There’s a new paper in this week’s issue of Science that suggests that growing a landscape mixed with genetically modified (GM) Bt corn and non-GM hybrid varieties of corn can be mutually beneficial to all corn farmers.
Why? They argue that the populations of GM corn knock down the populations of insect herbivores enough that, on [...]... Read more »
Hutchison, W., Burkness, E., Mitchell, P., Moon, R., Leslie, T., Fleischer, S., Abrahamson, M., Hamilton, K., Steffey, K., Gray, M.... (2010) Areawide Suppression of European Corn Borer with Bt Maize Reaps Savings to Non-Bt Maize Growers. Science, 330(6001), 222-225. DOI: 10.1126/science.1190242
Consider the following:
(1) Sally hates Mary.
a. How likely is this because Sally is the kind of person who hates people?
b. How likely is this because Mary is the kind of person whom people hate?
Sally hates Mary doesn't obviously supply the relevant information, but starting with work by Roger Brown and Debora Fish in 1983, numerous studies have found that people nonetheless rate (a) as more likely than (b). In contrast, people find Sally frightens Mary more indicative of Sal........ Read more »
When we think of human population change and resource use, it’s easy to assume that more people will consume more resources, such as water, energy, and food. An important corollary is that resource limitations will limit population growth. Thomas Malthus was perhaps the most influential proponent of this idea.
However, several factors complicate this story:
(1) Affluence [...]... Read more »
DeLong, J., Burger, O., & Hamilton, M. (2010) Current Demographics Suggest Future Energy Supplies Will Be Inadequate to Slow Human Population Growth. PLoS ONE, 5(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013206
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 »
ROBERT L. WILKERSON, & RODNEY B. SIEGEL. (2010) ASSESSING CHANGES IN THE DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE OF BURROWING OWLS IN CALIFORNIA, 1993-2007. Bird Populations, 1-36. info:/
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 »
Jackson, R., & Pollard, S. (2007) Bugs with backpacks deter vision-guided predation by jumping spiders. Journal of Zoology, 273(4), 358-363. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2007.00335.x
Nelson, X., & Jackson, R.R. (2006) Vision-based innate aversion to ants and ant mimics. Behavioral Ecology, 17(4), 676-681. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/ark017
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 »
Ames, T. (2010) Multispecies Coastal Shelf Recovery Plan: A Collaborative, Ecosystem-Based Approach. Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science, 217-231. DOI: 10.1577/C09-052.1
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
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:/
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:/
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 »
Acevedo-Whitehouse, K., Rocha-Gosselin, A., & Gendron, D. (2010) A novel non-invasive tool for disease surveillance of free-ranging whales and its relevance to conservation programs. Animal Conservation, 13(2), 217-225. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00326.x
RIETVELD, S., & VANBEEST, I. (2007) Rollercoaster asthma: When positive emotional stress interferes with dyspnea perception☆. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45(5), 977-987. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2006.07.009
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:/
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
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 »
Devlin, R. (2004) Population effects of growth hormone transgenic coho salmon depend on food availability and genotype by environment interactions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101(25), 9303-9308. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0400023101
Howard, R. (2004) Transgenic male mating advantage provides opportunity for Trojan gene effect in a fish. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101(9), 2934-2938. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0306285101
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
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:/
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
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
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 »
Hammond, C., Karlin, D., & Thimonier, J. (2010) Creative Research Science Experiences for High School Students. PLoS Biology, 8(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000447
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
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
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 »
Thompson, D., Wallace, J., Kennedy, J., & Jones, P. (2010) An abrupt drop in Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperature around 1970. Nature, 467(7314), 444-447. DOI: 10.1038/nature09394
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:/
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