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  • April 17, 2013
  • 05:34 PM

Van Gogh was afraid of the moon and other lies

by TheCellularScale in The Cellular Scale

I remember the first time I realized just how easily false information gets spread about.A terrifying starry nightI was in French class in high school. Our homework had been to find out 1 interesting fact about Van Gogh and tell it to the class. When it was my turn, I said some boring small fact that I no longer remember. My friend sitting behind me, however, had a fascinating fact: When Van Gogh was a young child, he was actually afraid of the moon.The teacher and the class were all quite impre........ Read more »

Lewandowsky, S., Ecker, U., Seifert, C., Schwarz, N., & Cook, J. (2012) Misinformation and Its Correction: Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13(3), 106-131. DOI: 10.1177/1529100612451018  

  • April 12, 2013
  • 10:44 PM

The Artful Badger

by Denise O'Meara in Denise O'Meara

Badgers (Meles meles) In Ireland...... Read more »

O'Meara, D., Edwards, C., Sleeman, D., Cross, T., Statham, M., Mcdowell, J., Dillane, E., Coughlan, J., O'Leary, D., O'Reilly, C.... (2012) Genetic structure of Eurasian badgers Meles meles (Carnivora: Mustelidae) and the colonization history of Ireland. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 106(4), 893-909. DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2012.01927.x  

Zachos, F., Apollonio, M., Bärmann, E., Festa-Bianchet, M., Göhlich, U., Habel, J., Haring, E., Kruckenhauser, L., Lovari, S., McDevitt, A.... (2013) Species inflation and taxonomic artefacts—A critical comment on recent trends in mammalian classification. Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, 78(1), 1-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2012.07.083  

  • April 12, 2013
  • 09:27 PM

Real Scientists Tweet

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hi Julie,I hope you have an awesome time at Science Online Teen tomorrow! I hope you get asked lots of questions about your presentation, Dogs: Science in Your Living Room. It's so true that dogs make for a sensational gateway to scientific enquiry - and they're right there, in front of us!If anyone happens to ask you "What's it like being a scientific canine behavioural researcher?", be sure to tell them to tune in to the @realscientists Twitter project from Sunday (or Satur........ Read more »

Brossard Dominique, & Scheufele Dietram A. (2012) Social science. Science, new media, and the public. Science (New York, N.Y.), 339(6115), 40-41. PMID: 23288529  

  • April 12, 2013
  • 09:52 AM

The human machine: setting the dials

by James Felce in The Trenches of Discovery

The previous post in this series can be found here.

It may seem sometimes that nature is a cruel mistress. We are all dealt our hand from the moment of  liaison between our lucky gold-medalist sperm and its egg companion. We are short or tall, broad or skinny, strong or weak because of the haphazard combination of genes that we wind up with, and that should be the end of the matter. Yet, as any seasoned card player will tell you, it is not the hand that matters, but how you pl........ Read more »

Barrès, R., Yan, J., Egan, B., Treebak, J., Rasmussen, M., Fritz, T., Caidahl, K., Krook, A., O'Gorman, D., & Zierath, J. (2012) Acute Exercise Remodels Promoter Methylation in Human Skeletal Muscle. Cell Metabolism, 15(3), 405-411. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2012.01.001  

Hackett, J., Sengupta, R., Zylicz, J., Murakami, K., Lee, C., Down, T., & Surani, M. (2012) Germline DNA Demethylation Dynamics and Imprint Erasure Through 5-Hydroxymethylcytosine. Science, 339(6118), 448-452. DOI: 10.1126/science.1229277  

  • April 11, 2013
  • 08:54 AM

May the odds be ever in your favor: academic tenure

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture

“Excuse me; the whole tenure system is ridiculous. A guaranteed job for life only encourages the faculty to become complacent. If we really want science to advance, people should have chips implanted in their skulls that explode when they say something stupid.” Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory Between the recent ACUMEN (academic careers understood [...]

... Read more »

Abbott, A., Cyranoski, D., Jones, N., Maher, B., Schiermeier, Q., & Van Noorden, R. (2010) Metrics: Do metrics matter?. Nature, 465(7300), 860-862. DOI: 10.1038/465860a  

  • April 10, 2013
  • 05:41 PM

The human machine: probing the mechanics

by James Felce in The Trenches of Discovery

The previous post in this series can be found here.

This week, inspired by Shaun's most recent post covering exciting new results in cosmology, I have decided to also take a quick look at one of the fascinating recent findings of molecular biology. I hope to give some insight into how this work is done, and why it is not only intellectually interesting, but also potentially practically useful. 

What do we know?

Those of you who have been following this series for a while might r........ Read more »

Baradaran, R., Berrisford, J., Minhas, G., & Sazanov, L. (2013) Crystal structure of the entire respiratory complex I. Nature, 494(7438), 443-448. DOI: 10.1038/nature11871  

  • April 10, 2013
  • 11:09 AM

Getting Science Right: Staring at Large Breasts Makes you Live Longer

by Andrew Porterfield in United Academics

What’s the story?
It’s great news for leering men! A study in none other than the New England Journal of Medicine found that men who stare at large breasts live longer than men who don’t. A German research group, headed by an aging specialist named Karen Weatherby, found that staring at large breasts for longer than 10 minutes is equivalent to a 30 minute workout. The study, which took five years, revealed that breast watching men had lower blood pressure, slower resting pulse........ Read more »

  • April 10, 2013
  • 12:33 AM

Counterintuitive Conservation

by Emarkham in GeneticCuckoo

An analysis of the proposal to legalize the trade in rhino horn in order to reduce the poaching of the remaining wild rhinos. Legalizing the trade of rhino horn is claimed to reduce the demand on the black market and is likely to be the best method for conserving the remaining rhinos, however other factors can influence the potential success of this. ... Read more »

E Markham. (2013) Counterintuitive Conservation. Blogspot. info:/

  • April 8, 2013
  • 11:25 AM

Genetic privacy webinar series continues

by Mary in OpenHelix

There have been a number of heated discussions about genetic privacy recently. Lately the discussion of the Henrietta Lacks (HeLa) genome paper erupted into wide-ranging awareness of some of the issues and complexities around genome data and family relationships. The paper by Yaniv Erlich’s team about re-identification of study participants using genealogy site details also [...]... Read more »

Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. (2012) Privacy and Progress in Whole Genome Sequencing. info:other/

Gymrek, M., McGuire, A., Golan, D., Halperin, E., & Erlich, Y. (2013) Identifying Personal Genomes by Surname Inference. Science, 339(6117), 321-324. DOI: 10.1126/science.1229566  

  • April 8, 2013
  • 08:18 AM

Anonymity In Science – New Neuroskeptic Paper

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Six months ago, I proudly announced Blogging’s First Academic Paper. That was when Perspectives in Psychological Science became the first scientific journal to publish an article under a blogging pseudonym (an adaptation of this post). But while the blogging bit was new, many scientists have published work anonymously or pseudonymously before… as I explain in [...]... Read more »

Neuroskeptic. (2013) Anonymity in Science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.03.004  

  • April 8, 2013
  • 04:08 AM

Publish and Perish: Aspects of Science Fraud

by gunnardw in The Beast, the Bard and the Bot

If you want to make it in the academic world, you better publish. A lot. Preferably in so-called high-impact journals. Otherwise, no job and no funding (or the other way around). Hence the use of the phrase ‘publish or perish’ to capture the enormous importance of generating sufficient publications in sufficiently respectable journals. And most [...]... Read more »

  • April 6, 2013
  • 03:16 PM

Induced Hibernation in Rat: an interview with Matteo Cerri

by Eugenio Maria Battaglia in

The possibility of inducing a suspended animation state similar to natural torpor would be greatly beneficial in medical science, since it would avoid the adverse consequence of the powerful autonomic activation evoked by external cooling. Previous attempts to systemically inhibit metabolism were successful in mice, but practically ineffective in nonhibernators. Here we show that the selective pharmacological inhibition of key neurons in the central pathways for thermoregulatory cold defense is ........ Read more »

  • April 5, 2013
  • 08:59 AM

A short rant about numbered references

by Dorothy Bishop in bishopblog

I find the numbered (Vancouver) referencing system adopted by many journals very irritating, and I explain why.... Read more »

  • April 2, 2013
  • 03:04 AM

Steven Pinker: "People in music hate this theory"

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Steven Pinker explains again why music is not an adaptation but should be seen as a kind of 'supernormal stimulus'...... Read more »

Honing, H. (2011) Muziek is geen luxe.. maar wat dan wel?. Academische Boekengids. info:/

Collier, D., Honing, H., & Oliver, R. (2012) REVIEWS. Journal of Music, Technology and Education, 5(1), 109-121. DOI: 10.1386/jmte.5.1.109_5  

  • April 1, 2013
  • 05:00 PM

Can a Sea Lion keep the beat too?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Yesterday another piece of evidence was published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology showing a sea lion (Zalophus californianus) being able to learned to entrain to the beat of the music.... Read more »

  • March 31, 2013
  • 09:14 AM

Greenland, Frederica de Laguna, and Early Convergences

by Andreas Muenchow in Icy Seas

Not sure why, but this photo of two young scientists working off Greenland has been in my mind for the last 3 days. It shows a 25-year graduate student of Anthropology from Columbia University, Frederica de Laguna, with one of … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • March 28, 2013
  • 06:57 PM

Throw another dog in the (data) pool

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Hello Julie,My, oh my! What an exciting time it was last week, witnessing Dog Spies' migration to the Scientific American Blog Network. Such a great day for dogs, for science and for YOU!  Yah! for this recognition of your fabulous writing achievements, communicating the field of canine science to a broader audience. WELL DONE!As for your question about writing and how I do it, I have to admit I'm 'between systems' currently. By this, I mean that I sometimes map out ideas and plan........ Read more »

Liberati Alessandro, Altman Douglas G., Tetzlaff Jennifer, Mulrow Cynthia, Gøtzsche Peter C., Ioannidis John P.A., Clarke Mike, Devereaux P.J., Kleijnen Jos, & Moher David. (2009) The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate health care interventions: explanation and elaboration. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 62(10). DOI: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2009.06.006  

Dorey Nicole R., Udell Monique A.R., & Wynne Clive D.L. (2009) Breed differences in dogs sensitivity to human points: A meta-analysis. Behavioural Processes, 81(3), 409-415. DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2009.03.011  

Fratkin Jamie L, Sinn David L, Patall Erika A, & Gosling Samuel D. (2013) Personality consistency in dogs: a meta-analysis. PloS one. PMID: 23372787  

Nimer Janelle, & Lundahl Brad. (2007) Animal-Assisted Therapy: A Meta-Analysis. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 20(3), 225-238. DOI: 10.2752/089279307X224773  

  • March 25, 2013
  • 08:00 AM

Steering into the skid: what can we fix with formal training in grad school?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

A couple of years ago, I got into a car wreck. A tire blew out on a truck to my right. It swerved and hit me. I skidded across the road. You know what you’re supposed to do in that situation, right?

You’re supposed to steer into the skid.

I did not. I was unable to correct the skid, and wound up crossing a couple of lanes of the highway. There was no oncoming traffic, and I was fine.

I was trained to do the correct thing and steer into the skid. I took driving lessons. Steering into the s........ Read more »

Fang F. C., Steen R. G., & Casadevall A. (2012) Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(42), 17028-17033. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1212247109  

  • March 22, 2013
  • 06:50 PM

A great role model for collaborative science: meet the OpenWorm

by Eugenio Maria Battaglia in Science to Grok

Sometimes even big project could start from a tweet.

Matteo Cantarelli - member of the OpenWorm team - says: "It was 2007 when Giovanni Idili and I started - naively - talking about simulating the worm. We were approaching the problem after having hit common limits of artificial intelligence. We never got to write any code for the worm at that time, we just had lengthy conversations and paper reading sessions together."
... Read more »

  • March 21, 2013
  • 10:00 AM

Blogging as post-publication peer review: reasonable or unfair?

by Dorothy Bishop in bishopblog

In a previous blogpost, I criticized a recent paper claiming that playing action video games improved reading in dyslexics. In a series of comments below the blogpost, two of the authors have responded to my criticisms. I thank them for taking the trouble to spell out their views and giving readers the opportunity to see another point of view. I am, however, not persuaded by their arguments, which make two main points. First, that their study was not methodologically weak and so Current Biology ........ Read more »

Ioannidis JP, Pereira TV, & Horwitz RI. (2013) Emergence of large treatment effects from small trials--reply. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 309(8), 768-9. PMID: 23443435  

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