Post List

  • November 19, 2010
  • 04:59 PM

Trust your gut, it controls more than you may know

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Most people are familiar with the role of DNA: A set of genetic instructions on how a particular living organism should function. This nucleic acid has been widely explored as a way to identify individuals, define illnesses or hereditary diseases and contribute to behavior, among many other clues about an individual. However, there may be another complex feature of human anatomy that influences many surprising aspects of human physiology, immunity and evolution: gut flora.

... Read more »

  • November 19, 2010
  • 03:13 PM

It’s not the size of the boat (or barnacle), but it’s the motion in the ocean (literally)

by John Carroll in Chronicles of Zostera

A clump on barnacles on one of my cinder blocks in Shinnecock Bay, NY

If you ever needed to know one thing about barnacles, its that they have large penises.  Sure, you might be thinking barnacles are so small.  But relative to total body size, they have the largest penises.  It is a . . . → Read More: It’s not the size of the boat (or barnacle), but it’s the motion in the ocean (literally)... Read more »

J. Matthew Hoch. (2010) Effects of crowding and wave exposure on penis morphology of the acorn barnacle, Semibalanus balanoides. Marine Biology, 2783-2789. info:/10.1007/s00227-010-1536-z

  • November 19, 2010
  • 02:12 PM

Fungi that eat lead

by microbialmodus in Microbial Modus

Bioavailability = solubility (for the most part)  To discuss heavy metals (lead, nickel, mercury, cadmium, silver, copper, and so on) and how they can be detrimental to the environment or toxic to people, plants, or animals, we have to first posses a vague understanding of bioavailability and bioaccessibility.  These terms describe whether or not the [...]... Read more »

  • November 19, 2010
  • 01:44 PM

Cosgrove et al, 2002: Wheel running suppresses cocaine taking

by MTAFFE in TLneuro

In 2008 at the Annual Meeting of CPDD, I heard Nora Volkow, Director of NIDA, describe a new interest of NIDA in the role that regular exercise plays in preventing or ameliorating drug use. Some of the rationale was epidemiological, you may think of this as “adolescents who are in sports are less likely to [...]... Read more »

  • November 19, 2010
  • 01:04 PM

Learning the Form of Causal Relationships Using Hierarchical Bayesian Models

by Sean Roberts in The Adventures of Auck

Lucas & Griffiths present a hierarchical Bayesian model of causal structure learning, and show that it predicts the performance of adults and children better than the Power PC model and the delta P model... Read more »

Lucas, C. G., & Griffiths, T. (2010) Learning the Form of Causal Relationships Using Hierarchical Bayesian Models. Cognitive Science, 34(1). info:/

  • November 19, 2010
  • 11:50 AM

Taylor Swift or T-Swizzle: Music genres and their Associations

by Psychology 379 bloggers in Cognition & the Arts

What are your first impressions after watching the video above? Are you confused? Excited? Want to see more? How can a few seconds of music affect how we see the world around us? We all feel emotional connections to music, but Mark Shevy wanted to investigate how those emotions can affect how we perceive everything but the music in the world around us.... Read more »

  • November 19, 2010
  • 10:52 AM

Reconciling robustness with evolvability

by Becky in It Takes 30

Marc Kirschner pointed me to this interesting recent paper about the evolvability of proteins (Philips et al. 2010.  Robustness and evolvability in the functional anatomy of a PER-ARNT-SIM (PAS) domain, PNAS PMID: 20889915).  What’s evolvability?  It’s a term used to indicate the qualities of a molecule or organism that allow it to evolve effectively; the [...]... Read more »

Philip AF, Kumauchi M, & Hoff WD. (2010) Robustness and evolvability in the functional anatomy of a PER-ARNT-SIM (PAS) domain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(42), 17986-91. PMID: 20889915  

  • November 19, 2010
  • 10:38 AM

Interference of Independent Photon Beams: The Pfleegor-Mandel Experiment

by Chad Orzel in Uncertain Principles

Earlier this week, I talked about the technical requirements for taking a picture of an interference pattern from two independent lasers, and mentioned in passing that a 1967 experiment by Pfleegor and Mandel had already shown the interference effect. Their experiment was clever enough to deserve the ResearchBlogging Q&A treatment, though, so here we go:

OK, so why is this really old experiment worth talking about? What did they do? They demonstrated interference between two completely inde........ Read more »

Pfleegor, R., & Mandel, L. (1967) Interference of Independent Photon Beams. Physical Review, 159(5), 1084-1088. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRev.159.1084  

  • November 19, 2010
  • 10:28 AM

A New View of Ankylosaur Feet

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Last Friday I wrote about a new study by paleontologist Phil Senter that revised the arrangement of bones in the front feet of Stegosaurus. Despite being only a distant relative of the sauropod dinosaurs, Stegosaurus had convergently evolved a semi-circular pattern of bones which would have given it semi-tubular forefeet similar to that of sauropods [...]... Read more »

  • November 19, 2010
  • 09:04 AM

How inactive are today’s kids?

by Peter Janiszewski, Ph.D. in Obesity Panacea

I was hoping to not begin this post with the following phrase, but its useless fighting the urge. I have reached an age at which I believe I am now entitled to do so.
Back in my day, when I was still in elementary school, I don’t think my parents or those of my friends ever had to worry about us being physically inactive.
Sure we had Nintendo, and Super Nintendo had just come out, but really how many hours could one spend with Duck Hunt?
At the same time, it feels like people were generall........ Read more »

  • November 19, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

How Do Typical Gamers Play Games? (VG Series Part 10/10)

by Richard Landers in NeoAcademic

Part 10 of my series examining research evidence for the value of video games. This time: understanding the psychology of typical gamers (i.e. no mental disorders this time!).... Read more »

  • November 19, 2010
  • 08:14 AM

Simple Jury Persusasion: Make them sad and they can’t be mad

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

An accepted truism is that a sad jury awards lower damages from a disempowered sense of hopelessness, and an angry jury awards higher to ‘send a message’. It is never good for the plaintiff when a case concludes with sad and hopeless jurors heading off to deliberate. You end up with “It’s horrible but it’s [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Winning Minds and Touching Hearts
Simple Jury Persuasion: Make an emotional connection with your jury
Simple Jury Persuasion: When ........ Read more »

  • November 19, 2010
  • 06:04 AM

Mutual Exclusivity in the Naming Game

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

The Naming Game looks at how communication systems evolve in populations of agents. In this post I’ll show that the algorithms used have implicit mutual exclusivity biases, which favour monolingual viewpoints. I’ll also show that this bias is not necessary and obscures some interesting insights into evolutionary dynamics of langauge.... Read more »

Andrea Baronchelli. (2010) Do you agree? Role of feedback and broadcasting in the Naming Game. ArXiv e-prints. arXiv: 1009.4798v1

Vittorio Loreto, Andrea Baronchelli, & Andrea Puglisi. (2009) Mathematical Modeling of Language Games . Evolution of Communication and Language in Embodied Agents. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-01250-1_15  

  • November 19, 2010
  • 05:02 AM

Employability: concepts and components

by David Winter in Careers - in Theory

I am preparing material for an employability module, and I’ve been getting myself into it by exploring different definitions and concepts of employability. What is employability? Coming at that question from a careers adviser’s perspective, I tend, by default, to think about employability in terms of the awareness and attributes of the individual job seeker. [...]... Read more »

  • November 19, 2010
  • 03:54 AM

Moving the eyes but not looking - why do we do it?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

You've probably noticed how people move their eyes about when in the midst of conversation, often in ways that have absolutely nothing to do with looking at the scene around them. In fact these 'non-visual gaze patterns' also occur when we're on our own, in the complete dark, and even when our eyes are closed. The implication is these eye movements are a result of mental processes that having nothing to do with vision.

To investigate, Dragana Micic and colleagues recorded the eye movements of ........ Read more »

  • November 19, 2010
  • 01:52 AM

Molecular recess

by Anna Goldstein in Berkeley Science Review Blog

It would be an understatement to say that molecular machines have been under a tremendous amount of pressure lately. Proponents of nanotechnology have left them variously responsible for curing the world’s diseases, providing mankind with limitless food, water, energy and information, and even self-assembling so we don’t have to make them ourselves. And that’s only a partial list. Under the weight of such towering expectations, can we really blame them if they give up and turn the planet i........ Read more »

Pei R, Matamoros E, Liu M, Stefanovic D, & Stojanovic MN. (2010) Training a molecular automaton to play a game. Nature nanotechnology, 5(11), 773-7. PMID: 20972436  

Lund K, Manzo AJ, Dabby N, Michelotti N, Johnson-Buck A, Nangreave J, Taylor S, Pei R, Stojanovic MN, Walter NG.... (2010) Molecular robots guided by prescriptive landscapes. Nature, 465(7295), 206-10. PMID: 20463735  

  • November 19, 2010
  • 01:09 AM

Big Pterosaurs Really Did Fly: Interview with Mark Witton

by Andrew Farke in The Open Source Paleontologist

Pterosaurs - winged denizens of the Mesozoic skies - get a bum rap. It's bad enough that their name is smeared by the general public, when animals like Pterodactylus are confused with dinosaurs in the news media and in just about every cheap set of plastic dinosaurs. Lately, some scientists have suggested that the largest of these animals just couldn't fly. Is it true that Quetzalcoatlus (pictured here; image from Wikimedia Commons), with its 10 meter wingspan, had wings that were too narrow, a ........ Read more »

  • November 18, 2010
  • 11:40 PM

Autism-Related Gene Spotlight: CNTNAP2

by Lindsay in Autist's Corner

Describes a gene encoding a protein in the neurexin family, Caspr2, that's involved in myelination and distribution of ion channels along axons. Disruptions of this gene have been associated with autism, epilepsy, Tourette syndrome, intellectual disability, schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders.... Read more »

Arking, D., Cutler, D., Brune, C., Teslovich, T., West, K., Ikeda, M., Rea, A., Guy, M., Lin, S., & Cook Jr., E. (2008) A Common Genetic Variant in the Neurexin Superfamily Member CNTNAP2 Increases Familial Risk of Autism. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 82(1), 160-164. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2007.09.015  

Bakkaloglu, B., O'Roak, B., Louvi, A., Gupta, A., Abelson, J., Morgan, T., Chawarska, K., Klin, A., Ercan-Sencicek, A., & Stillman, A. (2008) Molecular Cytogenetic Analysis and Resequencing of Contactin Associated Protein-Like 2 in Autism Spectrum Disorders. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 82(1), 165-173. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2007.09.017  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 08:50 PM

Dietary nitrate reduces oxygen cost of running and walking

by Colby in

Andrew Jones and his group at the University of Exeter are certainly busy lately.  I’ve reported on two of their papers on nitrate and exercise performance here and here.  They just published another in the Journal of Applied Physiology. In … Continue reading →... Read more »

Lansley, K., Winyard, P., Fulford, J., Vanhatalo, A., Bailey, S., Blackwell, J., DiMenna, F., Gilchrist, M., Benjamin, N., & Jones, A. (2010) Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of walking and running: a placebo-controlled study. Journal of Applied Physiology. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01070.2010  

  • November 18, 2010
  • 03:56 PM

Study: More Privilege Means Less Empathy

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

If you're a member of America's anxious middle class, you can feel downtrodden one minute and privileged the next, just watching the news. Here's some super-rich guy planning his run for President, way above you on the social ladder. Next, a story about destitute refugees, which reminds you that you ...Read More
... Read more »

Kraus, M., Cote, S., & Keltner, D. (2010) Social Class, Contextualism, and Empathic Accuracy. Psychological Science, 21(11), 1716-1723. DOI: 10.1177/0956797610387613  

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