Posts

January 30, 2015

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1:47 PM | Hard Problem defeats legendary playwright
I’ve written a review of legendary playwright Tom Stoppard’s new play The Hard Problem at the National Theatre, where he tackles neuroscience and consciousness – or at least thinks he does. The review is in The Psychologist and covers the themes running through Stoppard’s new work and how they combine with the subtly misfiring conceptualisation […]
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1:46 PM | The world's wellness obsession has gone too far
Being urged to optimise every aspect of our lives to improve well-being is sometimes counterproductive, say André Spicer and Carl Cederström
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1:42 PM | How Improv Can Open Up the Mind to Learning in the Classroom and Beyond
Improvisation is being used as a way to help students and educators feel supported, open up to new ideas and think on their feet. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
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1:39 PM | Percent Effort
Times I have made critical progress in conceptualizing experiments, grant proposals and manuscript language this past month or so. -exiting lab on way to get in my car -3am -4:15am -riding a chairlift -sitting at my desk putzing on Twitter -the shower -commuting -lingering at coffee shop -during random PI blathering to technician -2:15am
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1:37 PM | Recipe For A Photograph #5: The Angry Ant
This 2007 photograph of a fire ant brandishing her stinger is among the most heavily circulated images from my collection. Since several people have asked how I managed to coax the animal into such a... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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1:37 PM | Top 2014 Philosophy of Science Books
Jump to General Biology; Zoology; Invertebrates; Vertebrates; Human Biology; Systematics and Phylogenetics; Evolution and Development; Palaeontology; Geology; Historical Geology; Ecology; Environmental; Climate Change; Botany; History. Philosophy of science books, with an obvious focus on biology. The top 5 reflect my own biases, and there are many other good picks in the Runners Up, so be sure to check those out too! The […] The post Top 2014 […]
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1:37 PM | Precision medicine is not precision engineering
From the NYT, a plea for not getting carried away with the vision of 'moonshot medicine' as precision engineering. The op-ed is written by Michael Joyner, a doctor at the Mayo Clinic and takes issue with Obama's precision medicine initiative which he apparently underlined in his state of the union address earlier this month. Obama's proposal is nothing new and has been echoed by proponents since the beginnings of the Human Genome Project. The idea of identifying specific genetic variants in […]
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1:37 PM | Another Popular Tourist Destination
"Michelle Slavin who runs our UNITE (Uganda) [Education] program is visiting at the moment. The program is expanding into a second area, Bwindi where the Mountain Gorillas are to be found." [David M. Jones, NC Zoo Senior Staff Meeting Notes] UNITE supports education in general and conservation education as well in parts of Uganda to help eco-tourism help conserve rare animal species.
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1:32 PM | 3 Ways Being a Science Communicator has Made Me a Better Scientist
Hold still while I place the electrodes on your head!My first research presentation in college is forever etched into my memory.It was the end of our fall semester biology lab, and my group met in the library the week beforehand to prepare our PowerPoint. I was in charge of making slides with background information.For our project, my lab group had measured polyphenol oxidase—an enzyme involved in the browning of fruit—in three different apple varieties.  As it turns out, every […]
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1:30 PM | Explainer: The State of Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia
With the recent passing of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, new concerns have arisen for women's rights going forward. Abdullah was a devout conservative Muslim leader, but he was able to push for some reforms for women. Trace explains what lies ahead.
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1:30 PM | Blogrolling: Grant Slave
Check it out.
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1:30 PM | Quickies: Spiderman, scientific literacy, sorority sisters, and Binding of Isaac
Categories: QuickiesWhat would Spiderman have to eat for breakfast in order to swing around New York? – “In order for a spider’s body to produce silk, it needs protein; so Lorch ...(Read more...)
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1:28 PM | Leak suggests big bang find was a dusty mistake
Details of a new analysis of last year's BICEP2 results have been accidentally leaked – and seem to show that claiming a gravitational wave discovery was jumping the gun
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1:23 PM | Images Of The Week (W05-15)
Into An Aurora In the early hours of Jan 26 scientists launched four sounding rockets during a geomagnetic storm from Alaska’s Poker Flat Research Range near the Arctic Circle. The experiments explore the effect of solar storms on the upper atmosphere. They also, combined with the auroras, put on one hell of a light show. […]
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1:20 PM | In My Earbuds Lately
Here are some good albums that I’ve been listening to lately. Country Funk — Country Funk (1970). Not country and not funk: folk psych. GOAT — Commune (2014). Eclectic psychedelia with screamy female vocals and bongos! Opeth — Pale Communion (2014). When black metal ages into virtuoso prog rock. Pixies — Indie Cindy (2014). Eclectic…
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1:08 PM | The Gap Between Public and Scientific Opinion
A recently published poll from the Pew Research center finds that there is a huge gap between public opinion and the opinion of scientists on many important scientific issues of the day. This is disappointing, but not surprising, for a variety of reasons. Generally speaking, if the majority of scientists have the same opinion about [...]
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1:08 PM | There are two types of envy; only one is associated with schadenfreude
You watch with envy as your long-time colleague gets yet another performance bonus - something you've strived for but never obtained. Not long after, you see him trip over in the office in front of everyone. Do you find this situation pleasingly amusing? In other words, do you experience schadenfreude?According to an international team of research psychologists, your answer will likely depend on the specific kind of envy you feel toward your colleague. Niels van de Ven and his co-workers say […]
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1:02 PM | Guangdong’s H5N6 Patient Recovers
Credit Wikipedia   # 9648   Normally the recovery of a single avian flu patient wouldn’t rate a separate blog entry, but since this is only the second human H5N6 case diagnosed - and the first one was fatal (see Sichuan China: 1st Known Human Infection With H5N6 Avian Flu) - the recovery of the 58-year old man diagnosed last December from Guangdong Province is not only good news, it is newsworthy.   Guangdong The first H5N6 bird flu patient rehabilitation […]
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1:00 PM | Mountain lions survive near cities, but at what cost?
The samango monkeys living near South Africa’s Lajuma Research Centre have learned that they can rely on humans as lookouts while they forage for food. The monkeys have learned that if humans are around, then they’re probably safe from leopards. When left alone, the monkeys spend less time foraging for food and more time scanning
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1:00 PM | Biosimilars: 2014 Year in Review and 2015 Outlook
Editor's note: I am thrilled once again to present a guest post from Dr. Duncan Emerton, author of the Biosimilarz blog. Enjoy Duncan's wrap up of the busy year 2014 and his look ahead at what is in store for 2015.Don't miss the Biosimilarz Twitter feed and podcast series as well.You can also revisit Duncan's "2013 Biosimilars in Review"  John Simpson, World Affairs Editor at the BBC, once said that trying to predict the future is a mug’s game. He, like many of us, write […]
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1:00 PM | Recommended reads #45
This video clip showing aggressive mimicry by the Persian Horned Viper is amazing. University Signs Slavic Languages Professor to Five Year, $52 Million Contract Here’s a tremendously useful Guide for Scientists on Giving Comments to Journalists. The Emu War: The machine-gunners’ dreams of point blank fire into serried masses of Emus were soon dissipated. The…
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1:00 PM | That’s a lot of poop, Mr. Sperm Whale
Although known to occur in its (much smaller) cousins the dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) and the pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps), photographers recently experienced defensive defecation by the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) for the first time ever! Sperm whales can reach up to 67 feet (20.5 meters) long – with almost a thousand feet […]
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1:00 PM | The Problem with Unbundling College
An interesting discussion in higher education policy today has to do with “unbundling” college. Like music, so proponents of the idea argue, we will soon see a world in which people receive higher education based on individual needs and desires. There’s no need to show up at the University of Maryland, after all, if you can just download all the courses you need to get a BA from colleges around the country. College might become an on-demand exercise that has little to do with […]
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1:00 PM | The Case Against Wilhelm Reich, Part 1
Wilhelm Reich always had a problem with authority figures as the lengthy FBI file on him demonstrates. In 2000, the FBI released 789 pages of the extensive file that had been built up on Reich over the years. The file...            Related StoriesThe Reporter in the Madhouse (Part Three of Three)Down on the Heebie-Jeebie FarmThe Nazi Patient 
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12:54 PM | Dieter Rams: ten principles for good design
Dieter Rams: ten principles for good designhttps://www.vitsoe.com/us/about/good-design
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12:47 PM | Interpersonal Factors in Relapse – Part 1
“Living life on life’s terms” essentially means living with others. The majority of relapses I have witnessed have been due to interpersonal factors, e.g. arguments at home with family and loved ones, not being able to cope with relationship breakdowns, perceived rejection by loved ones. Research itself shows that the majority of relapses are caused […]
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12:41 PM | why are we obsessed with talking animals?
Stassa Edwards at Aeon Magazine: Talking animal stories have their roots in a prehistory when, according to the literary scholar Egon Schwarz, professor emeritus at Washington University, consciousness had yet to distinguish between man and animal, ‘when people still believed...
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12:37 PM | Using a single molecule to create a new magnetic field sensor
Scientists show how magnetism can manipulate the way electricity flows through a single molecule, a key step that could enable the development of magnetic field sensors for hard drives that are a tiny fraction of their present size.
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12:35 PM | Confronting the Technological Society
Samuel Matlack at The New Atlantis: How did we reach a point where “nothing at all escapes technique today”? Ellul offers a long genealogy of technique, from primitive man to the Greeks and Romans, to Christianity, the early modern era,...
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12:28 PM | Friday SNPpets
Welcome to our Friday feature link collection: SNPpets. During the week we come across a lot of links and reads that we think are interesting, but don’t make it to a blog post. Here they are for your enjoyment… RT @genetics_blog: Biological interpretation of GWAS using predicted gene functions. Paper: http://t.co/MnefxWAmxG Software: http://t.co/NER1n40x3z (src on […]
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