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  • October 5, 2010
  • 06:39 PM

The Extirpation Superhighway: Publication Highlights More Burrowing Owl Losses

by Scott A. in JournOwl

It was just a couple weeks back when I brought you troubling information found by the Center for Biological Diversity (buried in the Imperial Irrigation District report) regarding the state of burrowing owls in the Imperial Valley.  Those surveys showed a 27% decline in breeding burrowing owls in what is California’s largest population.  Well, I [...]... Read more »


  • October 5, 2010
  • 05:08 PM

Assassin Bugs Use Their Victims as Shields

by Kevin Zelnio in The Online Laboratory of Kevin Zelnio

When we think of ‘prey’ we generally think of nourishment, but prey has other use too. Jackson & Pollard report on a fascinating case in which the ant-snatching assassin bug (Acanthaspis petax) makes a “backpack” of its victims to avoid being seen by its own predator, the deadly jumping spider. Masking to avoid [...]... Read more »

  • October 5, 2010
  • 02:23 AM

Matching Management to Fish and Fishers

by Sam in Oceanographer's Choice

There are no truly universal laws in ecology. Every pattern and process takes place on its own scale in time and space, and truths that hold at one scale do not necessarily hold at another. This is a fact of life anyone dealing with an ecosystem has to come to terms with, whether they are [...]... Read more »

  • October 4, 2010
  • 09:43 PM

Economists and psychologists battle over what makes us happy

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture

There has been a lot published recently on the source of happiness and what constitutes the good life, with many articles focusing on levels of personal income that mark tipping points, such as the recent claim that we need $75,000 to be happy.
In this week’s Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of [...]... Read more »

Headey, B., R. Muffels, and G.G. Wagner. (2010) Long-running German panel survey shows that personal and economic choices, not just genes, matter for happiness . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1008612107

  • October 3, 2010
  • 04:13 AM

Physiognomy of Statesmen

by John Wayland in The Darwin Tribune

Physiognomy is a debunked pseudo-science which claimed to describe characterisics solely from the face. The Illusrated Annuals of Phrenology & Physiognomy (1866) define Physiognomy as the "science of external forms in their relation to internal organisation and character,"  In 1886, Samuel Wells edited a paper suggesting characteristics of statesmen at the time, and what characteristics a statesman would need in order to be an effective man of the people. Wells (1889) initially maintains that ........ Read more »

Highfield R, Wiseman R, & Jenkins R. (2009) In Your Face. New Scientist, 201(2695), 28-32. info:/

  • October 2, 2010
  • 05:32 AM

Inhabitiveness: Its Definition, Location, and Adaptation, Together with the Importance of the having a Home

by John Wayland in The Darwin Tribune

At this time of year, as the weather turns colder and the nights become longer, one can't help but be thankful for our home. Some people never leave home, and some miss it terribly so. In contrast some don't, and do not care about their home, why is this? Today's article is concerned with the home, the importance of owning a home, and characteristics, even animal characteristics, that can be given to homeowners in order to understand what kind of home they might build and where. A........ Read more »

O.S. Fowler. (1818) Inhabitiveness: Its Definition, Location, and Adaptation, Together with the Importance of the having a Home. American Phrenological Journal and Miscellany, 55-61. info:/

  • October 1, 2010
  • 03:03 PM

The Ig Nobels have been announced!

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

Every year, the crew behind the Annals of Improbable Research honor research that "first makes people laugh, then makes them think." These awards, known as the Ig Nobels, honor some of the most entertaining research published in the past year. The competition is fierce, and the prizes highly coveted. But without further ado! This year, the winners are... Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Tero, A., Takagi, S., Saigusa, T., Ito, K., Bebber, D., Fricker, M., Yumiki, K., Kobayashi, R., & Nakagaki, T. (2010) Rules for Biologically Inspired Adaptive Network Design. Science, 327(5964), 439-442. DOI: 10.1126/science.1177894  

Lianne Parkin, Sheila M Williams, Patricia Priest. (2009) Preventing winter falls: a randomised controlled trial of a novel intervention . Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 122(1298). info:/

Stephens, R., Atkins, J., & Kingston, A. (2009) Swearing as a response to pain. NeuroReport, 1. DOI: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32832e64b1  

Pluchino, A., Rapisarda, A., & Garofalo, C. (2010) The Peter principle revisited: A computational study. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 389(3), 467-472. DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2009.09.045  

Tan, M., Jones, G., Zhu, G., Ye, J., Hong, T., Zhou, S., Zhang, S., & Zhang, L. (2009) Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time. PLoS ONE, 4(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007595  

  • October 1, 2010
  • 09:16 AM

Frankenfish: Genetically Modified Salmon

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

Critics call them “frankenfish.” Advocates call them delicious. Either way, a genetically engineered salmon may be served up on your plate sooner than you think. In the United States, over 90% of corn, cotton, soybeans, and sugar beets we grow and consume are already genetically modified (GM). Therefore, the absence of GM animals may seem [...]... Read more »

Richt, J., Kasinathan, P., Hamir, A., Castilla, J., Sathiyaseelan, T., Vargas, F., Sathiyaseelan, J., Wu, H., Matsushita, H., Koster, J.... (2006) Production of cattle lacking prion protein. Nature Biotechnology, 25(1), 132-138. DOI: 10.1038/nbt1271  

  • September 30, 2010
  • 12:13 AM

New insights on global threats to water security

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture

Water security is making a bit of a splash this week.  CNBC ran this story on the water crises in western U.S. states, where the region is possibly closing in on a day of reckoning, as described by Felicity Barringer in the NY Times, and creating a climate of pessimism among some western water managers.
The [...]... Read more »

Vörösmarty, C., McIntyre, P., Gessner, M., Dudgeon, D., Prusevich, A., Green, P., Glidden, S., Bunn, S., Sullivan, C., Liermann, C.... (2010) Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity. Nature, 467(7315), 555-561. DOI: 10.1038/nature09440  

  • September 28, 2010
  • 11:53 PM

Not Good Enough: Copenhagen Accord May Doom Coral Reefs

by Rick MacPherson in Deep Sea News

The left image represents an intact system at current CO2 levels; the center image shows coral decay with increased CO2; and the right image shows a devastated system with even higher CO2 emissions. O. Hoegh-Guldberg, et al (2007) Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification, Science, 318(5857), p. 1741
When you’re in the biodiversity conservation . . . → Read More: Not Good Enough: Copenhagen Accord May Doom Coral Reefs... Read more »

Joeri Rogelj, Claudine Chen, Julia Nabel, Kirsten Macey, William Hare, MichielSchaeffer, Kathleen Markmann, Niklas Höhne, Katrine Krogh Andersen and Malte Meinshausen. (2010) Analysis of the Copenhagen Accord pledges and its global climatic impacts – a snapshot of dissonant ambitions. Environmental Research Letters, 5(4). info:/

  • September 28, 2010
  • 07:05 PM

Cell culture: Oktoberfest

by Rogue in Into Oblivion

On September 18, the 200th edition of Oktoberfest was kicked off in Munich, Germany. Roasted chicken, weisswurst and tasty bretzels are all around, and of course, the beer! In this edition of Cell Culture, the whole beer journey is presented: from the foamy Mass to tourist’s liver. Michaeleen Doucleff writes a must-read report about it. [...]... Read more »

Doucleff M. (2010) Cell culture: Oktoberfest. Cell. info:/10.1016/j.cell.2010.09.007

  • September 28, 2010
  • 12:15 AM

Transfer of transgenic crop toxins to aquatic ecosystems potentially widespread in the industrial Corn Belt of the U.S.

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are back in the news.  A few days ago, NPR featured a couple of blog posts (here and here) considering whether the new GMO “supersized” salmon will be harmful to aquatic ecosystems.
A concern with GMOs is that—like the early adoption of pesticides—potential risks are being borne by the environment and consumers [...]... Read more »

Jennifer L. Tank, Emma J. Rosi-Marshall, Todd V. Royer, Matt R. Whiles, Natalie A. Griffiths, Therese C. Frauendorf, and David J. Treering. (2010) Occurrence of maize detritus and a transgenic insecticidal protein (Cry1Ab) within the stream network of an agricultural landscape. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1006925107

  • September 27, 2010
  • 11:30 PM

Because publishing your paper is only half of the job

by Rogue in Into Oblivion

The title of this posting refers to the excellent article from David Dobbs I bookmarked very recently. I’d like to present you a very interesting initiative from French bioscience research program for high-school students called « Tous chercheurs ». The Community Page of the very last PLoS Biology is dedicated to this project and I find it really great. Because, indeed, publishing your science paper is only half of the job.... Read more »

  • September 27, 2010
  • 08:42 AM

News about the Integrated Microbial Genomes (IMG) resource

by Jennifer in OpenHelix

I’ve got a few news items regarding IMG, or Integrated Microbial Genomes, from the DOE Joint Genome Institute. The first item is that their Sept 2010 release occurred this week. IMG is now on version 3.2, has updated features and a bunch of new/revised genomes. I’ve begun updating our tutorial & will let you know when that is released. It’s not the craziest level of tool changes that I’ve seen from this group, but dang, they SURE don’t rest on their laurels! The........ Read more »

Ditty, J., Kvaal, C., Goodner, B., Freyermuth, S., Bailey, C., Britton, R., Gordon, S., Heinhorst, S., Reed, K., Xu, Z.... (2010) Incorporating Genomics and Bioinformatics across the Life Sciences Curriculum. PLoS Biology, 8(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000448  

  • September 24, 2010
  • 09:44 AM

Nikita Malavia: From Mumbai to MIT

by Susan Steinhardt in The PostDoc Forum

PostDoc Nikita Malavia is our featured scientist of the month. Follow Nikita on LinkedIn and Twitter.
How did you first become interested in the science field?
For me it started in high school back home in Mumbai, India. I was always interested and good in math and science especially chemistry and biology. Doing well in [...]... Read more »

Malavia NK, Mih JD, Raub CB, Dinh BT, & George SC. (2008) IL-13 induces a bronchial epithelial phenotype that is profibrotic. Respiratory research, 27. PMID: 18348727  

Malavia NK, Raub CB, Mahon SB, Brenner M, Panettieri RA Jr, & George SC. (2009) Airway epithelium stimulates smooth muscle proliferation. American journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology, 41(3), 297-304. PMID: 19151317  

  • September 22, 2010
  • 10:25 PM

Rethinking the mechanisms of 20th century climate change

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture

The rise in global mean temperature of about 0.9 degrees C over the 20th century is one of the most well-known trends in the science of global change.   Several modeling and empirical studies suggest that some (~0.3 degrees C) of this warming is due to natural causes like increased solar intensity and decreased vulcanism [...]... Read more »

  • September 22, 2010
  • 09:06 AM

Simulation of Supply Chain Disruptions

by Daniel Dumke in SCRM Blog - Supply Chain Risk Management

Still too many cooperations do not analyze their supply networks using consistent and scientifically proven methods. Some already do. One case of a company (ABC) is described below.

Goals and Methods
ABC company wanted to know more about their exposure to supply chain disruptions originating from their own plants but also the connected transportation links, suppliers and customers. Specifically, the goals were:Assess the current level of supply chain disruption risk in the systemTest diffe........ Read more »

Schmitt, Amanda J., & Singh Mahender. (2009) Quantifying Supply Chain Disruption Risk Using Monte Carlo and Discrete-Event Simulation. Proceedings of the 2009 Winter Simulation Conference, 1237-1248. info:/

  • September 21, 2010
  • 04:01 PM

How to handle the paper glut

by Rogue in Into Oblivion

In a Letter to Science, Donald Siegel and Philippe Baveye discuss what they call « the paper glut » we face and address suggestions to improve the reviewing system. « Publish or perrish » has become a real fashion of doing research and has somehow replaced the desire to share knowledge. The authors recall that the amount of schlarly [...]... Read more »

Siegel D, & Baveye P. (2010) Battling the paper glut. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5998), 1466. PMID: 20847251  

  • September 21, 2010
  • 03:41 PM

Agonist-directed trafficking of receptor stimulus, Pharm 551A: Berg et al., 1998


After doing a whole bunch of cutting-edge papers for the class its time to go back in time a bit (like 1998 is ancient but anyways) and do an oldie-but-goodie. This particular paper, “Effector Pathway-Dependent Relative Efficacy at Serotonin Type … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 21, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Why does asbestos cause lung cancer?

by David Bradley in SciScoop Science Forum

When we had some building working work done many years ago, there was a minor scare when one of the builders thought that a panel might be asbestos, thankfully turned out to be some reconstituted wood chip product. But, if it had been asbestos it would have meant us evacuating our home, the recruitment of [...]... Read more »

Liu, G., Beri, R., Mueller, A., & Kamp, D. (2010) Molecular mechanisms of asbestos-induced lung epithelial cell apoptosis. Chemico-Biological Interactions, 188(2), 309-318. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbi.2010.03.047  

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