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  • July 31, 2015
  • 10:40 AM
  • 8 views

What Happens When People Text on an Obstacle Course

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Exercise scientist Conrad Earnest was dodging some oblivious pedestrians in England when inspiration struck. He was trying to walk down the sidewalk, but all around him people were weaving back and forth as they focused on their smartphone screens. Earnest suggested to two of his students that they study the dangers of texting while walking. Specifically, they could ask whether texters are more likely to trip and fall—perhaps wishful thinking on Earnest's part as he walked among them.

The... Read more »

  • July 30, 2015
  • 01:10 PM
  • 27 views

A tough bacterium that lives in poisoned soils and pulls gold out of water

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Cupriavidus metallidurans (roughly translated: lover of copper, enduring metal) is a bacterium of the class Betaproteobacteria known for its ability to withstand high concentrations of numerous metals that would be toxic to most other living things. These metals, which include Ag, Au, Bi, Cd, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Sr, Tl, U, and Zn, tend to cause problems for bacterial cells by binding to DNA or proteins, which can disrupt important stuff like obtaining energy or reproducing.The bacterium ........ Read more »

  • July 27, 2015
  • 02:49 PM
  • 80 views

Some vaccines support evolution of more-virulent viruses

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientific experiments with the herpes virus such as the one that causes Marek’s disease in poultry have confirmed, for the first time, the highly controversial theory that some vaccines could allow more-virulent versions of a virus to survive, putting unvaccinated individuals at greater risk of severe illness. The research has important implications for food-chain security and food-chain economics, as well as for other diseases that affect humans and agricultural animals.... Read more »

Andrew F. Read, Susan J. Baigent, Claire Powers, Lydia B. Kgosana, Luke Blackwell, Lorraine P. Smith, David A. Kennedy, Stephen W. Walkden-Brown, & Venugopal K. Nair. (2015) Imperfect Vaccination Can Enhance the Transmission of Highly Virulent Pathogens. PLOS Biology. info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002198

  • July 26, 2015
  • 03:12 PM
  • 78 views

Cell phone notifications may be driving you to distraction

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Whether you are alerted to an incoming phone call or text by a trendy ringtone, an alarm bell or a quiet vibration, just receiving a notification on your cell phone can cause enough of a distraction to impair your ability to focus on a given task. In fact, the distraction caused by a simple notification — whether it is a sound or a vibration — is comparable to the effects seen when users actively use their cell phones to make calls or send text messages, the researchers found.... Read more »

Stothart, C., Mitchum, A., & Yehnert, C. (2015) The Attentional Cost of Receiving a Cell Phone Notification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. DOI: 10.1037/xhp0000100  

  • July 25, 2015
  • 01:17 PM
  • 97 views

Spines of boys and girls differ at birth

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Looking at measurements of the vertebrae – the series of small bones that make up the spinal column – in newborn children, investigators at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles found that differences between the sexes are present at birth. Results of the study suggest that this difference is evolutionary, allowing the female spine to adapt to the fetal load during pregnancy.... Read more »

Ponrartana, S., Aggabao, P., Dharmavaram, N., Fisher, C., Friedlich, P., Devaskar, S., & Gilsanz, V. (2015) Sexual Dimorphism in Newborn Vertebrae and Its Potential Implications. The Journal of Pediatrics, 167(2), 416-421. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.04.078  

  • July 24, 2015
  • 06:32 AM
  • 117 views

Gay And Lesbian TV Characters Increase LGBTQ Support

by Sarah Boers-Goi in United Academics

While at times, media can be seen as forces out to create negative feelings towards minority groups, recent research by Garretson of Vanderbilt University shows an example of the positive powers that media can have on group-mechanisms. ... Read more »

  • July 23, 2015
  • 08:37 AM
  • 62 views

Social Priming: Money for Nothing?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Can the thought of money make people more conservative?



The idea that mere reminders of money can influence people's attitudes and behaviors is a major claim within the field of social priming - the study of how our behavior is unconsciously influenced by seemingly innocuous stimuli. However, social priming has been controversial lately with many high profile failures to replicate the reported effects.

Now, psychologists Doug Rohrer, Hal Pashler, and Christine Harris have joined the sk... Read more »

Doug Rohrer, Harold Pashler, & Christine R. Harris. (2015) Do Subtle Reminders of Money Change People’s Political Views?. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. info:/

  • July 16, 2015
  • 04:58 PM
  • 116 views

Women and fragrances: Scents and sensitivity

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have sniffed out an unspoken rule among women when it comes to fragrances: Women don’t buy perfume for other women, and they certainly don’t share them. Like boyfriends, current fragrance choices are hands off, forbidden–neither touch, nor smell. You can look, but that’s all, says BYU industrial design professor and study coauthor Bryan Howell.... Read more »

  • July 15, 2015
  • 02:16 PM
  • 105 views

Vaginal douches may expose women to harmful phthalate chemicals

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Women who use feminine care products called douches may increase their exposure to harmful chemicals called phthalates–and black women may be at particularly high risk due to frequent use. Public health officials advise against the use of douching products, which can hide vaginal infections and lead to other serious health problems. Despite that, douching products are still a popular item on the drug store shelf, and are disproportionately used by black women.... Read more »

Francesca Branch et al. (2015) Vaginal douching and racial/ethnic disparities in phthalate exposures among reproductive-aged women: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2004. Environmental Health. info:/10.1186/s12940-015-0043-6

  • July 15, 2015
  • 03:39 AM
  • 105 views

Frightful language tests

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

In the Middle Ages those suspected of witchcraft were often subjected to a ‘trial by fire’ to prove their innocence or guilt. The idea was that fire was a divine manifestation and hence the ordeal of being burnt would result … Continue reading →... Read more »

Young, M. M. (1989) Comment: The Salem Witch Trials 300 Years Later: How Far Has the American Legal System Come? How Much Further Does It Need to Go?. Tulane Law Review, 234-258. info:/

  • July 9, 2015
  • 03:19 PM
  • 155 views

Study finds violent video games provide quick stress relief, but at a price

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A study authored by two University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate students indicates that while playing video games can improve mood, violent games may increase aggressive outcomes. The researchers looked at how video games may be used to manage emotions — specifically, whether playing the games can improve mood.... Read more »

  • July 8, 2015
  • 12:07 AM
  • 142 views

Language or religion: which is the greater fault line in diverse societies?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

In a shopping mall in the city of Brighton, UK, a tourist was arrested on terrorism charges last week for taking a selfie video. Surely, taking selfies in a shopping mall is such a part of contemporary culture that the … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 6, 2015
  • 08:29 AM
  • 173 views

Scientists Predict A Talking Elephant, Szilamandee

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A talking white elephant called Slizamandee could save the world with his wisdom and "teach us with the deepest voice of history", according to an academic paper published today.

The article appeared in the journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. The authors are led by Otto E. Rössler, a biochemist. It's called Is it Ethical to heal a young white Elephant from his physiological Autism? Many thanks to Michelle Dawson for bringing it to my attention.



Rössler et al. start ou... Read more »

Rossler, O., Theis, C., Heiter, J., Fleischer, W., & Student, A. (2015) Is it Ethical to heal a young white Elephant from his physiological Autism?. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2015.06.020  

  • July 6, 2015
  • 06:08 AM
  • 177 views

Why Radicalize? Five Motives For Becoming A Jihadist

by Sarah Boers-Goi in United Academics

Radicalization is an analyzable process, rather than the outcome of an ‘evil’ personality.... Read more »

  • June 30, 2015
  • 08:12 PM
  • 114 views

Mongolian on the market

by Gegentuul Baioud in Language on the Move

Last week when I saw in my friends’ Wechat group an advertisement for delicately made Mongolian yurts, I thought of an article I had read earlier written by Mongolian scholar Naran Bilik. In his paper about urbanized Mongolians Bilik writes: … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • June 30, 2015
  • 02:56 PM
  • 178 views

Women’s faces get redder at ovulation, but human eyes can’t pick up on it

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Previous studies have shown that men find female faces more attractive when the women are ovulating, but the visual clues that allow this are unclear. Now, new research investigating whether it might be to do with subtle changes in skin colour has shown that women’s faces do increase in redness during ovulation, but the levels of change are just under the detectable range of the human eye.... Read more »

Hannah Rowland, & Robert Burriss. (2015) Women’s faces get redder at ovulation, but human eyes can’t pick up on it. PLOS ONE. info:/

  • June 27, 2015
  • 02:17 PM
  • 177 views

Natural wilderness areas need buffer zones to protect from human development

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite heavy development, the U.S. still has millions of acres of pristine wild lands. Coveted for their beauty, these wilderness areas draw innumerable outdoor enthusiasts eager for a taste of primitive nature. But University of Georgia researchers say these federally protected nature areas have a problem: Their boundaries have become prime real estate.... Read more »

Lauren K. Ward, & Gary T. Green. (2015) Wilderness Zoning: Applying an Adapted Biosphere Reserve Model to Wilderness Areas. Illuminare. info:/http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/illuminare/article/view/13341

  • June 25, 2015
  • 12:53 PM
  • 159 views

Commenters exposed to prejudiced comments more likely to display prejudice themselves

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Comment sections on websites continue to be an environment for trolls to spew racist opinions. The impact of these hateful words shouldn’t have an impact on how one views the news or others, but that may not be the case. A recent study found exposure to prejudiced online comments can increase people’s own prejudice, and increase the likelihood that they leave prejudiced comments themselves.... Read more »

  • June 25, 2015
  • 10:07 AM
  • 75 views

Splanchnocranium

by JB in Bone Broke

I’ve been reading a lot of research on the bioarchaeology of violence of late, thought-provoking pieces by Haagen Klaus, Deb Martin and Gwen Robbins Schug that detail the ways in which the ideology of oppression is mediated by physical and structural violence. In theory, this leaves me spending a lot of time thinking about how structural violence has molded human social interactions since complex, multi-tiered societies first arose. In practice, this means I’ve spent a lot of time s........ Read more »

Schug, G.R., K. Gray, V. Mushrif-Tripathy, and A.R. Sankhyan. (2012) A Peaceful Realm? Trauma and Social Differentiation at Harappa. International Journal of Paleopathology, 2(2-3), 136-147. info:/

  • June 23, 2015
  • 01:40 PM
  • 155 views

Justice system chips away at women’s rights

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Arrests of women increased dramatically in the past two decades, while domestic abuse laws meant to protect female victims have put many behind bars for defending themselves, a new paper argues. These trends suggest evidence, at least in the justice system, of a “war on women” — a term coined during the 2012 election that refers to attempts to limit women’s rights.... Read more »

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