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April 11, 2014

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3:15 PM | Weekly Webcrawl: April 11, 2014
Goats are smarter than you thought. I knew there was a reason I refused to cram for tests in college. Just the other day I discovered, through deductive reasoning, that I have a memory from before I turned two. Here’s why it’s only one of a few. Crazy allergy turned into crazy art.  
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12:00 PM | Friday recommended reads #24
“Should I be a bio major?” “What do I get out of a biology degree?” I just printed out this response to hand out when I get asked this question. Heads up: Do not trust Microsoft Excel, whatsoever, with dates. It doesn’t know how to handle them. EO Wilson writes a blog post, about spiders. […]
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11:43 AM | Friday links: Stein’s paradox, non-significant is the new significant, and more
Also this week: why modeling the process that generated the data is the least of your worries, pretty pictures of mammals, and more… From Jeremy: This will blow your mind (unless you’ve heard of it before). Say that you have … Continue reading →
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11:36 AM | This Is What Science Looks Like At NC State: Lynsey Romo
Editor’s note: This is an entry in an ongoing series of posts that we hope will highlight the diversity of researchers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The series is inspired by the This Is What A Scientist Looks Like site. This post focuses on Lynsey Romo, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication.
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9:00 AM | Evaluating knockdown within single cells – Interview
We recently indexed an article by Shin-ichiro Kojima and Gary Borisy, about a method they developed that allows cell biologists to evaluate within single cells whether their RNA interference method is working. One of the current challenges in cell and molecular biology is to determine the biological function of genes, now that we know [...]
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8:02 AM | About Data
I recently did a workshop about data with PhD students. That was great to order my thoughts and put together a lot of good resources. All material used (with lots of links) is available in GitHub: https://github.com/ibartomeus/Data. Topics range from hardcore … Continue reading →
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7:48 AM | Brain Scans: Don’t Throw Out The Baby With The Dead Salmon
Is neuro-skepticism in danger of going too far? Is it time to take a critical look at critiques of neuroscience? Martha Farah of the University of Pennsylvania says yes, in a Hastings Center Report just published: Brain Images, Babies, and Bathwater: Critiquing Critiques of Functional Neuroimaging Farah covers a broad spectrum of criticisms, ranging from […]The post Brain Scans: Don’t Throw Out The Baby With The Dead Salmon appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Farah MJ (2014). Brain images, babies, and bathwater: critiquing critiques of functional neuroimaging., The Hastings Center report, 44 Suppl 2 30. PMID:

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12:07 AM | Community Colleges Increasingly Adding Bachelor’s Degrees
CLEARWATER, Fla. - In a high-ceilinged classroom, bright sun poking through the blinds and reflecting off the whiteboard, eight students lug heavy textbooks to their desks and prepare for this afternoon’s lesson: proteins. It’s an unusually small group for a bachelor’s degree-level course in biology. At four-year universities, classes like this are often taught in large and impersonal lecture halls, and might have hundreds of students. But this is not a university. There […]

April 10, 2014

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8:32 PM | Despite the National Labor Relations Board Ruling, We Might Never Pay College Athletes
The world’s higher education pundits have recently become very interested in the ruling by the National Labor Relations board that Northwestern University football players could organize to form a union. Does this mean that in the future college athletes will get salaries? Perhaps, but there’s a very easy (and very attractive) tactic for colleges to take to avoid paying their athletes: stop giving them athletic scholarships. The NLRB states that the players can try to form a union […]
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7:47 PM | Building robots to land on Saturn’s moons Landing an unmanned...
Building robots to land on Saturn’s moons Landing an unmanned robot on another planet can be quite a feat and can end up being quite a complex process.  Scientists want to make this process easier but also allow us to explore worlds that are currently too difficult to land on. UC Berkeley professor Alice Agogino is working with doctoral students to build what are known as tensegrity robots.  Essentially, these are robots built with a series of rods and tension wires that protect […]
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7:14 PM | Cerebrovascular physiology – article alert #73
Brain injury 360- Relationship of Vascular Wall Tension and Autoregulation Following Traumatic Brain Injury – Varsos et al. Exercise and the brain 361- Cerebral blood flow and neurovascular coupling during static exercise – Yamaguchi et al. Anesthesia and the brain 362- Impact of sevoflurane anesthesia on brain oxygenation in children younger than 2 years – […]
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6:10 PM | Three Things That Will Make a School Bad
Conventional wisdom has it that schools with high concentrations of poverty are bad. But when a team of researchers from University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) studied every third grader in the Philadelphia public schools, they found strong student achievement in some schools with high concentrations of poverty. The low-achieving schools were ones with high concentrations of homelessness and child abuse. Not only did the performance of the students […]
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12:17 PM | Britain's brightest star | Stephen Curry
A new video explains how a particle accelerator built to produce X-rays billions of times brighter than the sun is revealing the workings of life at the molecular levelIf you have ever gazed at a crystal of salt or a sparkling diamond and wondered to yourself how its internal structure might be revealed using light generated by a particle accelerator, then wonder no more. Thanks to the Royal Institutions Ed Prosser and funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, a short video […]
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11:49 AM | Policy relevant science: the unreasonable effectiveness of boundary objects
In a recent post on policy-relevant science I talked about boundary workers and boundary organizations. The boundary I am talking about is between science and policy and the notion of the boundary between scientists and policy-makers is something receiving increasing … Continue reading →
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11:30 AM | #3 ‘Desperately seeking …..RNA’
‘I’m just going down to the -80ºC freezer….and I may be some time’…is something you might hear me mutter upon realising that an expedition to retrieve some long lost, ice-entombed sample tube from the -80ºC freezer simply can no longer be postponed. ‘I’m just going outside…and I may be some time’ is, as you might know, […]
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6:43 AM | Why do dogs lick people?
Just Wow. Photo: Chris Sembrot PhotographyHi Julie,Yes, but WHY? I loved Claudia Fugazza's guest post about drawing on dogs' social imitation capacities to learn as copy-cats in the Do as I do training technique. Good stuff! A few things collided this week that resulted in me deciding to look into why dogs lick people. The first was the Huffington Post 'This Is What Happens When You Ask People To Kiss Their Dogs In Front Of A Camera' (example above from Chris Sembrot's 'For the love […]

Bradshaw J.W.S., Blackwell E.J. & Casey R.A. (2009). Dominance in domestic dogs—useful construct or bad habit?, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 4 (3) 135-144. DOI:

Bonanni R., Cafazzo S., Valsecchi P. & Natoli E. (2010). Effect of affiliative and agonistic relationships on leadership behaviour in free-ranging dogs, Animal Behaviour, 79 (5) 981-991. DOI:

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6:36 AM | Racing up the Best Seller's List
Currently #285,426 on Amazon's best seller list (how the hell did it get that high?) is our new book on Molecular Methods in Environmental Microbiology. Andy and I would like to thank all our contributors for their hard work and their patience, as this book took a long time to see the light of day. I now remember why it was over a decade since I last edited a book.
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4:00 AM | Ten Click Baits We Would Never Use on Our Science News Site
There is this awesome technology site called The Verge. How awesome, we can barely tell you although we can reveal a recent The Verge top story: "'Captain America 3' to hit theaters on May 6th, 2016." Save the date. What makes The Verge so additionally awesome, according to the New York Times, is that The Verge belongs to Vox Media, the General Motors conglomerate of the New Digital Media Age. "Vox Takes the Melding of Journalism and Technology to a New Level," says the Times. (Our […]
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April 09, 2014

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10:24 PM | Computers In Libraries 2014: Day 3
Mary Reports: The theme of hacking the library continued with the keynote speaker for the third and final day of the conference.  The speaker was Mike Lydon of Street Plans,  a consulting company whose expertise is in urban planning,  especially … Continue reading → The post Computers In Libraries 2014: Day 3 appeared first on Personal Knowledge Management for Academia & Librarians.
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7:19 PM | Almost 70% of Teachers Are Not Engaged. Here's Why That Matters So Much
Wednesday Gallup released a major report on the State of American Schools. Their data paints a picture of schools performing as a complex ecosystem, with the wellbeing, engagement, and performance of teachers, students, and principals all intertwined. The report combines decades of surveys of 5 million American teachers and principals with the results of the Gallup Student Poll, now billed at the largest survey of American students with 600,000 5th through 12 grade participants, and […]
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6:00 PM | At Last, Porn Studies
For those of you looking for new scholarly research projects, or trying to publish rather, well, unusual studies, perhaps about the adult film industry, academic publishing has provided America with a new venue. According to a press release from Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group), the academic publisher, which also issues such venerated titles as Aging and Mental Health, the British Journal for the History of Philosophy, and the Journal of Library Administration, announced last week that […]
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5:28 PM | She loves you, she loves you not Whether in fiction or history,...
She loves you, she loves you not Whether in fiction or history, women have often gotten a bad rap for being fickle. But it may just be evolution. A landmark meta-analysis suggests that ovulating women have evolved to prefer mates who display ‘sexy traits’ (think muscular build, dominant behavior, symmetrical facial features). UCLA psychologist Martie Haselton, who is one of a handful of pioneers in research on behavioral changes at ovulation, explains that sexy traits are not […]
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4:02 PM | Therianthropic
Set somewhere in the north of England where ancient shadows hover just beyond glimpsing, teen novel Bone Jack by Sara Crowe shows that fiction for young readers needn’t stint on horror and darkness – and can cleave to much more … Continue reading →
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3:42 PM | Lusty Worms Pass Love Notes through Tiny Bubbles
Nearly every cell in your body is releasing microscopic bubbles that contain tiny messages to other cells in your body. The bubbles are so small that if a cell were the size of the Empire State Building, the vesicles would be the size of teenage couriers, running to deliver messages to neighboring buildings in the organism of Manhattan. But now there's evidence that at least in worms, these little bubbles, called extracellular vesicles (ECVs), can leave the cells of the Manhattan Island worm to […]

Wang J, Silva M, Haas LA, Morsci NS, Nguyen KC, Hall DH & Barr MM (2014). C. elegans Ciliated Sensory Neurons Release Extracellular Vesicles that Function in Animal Communication., Current biology : CB, 24 (5) 519-25. PMID:

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12:41 PM | Unpaid Work in Academia.
I currently have two interns. They’re undergraduates, and they’re getting ready to move on. I only have money to pay them through April. They knew that going in. Actually, going in, they thought it was only until last December, but I scrounged up a little extra dough. Right now we have a draft of the […]
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12:00 PM | The field ecology of a gut microbe inside bullet ants
This is the latest paper from my lab, which I’m really excited about. When we designed the project, several people told us that it would be useless. “It’s pointless to study the ecology of a symbiotic microbe in the wild when we have yet to specify its function inside the host.” It was only two […]
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11:59 AM | Speaking.
I know that most of my readers read me for the writing on alcoholism, not on science or medicine, or meta-science and meta-medicine. I have a meta-science post brewing about the treatment of trainees after they have graduated/moved on, but this post isn’t about that. In fact, this is barely a post at all. As […]
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11:15 AM | The importance of knowing and recognizing the limits of your knowledge
At some point in every qualifying exam, there will be a question that the student doesn’t know the answer to. Actually, that’s not quite accurate – this doesn’t happen just once; it happens repeatedly, in every qualifying exam. That’s part … Continue reading →
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11:00 AM | This Is What Science Looks Like At NC State: Albena Ivanisevic
Editor’s note: This is an entry in an ongoing series of posts called This Is What Science Looks Like At NC State that we hope will highlight the diversity of researchers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The series is inspired by the This Is What A Scientist Looks Like site. This submission comes from
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8:47 AM | Middle-Earth gets a geological makeover
As if J. R. R. Tolkien wasn’t brilliant enough with his creation of Middle-Earth, it appears that using his numerous maps and illustrations provided, supplemented by observations from within the texts themselves, a geological reconstruction can be achieved! I recently came across this old article from the Proceedings of the J. R. R. Tolkien Centenary […]
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