Post List

  • June 27, 2010
  • 09:03 PM

Plot Multiple Time Series using the flow/inkblot/river/ribbon/volcano/hourglass/area/whatchamacallit plots ~ blue whale catch per country w/ ggplot2

by apeescape in mind of a Markov chain

Ever since I first looked at this NYT visualization by Amanda Cox, I’ve always wanted to reproduce this in R. This is a plot that stacks multiple time series onto one another, with the width of the river/ribbon/hourglass representing the strength at each time. The NYT article used box office revenue as the width of the river. It’s also an interactive web app. thanks to some help from graphic designers.... Read more »

Havre, S., Hetzler, E., Whitney, P., & Nowell, L. (2002) ThemeRiver: visualizing thematic changes in large document collections. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 8(1), 9-20. DOI: 10.1109/2945.981848  

  • June 27, 2010
  • 04:30 PM

If you ostracise them, will they come?

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Humans, like all other primates, are obsessed by their peer group of colleagues and acquaintances. And that's for good reason because, for primates, being excluded from the group can be lethal.

So what do you do if you find yourself being ostracised? Well, for humans at least, one option is to turn to religion. Religion, after all, provides a ready-made community for those who conform to the group ideology – and even for those who don't, religion offers a virtual world of supernatural buddies........ Read more »

  • June 27, 2010
  • 03:37 PM

Hi ho! Hi Ho! It’s off to work we go!

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

I know, it’s Monday and such cheer about work should be reserved for people with no life – but helping people return to work has been and still is one of my favourite parts of pain management. A pity that work rehabilitation has become somewhat far removed from pain management as it is practiced in … Read more... Read more »

Ammendolia, C., Cassidy, D., Steensta, I., Soklaridis, S., Boyle, E., Eng, S., Howard, H., Bhupinder, B., & Côté, P. (2009) Designing a workplace return-to-work program for occupational low back pain: an intervention mapping approach. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 10(1), 65. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2474-10-65  

  • June 27, 2010
  • 03:03 PM

Expecting back pain – the possibility of a self-fulfilling prophecy

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

It seems like years ago now, well, it is years ago now, that I did this study with The Walking Cortex (TWC, Paul Hodges).  This was one of my PhD studies. I think it is quite a groovy study.  We gave supposedly normal healthy volunteers painful electric shocks, through electrodes placed over the back of [...]... Read more »

Moseley GL, Nicholas MK, & Hodges PW. (2004) Does anticipation of back pain predispose to back trouble?. Brain : a journal of neurology, 127(Pt 10), 2339-47. PMID: 15282214  

Flor H, Birbaumer N, Schugens MM, & Lutzenberger W. (1992) Symptom-specific psychophysiological responses in chronic pain patients. Psychophysiology, 29(4), 452-60. PMID: 1410176  

Hodges PW, Moseley GL, Gabrielsson A, & Gandevia SC. (2003) Experimental muscle pain changes feedforward postural responses of the trunk muscles. Experimental brain research. Experimentelle Hirnforschung. Experimentation cerebrale, 151(2), 262-71. PMID: 12783146  

Kaigle, A., Holm, S., & Hansson, T. (1995) Experimental Instability in the Lumbar Spine. Spine, 20(supplement), 421-430. DOI: 10.1097/00007632-199502001-00004  

Lethem J, Slade PD, Troup JD, & Bentley G. (1983) Outline of a Fear-Avoidance Model of exaggerated pain perception--I. Behaviour research and therapy, 21(4), 401-8. PMID: 6626110  

Slade PD, Troup JD, Lethem J, & Bentley G. (1983) The Fear-Avoidance Model of exaggerated pain perception--II. Behaviour research and therapy, 21(4), 409-16. PMID: 6626111  

Zedka M, Prochazka A, Knight B, Gillard D, & Gauthier M. (1999) Voluntary and reflex control of human back muscles during induced pain. The Journal of physiology, 591-604. PMID: 10523425  

  • June 27, 2010
  • 01:15 PM

How did the victims of the Plinean Eruption of Vesuvius die?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

Even at the most extreme edges of the flow of stuff out of the volcano Pompeii, at the far edge of the mud and ash that came from the volcano's explosion, the heat was sufficient to instantly kill everyone, even those inside their homes.

And that is how the people at Pompeii, who's remains were found trapped and partly preserved within ghostly body-shaped tombs within that pyroclastic flow, died. They did not suffocate. They did not get blown apart by force. They did not die of gas poisoning........ Read more »

  • June 27, 2010
  • 12:35 PM

Monkeys and Mice: A Literature Review the Anti-Vaccine Folks Should Embrace But Won't

by KWombles in Countering...

Aschner and Ceccatelli (2010) review the relevant data for thimerosal as a cause of autism. They conclude there is "no reliable data indicating that administration of vaccines containing thimerosal is a primary cause ofautism. However, one cannot rule out the possibility that the individual gene profile and/or gene–environmentinteractions may play a role in modulating the response to acquired risk by modifying the individual susceptibility."Aschner and Ceccatelli first discuss a........ Read more »

  • June 27, 2010
  • 11:00 AM

Sea-Floor Sunday #65: Makran accretionary wedge

by Brian Romans in Clastic Detritus

This week’s Sea-Floor Sunday image is from a recent paper in Sedimentology by Bourget et al. that investigates the deep-marine sedimentary system associated with the Makran subduction zone and accretionary wedge in the northwest Indian Ocean (offshore of Iran and Pakistan). The Arabian plate is subducting northward underneath continental blocks now part of the Eurasian [...]... Read more »

  • June 27, 2010
  • 08:05 AM

Faraway fettered fish fluctuate frequently

by CJA Bradshaw in ConservationBytes

Hello! I am Little Fish Swimming in the Sea. I have lots of fishy friends. Come along with me. (apologies to Lucy Cousins and Walker Books) I have to thank my 3-year old daughter and one of her favourite books for that intro. Now to the serious stuff. I am very proud to announce a [...]... Read more »

  • June 27, 2010
  • 05:33 AM

Oxygen and heart attacks – keep calm and carry on

by Euan in Dr Euan Lawson| Doctor Writer

A common mnemonic used  by medical students to remember the initial treatment of myocardial infarction is NOMA. Nitrates. Oxygen. Morphine. Aspirin. They are not necessarily given in that order but this prescription has the benefit of clarity when confronted by the real thing. Only it turns out it may not be quite so clear cut. [...]... Read more »

  • June 27, 2010
  • 04:14 AM

Warning Signs That Something is Not Scientific

by Barbara Drescher in ICBS Everywhere

*Some editing and language added by Barbara A. Drescher
Some people promote theories and treatments that they claim to be scientific, but are not. On this website, we often refer to such dubious claims as “woo” or pseudoscience. These often troublesome theories and treatments are widely advertised on the internet, on TV, and in the psychology or self-help sections of commercial book stores. But because some material in these venues is legitimate, it is important to know how to distinguish s........ Read more »

Lilienfeld, S.O., Lynn, S.J., & Lohr, J.M. (2003) Science and pseudoscience in clinical psychology: Initial thoughts, reflections and considerations. In S.O. Lilienfeld, S.J. Lynn, , 1-38. info:/

  • June 26, 2010
  • 08:03 PM

#evol2010 day 1: In which chromosomes invert and sources sink

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

The first day at Evolution 2010 has been a great one. The location in Portland is proving to be great in stereotypical ways: great beer from Rogue Ales, conference t-shirts by American Apparel. There's pretty good chatter on Twitter this year under the hashtag #evol2010, and in a first for Evolution meeting coverage, there will be daily wrap-up audiocasts (in which I'll be participating) at the blog Evolution, Development, and Genomics.

Amusingly, we're sharing the Oregon Convention Center with........ Read more »

  • June 26, 2010
  • 01:24 PM

The evolution of mutualistic relationships

by Lab Rat in Lab Rat

Although bacteria are often thought of as invading pathogens, not all bacterial interactions are necessarily to the detriment of the host. Some bacteria are able to establish mutualistic relationships which benefit both the bacteria and the organism in which it lives. An example can be seen in legumes, which have bacteria in specialised root nodules which carry out nitrogen fixation. The plant gains a source of nitrogen while the bacterium gains a safe space to live and a good source of carbohyd........ Read more »

  • June 26, 2010
  • 12:23 PM

Only the Brain is Worried about Getting Fat

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

One thing that virtually all women share is body image issues. No matter how thin or fat, short or tall, or muscular or slim, women dislike something about their body. According to a new study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, even women who are seemingly well-adjusted with no overt body image issues have [...]... Read more »

Owens, T., Allen, M., & Spangler, D. (2010) An fMRI study of self-reflection about body image: Sex differences. Personality and Individual Differences, 48(7), 849-854. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.02.012  

  • June 26, 2010
  • 10:28 AM

Criminally photosynthetic: Myrionecta, Dinophysis and stolen plastids

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

The microbial world is full of vicious beasts. Yes, much of microbial life is cute and cuddly in one way or another. But that doesn't stop many of them from making wolverines seem docile by comparison. There is an entire mafia out there built around...organ theft; including some multicellular players as well, in case you thought animals were saintly. Today we'll look at some famous thieving masterminds of the plastid black market, but keep in mind that there are many more fascinating rela........ Read more »

Park, M., Kim, S., Kim, H., Myung, G., Kang, Y., & Yih, W. (2006) First successful culture of the marine dinoflagellate Dinophysis acuminata. Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 101-106. DOI: 10.3354/ame045101  

Stoecker, D., Johnson, M., deVargas, C., & Not, F. (2009) Acquired phototrophy in aquatic protists. Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 279-310. DOI: 10.3354/ame01340  

  • June 26, 2010
  • 09:36 AM

Incorporating science into home gardening

by Katie Kline in EcoTone

Blanketing a home garden in pesticides poses a clear risk to the humans and animals who dine on it. But when the garden is compared to a human immune system, another problem becomes apparent: Just like antibiotics, pesticides wipe out the “good bugs” with the bad. These helpful predators and parasitoids are called natural enemies and they help to naturally control pests like aphids and caterpillars. Certain plants attract natural enemies and/or deter pests all together and can be used in pla........ Read more »

  • June 26, 2010
  • 01:34 AM

Ep 131: The Science of Sport at Altitude

by westius in Mr Science Show

Professor Chris Gore, head of Physiology at the Australian Institute of Sport, has had over 20 years experience in the science of sport at altitude, including the study of the physiological effects of altitude on the body and designing altitude training regimes for athletes.

The effects of altitude have been known for some time, however their effects on sport became prominent during the 1968 Mexico Olympics, which were held at over 2000 metres. At these games, endurance sports suffered w........ Read more »

  • June 26, 2010
  • 12:24 AM

Why Red Ink and Rain Can Ruin Your Grade

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

One of the eerier themes in psychology papers is the extreme susceptibility of people's thoughts and acts to incidental details in their surroundings. For instance, this paper from a recent European Journal of Social Psychology (I was led to it by this recent news story), in which people rated some paragraphs, supposedly from a student essay. Those who used red ink found more errors, and gave lower grades, than those who'd used blue.
Pretty disturbing -- like this Canadian study publis........ Read more »

Redelmeier, D., & Baxter, S. (2009) Rainy weather and medical school admission interviews. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 181(12), 933-933. DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.091546  

  • June 25, 2010
  • 10:55 PM

Real Men Kill Themselves Quietly

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Oliffe et al. (2010) think that suicidal men either choose the path of connection or the path of escape, and if the latter, then that means those men have been adversely affected by masculine ideals.... Read more »

  • June 25, 2010
  • 10:24 PM

Another Illustration as to Why There Will Be Many, Many Genetic Contributions to Longevity

by Reason in Fight Aging!

As I mentioned not so long ago, there will most likely prove to be a great many subtle and overlapping genetic variants of human longevity. However, very few of them will be important in the sense that they will lead to ways to significantly increase human life span through new medicine. The effective way to greatly increase human longevity is to learn to repair the biochemical damage of aging, not to tinker with metabolism to slow down the rate at which damage occurs. In any case, here is an ex........ Read more »

Michal Jazwinski S, Kim S, Dai J, Li L, Bi X, Jiang JC, Arnold J, Batzer MA, Walker JA, Welsh DA.... (2010) HRAS1 and LASS1 with APOE are associated with human longevity and healthy aging. Aging cell. PMID: 20569235  

  • June 25, 2010
  • 07:42 PM

Night of the Living Dead Stars

by Professor Astronomy in Professor Astronomy

Image Credit: NASA / Spitzer / JPL-Caltech

White dwarfs, the slowly cooling remains of stars that have completed their life cycles, often seem to be the zombies of the night sky, devouring anything that happens to stray within their grasp.  In an article that will be appearing in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal, astronomers Patrick Dufour, Mukremin Kilic and collaborators discuss a recently-discovered white dwarf that seems to have devoured a dwarf planet.  Its name:&........ Read more »

P. Dufour, M. Kilic, G. Fontaine, P. Bergeron, F. -R. Lachapelle, S. J. Kleinman, & S. K. Leggett. (2010) The Discovery of the Most Metal-Rich White Dwarf: Composition of a Tidally Disrupted Extrasolar Dwarf Planet. The Astrophysical Journal. arXiv: 1006.3710v1

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit