I was looking over my blog archives when I came across a lecture by Richard Dawkins in which he urges all atheists to openly state their position -- and to fight the incursion of the church into politics and science. About 17:50 into the video, Dawkins comes to a depressing conclusion. In his words:
"We have reached a truly remarkable situation, then: a grotesque mismatch between the American intelligentsia and the American electorate. A philosophical opinion about the nature of the univ........ Read more »
LYNN, R., HARVEY, J., & NYBORG, H. (2009) Average intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations. Intelligence, 37(1), 11-15. DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2008.03.004
For most my of readers, it is common knowledge that bacteria are more than just singled celled entities; and instead bacteria are complex organisms capable of undergoing large-scale, multicellular activities. Of particular interest to many current microbiologists, is the development of biofilms.These multicellular structures are likely how many bacteria exist in the environment, and are implemented in a variety of diseases. Taken alone, biofilms are fascinating, but I have a keen interest in und........ Read more »
Blair, K., Turner, L., Winkelman, J., Berg, H., & Kearns, D. (2008) A Molecular Clutch Disables Flagella in the Bacillus subtilis Biofilm. Science, 320(5883), 1636-1638. DOI: 10.1126/science.1157877
By now, many people have read about Angela Belcher, a professor at MIT, and her lab's recent developments in the use of bacteriophages as a componant of batteries. Having had a very distinct privilage to hear her speak yesterday, I wish to share what I have learned.
In a broad sense, the goal of her lab is to give inorganic compounds (batteries, medical devices, solar cells, etc), "genetic intelligence."... Read more »
Lee, Y., Yi, H., Kim, W., Kang, K., Yun, D., Strano, M., Ceder, G., & Belcher, A. (2009) Fabricating Genetically Engineered High-Power Lithium Ion Batteries Using Multiple Virus Genes. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1171541
I am, (it seems) almost constantly reading, evaluating, and passing judgment on, material written by others: not just when I'm synthesizing material for my own papers or blog essays, but as a peer reviewing manuscripts and grants written by colleagues, or as a teacher grading student papers. Comes with the territory of being a professor, or course. As it happens, its that time of year again when... Read more »
Dove, A. (2009) Regulators confront blind spots in research oversight. Nature Medicine, 15(5), 469-469. DOI: 10.1038/nm0509-469a
Errami, M., Sun, Z., Long, T., George, A., & Garner, H. (2009) Deja vu: a database of highly similar citations in the scientific literature. Nucleic Acids Research, 37(Database). DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkn546
Long, T., Errami, M., George, A., Sun, Z., & Garner, H. (2009) SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY: Responding to Possible Plagiarism. Science, 323(5919), 1293-1294. DOI: 10.1126/science.1167408
We’re all concerned about our children and their health. It’s in our nature. Long childhoods and parental care are key strategies to ensuring the survival of not just humans, but all mammals in general and it’s one of a number of reasons why we’ve been able to take over the Earth after the dinosaurs vanished. [...]... Read more »
Hviid A, et al. (2003) Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism. JAMA, 290(13), 1763-1766. DOI: 14519711
Shattuck, P. (2006) The Contribution of Diagnostic Substitution to the Growing Administrative Prevalence of Autism in US Special Education. PEDIATRICS, 117(4), 1028-1037. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2005-1516
DNA Origami goes 3DImagine sitting down at your computer, typing out a message, and then having that message translated into a tiny self-assembling machine. In essence, this is what a group of Danish German and American researchers have done. Using short bits of DNA to link up distant regions throughout a very long single strand of DNA these folks were able to build six square walls and have them assemble, on their own, to form a sealed box. What's more, they were able to affix several molecul........ Read more »
Andersen, E., Dong, M., Nielsen, M., Jahn, K., Subramani, R., Mamdouh, W., Golas, M., Sander, B., Stark, H., Oliveira, C.... (2009) Self-assembly of a nanoscale DNA box with a controllable lid. Nature, 459(7243), 73-76. DOI: 10.1038/nature07971
Itaru Hamachi (Kyoto University, Japan) and coworkers
have imaged neurofibrillary tangles, in preference to senile plaques,
in brain tissue samples, with a cheap synthetic fluorescent molecule.
This news feature was written on May 8, 2009.... Read more »
Ojida, A., Sakamoto, T., Inoue, M.-a., Fujishima, S.-h., Lippens, G., & Hamachi, I. (2009) Fluorescent BODIPY-Based Zn(II) Complex as a Molecular Probe for Selective Detection of Neurofibrillary Tangles in the Brains of Alzheimer’s Disease Patients. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 131(18), 6543-6548. DOI: 10.1021/ja9008369
As a follow up to my earlier post about alternative medicine and influenza, I did a little more probing among immunologist contacts of contacts.
There are several facts to consider if you’re thinking of taking echinacea to help protect you from swine flu, or indeed any form of influenza or colds.
Generally, taking these complementary therapies is [...]... Read more »
Shah, S., Sander, S., White, C., Rinaldi, M., & Coleman, C. (2007) Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 7(7), 473-480. DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(07)70160-3
A group of scientists from Taiwan, lead by Chi-Hung Lin,
have rapidly identified and screened living bacteria for
antibiotic resistance, using surface enhanced Raman scattering.
This news feature was written on May 8, 2009.... Read more »
Liu, T.-T., Lin, Y.-H., Hung, C.-S, Liu, T.-J., Chen, Y., Huang, Y.-C., Tsai, T.-H., Wang, H.-H., Wang, D.-W., Wang, J.-K.... (2009) A High Speed Detection Platform Based on Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering for Monitoring Antibiotic-Induced Chemical Changes in Bacteria Cell Wall. PLoS ONE, 4(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005470
Despite the deaths, the swine flu has not been without its humorous side. For example, in Afghanistan, Kabul Zoo quarantined that nation's only pig. The pig was a gift from China, which has taken the slightly less humorous action of quarantining a number of visitors from the Americas. Where does public health wisdom lie?Writing in Virology Journal, William R. Gallagher of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center has reviewed the situation up to the current time and makes recommen........ Read more »
Gallaher, W. (2009) Towards a sane and rational approach to management of Influenza H1N1 2009. Virology Journal, 6(1), 51. DOI: 10.1186/1743-422X-6-51
Some weeks ago, I discussed a large phylogenetic study that separated sticklebacks from the seahorses and pipefishes - today we're going to discuss a phylogenetics paper that zooms in on the relationships between different sticklebacks(and their very closest relatives).Many of the same scientists from the earlier stickleback phylogeny were involved in this paper, though there is one new face, Yale's Tom Near, a longtime Wainwright Lab collaborator and former CPB Postdoc.The group sequenced the m........ Read more »
KAWAHARA, R., MIYA, M., MABUCHI, K., NEAR, T., & NISHIDA, M. (2009) Stickleback phylogenies resolved: Evidence from mitochondrial genomes and 11 nuclear genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 50(2), 401-404. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2008.10.014
According to a paper in the journal Motivation and Emotion, whether you smile or not in photos taken while you were young acts as a good predictor of possible divorce later in life. Sounds suspect to me.... Read more »
Hertenstein, M., Hansel, C., Butts, A., & Hile, S. (2009) Smile intensity in photographs predicts divorce later in life. Motivation and Emotion. DOI: 10.1007/s11031-009-9124-6
The success of termites and other social insects hinges on their complex social systems, where workers sacrifice the ability to raise their own young in order to serve the colony and its queen - the only individual who reproduces. But this social order can be thrown into chaos by knocking out a single gene, and one that originally had a role in that other characteristic termite ability - eating wood.
Judith Korb from the University of Osnabrueck in Germany found that the queen termite relies ........ Read more »
Korb, J., Weil, T., Hoffmann, K., Foster, K., & Rehli, M. (2009) A Gene Necessary for Reproductive Suppression in Termites. Science, 324(5928), 758-758. DOI: 10.1126/science.1170660
People are bad news for fish - yeah, we've known that for awhile. Just look at the decrease in size of catch off the Florida Keys from 1957 to the 1980s and 2007 (on right) and that conclusion is obvious. But, surprisingly, little research has been able to show how human populations affect a group of fish. Most studies focus on one type of fish or are contained to a small area because their...
[...]... Read more »
Stallings, C. (2009) Fishery-Independent Data Reveal Negative Effect of Human Population Density on Caribbean Predatory Fish Communities. PLoS ONE, 4(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005333
Basking sharks can measure 35 feet or longer, are known to live in temperate waters around the world, but their wintering grounds were unknown until very recently. Discovery News reports that satellite tags placed by Greg Skomal of Massachusetts Marine Fisheries are bringing new revelations about these mysterious animals. Five basking sharks swam more than [...]... Read more »
Gregory B. Skomal, Stephen I. Zeeman, John H. Chisholm, Erin L. Summers, Harvey J. Walsh, Kelton W. McMahon, & Simon R. Thorrold. (2009) Transequatorial Migrations by Basking Sharks in the Western Atlantic Ocean. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.04.019
... Read more »
Lobb, A. (2009) Hepatoxicity associated with weight-loss supplements: A case for better post-marketing surveillance. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 15(14), 1786. DOI: 10.3748/wjg.15.1786
by Nestor Lopez-Duran PhD in Child-Psych
When someone tells me “my child has an easy temperament” they are usually referring to the child’s emotional reactivity. An “easy temperament” child doesn’t react strongly to negative emotional situations. This ‘easy’ response actually reflects two processes: reactivity and regulation. Reactivity is not always good or bad. Some people have high levels of positive emotionality [...]... Read more »
Verstraeten, K., Vasey, M., Raes, F., & Bijttebier, P. (2008) Temperament and Risk for Depressive Symptoms in Adolescence: Mediation by Rumination and Moderation by Effortful Control. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37(3), 349-361. DOI: 10.1007/s10802-008-9293-x
Charitable schemes to send unwanted electronic equipment, including mobile phones and computers to the developing world could be creating more environmental problems than they solve if the equipment becomes entirely obsolete in a short time. Researchers in India have carried out an evaluation of the trade-offs between cost and environmental risks to prove the point.
There [...]Post from: Sciencebase Science Blog... Read more »
Ahluwalia, P., & Nema, A. (2009) Evaluation of trade-offs between cost, perceived and environmental risk associated with the management of computer waste. International Journal of Environment and Waste Management, 3(1/2), 135. DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2009.024705
Last month it was widely reported that a study had found Facebook users have lower grades. At the time I had my doubts about some of the conclusions newspapers were drawing. Now a new study criticises the original, and finds no link between Facebook and grades.
The authors were unhappy that although the previous study, which [...]... Read more »
Josh Pasek, Eian More, & Eszter Hargittai. (2009) Facebook and academic performance: Reconciling a media sensation with data . First Monday, 14(5). DOI: http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2498/2181
I was recently alerted to a group of theoretical publications which deal with the issue of apparent 'noise' in neuronal populations. The Nature Reviews Neuroscience article "Neural correlations, population coding and computation" by Bruno B. Averbeck, Peter E. Latham & Alexandre Pouget covers this area quite well.Basically, the authors claim that the variability one can see when recording from the brain when the same stimulus is presented repeatedly is noise and must be detrimental for the tra........ Read more »
Averbeck, B., Latham, P., & Pouget, A. (2006) Neural correlations, population coding and computation. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 7(5), 358-366. DOI: 10.1038/nrn1888
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