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  • February 13, 2012
  • 04:00 PM

Green Super Rice: Is It the Solution to Feeding More than 7 Billion People?

by United Academics in United Academics

According to John Vidal from The Observer, scientist Zhikang Li may become one of the most important people of the century, and yet his name remains mainly unknown. He is responsible for the development of the so-called “green super rice”; different kinds of strongly resistant rice that haven’t been genetically modified.... Read more »

  • February 10, 2012
  • 07:56 AM

This Chimp May Be Smarter than You

by United Academics in United Academics

His name is Ayumu, and he’s unbeatable at a memorization game. When he was 5 years old his skills stunned the world. A research was published in 2007 reporting his achievements, and now that he is 11 years old it seems that he is at his best, better than any human.... Read more »

Inoue, S., & Matsuzawa, T. (2007) Working memory of numerals in chimpanzees. Current Biology, 17(23). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2007.10.027  

  • February 8, 2012
  • 10:11 AM

Small Primate Communicates in High-Pitched Sounds Inaudible to Humans

by United Academics in United Academics

US researchers have discovered that Philippine Tarsier can “talk” within the pure ultrasound domain, this is, above human hearing capacity.... Read more »

Ramsier, M., Cunningham, A., Moritz, G., Finneran, J., Williams, C., Ong, P., Gursky-Doyen, S., & Dominy, N. (2012) Primate communication in the pure ultrasound. Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.1149  

  • February 8, 2012
  • 08:00 AM

Ship Noise Causes Stress in Whales, Study Reveals

by United Academics in United Academics

Following September 11, 2001, ship traffic along America’s shores was substantially decreased. A team of researchers used the situation to test the stress levels of North Atlantic right whales, finding evidence that low-frequency sounds from ships cause chronic stress in whales.... Read more »

Rolland, R., Parks, S., Hunt, K., Castellote, M., Corkeron, P., Nowacek, D., Wasser, S., & Kraus, S. (2012) Evidence that ship noise increases stress in right whales. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.2429  

  • February 7, 2012
  • 10:10 AM

Military Use of Neuroscience Should Be Regulated, Report Warns

by United Academics in United Academics

tDCS is a form of neurostimulation that, in the case of the research mentioned above, led to a better detection of concealed objects, based on the fact that the brain detects things before the subject is consciously aware of them. The results also showed that it may improve learning abilities, thus decreasing “the time required to attain expertise in a variety of settings,” according to the study.... Read more »

Clark, V., Coffman, B., Mayer, A., Weisend, M., Lane, T., Calhoun, V., Raybourn, E., Garcia, C., & Wassermann, E. (2012) TDCS guided using fMRI significantly accelerates learning to identify concealed objects. NeuroImage, 59(1), 117-128. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.11.036  

  • February 6, 2012
  • 07:25 AM

How Snowflakes Are Formed

by United Academics in United Academics

The delicate structure of snowflakes unfolds before your eyes, like a flower blooming. Scientist Kenneth Libbrecht has studied how snowflakes are formed.... Read more »

Kenneth G. Libbrecht. (2011) Observations of an Edge-enhancing Instability in Snow Crystal Growth near -15 C. Cornell University Library. arXiv: 1111.2786v1

  • February 2, 2012
  • 08:09 AM

Design Performs a Key Role in Spider Webs, Scientists Say

by United Academics in United Academics

The strength of spider webs is not only based on silk’s properties, but also on the quality of their design, as researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Politecnico di Torino have found out.... Read more »

Cranford, S., Tarakanova, A., Pugno, N., & Buehler, M. (2012) Nonlinear material behaviour of spider silk yields robust webs. Nature, 482(7383), 72-76. DOI: 10.1038/nature10739  

  • February 2, 2012
  • 06:13 AM

Pic of the Day: Meet the Shieldcroc, Crocodiles’ Earliest Ancestor

by United Academics in United Academics

Researchers from Marshall University, US, have reported a new kind of giant crocodilyform who lived 95 million years ago. Named Aegisuchus witmeri, scientists have nicknamed it “shieldcroc” for the shield-like skin on its head, never seen before in these species.... Read more »

  • January 31, 2012
  • 08:00 PM

Drinking Milk Might Be Good for your Brain, Study Says

by United Academics in United Academics

New research at the University of Maine, US, provides a novel field of study: drinking milk, among consuming other dairy products, may benefit our brain health, its authors say.... Read more »

  • January 23, 2012
  • 10:30 AM

Twitter for Scientists: Or, How A Procrastination Tool Can Be Useful – Part 1

by Mr Epidemiology in Mr Epidemiology

Twitter is a well known microblogging platform. People can post updates in the form of 140 character “tweets” that can be read by followers, who can “retweet,” i.e. repost that tweet to their own followers, or reply to the original post. I started using it about a year ago, and have found it to be [...]... Read more »

Culotta, A. (2010) Detecting influenza outbreaks by analyzing Twitter messages. Unpublished. info:/

  • January 19, 2012
  • 04:56 AM

Novelty, interest and replicability

by Dorothy Bishop in bishopblog

Most top journals regard novelty as an important criterion for accepting papers. Replications are seen as uninteresting. I argue that these priorities need to be reversed if science is to flourish.... Read more »

  • January 17, 2012
  • 11:27 AM

Underestimating the Impact

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

Loved, hated, and a source of widespread controversy, journal impact factors (JIF) have taken on a unique role in scientific publishing. These little numbers are considered a measure of a ... Read more »

  • January 14, 2012
  • 05:32 AM

26 reasons not to trust what you read in the newspaper

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

So we all know we shouldn’t believe everything we read. Tabloids and science have never been the best of bed fellows (or should that be tabloids and the truth?). But just how widespread is fallacious newspaper reporting? An intriguing little investigation from University College Chester made an attempt to measure the terribleness (or not) of … Continue reading »... Read more »

  • December 26, 2011
  • 06:26 PM

Impact factor predicts unreliability of research papers

by Björn Brembs in

Last week, we've already seen that the most prominent way of ranking scholarly journals, Thomson Reuters' Impact Factor (IF), isn't a very good measure for predicting how many citations your scientific paper will attract. Instead, there is evidence that IF is much better at predicting the chance that your paper might get retracted.Now, I've just been sent a paper (subscription required) which provides evidence that the reliability of some research papers correlates negatively with journal IF. In........ Read more »

Munafò, M., Stothart, G., & Flint, J. (2009) Bias in genetic association studies and impact factor. Molecular Psychiatry, 14(2), 119-120. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2008.77  

  • December 14, 2011
  • 06:37 AM

Science without journals: More evidence that journal rank is a poor predictor of citations

by Björn Brembs in

In response to my last post, Dwight Kravitz from the NIH alerted me to his paper on a similar topic: Toward a new model of scientific publishing: discussion and a proposal. His paper contains some very interesting data, such as this analysis of citations and journal rank:The left-skewed form of the data is of course nothing new, but their analysis of how predictive journal rank is for actual citations opens a new aspect, I think:Our evaluation reveals that far from a perfect filter, the distr........ Read more »

  • December 13, 2011
  • 11:36 AM

On reproducibility in modeling

by The Curious Wavefunction in The Curious Wavefunction

A recent issue of Science has an article discussing an issue that has been a constant headache for anyone involved with any kind of modeling in drug discovery - the lack of reproducibility in computational science. The author Roger Peng who is a biostatistician at Johns Hopkins talks about modeling standards in general but I think many of his caveats could apply to drug discovery modeling. The problem has been recognized for a few years now but there have been very few concerted efforts to addre........ Read more »

  • November 29, 2011
  • 11:50 AM

Research data should be appropriately licensed with re-use in mind

by ross.mounce in Ross Mounce's blog

I’m really pleased this new Open Access paper has just been published. Hagedorn, G. et al. Creative commons licenses and the non-commercial condition: Implications for the re-use of biodiversity information 150, 127-149 (2011). Some background… After parading my Open Data … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 21, 2011
  • 04:22 PM

Why speeding neutrinos are interesting for social scientists

by Rense Nieuwenhuis in Curving Normality

In the world as we understand it, based on Einstein, nothing can go faster than light. This prediction based on the general theory of relativity has proven itself countless times in empirical research. And now, lo and behold, a group at CERN has observed neutrino’s racing through earth from France/Switzerland to Italy at the World-record breaking speed of slightly above light-speed!... Read more »

The OPERA Collaboraton: T. Adam et al. (2011) Measurement of the neutrino velocity with the OPERA detector in the CNGS beam. Arxiv. arXiv: 1109.4897v2

  • November 17, 2011
  • 07:42 AM

The reluctance of science to open up

by Joerg Heber in All That Matters

I finally had the chance to read Michael Nielsen‘s book ‘Reinventing discovery‘ - a must read for anyone interested in scientific discovery. Why? Well, because the closed, individual way in which we organize science today in many ways is hampering progress and may eventually become a thing of the past. If you are in science, why did you [...]... Read more »

Hardin, G. (1968) The Tragedy of the Commons. Science, 162(3859), 1243-1248. DOI: 10.1126/science.162.3859.1243  

  • November 1, 2011
  • 11:57 AM

Dr Kanazawa: a Fascist Scientist, or Science Censorship?

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

A note to lawyers – today’s blog post in no way endorses fascism, racism or any other perverse ideologies. It is intended to stimulate debate and thought. Phew, I think I’m safe from a libel suit. Last week Dr Satoshi Kanazawa, lecturer and psychology guru, was suspended from most of his teaching duties at the … Continue reading »... Read more »

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