Post List

  • February 18, 2010
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,511 views

Iron in the Beaks of Birds

by John Beetham in A DC Birding Blog

Birders know well that birds migrate – the cycle of bird movements keeps birding interesting throughout the year. Many landbird migration routes are well-documented, and even some over-water routes are starting to be determined. What is less understood is how the birds know where they are going. Recent research has focused on how birds might sense, or even see, the Earth's magnetic field for orientation. At least one recent study proposed that some birds use an olfactory sense for guidance. Vi........ Read more »

  • February 18, 2010
  • 08:05 AM
  • 1,522 views

MPAs reduce coral cover loss. Now we need more of them.

by Uncharted Atolls in Uncharted Atolls

Marine protected areas (MPAs) can be an effective means to conserve coral reef communities.  These areas can provide refuges for larvae, help restore healthy food webs, and help mitigate overgrowth via macroalgae by preventing the overexploitation of grazers in coral reef ecosystems.  This last point is an especially important one…for example, in the aftermath of [...]... Read more »

  • February 18, 2010
  • 08:00 AM
  • 869 views

Snakes interrupted: roads causing genetic decline

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

For wildlife like the timber rattlesnsake, trying to cross even light-traffic country roads presents a formidable life-or-death challenge. As a new study in the journal Conservation Biology shows, these roads can also contribute to the genetic decline of the species.... Read more »

  • February 18, 2010
  • 07:18 AM
  • 1,099 views

Journal Club – In Vivo Inhibition Dynamics

by AndrewHires in Brain Windows

Inhibition has a powerful role shaping the network dynamics of the cortex, but most studies of inhibitory circuitry are done in brain slice or anesthetized animals. In Membrane potential dynamics of GABAergic neurons in barrel cortex of behaving mice, Gentet et al use two-photon imaging to guide dual, whole-cell patch clamp of inhibitory and excitatory neurons in the mouse barrel cortex. ... Read more »

  • February 18, 2010
  • 07:00 AM
  • 1,386 views

Chromatic aberration of the eye: to correct or not to correct?

by Pablo Artal in Optics confidential

The human eye suffers of a very large chromatic aberration. This means that when a red object is in focus, a blue one at the same distance will be clearly out of focus. Why we are not yet routinely correcting this defect to improve vision? You will find here some new experiments, results and explanations...... Read more »

  • February 18, 2010
  • 05:00 AM
  • 5,689 views

Seawalls may affect abundance of prey for shorebirds, salmon

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study in Puget Sound, Washington, suggests that building seawalls and other shoreline structures may reduce the diversity and abundance of some intertidal invertebrates and coastal insects. Because these creatures are food for salmon, shorebirds, and other wildlife, shoreline armoring might indirectly alter the broader ecosystem...... Read more »

  • February 18, 2010
  • 04:46 AM
  • 1,080 views

achieving transcendence with brain surgery

by Greg Fish in weird things

Want to get closer to your supernatural deity of choice? You could spend years memorizing holy books, scrolls purported to contain ancient wisdom, and study dense, esoteric tomes filled with endless ruminations on all kinds of vague topics, like most religious scholars. Or you could just have surgery on your parietal cortex and give it [...]... Read more »

  • February 17, 2010
  • 11:24 PM
  • 1,090 views

Inbreeding bad for invasives too

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

I just came across this little gem of a paper in Molecular Ecology (not, by any stretch, a common forum for biodiversity conservation-related papers). It’s another one of those wonderful little experimental manipulation studies I love so much (see previous examples here and here).
I’ve written a lot before about the loss of genetic diversity as [...]... Read more »

  • February 17, 2010
  • 10:10 PM
  • 902 views

A Constraint Based Approach To Figure Skating

by Chris in The Lousy Linguist

While perhaps not quite a pure crash blossom, this headline caught me off guard:Is Figure Skating Fixed?  Honestly, my first reaction was to wonder if there was a new scoring system (yes, there is) and what was wrong with the old one (bias and collusion). In other words, what was broken and how was it improved? Of course, there's another meaning of fixed -- 'to cheat.'  In other words, are figure skating outcomes rigged by cheating?  Were this headline from any other pub........ Read more »

James Pustejovsky. (1998) The Semantics of Lexical Underspecification. Folia Linguistica. info:/

  • February 17, 2010
  • 08:39 PM
  • 384 views

Sneezing at the sun

by thegiantsquid in Research i find awesome

From the consequential to the less so...About a quarter of humanity will sneeze after being in the dark and then being exposed to the sun. Why we do this has yet to be understood, and, really, hasn't had much investigation, for understandable reasons. In this week's PLOS One, investigators from Switzerland tried to figure this out. In a simple experiment, they took ten known 'photic sneezers' and matched them by age and sex with non-photic sneezers. They then showed them a checkerboard display o........ Read more »

Nicolas Langer*, Gian Beeli, Lutz Jäncke. (2010) When the Sun Prickles Your Nose: An EEG Study Identifying Neural Bases of Photic Sneezing. PLOS One. info:/

  • February 17, 2010
  • 07:24 PM
  • 667 views

Journalists Are the in the Business of Gathering Eyeballs, Not Truth

by Reason in Fight Aging!

One of the nice things about writing online is that if you procrastinate on a topic for long enough, someone else will write that post for you. Often it will be far better than the one you would have turned out, had you been more motivated. The topic for today, and one I've been meaning to discuss for a while, is what happens to science when it passes through the mangler of journalism; in particular, what happens to aging and longevity science. Let me point you to a well-written reminder that pr........ Read more »

Passos, J., Nelson, G., Wang, C., Richter, T., Simillion, C., Proctor, C., Miwa, S., Olijslagers, S., Hallinan, J., Wipat, A.... (2010) Feedback between p21 and reactive oxygen production is necessary for cell senescence. Molecular Systems Biology. DOI: 10.1038/msb.2010.5  

  • February 17, 2010
  • 07:10 PM
  • 710 views

Pop Goes the Pulsar

by Brian Koberlein in Upon Reflection

Note: This entry is a bit different from most of my posts. It is more mathematical, and uses MathML extensively to display equations. If you see gibberish instead of equations, then your browser isn't capable of viewing them. If you...... Read more »

HEWISH, A., BELL, S., PILKINGTON, J., SCOTT, P., & COLLINS, R. (1968) Observation of a Rapidly Pulsating Radio Source. Nature, 217(5130), 709-713. DOI: 10.1038/217709a0  

  • February 17, 2010
  • 05:37 PM
  • 812 views

ROMANTIC REDux

by Wayne Hooke in The Psychology of Beauty

About two years ago, Elliot & Niesta (2008), concluded that the color red makes men find women more attractive. Essentially, they found that men – but not women – rated black and white photos of women about a point higher in physical attractiveness (on a 9-point scale) when the photos were presented on a red [...]... Read more »

Elliot, A., & Niesta, D. (2008) Romantic red: Red enhances men's attraction to women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1150-1164. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.95.5.1150  

Moller, A., Elliot, A., & Maier, M. (2009) Basic hue-meaning associations. Emotion, 9(6), 898-902. DOI: 10.1037/a0017811  

  • February 17, 2010
  • 04:29 PM
  • 999 views

African trypanosomes just love social networking

by geekheartsscience in geek!

The procyclic form of african trypanosomes move together as a group when grown on a semisolid surface, according to new research from US scientists published in the journal PLoS Pathogens. This “social motility” is mediated by their flagellum and is a surprising new feature in trypanosome biology.
The African trypanosome, Trypansoma brucei, is a parasite which [...]... Read more »

Michael Oberholzer, Miguel A. Lopez, Bryce T. McLelland, & Kent L. Hill. (2010) Social motility in African Trypanosomes. PLoS Pathogens, 6(1). info:/doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000739

  • February 17, 2010
  • 02:04 PM
  • 814 views

Oxytocin versus autism: A cure for altruism

by Michelle Dawson in The Autism Crisis

The widespread message arising from Andari et al. (in press) is that the hormone oxytocin "may be a powerful weapon in fighting autism" or words to that effect. The heart of this study is a computer game version of catch which appears to involve four human players. When a player is thrown the ball, he must then throw it to another player of his choice. Every time a player receives the ball, he receives a bit of money.In Andari et al. (in press), small groups of autistic and nonautistic adults ("........ Read more »

Andari, E., Duhamel, J., Zalla, T., Herbrecht, E., Leboyer, M., & Sirigu, A. (2010) Promoting social behavior with oxytocin in high-functioning autism spectrum disorders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0910249107  

  • February 17, 2010
  • 01:25 PM
  • 945 views

Do patients take their medications?

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living


I don’t often write about medications, not because I don’t believe in their use but because that’s not my focus.  However, just to put the record straight: medications and medical management of chronic pain has a place in the model of pain management I use.  After all, it is the ‘bio-psychosocial’ model, not the psychosocial [...]... Read more »

  • February 17, 2010
  • 01:11 PM
  • 1,816 views

Molecular surgery: playing with network edges

by 96well in Reportergene

Protein X interacts with protein Y, what are the phenotypic consequences? And what is the impact of the X-Y partnership in the whole protein-protein interaction network? To address this question, scientists often remove specific network nodes by eliminating (knock-out) or downregulating (knock-down) the gene encoding one protein product (i.e. X). This is a poor strategy, because usually X interacts not only with Y, but also with P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W and Z. Thus, X-KO strategy is too much invas........ Read more »

  • February 17, 2010
  • 12:15 PM
  • 646 views

How does TV watching increase health risk?

by travis@obesitypanacea.com (Travis Saunders) in Obesity Panacea

http://www.flickr.com/photos/phrenzee/ / CC BY 2.0
Yesterday morning I came across a very interesting study on Dr Yoni Freedhoff's blog Weighty Matters.  Yoni described a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health which suggests that the amount of commercial television (e.g. television with advertisements) that children watch before the age of 6 is associated with increased body weight 5 years down the road, even after adjustment for other important variables including phy........ Read more »

  • February 17, 2010
  • 11:07 AM
  • 513 views

The Case of the Missing Retrovirus

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

In October 2009, a team led by Vincent C. Lombardi of the Whittemore Peterson Institute reported the presence of a recently discovered virus, XMRV, in 67% of the blood samples from 101 American patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). XMRV had previously been linked to some cases of prostate cancer.This sparked intense interest amongst many people and much discussion. But in January this year, Erlwein et al reported that they did not find any evidence of XMRV in the blood of 186 British CFS........ Read more »

Harriet Groom, et al. (2010) Absence of xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus in UK patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Retrovirology. info:/

  • February 17, 2010
  • 11:05 AM
  • 740 views

Surface reconstruction in platinum covered with CO

by Lars Fischer in EuCheMS 2010 Blog

Surfaces are full of surprises, and of course mysteries. Ertl described the intricacies of ammonia formation on flat platin surfaces decades ago and won a Nobel for it, but what happens between real catalysts and the reactions they accelerate remains largely unknown. When it comes to the behavior of steps, kinks and other surface features [...]... Read more »

Tao, F., Dag, S., Wang, L., Liu, Z., Butcher, D., Bluhm, H., Salmeron, M., & Somorjai, G. (2010) Break-Up of Stepped Platinum Catalyst Surfaces by High CO Coverage. Science, 327(5967), 850-853. DOI: 10.1126/science.1182122  

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