Post List

  • September 4, 2009
  • 10:54 AM

Teachers’ Views of Homework and Effects on Students

by Kristen DiCerbo in Connections Research Blog

What do teachers think is the primary purpose of homework? How much do they think parents should be involved? How do those attitudes effect student effort and achievement?
A group of researchers studying teachers in Switzerland (hey! a non-US study!) conducted a survey of 93 teachers of French as a second language. Their survey included scales [...]... Read more »

  • September 4, 2009
  • 09:23 AM

Predicting Antidepressant Response with EEG

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

One of the limitations of antidepressants is that they don't always work. Worse, they don't work in an unpredictable way. Some people benefit from some drugs, and others don't, but there's no way of knowing in advance what will happen in any particular case - or of telling which pill is right for which person.As a result, drug treatment for depression generally involves starting with a cheap medication with relatively mild side-effects, and if that fails, moving onto a series of other drugs unti........ Read more »

  • September 4, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Will Healthcare Workers Refuse the Swine Flu Vaccine?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The first doses of vaccine for the Influenza A H1N1 virus (“swine flu”) should be available in October of 2009. Due to an initial limited supply, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that healthcare workers should be first in line to receive the vaccine. Immunizing healthcare workers against the H1N1 virus not only provides personal [...]... Read more »

  • September 4, 2009
  • 07:41 AM

Chinese interdependence

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

A paper just out in Agricultural Science in China reminded me that I wanted to say something about one of the great meta-narratives of plant genetic resources: interdependence — the old no-country-is-self-sufficient-in-PGR mantra. Which, unlike some other meta-narratives, is generally recognized as being true — witness the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food [...]... Read more »

  • September 4, 2009
  • 05:15 AM

The origin of fragrant rice

by Jeremy in The Vaviblog

Basmati means many things to many people. Some translate it as the prosaic “full of aroma”. Others as the more fanciful “Mother of all Aroma” or “Queen of Fragrance”. But no matter how you render the word, which is Hindi, it is inseparably associated with India. India, however, is not the original source of fragrance [...]... Read more »

Kovach, M., Calingacion, M., Fitzgerald, M., & McCouch, S. (2009) The origin and evolution of fragrance in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(34), 14444-14449. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0904077106  

  • September 4, 2009
  • 03:09 AM

Chocolate lowers cardiac mortality after first acute myocardial infarction

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Chocolate consumption was associated with lower cardiac mortality in a dose dependent manner in patients free of diabetes surviving their first Acute Myocardial Infarction. In contrast, intake of other sweets was not associated with cardiac or total mortality.
Now be aware that Dr Shock is extremely biased when it comes to chocolate but this conclusion is [...]... Read more »

  • September 4, 2009
  • 02:28 AM

black holes and ancient dwarf galaxies

by Greg Fish in weird things

Two of the questions anyone who writes extensively about black holes gets is how we actually know where an object that’s powerful enough to funnel photons into is gravitational field really is, and how we can point to the object and decide that it’s a black hole without actually seeing what it is. As the [...]... Read more »

S. R. Majewski, et al. (1999) Omega Centauri: Nucleus of a Milky Way Dwarf Spheroidal?. Proceedings of the 35th Liege International Astrophysics Colloquium. arXiv: astro-ph/9910278v2

  • September 3, 2009
  • 08:26 PM

Five-Bird Draw

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Climate change may shuffle avian communities in California

... Read more »

  • September 3, 2009
  • 07:39 PM

A FLORA of Protein Structure to Protein Function

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Proteins are the machinery of life, and they facilitate most of life’s functions. Traffic into and out of the cell? Protein pumps, pores and channels. Respiration? Proteins. Metabolism and catabolism? Proteins. Immune system, signaling, development…  all complex networks of interacting proteins. Understanding a protein’s  structure can tell us a lot about how it performs [...]... Read more »

  • September 3, 2009
  • 06:20 PM

Saphris: It's Different without Actually Being Different

by Neuropsych15 in The MacGuffin

On August 14th, the FDA approved Schering-Plough's second generation antipsychotic drug Saphris (asenapine) for the acute treatment of schizophrenia, and the acute treatment of mania/mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder (1). Question: Should I, at all be concerned that there are more actual published peer-reviewed articles of this drug being tested in rats (2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ) than in humans (7; seriously, this is the only published peer-reviewed article I can find)? I'm not going to di........ Read more »

  • September 3, 2009
  • 04:05 PM

Towards Cheap, Efficient Solar Cells

by Michael Long in Phased

Brian Krogel (University of Texas at Austin) and coworkers have worked towards developing efficient solar cells via cheap materials and protocols. This news feature was written on September 3, 2009.... Read more »

Steinhagen, C., Panthani, M. G, Akhavan, V., Goodfellow, B., Koo, B., & Korgel, B. A. (2009) Synthesis of Cu2ZnSnS4 Nanocrystals for Use in Low-Cost Photovoltaics . Journal of the American Chemical Society, 131(35), 12554-12555. DOI: 10.1021/ja905922j  

  • September 3, 2009
  • 03:44 PM

On the dangers of Rhododendrons!

by Dr Dave in Dave's Landslide Blog

Rhododendrons are one of those plants that, when planted well, can create an amazing garden:(from:, it might surprise you to hear that they can be a major cause of landslides. As the image below shows, rhododendrons are increasingly grown on the mountain slopes of the Appalachians:(from: well as creating a somewhat beautiful landscape, rhododendrons have been grown in t........ Read more »

Hales, T., Ford, C., Hwang, T., Vose, J., & Band, L. (2009) Topographic and ecologic controls on root reinforcement. Journal of Geophysical Research, 114(F3). DOI: 10.1029/2008JF001168  

  • September 3, 2009
  • 01:28 PM

Are you polite on discussion boards?

by Kristen DiCerbo in Connections Research Blog

How do people interact on discussion boards in an education setting? In my experience, people are much more polite and restrained in classroom discussion boards than on more general boards on the web. It turns out that politeness is actually a construct studied by sociolinguists. They define it in the context of discussion boards as [...]... Read more »

Schallert, D., Chiang, Y., Park, Y., Jordan, M., Lee, H., Janne Cheng, A., Rebecca Chu, H., Lee, S., Kim, T., & Song, K. (2009) Being polite while fulfilling different discourse functions in online classroom discussions. Computers , 53(3), 713-725. DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2009.04.009  

  • September 3, 2009
  • 12:55 PM

If You’re Feeling Warm and Fuzzy, It Might Just be the Coffee

by David DiSalvo in Neuronarrative

If you have a falling out with someone and they start ignoring you, they’re “giving you the cold shoulder.” If you feel emotionally close to someone, you have “warm feelings” towards that person. We’re accustomed to using metaphorical language like this to describe human relationships, but do these words also imply more literal meanings?

A new study in the journal Psychological Science investigated whether the actual experience of warmth or coldness influ........ Read more »

  • September 3, 2009
  • 11:52 AM

Viral reassortment, genome transplantation and more in my picks of the week from RB

by Alejandro Montenegro-Montero in MolBio Research Highlights

Another week has gone by and some very interesting blog posts have been aggregated into Every week [see my inaugural post on the matter], I'll select some blog posts I consider particularly interesting in the field of molecular biology [see here to get a sense of the criteria that will be used] and list them here for you to check out.This week, three blog posts made the cut:... Read more »

Ghedin, E., Fitch, A., Boyne, A., Griesemer, S., DePasse, J., Bera, J., Zhang, X., Halpin, R., Smit, M., Jennings, L.... (2009) Mixed Infection and the Genesis of Influenza Virus Diversity. Journal of Virology, 83(17), 8832-8841. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00773-09  

Lartigue, C., Vashee, S., Algire, M., Chuang, R., Benders, G., Ma, L., Noskov, V., Denisova, E., Gibson, D., Assad-Garcia, N.... (2009) Creating Bacterial Strains from Genomes That Have Been Cloned and Engineered in Yeast. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.1173759  

Castellano, L., Giamas, G., Jacob, J., Coombes, R., Lucchesi, W., Thiruchelvam, P., Barton, G., Jiao, L., Wait, R., Waxman, J.... (2009) The estrogen receptor- -induced microRNA signature regulates itself and its transcriptional response. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0906947106  

  • September 3, 2009
  • 11:50 AM

"Free choice" may not be as free as it seems

by Dave Munger in Cognitive Daily

How did you decide to read this post? You might have seen the headline in an RSS reader or noticed it on the ScienceBlogs home page. Maybe someone emailed or tweeted the link to you. But you still had to make the decision to actually read it. How do you know when you made that decision?

In 1965 H.H. Kornhuber and L. Deeke found that brain activity precedes a conscious choice (voluntarily pressing a button) by 500 to 1,000 milliseconds. But in 1983 a team led by B. Libet found that when people w........ Read more »

Banks WP, & Isham EA. (2009) We infer rather than perceive the moment we decided to act. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 20(1), 17-21. PMID: 19152537  

  • September 3, 2009
  • 10:41 AM

People who yearn for the amputation of a healthy limb

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

In the late Summer of 1997, the surgeon Robert Smith deliberately amputated the healthy lower left leg of his patient, 38-year-old Kevin Wright, who had been yearning for this outcome since childhood.Back then, Wright's condition was judged to be a form of body dysmorphic disorder - a psychiatric diagnosis characterised by an irrational belief that there is something defective with a body part. Before now, there has been little systematic research with patients experiencing amputation desire, bu........ Read more »

  • September 3, 2009
  • 09:20 AM

Human-induced erosion as powerful as glaciers

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Soil erosion in a wheat field near Washington State University.

Soil erosion has always been a big problem for ecosystems, and often increases with decreased ecosystem health, such as the dry conditions often encouraged by climate change. We normally think of rivers and glaciers as the most powerful eroders, but a study out today in [...]

... Read more »

  • September 3, 2009
  • 09:07 AM

Science News: Week of August 30, 2009

by Susan Steinhardt in BioData Blogs

Our weekly compilation of science news for the week of August 30, 2009.... Read more »

Maehr, R., Chen, S., Snitow, M., Ludwig, T., Yagasaki, L., Goland, R., Leibel, R., & Melton, D. (2009) Generation of pluripotent stem cells from patients with type 1 diabetes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0906894106  

Reversade, B., Escande-Beillard, N., Dimopoulou, A., Fischer, B., Chng, S., Li, Y., Shboul, M., Tham, P., Kayserili, H., Al-Gazali, L.... (2009) Mutations in PYCR1 cause cutis laxa with progeroid features. Nature Genetics. DOI: 10.1038/ng.413  

Siripattarapravat, K., Pinmee, B., Venta, P., Chang, C., & Cibelli, J. (2009) Somatic cell nuclear transfer in zebrafish. Nature Methods. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1369  

  • September 3, 2009
  • 07:00 AM

Mousy blondes: Ready for evolution textbooks?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

This paper on mice evolving a new coat colour has been making a big splash in science news. It’s being touted as a new textbook example of evolution. Actually, not just an example, but an “icon.” I’m not sure what to think about that, given that Icons of Evolution is a notorious creationist book. Plus, the last time someone was touting “it’ll be in all the textbooks” were the promoters of the breathlessly over-hyped Darwinius / Ida fossil.

Reading the........ Read more »

Linnen, C., Kingsley, E., Jensen, J., & Hoekstra, H. (2009) On the Origin and Spread of an Adaptive Allele in Deer Mice. Science, 325(5944), 1095-1098. DOI: 10.1126/science.1175826  

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