Rhododendrons are one of those plants that, when planted well, can create an amazing garden:(from: http://www.kelleriisgaarden.dk/rhododendron-eng.html)However, 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: http://toursinthesmokymountains.com/SmokyMountainsInDepth.aspx)As 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
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
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 »
IJzerman, H., & Semin, G. (2009) The Thermometer of Social Relations: Mapping Social Proximity on Temperature. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02434.x
Another week has gone by and some very interesting blog posts have been aggregated into Researchblogging.org. 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
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
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 »
Blanke O, Morgenthaler FD, Brugger P, & Overney LS. (2009) Preliminary evidence for a fronto-parietal dysfunction in able-bodied participants with a desire for limb amputation. Journal of neuropsychology, 3(Pt 2), 181-200. PMID: 19338723
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 »
Koppes, M., & Montgomery, D. (2009) The relative efficacy of fluvial and glacial erosion over modern to orogenic timescales. Nature Geoscience, 2(9), 644-647. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo616
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
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
In a new study, scientists look at the effect of wildlife-friendly forestry on avian species in the bottomland hardwood forests of Louisiana...read more... Read more »
Twedt, D., & Somershoe, S. (2009) Bird Response to Prescribed Silvicultural Treatments in Bottomland Hardwood Forests. Journal of Wildlife Management. DOI: 10.2193/2008-441
I've always had a deep fascination for lucid dreaming and only a handful of times have I been fortunate enough to experience such a wondrous and relatively rare state of consciousness. In one instance I decided to meditate and that blissful experience has no doubt left an indelible memory. So what's really going on in the brain during a lucid dream? In a recent study Voss and colleagues over in Germany in collaboration with Hobson at Harvard Medical School decided to investigate the electrophysi........ Read more »
Hobson JA. (2005) Sleep is of the brain, by the brain and for the brain. Nature, 437(7063), 1254-6. PMID: 16251949
By now, I would hope, the life science horror stories that turn up here on a regular basis will have convinced you that excess body fat is not good for your long term health and longevity. Some of that is the result of the biochemistry of fat tissue en mass, and some of that is the reaction of your metabolism to the sedentary, high-calorie lifestyle required to gain that fat tissue, but the end result isn't pretty. More fat means a lowered life expectancy and a greater risk of all the common age........ Read more »
A new study using both genetic and cultural data shows that ethnic groups in Central Asia are primarily a sociocultural phenomenon. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Heyer, E., Balaresque, P., Jobling, M., Quintana-Murci, L., Chaix, R., Segurel, L., Aldashev, A., & Hegay, T. (2009) Genetic diversity and the emergence of ethnic groups in Central Asia. BMC Genetics, 10(1), 49. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2156-10-49
As every year we humans pump out more and more carbon dioxide, our climate is changing. While select few in their fields disagree that any alterations are human-induced, the majority of the scientific community accepts the data which shows global warming and other changes - ocean acidification, for example - are occurring, and it's our fault. Even still, we hotly debate exactly what needs to be done, and meanwhile, the ecosystems are shifting.While we argue who should cut what emissions or who's........ Read more »
Stralberg, D., Jongsomjit, D., Howell, C., Snyder, M., Alexander, J., Wiens, J., & Root, T. (2009) Re-Shuffling of Species with Climate Disruption: A No-Analog Future for California Birds?. PLoS ONE, 4(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006825
Bruce Hood has a post up about the atheist bus ad controversy in the US state of Iowa (OK, it was a couple of weeks ago, but I've been away...). What caught my eye was a comment by Konrad:The thing that got me was the governor of the state saying that he found the ad disturbing. Clearly, people seem to treat religious adherence as symbolic of group identity so that they find the idea of atheists in their midst as threatening as that of enemy spies.The hostile reaction to what was a pretty innocu........ Read more »
Rees, TJ. (2009) Is Personal Insecurity a Cause of Cross-National Differences in the Intensity of Religious Belief?. Journal of Religion and Society. DOI: http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2009/2009-17.html
I recently linked to an extract from Richard Dawkins’ new book in which he mentions a fascinating long-term experiment on silver foxes. The short version: starting in the late 1950s, the Russian geneticist Dmitry Belyaev selectively bred a population of silver foxes for tameness, and, surprisingly, they acquired a dog-like morphology as a by-product (floppy ears, turned-up tails, and so on). In other words, determining which foxes got to breed based solely on how tame and friendly they wer........ Read more »
Trut, L. (1999) Early Canid Domestication: The Farm-Fox Experiment. American Scientist, 87(2), 160. DOI: 10.1511/1999.2.160
J. William Schopf is a paleontologist at the University of California, Los Angeles (USA). He became famous in the 1990s for his studies of the Apec chert—ancient rocks in the northern part of Western Australia near the town of Marble Bar. Parts of these rocks have been reliably dated to 3.465 billion years ago. Schopf claimed to have discovered bacteria fossils in these rocks. He published ... Read more »
Gérard, E., Moreira, D., Philippot, P., Van Kranendonk, M., & López-García, P. (2009) Modern Subsurface Bacteria in Pristine 2.7 Ga-Old Fossil Stromatolite Drillcore Samples from the Fortescue Group, Western Australia. PLoS ONE, 4(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005298
Pinti, D., Mineau, R., & Clement, V. (2009) Hydrothermal alteration and microfossil artefacts of the 3,465-million-year-old Apex chert. Nature Geoscience, 2(9), 640-643. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo601
Special issue of the Journal of European Studies: Crime and Madness in Modern Germany... Read more »
Wetzell, R. (2009) Psychiatry and criminal justice in modern Germany, 1880--1933. Journal of European Studies, 39(3), 270-289. DOI: 10.1177/0047244109106682
Ashkenazi, O. (2009) Prisoners' fantasies in Weimar film: The longing for a rational and just legal system. Journal of European Studies, 39(3), 290-304. DOI: 10.1177/0047244109106683
Greenberg, U. (2009) Criminalization: Carl Schmitt and Walter Benjamin's concept of criminal politics. Journal of European Studies, 39(3), 305-319. DOI: 10.1177/0047244109106684
Hughes, E. (2009) Art and illegality on the Weimar stage: The dances of Celly de Rheydt, Anita Berber and Valeska Gert. Journal of European Studies, 39(3), 320-335. DOI: 10.1177/0047244109106685
Siemens, D. (2009) Explaining crime: Berlin newspapers and the construction of the criminal in Weimar Germany. Journal of European Studies, 39(3), 336-352. DOI: 10.1177/0047244109106686
Hall, S. (2009) Youth protection and the prevention of juvenile delinquency: Keeping cinema on the right side of the law. Journal of European Studies, 39(3), 353-370. DOI: 10.1177/0047244109106687
Lewy, J. (2009) A biological threat or a social disease?: Alcoholism and drug addiction in Nazi Germany. Journal of European Studies, 39(3), 371-385. DOI: 10.1177/0047244109106688
Using data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, Markus Jokela (2009) has found an association between the rated attractiveness of yearbook photos and reproductive success in a contemporary industrial/technological population. This study is significant because it offers real data suggesting that attractiveness in humans can pay-off in tangible evolutionary terms in the modern world. The estimated [...]... Read more »
Jokela, M. (2009) Physical attractiveness and reproductive success in humans: evidence from the late 20th century United States☆. Evolution and Human Behavior, 30(5), 342-350. DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.03.006
Today's falsehood is the idea that individual animals act for the benefit of their own species. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Gowdy, J. (2004) Economic man and selfish genes: the implications of group selection for economic valuation and policy. Journal of Socio-Economics, 33(3), 343-358. DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2003.12.026
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