Post List

  • January 1, 2010
  • 02:45 PM

8 streams reversing

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love sent to me: 8 streams reversing...

Wind gaps are fossil rivers: water once flowed through these valleys, but now that water has been diverted to flow elsewhere.

Wind Gap in Wheeler Ridge, California. Source (HT to my co-blogger Anne)

Each of the triangles on the drainage map of northern California (from a 2006 paper by Lock et al.) below marks a wind gap that occurs mid-way along a continuous north-south trending channel.

Figure 4 of Lock et al. ........ Read more »

  • January 1, 2010
  • 11:55 AM

Plants to People: the Swift Tempo of Spontaneous Mutation

by Johnny in Ecographica

Research published today... tediously analyzing the genomes from multiple generations of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, scientists from the Max Planck... Sanger scientists published work in which the rate of mutation in humans was estimated at around...... Read more »

Ossowski, S., Schneeberger, K., Lucas-Lledo, J., Warthmann, N., Clark, R., Shaw, R., Weigel, D., & Lynch, M. (2009) The Rate and Molecular Spectrum of Spontaneous Mutations in Arabidopsis thaliana. Science, 327(5961), 92-94. DOI: 10.1126/science.1180677  

  • December 31, 2009
  • 04:41 PM

Hiding in plain sight: The caterpillar masquerade

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

A short paper in Science offers a new take on camouflage. Usually, we think of camouflage as making an animal hard to detect in the first place. Another possibility, though, is that you can be perfectly visible, but not recognized as the thing you actually are.

Skelhorn and company tested this by taking a couple of different species of caterpillars that seem to mimic twigs (Opisthograptis luteolata is pictured). They exposed chicks (caterpillar predators) to hawthorn branches, which caterpillar........ Read more »

Skelhorn, J., Rowland, H., Speed, M., & Ruxton, G. (2009) Masquerade: Camouflage Without Crypsis. Science, 327(5961), 51-51. DOI: 10.1126/science.1181931  

  • December 31, 2009
  • 04:04 PM

Origins of Tendopathy: Where is the Evidence?

by Texasortho in The Movement Science Blog and Podcast

A significant portion of my caseload consists of helping patients recover from tendon disorders.  Rotator cuff pathology seems to comprise the greatest percentage of these conditions at our clinic, but there have been no shortage of patellar tendopathy, Achilles tendopathy, and the ubiquitous (read: worn out) diagnosis previously known as tennis elbow. 
I was first exposed to [...]... Read more »

Coombes, B., Bisset, L., & Vicenzino, B. (2009) A new integrative model of lateral epicondylalgia. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 43(4), 252-258. DOI: 10.1136/bjsm.2008.052738  

  • December 31, 2009
  • 02:04 PM

Details of the Devil

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

How Tasmanian devil facial tumors got their start

... Read more »

Murchison, E. et al. (2009) The Tasmanian Devil Transcriptome Reveals Schwann Cell Origins of a Clonally Transmissible Cancer. Science. info:/10.1126/science.1180616

  • December 31, 2009
  • 12:46 PM

1 in 86: the prevalence of autism among adults

by Michelle Dawson in The Autism Crisis

"Autism rate in children has doubled, say doctors" ... "Autism 'more common than thought'" ... "Autism in children '10 times higher' than first thought" ... "Autism at a record high" ... "autism is 25 times more common than what researchers thought"... This mess of headlines and claims was generated in response to one autism prevalence study, Baird et al. (2006), published in the Lancet. All 56,946 individuals comprising the targeted population cohort in this study are, as of today, the last day........ Read more »

  • December 31, 2009
  • 12:12 PM

Adaptation is fast and effective in a fungus

by Bjørn Østman in Pleiotropy

Watching adaptation - the process of organisms and populations increasing their fit to the environment - is not easily observed in nature, and when it is, it is often hard to tell what the details of the process are. Crucially, the mutations (and by "mutation" I mean any change to the genome) are mostly unknown, leaving us to guess what kind of genomic changes are responsible for shaping life through evolution.... Read more »

  • December 31, 2009
  • 11:26 AM

Sanger Adds Two Cancer Genomes

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

This week in Nature, investigators from Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute published the fourth and fifth complete cancer genomes. Interestingly, both are cancers in which the primary mutagen is known: malignant melanoma (UV light) and small-cell lung cancer (tobacco smoke).  This seems to be important, because when I looked at the number of validated somatic coding [...]... Read more »

Pleasance ED, Cheetham RK, Stephens PJ, McBride DJ, Humphray SJ, Greenman CD, Varela I, Lin ML, Ordóñez GR, Bignell GR.... (2009) A comprehensive catalogue of somatic mutations from a human cancer genome. Nature. PMID: 20016485  

Pleasance ED, Stephens PJ, O'Meara S, McBride DJ, Meynert A, Jones D, Lin ML, Beare D, Lau KW, Greenman C.... (2009) A small-cell lung cancer genome with complex signatures of tobacco exposure. Nature. PMID: 20016488  

  • December 31, 2009
  • 10:47 AM

New coffee species from Madagascar

by Julie Craves in Coffee & Conservation

Earlier this year, the news of the "discovery" of a caffeine-free species of coffee from the Cameroon created a bit of a stir. This species was actually first collected in 1983, but remained unstudied and not described to science until...

... Read more »

  • December 31, 2009
  • 10:31 AM

Second Language Acquisition and Memory

by Sean Roberts in The Adventures of Auck

A criticism on Hagen's (2008) theory of the evolution of second language acquisition. A new model offers an alternative explanation.... Read more »

L. Kirk Hagen. (2008) The Bilingual Brain: Human Evolution and Second Language Acquisition. Evolutionary Psychology, 43-63. info:/

  • December 31, 2009
  • 10:22 AM

Processing two structures simultaneously

by Sean Roberts in The Adventures of Auck

Review of Kovacs & Mehler (2009), with some data on ABA, AAB and ABB syllable structures from different languages.... Read more »

  • December 31, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Radiation from CT scans: Balancing risks and benefits

by Orac in Respectful Insolence

NOTE: Orac is on semi-vacation this week, trying very hard to recharge his Tarial cells. Actually, although he is at home, he is spending much of his time in his Sanctum Sanctorum (i.e., his home office) working on an R01 for the February submission cycle. Given that the week between Christmas and New Years Day tends to be pretty boring, both from a blogging and blog traffic standpoint, he's scaling back the new, original stuff and mixing in some "best of" reruns, as well as some more recent stu........ Read more »

  • December 31, 2009
  • 08:00 AM

Predicting forest beetle outbreaks

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

... Read more »

  • December 31, 2009
  • 05:30 AM

When new psychological symptoms emerge after a head injury

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

If a patient with a complicated psychiatric history suffers a traumatic brain injury and then develops new psychological problems, how do you know whether the new problems are related to the head injury or the prior psychiatric diagnoses? This dilemma forms the latest 'complex case' to appear in the journal Personality and Mental Health where it is accompanied by five expert commentaries. The complex case is described by psychiatrist Kathleen Diehl at the University of Michigan. She undertook se........ Read more »

  • December 30, 2009
  • 08:25 PM

Towards Rugged Protein-Based Drugs

by Michael Long in Phased

Jinbo Hu (Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry) and coworkers have synthesized the Z isomer of monofluoroalkenes in high yield, which will be useful towards designing protein-based drugs that resist degradation within the body. This news feature was written on December 30, 2009.... Read more »

  • December 30, 2009
  • 06:11 PM

Death and Taxes: It's Shaping Up to be a Busy Year

by Eric Widera in GeriPal

Death elasticity and the estate tax.... Read more »

  • December 30, 2009
  • 03:49 PM

A useful guide for the bioinformatics tool builders

by Sandra Porter in Discovering Biology in a Digital World

I often get questions about bioinformatics, bioinformatics jobs and career paths. Most of the questions reflect a general sense of confusion between creating bioinformatics resources and using them. Bioinformatics is unique in this sense. No one confuses writing a package like Photoshop with being a photographer, yet for some odd reason, people seem to expect this of biologists. In the same respect, even the programmers and database administrators who work in bioinformatics, are unfairly ass........ Read more »

  • December 30, 2009
  • 02:04 PM


by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Demand from aquarium enthusiasts may fuel invertebrate fishery collapse

... Read more »

  • December 30, 2009
  • 01:58 PM

Languages of the heart

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

While my Christmas post was of the gloomy kind, most blogs I follow had more heart-warming stories. Sociolingo Africa picked up a press release coming out of Orlando, Florida issued by who-I-don’t-know, about new translations of the Christmas story becoming available just in time for this year’s event. According to the press release, the Wycliffe [...]... Read more »

Errington, Joseph. (2008) Linguistics in a colonial world: a story of language, meaning, and power. Blackwell Publishing. info:/

  • December 30, 2009
  • 01:50 PM

Black Soot is Accelerating Tibetan Glacier Melting

by Michael Long in Phased

James Hansen (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York) and coworkers have determined why glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau are quickly melting, and offer possible solutions for preserving this essential water source for future generations. This news feature was written on December 30, 2009.... Read more »

Xu, B., Cao, J., Hansen, J., Yao, T., Joswia, D. R., Wang, N., Wu, G., Wang, M., Zhao, H., Yang, W.... (2009) Black soot and the survival of Tibetan glaciers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(52), 22114-22118. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0910444106  

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