Post List

  • January 22, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Koch’s postulates in the 21st century

by Vincent Racaniello in virology blog

For thousands of years, epidemics of contagious diseases were believed to be caused by the wrath of the gods, configuration of stars, or miasma. The association of specific microorganisms with disease came about as a consequence of the work of the German physician Robert Koch. He formulated a set of criteria that could be used [...]... Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

the bizarre oceans of the outer solar system

by Greg Fish in weird things

The outer solar system is a strange place. It’s a realm of frozen gas giants surrounded by icy moons and yet, it’s actually home to one of the most promising destinations for alien hunters in the solar system, offering an even more convincing argument for an alien biosphere than Mars to some. We’re talking about [...]... Read more »

Eggert, J., Hicks, D., Celliers, P., Bradley, D., McWilliams, R., Jeanloz, R., Miller, J., Boehly, T., & Collins, G. (2009) Melting temperature of diamond at ultrahigh pressure. Nature Physics, 6(1), 40-43. DOI: 10.1038/nphys1438  

  • January 22, 2010
  • 06:16 AM

A flood of DRiPs

by iayork in Mystery Rays from Outer Space

“Untitled (Green Silver)” – Jackson Pollock

In the past few weeks not only did I post a short update on the DRiPs hypothesis here, but coincidentally a bunch of papers on DRiPs have also been published. I’ll probably cover some of these in more detail at some point, but here are some of the recent papers [...]... Read more »

Berger, C., Carlson, J., Brumme, C., Hartman, K., Brumme, Z., Henry, L., Rosato, P., Piechocka-Trocha, A., Brockman, M., Harrigan, P.... (2010) Viral adaptation to immune selection pressure by HLA class I-restricted CTL responses targeting epitopes in HIV frameshift sequences. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 207(1), 61-75. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20091808  

Bansal, A., Carlson, J., Yan, J., Akinsiku, O., Schaefer, M., Sabbaj, S., Bet, A., Levy, D., Heath, S., Tang, J.... (2010) CD8 T cell response and evolutionary pressure to HIV-1 cryptic epitopes derived from antisense transcription. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 207(1), 51-59. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20092060  

Casartelli, N., Guivel-Benhassine, F., Bouziat, R., Brandler, S., Schwartz, O., & Moris, A. (2009) The antiviral factor APOBEC3G improves CTL recognition of cultured HIV-infected T cells. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 207(1), 39-49. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20091933  

  • January 22, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

The value of 'ignorance' in restoration

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

We interview Dr. Eugene Turner, a leading wetland scientist at Louisiana State University. He argues that restoration practitioners need to abandon a knowledge-based world view and start embracing ignorance...... Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 04:10 AM

Early risers are more proactive than evening people

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

I've always envied early risers, those who spring out of bed at the crack of dawn, ready, it seems, to take on the world. Of course their early vitality could be short-lived. Morning friskiness gives the impression of a positive nature but are 'larks' really more proactive people than 'owls'?Yes, according to Christoph Randler who surveyed 367 student participants and found a correlation between their self-reported 'morningness' (as revealed by their answers to questions about how easy they find........ Read more »

Randler, C. (2009) Proactive People Are Morning People. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39(12), 2787-2797. DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2009.00549.x  

  • January 22, 2010
  • 01:36 AM

Reflections after Science Online 2010 (#Scio10)

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

I'm writing this while on the plane, flying back from a fantastic weekend in North Carolina. Before I can even begin reflecting on the past few days, I have to thank NESCent again for their generous travel grant which allowed me to go to Science Online in the first place. Without their funding, I'd have spent the weekend laying out on a beach instead of freezing my butt off with over 200 amazing people who, thought diverse in many ways, all have one thing in common: a passion for science communi........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 01:31 AM

Those naughty plants!

by Anastasia Bodnar in Biofortified

Many people, including me, are concerned about potential harm to crop biodiversity from gene flow. Most people’s concern focuses on transgenics. There is a certain probability, albeit small, that transgenes will end up in the progeny of non-transgenic plants, weedy relatives of the crop, or wild relatives that grow nearby due to pollen flow. Transgenes can also be moved from place to place by accidental or purposeful movement of seeds. How much transgene flow is actually happening is a sub........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 01:11 AM

Friday Weird Science: Duck, duck, penis.

by Evil Monkey in Neurotopia

Sci is going to so some selfish Friday Weird Science today. Selfish, because this article isn't new, and was reported on by one of the GREATS. This guy. He (of course) did a completely brilliant job, and when he talked about it at SciOnline this past weekend, Sci was compelled to go and see the material for herself. And it's something to SEE. And so see it you shall.

The reason this is selfish is because Sci knows it's been reported on before. She wants to do it her ownself, as an excuse ........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 12:11 AM

Nothing wrong with synthetic biology, It's just B-I-O-L-O-G-Y and the rest is silence

by Abhishek Tiwari in Fisheye Perspective

Recent issue of Nature magazine has few very interesting articles about synthetic biology and one of them is "Five hard truths for synthetic biology" written by Roberta Kwok. When I first read this article my first reaction was- nothing wrong with synthetic biology, it's just biology gets in the way of the engineering.Nothing to do with their heartsNothing to do with their headsNothing to do with their homesNothing to do with their bedsIt's just B-I-O-L-O-G-YCan't you seeIt's just BiologyBiology........ Read more »

  • January 22, 2010
  • 12:02 AM

A plethora of MRSA sequences

by Keith Robison in Omics! Omics!

The Sanger Institute's paper in Science describing the sequencing of multiple MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) genomes is very nifty and demonstrates a whole new potential market for next-generation sequencing: the tracking of infections in support of better control measures.MRSA is a serious health issue; a friend of mine's relative is battling it right now. MRSA is commonly acquired in health care facilities. Further spread can be combated by rigorous attention to disinfect........ Read more »

Simon R. Harris, Edward J. Feil, Matthew T. G. Holden, Michael A. Quail, Emma K. Nickerson, Narisara Chantratita, Susana Gardete, Ana Tavares, Nick Day, Jodi A. Lindsay.... (2010) Evolution of MRSA During Hospital Transmission and Intercontinental Spread. Science, 327(5964), 469-474. info:/10.1126/science.1182395

  • January 22, 2010
  • 12:00 AM

Synthetically Synchronized E.Coli Clocks

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Even E.Coli clocks "Twitter." Dr. Martin Fussenegger reviews in a recent Nature News & Views... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 10:06 PM

The Evolution of Iron-Clad Samurai Snails With Gold Feet

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

It is told in the Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
At the time of the attack on the castle at Shimabara, Tazaki Geki was wearing very resplendent armor.  Lord Katsuhige was not pleased by this, and after that every time he saw something showy he would say, “That’s just like Geki’s armor.” In the light [...]... Read more »

Yao, H., Dao, M., Imholt, T., Huang, J., Wheeler, K., Bonilla, A., Suresh, S., & Ortiz, C. (2010) Protection mechanisms of the iron-plated armor of a deep-sea hydrothermal vent gastropod. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(3), 987-992. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0912988107  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 09:32 PM

Social networking for taxonomists

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Despite our best attempts to remove species from the face of the Earth, there is still quite a bit of life out there and it is still quite diverse. Also, there are still quite a few people who want to document, describe and make the rest of us aware of the magnitude and diversity of [...]... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 09:25 PM

Actually, maybe economists did prove money can buy happiness…

by Michael Slezak in Good, Bad, and Bogus

A little while ago, I wrote a post about an article in Science about the relationship between “objective” measurements of “quality of life” and subjective measurements of “life-satisfaction”. The article found a very high correlation between these measurements leading the authors to claim that there was now “objective verification” of the subjective measurements often used [...]... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 09:20 PM

Spine Immobilization in Penetrating Trauma: More Harm Than Good?

by Rogue Medic in Rogue Medic

Also posted over at Paramedicine 101. Go check out the rest of what is there.A recent study points out some of the problems with EMS (Emergency Medical Services) treatment in some places. Each medical director, or state medical director, is permitted to ignore the evidence that some treatments are harmful. They can use ignorance as an excuse for continuing harmful practices. Rather than ignorance, those familiar with the research will claim that somebody might benefit. Their battle cry is What i........ Read more »

Haut, E., Kalish, B., Efron, D., Haider, A., Stevens, K., Kieninger, A., Cornwell, E., & Chang, D. (2010) Spine Immobilization in Penetrating Trauma: More Harm Than Good?. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 68(1), 115-121. DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181c9ee58  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 09:03 PM

Avoiding the REDD monster

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

A short post about a small letter that recently appeared in the latest issue of Conservation Biology – the dangers of REDD.
REDD. What is it? The acronym for ‘Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation’, it is the idea of providing financial incentives to developing countries to reduce forest clearance by paying them to keep them [...]... Read more »

Oscar Venter, James E.M. Watson, Erik Meijaard, William F. Laurance, & Hugh P. Possingham. (2010) Avoiding Unintended Outcomes from REDD. Conservation Biology, 24(1), 5-6. DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01391.x  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 08:01 PM

Sperm of a feather clump together

by aimee in misc.ience

I’m gobsmacked.  And highly amused, as well (it’s the immature part of me, apologies).

Credit: Phil Myers (photographer, copyright holder), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan.  More info here and here.  (I tried to find a picture of sperm in question, but nothing seemed to be (c)-free)

Research published in Nature this week has shown something incredible [...]

[Click on the hyperlinked headline for more of the goodness]... Read more »

  • January 21, 2010
  • 06:30 PM

Research in the Slow Lane

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Conservation biologists take a long time to submit papers

... Read more »

  • 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 »

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