Post List

  • May 5, 2010
  • 10:05 AM

Back to basics: The "Big Four"

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

The nice thing about a field season away from all regular internet access is that it gives you a real sabbatical of a sort—a chance to reassess plans and set new goals. One of the new goals I set myself this last field season was to introduce a new kind of topic here at Denim and Tweed.

Most of my writing about science at D&T focuses on recently published discoveries in evolution and ecology. It's fun writing, and it coincides neatly with my regular journal reading, and I intend to keep doing........ Read more »

Drake JW, Charlesworth B, Charlesworth D, & Crow JF. (1998) Rates of spontaneous mutation. Genetics, 148(4), 1667-86. PMID: 9560386  

Kingsolver, J., Hoekstra, H., Hoekstra, J., Berrigan, D., Vignieri, S., Hill, C., Hoang, A., Gibert, P., & Beerli, P. (2001) The strength of phenotypic selection in natural populations. The American Naturalist, 157(3), 245-61. DOI: 10.1086/319193  

Wright S. (1931) Evolution in Mendelian populations. Genetics, 16(2), 97-159. PMID: 17246615  

  • May 5, 2010
  • 09:27 AM

Pandemics and publishing (and blogs?)

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

A majority of the epidemiological articles on SARS were submitted after the epidemic had ended, although the corresponding studies had relevance to public health authorities during the epidemic.  … although the academic response to the SARS epidemic was rapid, most articles on the epidemiology of SARS were published after the epidemic was over even though [...]... Read more »

  • May 5, 2010
  • 08:06 AM

Uncovering beauty in proteins to fight the pneumococcal fratricides

by Cesar Sanchez in Twisted Bacteria

This post is about pneumonia and pneumococci, fratricide at the cellular level, and a pretty protein. And there's a video too!First things first. Pneumonia is a common disease characterized by inflammation of the lungs that can be deadly: 4 million people in the world die from it every year. Half of them are children under 5 years of age -- in fact, no other illness causes more deaths of children under age 5 worldwide. However, this is a preventable and treatable disease in most cases.Many organ........ Read more »

Pérez-Dorado, I., González, A., Morales, M., Sanles, R., Striker, W., Vollmer, W., Mobashery, S., García, J., Martínez-Ripoll, M., García, P.... (2010) Insights into pneumococcal fratricide from the crystal structures of the modular killing factor LytC. Nature Structural . DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.1817  

  • May 5, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

How Effective is Resistance Training for Weight Loss?

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

While there is no doubt that exercise is an important part of long-term weight management the exact role of resistance training (as opposed to aerobic or endurance training) remains unclear.
A paper by Barbara Strasser and colleagues from the University of Hall i. T., Austria, just published in Sports Medicine, describes a systematic review and meta-analysis [...]... Read more »

  • May 5, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Can modified solar panels disarm an ecological trap?

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

On the heels of increasing evidence that wind energy and ethanol can cause serious ecological impacts, a new study in Conservation Biology raises concerns over “polarized light pollution” from polarizing photovoltaic solar panels.

The study, led by Hungarian researcher Gábor Horváth, shows that solar panels can act as ecological traps for aquatic insects potentially leading to population decline or even local extinction.

The good news is that the study also showed that modifications ........ Read more »

  • May 5, 2010
  • 05:36 AM

Mindscape explains life, mind, consciousness and happiness

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Conflict of interest: ABN, NJS and DRS are scientific co-founders of Mindscape Diagnostics, Inc.Special review article!AbstractWhat are mind, consciousness and happiness, in the fundamental context of life? We propose a convergent perspective (coupling evolutionary biology, genomics, neurobiology and clinical medicine) that could help us better understand what life, mind, consciousness and happiness are, as well as provides empirically testable practical implications.Well. So a speculative,........ Read more »

  • May 5, 2010
  • 05:28 AM

Biodegradable organic nanoparticles

by Lars Fischer in EuCheMS 2010 Blog

Somehow this never occurred to me before, but nanoparticles don’t have to be made from metals or other inorganics. They can even be biodegradable. It’s something you tend to forget when you keep reading papers about how metal oxide nanoparticles penetrate cells and catalyze the formation of free radicals or whatever. But of course there [...]... Read more »

  • May 5, 2010
  • 05:20 AM

Do I still like MBTI? (Part 2)

by David Winter in Careers - in Theory

Having pulled apart MBTI and it's Jungian foundations in my last post, can I now reconstruct something resembling these ideas in the form of a simple model of cognitive functions?... Read more »

Reyna, V., & Brainerd, C.J. (1995) Fuzzy-trace theory: An interim synthesis. Learning and Individual Differences, 7(1), 1-75. DOI: 10.1016/1041-6080(95)90031-4  

Miller, P., & Bjorklund, D.F. (1998) Contemplating Fuzzy-Trace Theory: The Gist of It, ,. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 71(2), 184-193. DOI: 10.1006/jecp.1998.2471  

  • May 5, 2010
  • 05:02 AM

Convergent evolution between shrunken animals and bloated protists

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

Our invertebrate zoology textbook, being a good couple decades behind schedule as any textbook ought to, felt rather heavily biased against molecular phylogenetic analysis, and rather conservative in sticking to traditional taxonomy in spite of contradicting molecular data. In fact, towards the end somewhere the authors rather explicitly pointed out that molecular phylogenies are not to be trusted, especially when in disagreement with embryological data.Here we run into the age-old problem in ev........ Read more »

  • May 5, 2010
  • 02:13 AM

Empathy across different medical specialties

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

In this study psychiatrists have the highest mean empathy score on The Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy. They were folowed by Internists, general pediatrics, emergency medicine and family medicine. The differences in empathy scores among psychiatrists and physicians in internal medicine, pediatrics, and emergency medicine were not statistically significant, but physicians in all other specialties [...]

Related posts:Empathy during Medical Education
Empathy for the Mentally Ill in Medical ........ Read more »

Hojat M, Gonnella JS, Nasca TJ, Mangione S, Vergare M, & Magee M. (2002) Physician empathy: definition, components, measurement, and relationship to gender and specialty. The American journal of psychiatry, 159(9), 1563-9. PMID: 12202278  

  • May 5, 2010
  • 01:34 AM

Cheesecake-eating rats and food addiction, a commentary

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

As you might have noticed, Sci is really interested lately in the concept of food reward systems, in particular the issues associated with the effects of binge eating on reward systems in the brain, and the issue of "food addiction".

And Sci is not the only one who is interested. Lots of other people in the scientific world (not to mention people outside the scientific world) are interested as well. And in the same issue of Nature Neuroscience that published the paper that Sci covered on do........ Read more »

  • May 5, 2010
  • 12:51 AM

Dark Matter Confronts Observations

by The Astronomist in The Astronomist.

Dark matter is like the Rome of astronomy, all observations lead to dark matter. The problem is that physicists and astronomers, don't know what it actually is. The observations which support dark matter come from many different independent observations, so it is not just some observational error. The observations which corroborate the dark matter paradigm make for a fantastic discussion, but for right now I would like to focus on explanations for what dark matter may be. Specifically, what kin........ Read more »

Abdo, A., Ackermann, M., Ajello, M., Atwood, W., Baldini, L., Ballet, J., Barbiellini, G., Bastieri, D., Baughman, B., Bechtol, K.... (2010) Spectrum of the Isotropic Diffuse Gamma-Ray Emission Derived from First-Year Fermi Large Area Telescope Data. Physical Review Letters, 104(10). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.101101  

Nima Arkani-Hamed, Douglas P. Finkbeiner, Tracy R. Slatyer, & Neal Weiner. (2008) A Theory of Dark Matter. Phys.Rev.D79:015014,2009. arXiv: 0810.0713v3

  • May 4, 2010
  • 11:00 PM

Who are the world’s biggest environmental reprobates?

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

Everyone is a at least a little competitive, and when it comes to international relations, there could be no higher incentive for trying to do better than your neighbours than a bit of nationalism (just think of the Olympics). We rank the world’s countries for pretty much everything, relative wealth, health, governance quality and even [...]... Read more »

  • May 4, 2010
  • 08:54 PM

Comparative Functional Genomics: Penguin vs. Bacterium

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

No, not the flesh-blood-and-feathers penguin, but rather Tux, the beloved mascot of the Linux operating system. Compared with Escherichia coli, the model organism of choice for microbiologists.

We refer to DNA as “the book of life”; some geeks refer to it as the “operating system of life”. Just like in a computer’s operating system, DNA contains [...]... Read more »

  • May 4, 2010
  • 08:36 PM

Psychosis Among Substance Users

by Neuropsych15 in The MacGuffin

Psychosis among drug users is quite common. Often, it is difficult to determine which came first, substance use or psychosis. Frequently, they co-occur. In cases where drugs are causally related (i.e., substance-induced psychosis), the condition is typically transient with a duration of 1 month or less. In rare cases, the length of psychosis can last longer. And in even rarer cases, symptoms such as hallucinations can be permanent.Psychosis can be associated with the use ........ Read more »

Thirthalli, J . (2006) Psychosis Among Substance Users. Current Opinion in Psychiatry. info:/

  • May 4, 2010
  • 06:02 PM

Declining Standards in Higher Education

by Michael Bishop in Permutations

In a paper entitled, “Leisure College, USA“ Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks have documented dramatic declines in study effort since 1961, from 24 down to 14 hours per week. This decline occurred at all different sorts of colleges and is not a result of students working for pay.

At the same time, colleges are handing out better grades. In other work, Babcock presents strongly suggestive evidence that the two phenomena are related. That is, lower grading standards lead to less st........ Read more »

Phillip Babcock . (2010) The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data. NBER Working Paper. info:other/15954_id

  • May 4, 2010
  • 06:00 PM

Turbidity: A Safe Haven For Prey?

by Daniel Bassett in Chew the Fat

Turbidity is well known for its negative impact on fish feeding ability. As turbidity increases the visual range of the predator decreases, which leads to a reduction in the area searched, and therefore a lowered encounter rate. But what is one fish's garbage maybe another's treasure. The authors of this paper investigated whether turbidity can also provide a cover, or safe haven, for prey fish making them harder to detect.... Read more »

Chiu, S., & Abrahams, M. (2010) Effects of turbidity and risk of predation on habitat selection decisions by Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas). Environmental Biology of Fishes, 309-316. info:/10.1007/s10641-010-9599-8

  • May 4, 2010
  • 05:55 PM

Forgive Yourself Today, Procrastinate Less...Tomorrow

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

Research shows that students who forgive themselves for procrastinating, manage to reduce subsequent procrastination on the same task.... Read more »

Michael J.A. Wohl, Timothy A. Pychyl, & Shannon H. Bennett. (2010) I forgive myself, now I can study: How self-forgiveness for procrastinating can reduce future procrastination. Personality and Individual Differences. info:/doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.01.029

  • May 4, 2010
  • 04:17 PM

Aterian artifacts at 175,000 BP at Ifri n’Ammar, Morocco

by Julien Riel-Salvatore in A Very Remote Period Indeed

The Moroccan Ministry of Culture has a press release (in French) about the cave site of Ifri n’Ammar, about 50km south (i.e., away from the coast) of Nador, indicating that the Moroccan-German team that has been working there for the past seven years has identified Aterian levels dating to about 175,000 BP. If these dates are correct, they push back the age for the earliest Aterian assemblages by some 65,000 year, since to date, the oldest Aterian levels had been identified at the Moroccan sit........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2010
  • 03:39 PM

Dead bodies can’t feel pain, or why biomechanics and ergonomics haven’t reduced back pain

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

I know, it should make sense: reduce the biomechanical load on the body bits and pain/injury should reduce, right?  I mean, the maths adds up, cadaver experiments ‘prove it’, it has ‘face validity’, there is a whole industry based on the idea of  ‘safe lifting’ and injury prevention – physical ergonomics works, doesn’t it? Well, … Read more... Read more »

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