Post List

  • January 21, 2010
  • 06:17 PM

Searching for Rugged Enzymes Adapted to Switchgrass Processing

by Michael Long in Phased

Philip Hugenholtz (Joint Bioenergy Institute and Joint Genome Institute, California) and coworkers have discovered a rugged enzyme that will be useful towards an industrial-scale breakdown of switchgrass into synthetically-useful molecules, rendering switchgrass into a practical, renewable carbon source. This news feature was written on January 21, 2010.... Read more »

Allgaier, M., Reddy, A., Park, J. I., Ivanova, N., D'haeseleer, P., Lowry, S., Sapra, R., Hazen, T. C., Simmons, B. A., VanderGheynst, J. S.... (2010) Targeted Discovery of Glycoside Hydrolases from a Switchgrass-Adapted Compost Community. PLoS ONE, 5(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008812  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 06:11 PM

Disentangling syntax and intelligibility -- Or how to disprove two theories with one experiment

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

I both love and hate a recent paper by Angela Friederici, Sonja Kotz, Sophie Scott, & Jonas Obleser titled Disentangling syntax and intelligibility in auditory language comprehension. The paper is in the "Early View" section of Human Brain Mapping. Here's why I love it. There are a number of claims in the literature on the neuroscience of language that I disagree with. One is Sophie Scott's claim that speech recognition is a left hemisphere function that primarily involves anterior temporal re........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 05:59 PM

Long-term deployment affects mental health of army wives

by geekheartsscience in geek!

Prolonged deployment in Iraq is associated with more mental health diagnoses in U.S. Army wives, a new study published free in the New England Journal of Medicine has found.
Current military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have involved frequent and long-term deployment of the military in these areas. Previous studies have shown considerable mental health problems [...]... Read more »

Mansfield, A., Kaufman, J., Marshall, S., Gaynes, B., Morrissey, J., & Engel, C. (2010) Deployment and the Use of Mental Health Services among U.S. Army Wives. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(2), 101-109. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0900177  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 02:40 PM

Fasting and Workouts: does it work out?

by mc in begin to dig (b2d)

There is growing interest in intermittent fasting and athletic performance - or how can i train if i'm not eating? In the past year there have been a couple of cool studies looking at athletic performance and the effects of the Ramdam fast on same. The Ramadan fast is, to the best of my knowledge, a total break in eating for part of a day: from sun up to sun down, no food. Since this is the time of day most athletes train, one might think going without food would make training impossible, o........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 01:00 PM


by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

The first signs of life on earth appeared about 4.5 Ga (1 Ga is an American billion, ie. 109 years) ago. It's not yet completely certain exactly how this life arose; hot volcanic mineral springs have been suggested, as have the more traditional lightning-struck primordial soups and (rather wonderfully) radioactive beaches. At any rate something happened (and there was certainly plenty of time for it to happen in) which lead to a little membrane-bound ball with internal nucleic acids which, cruci........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 12:54 PM


by Richard Grant in Faculty of 1000

The distribution and uptake of antivirals and vaccination was in the news quite a bit before Christmas. H1N1 swine flu didn’t turn out to be the Armageddon some commentators were forecasting, but I don’t think it’s overstating the case to say that we dodged a bullet there. In cases like this we might expect the [...]... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 11:50 AM

Single cells in the monkey brain encode abstract mathematical concepts

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

OUR ability to use and manipulate numbers is integral to everyday life - we use them to label, rank, count and measure almost everything we encounter. It was long thought that numerical competence is dependent on language and, therefore, that numerosity is restricted to our species. Although the symbolic representation of numbers, using numerals and words, is indeed unique to humans, we now know that animals are also capable of manipulating numerical information.

One study published in 1998, f........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 10:58 AM

Neury Thursday: GABA and dopaminergic regulation of olfaction

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Regulation of olfaction by GABA and dopaminergic neuromodulatory systems and related molecular machinery... Read more »

Kiyokage, E., Pan, Y., Shao, Z., Kobayashi, K., Szabo, G., Yanagawa, Y., Obata, K., Okano, H., Toida, K., Puche, A.... (2010) Molecular Identity of Periglomerular and Short Axon Cells. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(3), 1185-1196. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3497-09.2010  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 10:34 AM

Mites and poor diet contribute to honeybee decline in Europe

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Two timely reports have surfaced this week regarding the decline of honeybee populations in Europe, and France has taken action in an attempt to curb the falling numbers. 

A recent study linked
honeybee health and plant biodiversity

In a study published in the Journal of Apicultural Research, scientists have found that managed honeybee populations across Europe have dropped [...]

... Read more »

Potts, S., Settele, J., Neumann,, P., Jones, R., Mike A Brown, M., Marris, G., Dean, R., & Roberts, S. (2010) Declines of managed honey bees and beekeepers in Europe. Journal of Apicultural Research, 49(1), 15. DOI: 10.3896/IBRA.  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 10:02 AM

When a Parent Goes to War

by Child Psych in Child Psych

The nature of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with an all-volunteer military, has led to multiple and extended deployments for active-duty, reserve, and National Guard troops. One of the invisible effects of war is the impact of prolonged deployments on the well-being of children in military families. Until now, there has not been a comprehensive study of sufficient size to fully examine the effects of parental deployment on older children.

The first results from a large, longitudi........ Read more »

Chandra, A., Lara-Cinisomo, S., Jaycox, L., Tanielian, T., Burns, R., Ruder, T., & Han, B. (2009) Children on the Homefront: The Experience of Children From Military Families. PEDIATRICS, 125(1), 16-25. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-1180  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 09:11 AM

Linguistic discrimination at work

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Deborah Cameron noted in 1995 that “linguistic bigotry is among the last publicly expressible prejudices left to members of the Western intelligentsia.” In the same vein, one could point out that linguistic discrimination is among the last legal forms of discrimination left to Western employers. A German court recently ruled that an employer’s repeated criticisms [...]... Read more »

Boutet, Josiane. (2008) La vie verbale au travail: Des manufactures aux centres d’appels [Language at work: from manufacturing to call centers]. Paris: Octares. info:/

  • January 21, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Study links exotic plant invasions with residential development

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 06:15 AM

Classic clouds #1 – Kelvin-Helmholtz billows

by Andy Russell in Our Clouded Hills

This post is the first in a series about my favourite clouds. First up, Kelvin-Helmholtz Billows.... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 05:41 AM

ME TARZAN! Simple morphology: the result of a large, complex, multicultural language community?

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

For a brief change of topic, let's take a look at language evolution! I wrote up the following novel review paper blog post for a non-biological evolution seminar course I'm involved with. We're essentially first examining various key topics in evolutionary biology (alas too briefly!), exploring how the by-now well-established field of evolutionary linguistics successfully applies evolutionary theory to languages (technically much of it before biology came along...linguists invented phylogeny!),........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 05:05 AM

Blogging a Book about Bio-Ontologies

by Duncan Hull in O'Really?

If you wanted to write a guide to Biomedical and Biological Ontologies [1], especially the what, why, when, how, where and who, there are at least three choices for publishing your work:

Journal publishing in your favourite scientific journal.
Book publishing with your favourite academic or technical publisher.
Self publishing on a web blog with your favourite blogging [...]... Read more »

Yu, A. (2006) Methods in biomedical ontology. Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 39(3), 252-266. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbi.2005.11.006  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 02:34 AM

Medical Dangers of Jazz

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

In this second post about jazz and health we focus on the literature regarding somatic illness instead of mental illness. In the previous post we already mentioned drug use as one of the major hazards for jazz musicians. Drug use by jazz musicians can have all sorts of reasons such as the enhancement of creativity, [...]

Related posts:Jazz and Psychiatry This post was inspired by two recent visits to...
The Chameleon Guitar Video: One instrument, with multiple sounds A new guitar...
Bill Ev........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 02:10 AM

Power on main-group elements

by Rik in NNNS chemistry blog

Philip Power offers a new insight into the chemistry of some of the heavier main group elements - that square in the periodic table cornered by aluminium and tellurium - in a recent review in Nature. In it he proposes that based on the type of bonding and reactivity compounds containing elements in this square can really behave as transition metals. ... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 01:43 AM

Maggot Therapy

by bug_girl in Bug Girl's Blog

Did you know that some insects are Regulated as Medical Devices? Yep. Maggot Therapy.
I’ve mentioned it a few times before at the Bug Blog, and in these days of MRSA bacteria, diabetic ulcers, and a whole host of other nasties, this ancient way of cleaning wounds is making a comeback.
Maggots are used in wound debridement–which [...]... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 01:01 AM

Can distractions really enhance motor performance?

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Texting while driving seems to score pretty high up there on the "I really shouldn't be doing this right now" list. A 2009 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that truck drivers who were texting on the road were 23 times more likely to find themselves involved in an accident. Incidentally, and much to my bewilderment, truck drivers who talked on cell phones were found to have absolutely no increased risk for crashing. I suppose it's much easier to say over the phone than to........ Read more »

Hemond, C., Brown, R., & Robertson, E. (2010) A Distraction Can Impair or Enhance Motor Performance. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(2), 650-654. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4592-09.2010  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 12:16 AM

Photosynthetic Evolution: how 2 organisms gained or lost the ability to eat sunshine

by Hannah Waters in Culturing Science – biology as relevant to us earthly beings

Biologists and taxonomists love to put organisms into categories to help us organize the complicated living world.  I grew up on the 5 kingdom system of classification: plants, animals, fungi, bacteria and protists. The first four categories seemed simple enough, but the term “protists” always confused me.  This kingdom seemed to be a dumping ground [...]... Read more »

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