disrupting the balance

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

In the previous two posts we have established how the microbiome is established and then the pressures the host puts on it to maintain a balance between the required functions and the commensal bacteria providing them. In this post I … Continue reading →... Read more »

Cerf-Bensussan N, & Gaboriau-Routhiau V. (2010) The immune system and the gut microbiota: friends or foes?. Nature reviews. Immunology, 10(10), 735-44. PMID: 20865020  

Fujimura, K., Slusher, N., Cabana, M., & Lynch, S. (2010) Role of the gut microbiota in defining human health. Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy, 8(4), 435-454. DOI: 10.1586/eri.10.14  

Rook GA, & Brunet LR. (2005) Old friends for breakfast. Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 35(7), 841-2. PMID: 16008666  

  • December 3, 2010
  • 06:07 PM
  • 754 views

The bacteria in your belly Pt. 3 – Disrupting the balance

by Thomas Tu in Disease of the week!

In the previous two posts we have established how the microbiome is established and then the pressures the host puts on it to maintain a balance between the required functions and the commensal bacteria providing them. In this post I … Continue reading →... Read more »

Cerf-Bensussan N, & Gaboriau-Routhiau V. (2010) The immune system and the gut microbiota: friends or foes?. Nature reviews. Immunology, 10(10), 735-44. PMID: 20865020  

Fujimura, K., Slusher, N., Cabana, M., & Lynch, S. (2010) Role of the gut microbiota in defining human health. Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy, 8(4), 435-454. DOI: 10.1586/eri.10.14  

Rook GA, & Brunet LR. (2005) Old friends for breakfast. Clinical and experimental allergy : journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 35(7), 841-2. PMID: 16008666  

  • December 3, 2010
  • 01:10 PM
  • 2,815 views

Entomology of Star Wars. Episode I: The Ant-lion

by davesbrain in Dave Hubble's ecology spot

Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE ... Read more »

Plant, C.W. (1999) The Suffolk ant-lion Euroleon nostras. British Wildlife, 10(5), 303-309. info:/

  • December 3, 2010
  • 11:57 AM
  • 1,153 views

Vigorous Exercise Boosts GPA

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Many studies have positively linked physical fitness and academic achievement in elementary and middle-school aged children. But a report from the American College of Sports Medicine indicates that college students can also increase their grade point average (GPA) by engaging in vigorous exercise. The study examined the grades and exercise habits of 266 undergraduates. Overall, [...]... Read more »

Kwak L, Kremers SP, Bergman P, Ruiz JR, Rizzo NS, & Sjöström M. (2009) Associations between physical activity, fitness, and academic achievement. The Journal of pediatrics, 155(6), 914-9180. PMID: 19643438  

Welk GJ, Jackson AW, Morrow JR Jr, Haskell WH, Meredith MD, & Cooper KH. (2010) The association of health-related fitness with indicators of academic performance in Texas schools. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 81(3 Suppl). PMID: 21049834  

  • December 3, 2010
  • 11:50 AM
  • 1,245 views

Arsenic is the New DNA Lace

by Arunn in nOnoScience (a.k.a. Unruled Notebook)

Carbon based bi-peds have found evidence for an alternate brotherhood in their Life tree. Life as we know of it until now is made of and thrive using Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Phosphorous.  Geomicrobiologist Felissa Wolfe-Simon and colleagues – patronized by Paul Davies and funded by NASA – have now found evidence that a [...]... 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 3, 2010
  • 11:45 AM
  • 1,287 views

Six Required Elements for Life: C, N, O, S, H, and P. Well, maybe not P.

by Sara Klink in Promega Connections

According to James Elser, professor at Arizona State University, the one thing he could always count on telling his students was that “Every living thing uses phosphorus to build its DNA.” After Thurday’s announcement by NASA astrobiologist Felisa Wolfe-Simon, he will probably be rewriting his lectures. At a NASA press conference at 1:00 pm, December [...]... 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 3, 2010
  • 08:54 AM
  • 632 views

The astounding flexibility of life

by Becky in It Takes 30

This week’s big news is undoubtedly the discovery of a bacterium that can (if forced to) use arsenic in place of phosphorus.  Though it’s being hyped as “completely different from any life on Earth”, it was in fact isolated from Mono Lake.  The work was funded by NASA’s astrobiology division, who are interested in making [...]... Read more »

Wolfe-Simon, F, Blum, JS, Kulp, TR, Gordon, GW, Hoeft, SE, Pett-Ridge, J, Stolz,JF, Webb,SM, Weber, PK, Davies, PCW.... (2010) A bacterium that can grow by using arsenic instead of phosphorus. Science. info:/DOI: 10.1126/science.1197258

  • December 3, 2010
  • 08:53 AM
  • 919 views

Friday Weird Science: Female Orgasm, Evolutionary Byproduct? Or not?

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Today’s post comes to you courtesy of Denim and Tweed, where Jeremy brought up this question, and cited his works very well! And after I saw all that stuff on clitorises, I had cover it myself. Poor female orgasm. It’s always been up for debate. From issues over the G Spot to issues of what [...]... Read more »

  • December 3, 2010
  • 07:44 AM
  • 1,256 views

Close up to Andrias, despite the smell and the teeth

by Darren Naish in Tetrapod Zoology





Aww, look at that cute little face, those piggy little, opaque eyes, that wrinkled skin. I just know that you want a little refresher on giant salamanders, so - accompanied with new photos taken at the SMNK in Karlsruhe (by Markus Bühler; thanks) - here's a substantially augmented chunk of text that originally appeared here back in January 2008... Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

  • December 3, 2010
  • 06:56 AM
  • 1,608 views

Paucis Verbis card: Dysphagia

by Michelle Lin in Academic Life In Emergency Medicine

Dyphagia is a disorder of swallowing. It actually occurs in up to 10% of adults older than 50 years old. How can you determine the most likely causes for dysphagia? The secret is to obtain a thorough history and using the algorithm below, which I find really helpful from a review article in American Family Physician.How do you read the figure?Determine first if patient has oropharyngeal vs esophageal dysphagia. Determine if mechanical (problem is solid foods only) vs neuromuscular (problem ........ Read more »

Spieker MR. (2000) Evaluating dysphagia. American family physician, 61(12), 3639-48. PMID: 10892635  

  • December 3, 2010
  • 06:07 AM
  • 1,223 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: Using attraction to your advantage

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

Most of us are familiar with the old research saying attractive people get more, well, everything! And in a world that changes at dizzying speed, rest assured that this one remains as true as ever. A new study shows that we do judge a book by its cover “but a beautiful cover prompts a closer [...]


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Simple Jury Persuasion: Using counter-factual thinking to your advantage
Simple Jury Persuasion: Be Po........ Read more »

Ruffle, Bradley J., & Shtudiner, Ze'ev. (2010) Are Good-Looking People More Employable?. SSRN. info:/

  • December 3, 2010
  • 05:30 AM
  • 658 views

More microRNA mysteries

by Becky in It Takes 30

Since we only recently found out that microRNAs and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) exist, and modulate gene expression, it’s perhaps not surprising that many aspects of their function are still puzzling.  One mysterious feature is the fact that the efficacy of microRNAs and siRNAs in silencing mRNAs is rather unpredictable. For example, a single microRNA [...]... Read more »

Larsson E, Sander C, & Marks D. (2010) mRNA turnover rate limits siRNA and microRNA efficacy. Molecular systems biology, 433. PMID: 21081925  

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