Post List

  • December 7, 2010
  • 07:58 PM

Diversity & Disease

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

The spread of potent diseases like West Nile virus and Lyme disease is getting a boost from the loss of biodiversity, concludes a new study. But there is still a lot to be learned about the complex interplay between diversity, disease and habitat change, the researchers say.
In theory, biodiversity could play two roles in […] Read More »... Read more »

Keesing, F., Belden, L., Daszak, P., Dobson, A., Harvell, C., Holt, R., Hudson, P., Jolles, A., Jones, K., Mitchell, C.... (2010) Impacts of biodiversity on the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases. Nature, 468(7324), 647-652. DOI: 10.1038/nature09575  

  • December 7, 2010
  • 07:35 PM

Is an unusual new galactic gamma-ray source a possible “dark accelerator”?

by mithy in The Enlightenment Junkie

In my last post on gamma-ray binaries, I mentioned that only a few of these exotic X-ray binaries (XRB) have been observed, and that they appear to fall into two distinct categories: microquasars, where the gamma-ray emission is caused by leptonic or hadroni particle interactions in the relativistic jet (Inverse Compton Scattering and Neutral Pion Decay respectively) and pulsar wind binaries. where the gamma-rays are [...]... Read more »

H.E.S.S. Collaboration,, Acero, F., Aharonian, F., Akhperjanian, A., Anton, G., Barres de Almeida, U., Bazer-Bachi, A., Becherini, Y., Behera, B., Bernlöhr, K.... (2010) Discovery and follow-up studies of the extended, off-plane, VHE gamma-ray source HESS J1507-622. Astronomy and Astrophysics. DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201015187  

  • December 7, 2010
  • 07:20 PM

Can Mormons Be Identified by Facial Features?

by Michael Long in Phased

Non-Mormons cannot distinguish Mormons from non-Mormons much better than through random guessing.... Read more »

Rule, N. O., Garrett, J. V., & Ambady, N. (2010) On the Perception of Religious Group Membership from Faces. PLoS ONE, 5(12). info:/10.1371/ journal.pone.0014241

  • December 7, 2010
  • 06:16 PM

Why do we teach science?: The Cultural Argument

by Jack Hassard in The Art of Teaching Science

In four of the last five posts, I’ve explored the question, Why do we teach science? from four points of view. Using a template by R. Stephen Turner, I’ve presented the arguments for teaching science from economic, democratic, and skills points of view. In this post, I want to use the cultural argument as the [...]

Related posts:Why Do We Teach Science? The Skills Argument
Why Do We Teach Science, Anyway? The Democratic Argument
Why do we teach science?
... Read more »

  • December 7, 2010
  • 05:07 PM

Ethical Challenges in Neuroscience

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Dr. Nuala Kenny presented the December 2010 Warren Frontiers in Neuroscience lecture at Laureate Psychiatric Hospital and Clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Dr. Kenny is a physician trained in pediatrics with a long interest in ethics.  She formed the Department of Bioethics at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada.  Her presentation was titled: “Brain, Mind and the Moral: Challenges of Neuroethics”.  Several scientific publications cited in her presentation are referenced........ Read more »

  • December 7, 2010
  • 03:01 PM

One diabetes gene to explain it all?

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

President William Howard Taft
It is the best of times, it is the worse of times. On the one hand the medical consequences of human genomics have been underwhelming. This is important because this is the ultimate reason that much of the basic research is funded. And yet we’ve learned so much. The genetic architecture of [...]... Read more »

Chang CL, Cai JJ, Lo C, Amigo J, Park JI, & Hsu SY. (2010) Adaptive selection of an incretin gene in Eurasian populations. Genome research. PMID: 20978139  

  • December 7, 2010
  • 02:31 PM

Scientific Discovery of the Year or Grandiose Hyperbole?

by avi_wener in American Biotechnologist

Towards the end of last week, NASA announced that it would reveal a stunning scientific report in a live press conference that would surely be the scientific breakthrough of the year. Watching the conference later in the day, I was amazed to hear Felisa Wolfe-Simon of the NASA Astrobiology Institute explain that she found a [...]... Read more »

Wolfe-Simon F, Blum JS, Kulp TR, Gordon GW, Hoeft SE, Pett-Ridge J, Stolz JF, Webb SM, Weber PK, Davies PC.... (2010) A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 21127214  

  • December 7, 2010
  • 02:21 PM

Redefining the structure of life

by Anna Goldstein in Berkeley Science Review Blog

Last Thursday, I was stuck at a conference, furiously refreshing my phone to try and get the latest scoop on the "big announcement" from NASA. Now that I'm back, I thought I'd look into exactly what has been found and what this implies for our understanding of life in the universe. First, we didn't find extraterrestrial life. I emphasize this because people were speculating rampantly about this possibility. However, you could say that we've accomplished the next best thing.

On Thursday, a gr........ Read more »

Wolfe-Simon F, Blum JS, Kulp TR, Gordon GW, Hoeft SE, Pett-Ridge J, Stolz JF, Webb SM, Weber PK, Davies PC.... (2010) A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 21127214  

  • December 7, 2010
  • 01:00 PM

Dwindle, dwindle little STAR

by David Winter in Careers - in Theory

The STAR model is ubiquitous. Almost every application form and interview presentation contains the acronym: Situation, Task,  Actions, Result. Some graduate recruiters even instruct candidates to follow this model in their application form answers. It’s tried and tested…and I don’t like it. Don’t get me wrong. I would rather that a candidate uses STAR than [...]... Read more »

  • December 7, 2010
  • 12:34 PM

The “Aha!” Moment: How Good Is Your Insight?

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

How good is your insight? Check out this science test from the New York Times, Test Your Insight. In the article related to the test, “Tracing the Spark of Creative ... Read more »

Kounios, J., & Beeman, M. (2009) The Moment: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Insight . Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18(4), 210-216. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2009.01638.x  

  • December 7, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

The yeti crab

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

The Yeti lobster is a white, 15cm newly discovered species of crustacean living in deep sea hydrothermal vents of the Pacific.... Read more »

E. Macpherson, W. Jones . (2006) A new squat lobster family of Galatheoidea (Crustacea, Decapoda, Anomura) from the hydrothermal vents of the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge. Zoosystema. info:/

  • December 7, 2010
  • 10:53 AM

Extraordinary claims attract extraordinary blogging

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Since its publication, the paper about bacteria using arsenic instead of phosphorous has been criticized by several different sources. First for the media pre-publication stoking, which lead many journalists to speculate about microbes from Titan while the paper was still embargoed (titanic microbes?), when ultimately it was revealed that we are dealing with earthlings, although with a rather unusual biochemistry. This let-down was only enabled by a rather unfortunate build-up which should not ........ Read more »

Wolfe-Simon F, Blum JS, Kulp TR, Gordon GW, Hoeft SE, Pett-Ridge J, Stolz JF, Webb SM, Weber PK, Davies PC.... (2010) A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorus. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 21127214  

  • December 7, 2010
  • 10:11 AM

Thomas Henry Huxley and the Dinobirds

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Evolution never got much time in my elementary school science classes. When the topic came up, inevitably near the end of the term, the standard, pre-packaged historical overview came along with it. Charles Darwin was the first person to come up with the idea of evolution, and, despite the ravings of religious leaders offended at [...]... Read more »

Switek, B. (2010) Thomas Henry Huxley and the reptile to bird transition. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 343(1), 251-263. DOI: 10.1144/SP343.15  

  • December 7, 2010
  • 09:21 AM

Pregnant While Already Pregnant

by Nature Education in Student Voices

Ladies, lo and behold, here come the super-mothers! A study recently published i...... Read more »

  • December 7, 2010
  • 09:05 AM

Not all species interactions are (co)evolved equal

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Biologists have long thought that coevolutionary interactions between species help to generate greater biological diversity. This idea goes all the way back to The Origin of Species, in which Darwin proposed that natural selection generated by competition for resources helped cause species to diverge over time:Natural selection, also, leads to divergence of character; for more living beings can be supported on the same area the more they diverge in structure, habits, and constitution, of which w........ Read more »

Yoder, J., & Nuismer, S. (2010) When does coevolution promote diversification?. The American Naturalist, 176(6), 802-17. DOI: 10.1086/657048  

  • December 7, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

Technical Difficulties Decrease Learning, Motivation in Training

by Richard Landers in NeoAcademic

Technical difficulties in training lead to higher attrition rates and reduced learning, all with a clever study design.... Read more »

  • December 7, 2010
  • 08:36 AM

Bites: Lassa fever

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

Lassa fever is a common disease in West Africa and endemic in several countries including Sierra Leone and parts of Nigeria. There are 300–500,000 cases of Lassa fever each year, causing about 5000 deaths. Though 80 per cent of infections elicit no symptoms, if they do occur, they can be nasty. Starting with a fever, this [...]... Read more »

Qi, X., Lan, S., Wang, W., Schelde, L., Dong, H., Wallat, G., Ly, H., Liang, Y., & Dong, C. (2010) Cap binding and immune evasion revealed by Lassa nucleoprotein structure. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature09605  

  • December 7, 2010
  • 08:28 AM

Sea Lions and Adoption

by Uncharted Atolls in Uncharted Atolls

Alloparental care among animal populations, or parents caring for young who are not directly related, is well known in mammal and bird species; however, the role of alloparental behavior on population demographics is largely unknown.  Does such care actually allow … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 7, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Sedentary Physiology Part 2 – Can Sitting Too Much Kill You?

by Travis Saunders, MSc, CEP in Obesity Panacea

Photo by independentman.

Welcome to our 5-part series delving into the fascinating research being performed in the emerging field of sedentary physiology.  Today in Part 2, we look at some of the health effects associated with excess sedentary behaviour.  For an introduction to the basics of sedentary physiology, check out Part 1.

Over the past few years research has suggested that being sedentary (e.g. sitting or lying down) for extended periods of time has a negative impact on your healt........ Read more »

  • December 7, 2010
  • 05:30 AM

How long is a cell, and why?

by Becky in It Takes 30

A mammalian cell looks blobby and unstructured when you look at it in a tissue culture dish.  The question of “why is it that shape?” tends not to leap to mind, in much the same way as it doesn’t when you look at a fried egg.  And yet, there are real constraints on the shapes [...]... Read more »

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