Post List

  • July 16, 2010
  • 07:27 AM

World record non-stop flight for the Bar-Tailed Godwit

by Jolle Jolles in - Exploring our weird and wonderful natural world

Alaskan Bar-Tailed Godwits just look like any other ordinary shorebird. Recent research however has discovered that these waders are the new world record holders for non-stop flight. Every autumn, these extreme migrators fly an astonishing 11.000km from Alaska to New Zealand without any stopovers to rest or refuel. This roughly doubles the previous maximum known non-stop distance for migratory birds.
Read more about our weird and fascinating natural world
... Read more »

Gill, R., Tibbitts, T., Douglas, D., Handel, C., Mulcahy, D., Gottschalck, J., Warnock, N., McCaffery, B., Battley, P., & Piersma, T. (2009) Extreme endurance flights by landbirds crossing the Pacific Ocean: ecological corridor rather than barrier?. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276(1656), 447-457. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1142  

  • July 16, 2010
  • 06:01 AM

Friday Feature: Inflammatory behavior

by Becky in It Takes 30

Today’s movies were generously sent to me by Markus Covert (Stanford University).  This is a sampling of a very comprehensive and impressive study of the behavior of NF-κB in single cells, just published in Nature (Tay et al.  2010.  Single-cell NF-kappaB dynamics reveal digital activation and analogue information processing. Nature 466 267-71. PMID: 20581820).  It’s [...]... Read more »

  • July 16, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Use of Light Rail Transit Can Reduce Obesity Risk

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

As an enthusiastic supporter and user of public transit, I have long suggested that promoting the availability and use of public transportation could go a long way in promoting physical activity and fitness, especially among those who have little time, interest or energy to invest in recreational physical activity.... Read more »

MacDonald JM, Stokes RJ, Cohen DA, Kofner A, & Ridgeway GK. (2010) The effect of light rail transit on body mass index and physical activity. American journal of preventive medicine, 39(2), 105-12. PMID: 20621257  

  • July 16, 2010
  • 04:23 AM

‘Gravity doesn’t exist’, says philosophically naive scientist/journalist

by Michael Slezak in Good, Bad, and Bogus

Reports of a physicist “taking on gravity” have recieved a bit of attention recently, with a New York Times article outlining Erik Verlinde’s idea that gravity is an emergent property of thermodynamics.
I think it’s great that the piece was written — even though apparently it hasn’t excited any physicists since the start of the year. Regardless [...]... Read more »

Erik P. Verlinde. (2010) On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton. arXiv: 1001.0785v1

Bertrand Russell. (1912) On the notion of cause. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. info:other/

  • July 16, 2010
  • 02:32 AM


by teofilo in Gambler's House

In comments to the previous post ben asked about the use of dogs as draft animals.  I replied that they were so used in conjunction with the travois, especially on the Plains, but that the dogs in the Southwest and in Mesoamerica were smaller than Plains dogs and not able to pull any substantial loads.  [...]... Read more »

Colton, H. (1970) The Aboriginal Southwestern Indian Dog. American Antiquity, 35(2), 153. DOI: 10.2307/278144  

  • July 16, 2010
  • 12:57 AM

…maketh the purchase

by Rift in Psycasm

To support the question posed previously I have found limited literature. Regan and Llamas (2002) took a female confederate and dressed her in ‘gym casual’ or ‘formal business’ and sent her into female clothing stores and measured the time it takes for her to be served.  Unsurprisingly, she was approached and served more quickly when [...]... Read more »

  • July 16, 2010
  • 12:53 AM

Friday Weird Science: If you’re happy and you know it, smell some pee!

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Sci actually considered blogging this paper as just a regular, run of the mill weekday paper…but it’s got urine sniffing.  And the idea of making up a song to a paper is one that Sci can never resist. So first, the paper.  And then, the song! Malkesman, et al. “The Female Urine Sniffing Test: A [...]... Read more »

Malkesman, O., Scattoni, M., Paredes, D., Tragon, T., Pearson, B., Shaltiel, G., Chen, G., Crawley, J., & Manji, H. (2010) The Female Urine Sniffing Test: A Novel Approach for Assessing Reward-Seeking Behavior in Rodents. Biological Psychiatry, 67(9), 864-871. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.10.018  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 09:49 PM

New advancements in spider confusion

by Michael Bok in Arthropoda

The rather amusing cover of this month’s JEB caught my eye; I am always excited to find out about the outlandish and creative methods that scientists dream up in order to test their ideas. Yep, that’s a jumping spider holding a styrofoam ball, tethered to the ceiling. So what the heck could possibly be going [...]... Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 09:26 PM

Why Scientific Perceptions Persist Even with Facts & Teaching

by Jack Hassard in The Art of Teaching Science

There was a very interesting study completed at the University of Michigan entitled When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions by researchers Brendan Nyhan, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, and Jason Reifler, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University.  This study, although in the realm of political behavior, has strong implications for science [...]

Related posts:Snow in Atlanta, South Dakota Wants Balanced Treatment for the Teaching of........ Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 07:40 PM

Are NBA Fans Racist?

by Michael Long in Phased

Philip Broyles and Bradley Keen (Shippensburg University, United States) have found that race has no effect on player card value, suggesting a lack of overpowering racism among NBA consumers. This news feature was written on July 15, 2010.... Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 06:50 PM

The Risky Business of Hunger

by Darcy Cowan in Skepticon

We like to think of ourselves as rational actors when it comes to making decisions, we take in information, process it and choose the path that we think will lead to a desirable outcome (if we aren’t deep-seated masochists I suppose). Regular readers of this blog and others that espouse a sceptical viewpoint will know [...]... Read more »

Symmonds M, Emmanuel JJ, Drew ME, Batterham RL, & Dolan RJ. (2010) Metabolic state alters economic decision making under risk in humans. PloS one, 5(6). PMID: 20585383  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 05:35 PM

Gut flora and the human rainforest

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Scientists have known for decades that the human intestinal tract is home to an abundance of diverse bacteria. This microbial rainforest is introduced incrementally to infants as they grow—primarily from their mothers during birth and breastfeeding and from everyday encounters. Many of these microbes aid in digestion and fight off pathogens, but until recently, researchers were not certain if phages, viruses that infect bacteria, were also present in the human gut.

... Read more »

Reyes, A., Haynes, M., Hanson, N., Angly, F., Heath, A., Rohwer, F., & Gordon, J. (2010) Viruses in the faecal microbiota of monozygotic twins and their mothers. Nature, 466(7304), 334-338. DOI: 10.1038/nature09199  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 04:34 PM

Why No Wheels?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

I’m back at Chaco and giving tours again, so I’m once again being exposed to visitors’ common questions and preconceptions in a way I haven’t been in a long time.  One thing that seems to surprise a lot of visitors is the fact that the Chacoans apparently had no knowledge of the wheel, or if [...]... Read more »

Ekholm, G. (1946) Wheeled Toys in Mexico. American Antiquity, 11(4), 222. DOI: 10.2307/275722  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 03:46 PM

Rigged To Invade

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Oil spills aren’t the only threat from giant floating oil rigs. After a towed rig stranded on the remote Brazilian island of Tristan da Cunha in 2006, biologists were stunned to discover that it also carried a whole marine ecosystem of dozens of potentially invasive species. Researchers say the incident highlights the need for the […] Read More »... Read more »

Wanless, R., Scott, S., Sauer, W., Andrew, T., Glass, J., Godfrey, B., Griffiths, C., & Yeld, E. (2009) Semi-submersible rigs: a vector transporting entire marine communities around the world. Biological Invasions, 12(8), 2573-2583. DOI: 10.1007/s10530-009-9666-2  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 03:10 PM

Fossil primate Saadanius provides context for the ancient ape/Old World monkey split

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Imagine that there was no primate fossil record. No hominins, no Proconsul, Dryopithecus, no Eosimias, no Darwinius -- nothing. Now, given this dearth of fossil material, you could be excused for systematically organizing primates according to the stark divisions apparent between living species. Our species, while clearly a primate, would seem to stand by itself, [...]... Read more »

Zalmout, I., Sanders, W., MacLatchy, L., Gunnell, G., Al-Mufarreh, Y., Ali, M., Nasser, A., Al-Masari, A., Al-Sobhi, S., Nadhra, A.... (2010) New Oligocene primate from Saudi Arabia and the divergence of apes and Old World monkeys. Nature, 466(7304), 360-364. DOI: 10.1038/nature09094  

  • July 15, 2010
  • 02:53 PM

Odor-prints: individual but genetic connections unclear

by Aurametrix team in Olfactics and Diagnostics

Odor is like fingerprints or facial features - it's unique.  Yet no single measurement could be easily applied to recognize an individual. GC/MS measurements can be used to analyze mixtures of acids, alcohols, aldehydes, hydrocarbons, esters, ketones, and nitrogenous molecules in human odor. Complex algorithms mining patterns help to pinpoint the signatures. But could these signatures be easily derived from genetic makeups?Recent article published in the Journal of Chemical Ecology looked at ........ Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 02:14 PM

Creation science validates evolution, too

by Bjørn Østman in Pleiotropy

A method used by creation scientists validates evolution... Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 02:05 PM

Determining the Fate of Carbon in a Mixotrophic Anemone

by Kevin Zelnio in Deep Sea News

It has been known for a long time that some anemones form symbiotic relationships with Zooxanthellae. For a while it was assumed that the anemones mainly persisted by utilizing carbon translocated from its symbionts, called autotrophy, but they can may supplement this by heterotrophic feeding on plankton. A study by . . . → Read More: Determining the Fate of Carbon in a Mixotrophic Anemone... Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 01:25 PM

Fine-Scale Drug Distribution in Lung Tissue Slices via Imaging Mass Spectrometry

by Michael Long in Phased

Per Andren (Uppsula University, Sweden) and coworkers have combined a fine-scale drug quantitation technique with standard histological imaging to yield a powerful approach for evaluating drug distribution within tissue slices. This news feature was written on July 15, 2010.... Read more »

  • July 15, 2010
  • 12:13 PM

Thousand light year long bubble surrounds black hole in nearby galaxy

by Kelly Oakes in Basic Space

The Eddington luminosity is the exact brightness a black hole has when the outwards and inwards forces on it balance. It may seem strange to talk about the brightness of a black hole, as usually we think of them as not letting anything – including light – escape their gravitational pull, but in reality this [...]... Read more »

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