October 19, 2014

3:42 PM | As Their Wells Run Dry, California Residents Blame Thirsty Farms
Many rural residents rely on private wells for tap water. As the severe drought continues, many are wondering why farms seem to be getting water ahead of families.
3:31 PM | Can Ebola virus infect via the skin?
I received this question about Ebola virus infection via email: Can you become infected if infected droplet lands on your skin even if there is no abrasion on the skin? I am now hearing this, which surprises me. The virus can enter through the actual skin and does not need mucus membrane to enter? The […]
3:30 PM | Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Is Way Darker Than You Probably Realize
You'd never know from all the high-contrast photographs of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that the comet is actually quite dark. This recently released composite image reveals how little light there is emanating from 67P/C-G, relative to other objects in our solar system.Read more...
3:26 PM | Not The Christian Thing To Do: Reminding People Of Religious Belief Reduces Hostility
Muslim terrorists and the Klu Klux Klan share one thing in common; they claim to be religious even though the ideas they promote (and in the case of the former, the actions they take) are not very nice. The fringes get all of the attention but most religious people are not clinically insane or promoting the deaths of others in order to secure their own place in Heaven, and if you remind them of their religious principles, their attitude toward negative events change, according to a paper […]
3:24 PM | Links for October 19
John Cook spoke at KeenCon on Bayesian statistics as a way to integrate intuition and data. A fantasy sports wizard’s winning formula, from Brad Reagan at the Wall Street Journal. Via Hacker News. From Dan Egan of Betterment, It’s About Time in the Market, Not Market Timing, an analysis of the distribution of returns based […]
3:19 PM | Analyzing Government Communications
Any piece of government writing can be analyzed using the binary dimensions of purpose and audience. PURPOSE In government writing, having a clear purpose means being able to write high-quality content (content that works) without losing sight of the overall strategic … Continue reading → The post Analyzing Government Communications appeared first on Plain Language Science.
3:19 PM | Tiny “nanoflares’ might heat the Sun’s corona
Why is the Sun’s million-degree corona, or outermost atmosphere, so much hotter than the Sun’s surface? This question has baffled astronomers for decades. Today, a […] The post Tiny “nanoflares’ might heat the Sun’s corona appeared first on Smithsonian Science.
3:15 PM | Not All Fat Is Equal: Amping Up Adenosine May Melt 'Love Handles'
Obesity was once only for the wealthy, then it was only for Americans and the science engine that made food cheap for all, but now globalization has made it possible for the rich and poor worldwide to be fat - which brings greater risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke and diabetes. No one wants to eat less delicious food, but they would take a pill to shed fad and a team ed by Professor Alexander Pfeifer from the University Hospital Bonn believe they have come one step closer to that. […]
3:12 PM | Frozen Poo Pills: Continued Trials Are Successful in Treating Recurrent C. Difficile
I remember all too well what it was like for my mother when she had Clostridium difficile infection. Post-surgery for colon cancer, the recovery was a breeze compared to the C. […]
3:06 PM | An Urban Village Pops Up To Comfort Hong Kong Protestors
What began as a pro-democracy roadblock has grown into a combination street fair/art gallery, with an outdoor study hall, movie screenings, speeches — even a free library.
3:05 PM | Watching Closely: Asteroids, Comets
Near-Earth Asteroid Discovery Statistics (h/t Ron Baalke)Twenty years ago, we watched an asteroid hit Jupiter with mostly Earth or orbital based telescopes. Today, we will have a comet past Mars and it will be watched by our robots on Mars, in less than a month, we will be harpooning another comet on a spot that needs a name, while Hubble continues to downselect potential asteroid by one of our spacecraft in the Kuiper belt. We live in interesting times.Watch live streaming video […]
3:02 PM | TWiV 307: Ebola aetiology
On episode #307 of the science show This Week in Virology, Tara Smith joins the TWiEBOVsters to discuss the Ebola virus outbreak in west Africa, spread of the disease to and within the US, transmission of the virus, and much more. You can find TWiV #307 at
3:00 PM | Ten years into the making, the HIV-1 mosaic vaccine finally goes into human trial
© Bette Korber et al. I hope you will all forgive me if this week I'm gushing over my amazing mentor Bette Korber, as last week she shared some awesome news on Facebook:"A landmark in my life happened yesterday, a major step in a long story. A decade ago I had an idea for making an HIV vaccine that had the potential to work globally. After a struggle (in my first 2 failed proposals, reviewers declared what I proposed was impossible), I got an internal grant from Los Alamos to develop the […]

Fischer W, Perkins S, Theiler J, Bhattacharya T, Yusim K, Funkhouser R, Kuiken C, Haynes B, Letvin NL, Walker BD & Hahn BH (2007). Polyvalent vaccines for optimal coverage of potential T-cell epitopes in global HIV-1 variants., Nature medicine, 13 (1) 100-6. PMID:

Nkolola JP, Bricault CA, Cheung A, Shields J, Perry J, Kovacs JM, Giorgi E, van Winsen M, Apetri A, Brinkman-van der Linden EC & Chen B (2014). Characterization and immunogenicity of a novel mosaic M HIV-1 gp140 trimer., Journal of virology, 88 (17) 9538-52. PMID:

Barouch DH, Stephenson KE, Borducchi EN, Smith K, Stanley K, McNally AG, Liu J, Abbink P, Maxfield LF, Seaman MS & Dugast AS (2013). Protective efficacy of a global HIV-1 mosaic vaccine against heterologous SHIV challenges in rhesus monkeys., Cell, 155 (3) 531-9. PMID:

Santra S, Muldoon M, Watson S, Buzby A, Balachandran H, Carlson KR, Mach L, Kong WP, McKee K, Yang ZY & Rao SS (2012). Breadth of cellular and humoral immune responses elicited in rhesus monkeys by multi-valent mosaic and consensus immunogens., Virology, 428 (2) 121-7. PMID:

Barouch DH, O'Brien KL, Simmons NL, King SL, Abbink P, Maxfield LF, Sun YH, La Porte A, Riggs AM, Lynch DM & Clark SL (2010). Mosaic HIV-1 vaccines expand the breadth and depth of cellular immune responses in rhesus monkeys., Nature medicine, 16 (3) 319-23. PMID:

3:00 PM | Dysprosody: When You Can't Stress Words or You Can't Stress Words
What's the difference between telling people they shouldn't do something and telling them they shouldn't do something? If you have dysprosody, nothing. People with dysprosody can't control the stresses in their speech, and it makes a world of difference.Read more...
2:55 PM | ACA Lessons Learned: Cost Of Enrollment High Due To Website Issues
Though lots of people used the expensive government health insurance portal to get information on the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, far fewer could successfully use it to sign up. As the stories of its flaws mounted, larger percentages instead talked to call centers or a navigator without using the website at all. That's a win for the government, which needed to show some success after expending a great deal of political capital and taxpayer money, but not […]
2:55 PM | Healthcare Worker On Cruise Ship Tests Negative For Ebola
The news comes after the woman voluntarily quarantined herself aboard the ship and after Mexico declined to let the ship dock. The woman was allowed off the ship with the rest of the passengers.
2:36 PM | How to Feel Happy Just By Walking Differently
Our mood clearly affects how we walk, but how does our walking style affect our mood? Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick" Related articles:Happy Habits: How to Fix Bad Moods Here’s Why Materialistic People Are Less Happy and Less Satisfied What Alzheimer’s Patients Feel After Their Memories Have Vanished The Item of Clothing That Can Help People Feel Less Angry The […]
2:30 PM | Apoptosis Evolution: Cellular Self-destruction Has Been Around Almost As Long As Cells Have
It seems counter-intuitive that in order to survive best as a species, not everything can live forever, but some cells in our bodies are fated to die, and a Mission Impossible-style auto-destruct program insures they do. This elaborate cell death program, known as apoptosis, got a little more insight with a study on the evolution of caspase-8, a key cell death initiator molecule that was first identified in humans. By performing the most extensive evolutionary analysis of the Casp8 protein […]
2:30 PM | This Truculent Duck Evolved The Bodily Equivalent Of Brass Knuckles
Everyone, meet the steamer duck. The steamer duck is one bad mother. See those orange nubbins on its wings? Those are keratinized spurs, which the steamer duck has evolved to wallop the living cuss out of any creature hapless enough to cross its path. (See that red stuff on the duck's head? Yeah. That's blood.)Read more...
2:01 PM | Humans May Have A Spidey Sense For Blind Spots
Credit: Tobyotter via flickrBy: Nala Rogers, Inside Science(Inside Science) -- The spider's iconic leggy shape can abruptly yank our attention, even when we’re focused on something else, according to a new study. Other shapes such as houseflies and hypodermic needles don’t draw our attention in the same way. This suggests that spiders may be hard-wired into our visual systems, helping us avoid a threat that our ancestors faced for millions of years. read more
2:00 PM | MI weekly selection #97
Breaking waves provide some warmth to surf zones. Breaking waves warm the water in the surf, and in some cases may provide more heat […] Read more The post MI weekly selection #97 appeared first on Mapping Ignorance. Related posts:Satellite based quantum cryptography Selective ignorance in science The Oxford Questions on the foundations of quantum mechanics
2:00 PM | Science Denial Then and Now
George Herbert’s “Vanity (I)” (1633) Science has always made people uncomfortable. Witness the recent comments from the U.S. House Science (Denial) and Technology Committee: We’ve had climate change since the day the earth was formed, whenever that was, depending on … Continue reading →
1:56 PM | Communal Nesting in Anolis angusticeps
Previous posts have discussed communal nesting behavior among a number of anole species, whereby females deposit eggs in the same cavity. A new paper by AA‘s own Michele Johnson and friends extends this growing body of observations, stretching all the way back to Stan Rand’s 1967 work. This behavior has been previously reported for the […]
1:54 PM | ​Immersed in Violence: How 3-D Gaming Affects Video Game Players
Playing violent video games in 3-D makes everything seem more […]
1:18 PM | Caught stealing
Nope, not a post about the Kansas City Royals, or baseball at all for that matter, though I do hope to get there at some point. Rather, it’s about getting away with thievery at the local library yesterday. I did. … Continue reading →
1:12 PM | Self-Care Sunday 10.19.14
In this new series I share links to all kinds of posts, which explore taking kinder care of ourselves — from appreciating our bodies to getting to know ourselves better to expressing our creativity (which goes hand in hand with self-discovery) to feeling our feelings to saying no to saying yes to savoring supportive, healthy […]
1:06 PM | Comet Siding Spring 2013 A1 to Pass Mars Today
On 19 October 2014, Comet Siding Spring will come within about 139,500 km of Mars – less than half the distance between Earth and our moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of our planet. This proximity will provide an unprecedented opportunity for astronomers to gather data on both the [...]
1:05 PM | Ebola: Ohio Public Health Monitoring 29 Individuals
Contact Risks – Summit County Ebola FAQ   # 9215   The good news is that out of more than 150 people exposed to Thomas Duncan and the two-Ebola infected nurses from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, none have shown signs of infection to date.  (Note: This number does not include passengers on Frontier Airlines flights).   About a quarter of those contacts come off `quarantine watch’ at midnight tonight, having gone 21 days without symptoms. […]
1:00 PM | Discovering A Viking Hoard: A Day In The Life Of A Metal Detectorist
Credit: mikecogh, CC BY-SABy Suzie Thomas, University of Helsinki read more
12:51 PM | An Ig Nobel quiz
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