March 04, 2015

12:28 PM | Vijf mythen over islamofobie deel 1 – Een uitvinding van khomeiny
In een serie van zes posts zal ik vijf mythen over islamofobie bespreken. Vandaag de eerste: het wijdverbreide idee dat islamofobie een uitvinding is van Khomeiny.

March 03, 2015

7:00 PM | Adults Only Really Catch Flu About Twice a Decade
Think you have the flu? If you're over 30, chances are you don't.
4:01 PM | DNews: Why Do We Get Headaches?
Most of us know what it's like to suddenly go "eeeyow!!" when a headache decides to pay a visit. A common tension headache is annoying; a stabbing migraine can be debilitating. Find why and how our noggins get achy.
4:00 PM | Origins of HIV Virus Strains Traced to Gorillas
Gorillas in southern Cameroon appear to be the source for the second-most-lethal category of the HIV virus that infects humans.
10:00 AM | Hot under the (epidemiological) collar
Blogs like this are venues for expressing views on the current scene, in our case, related to genetics, evolution and a few other things we throw in.  If you express a view, unless it's just plain vanilla, you will irritate some readers.  In a sense, if you don't then there's no point in writing the blogpost.  In this case, we heavily criticized the recent NYTimes article reporting that the government has now backed off its claim that dietary cholesterol is a heart disease risk […]
7:50 AM | Bye bye allotment
I had a few days off last week, and part of the plan was to pay my final visit to the allotment. I hadn’t been since November, and wasn’t sure what I would find. Would someone have helped themselves to any of my stuff in the meantime, figuring that the place had been abandoned? No, everything was still there. What I wasn’t expecting was this: Without informing me, someone had been on to the plot and cut the whole thing down to ground level. With absolutely no care or […]

March 02, 2015

10:30 PM | Albino Toddler in Africa Killed for Witchcraft
An albino toddler was abducted and butchered for his body parts in Africa for use in magic spells, possibly on behalf of politicians. Continue reading →
1:42 PM | DNews: Why Coconut Oil Isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be
Coconut oil seems to be all the rage these days. Is there nothing it cannot cure or help? But, sadly, it turns out the wonder oil from this hard-shelled palm tree adornment may be more fad than fantastic.
10:00 AM | When even well-posed questions are hard to answer
On Friday, in acknowledgement of Rare Disease Day, our daughter Ellen blogged about living with a rare disease.  She wrote eloquently about her wish to understand why she has this disease, including, if it's a single gene disorder, knowing the causal variant.  She wrote about the advantages of this when navigating a medical system that isn't always sensitive to rare diseases, but in which genetics has become the gold standard.  We fully support her wish to understand why she has […]
8:00 AM | When The Feds Threw Tampa’s Fanciest Fake Bachelor Party Ever
In 1988, undercover agent Robert Mazur had successfully infiltrated one of the most nefarious criminal organizations in history: the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. But to make arrests, Mazur would have to lure the BCCI's overseas executives into the US. The solution was to stage an extravagant fake wedding, culminating in the most explosive bachelor party in Florida history. The post When The Feds Threw Tampa’s Fanciest Fake Bachelor Party Ever appeared first on KnowledgeNuts.

March 01, 2015

7:46 PM | Science, Art and the Construction of Reality in Archaeology
I found out this weekend that my application to take part in an exciting art/science collaborative project was successful! It was only by chance that I found out about the project, through some random browsing around Twitter. Joining Twitter was one of the best things I ever did, so many opportunities and connections to be made that I would never get the chance to see otherwise. The project I am joining is ASCUS/TNS Engage project. ASCUS is a non-profit organisation that supports collaboration […]
8:49 AM | Glutbusters: March 2015
Snowdrops, the first flowers of the year It doesn’t feel like it, but we’re apparently having the sunniest winter since 1929, although it has also been on the wet side. Everyone I know is glad that there are signs that spring is on its way, and that it might finally be possible to get outside and do some gardening! The garden centres are filling up with lots of lovely goodies to plant and sow, although it’s still a little early for most things. Keen gardeners are loading […]
8:00 AM | The Prankster Who Hatched An Ostrich Egg
James Moran was quite a crazy character. The man was a publicity agent who specialized in wild stunts and goofy pranks. Whether he was searching for a literal needle in a haystack or incubating an ostrich egg, Moran knew how to get people's attention. The post The Prankster Who Hatched An Ostrich Egg appeared first on KnowledgeNuts.
6:30 AM | Microfossil of the Month: Awn phytoliths
These micrographs show grass awn phytoliths, on the left the spiky hair part is still attached to the rest of the awn, the one on the right shows a hair that has become detached. Awns are hair or bristle type structure which are particularly common on grasses. In some species, such as emmer wheat, the awns contribute to seed dispersal, by hooking into the soil. Changes in humidity cause the awns to expand and contract, acting like a ratchet to propel the seed into the ground. Not to be […]

February 28, 2015

6:32 PM | Anakinra: un nuevo tratamiento para FMF
Hace ya un año que expuse en esta bitácora que padezco una enfermedad rara: fiebre mediterránea familiar (FMF). Desde entonces han pasado muchas cosas (incluso he dado una charla sobre el tema en el evento de divulgación científica Desgranando Ciencia … Sigue leyendo →
6:06 PM | An IS(IS) Reading List – Part One
I have compiled a short (well, that was the intention haha) reading list about IS(IS) and the politics that come with it. Mainly based upon recent work in the public domain I found these readings very helpful and inspiring for my own thoughts and work. If you have suggestions to add to the list, don't hesitate and contact me.
8:00 AM | How Deodorant Might Save The Stinky Birds Of New Zealand
Unlike the majority of birds from other continents, native New Zealand birds have such pungent body odor that it tips off predators to the birds' presence. Conservationists may have to place deodorant or odor-eaters in these birds' nests to prevent their extinction. But no one's sure if the stench is vital to their existence in another way. The post How Deodorant Might Save The Stinky Birds Of New Zealand appeared first on KnowledgeNuts.

February 27, 2015

4:53 PM | DNews: Promising Tests in Battle Against HIV
Researchers have found encouraging results in tests on monkeys of a new gene therapy strategy that leaves HIV unable to replicate. It's still early, but the treatment at least offers hope in science's duel with the virus.
2:20 PM | The 'What Color Is This Dress?' Debate Explained
Do you see blue or gold? Find out why...
12:23 PM | DNews: A New Reason Why Soda Could Mess with Your Health
Everybody knows soda isn't exactly at the tip-top of a healthy diet, and now a new study finds a particular ingredient in the fizzy drinks has generated evidence of tumors in mice! Is it safe to have our pop?
10:32 AM | Week 39 at the Royal College of Surgeons
After a week off due to moving house I’m back at the College where I’m starting on a new project. This time I will be working with a collection of infant teeth. As with the previous protects I’m creating an inventory of the collection by taking photographs of the specimens and the associated paperwork. This […]
10:00 AM | The story of a rare disease
By Ellen WeissDespite being the product of  two of the authors of this blog – two people skeptical about just how many of the fruits of genetic testing that we've been promised will ever actually materialize  – I have been involved in several genetic studies over the years, hoping to identify the cause of my rare disease.February 28 is Rare Disease Day (well, Feb 29 technically; the last day of February which is, every four years, a rare day itself!); the day on which […]
8:00 AM | Our Pollution Is Creating A New Type Of Rock
Plastics are filling our oceans at an ungodly rate. Incredibly difficult to get rid of, researchers are now finding that Mother Nature is taking some strange steps of her own. In some areas, especially those where plastic pollution is covered by sand and dirt, plastics are undergoing a change in which they are becoming compressed into the rock record, forming a new type of rock that's being called “plastiglomerate." It's not known how long this plastic-rock hybrid will last, but it's […]
6:33 AM | Garden transformation with power tools and elbow grease
I think there’s a part of every gardener that harks back to ‘simpler’ times, when the world was a quieter and greener place. We enjoy doing things by hand, appreciate craftsmanship and work at Nature’s pace. Sort of. The truth is that we all live busy and hectic lives, and there’s never enough time to spend in the garden. When Ryan and I moved into this house last autumn, the back garden looked like this: The shrubs along the fence were taking up some prime […]

February 26, 2015

7:45 PM | 'Big Brain' Gene Found in Humans, Not Chimps
A single gene may have paved the way for the rise of human intelligence by dramatically increasing the number of brain cells found in a key brain region.
4:59 PM | Heads Up! Human Head Transplant in the Works
A human head transplant is within our reach, claims a doctor who's looking to form a team to try it. Continue reading →
4:15 PM | DNews: How Come Humans Don't Just Keep Getting Bigger?
Some of us are tall, some of us short, some just average height. Clearly, save the occasional exception, our species seems to have hit a height, er, ceiling? What keeps us from being fee-fi-fo-fumming giants?
2:11 PM | Sinkhole Swallows South Korean Couple: Video
The sinkhole suddenly opened up at their feet on a paved sidewalk in Seoul. Fortunately they were not seriously hurt.
10:00 AM | Digesting yeast's message
A new paper in Nature by Levy et al. reports on the genomic consequences of large-scale selection experiments in yeast.  Yeast reproduce asexually and clones can be labeled with DNA 'barcode' tags and followed in terms of their relative frequency in a colony over time.  This study was able to deal with very large numbers of yeast cells and because they used barcodes the investigators could practicably follow individual clones without needing to do large-scale genome sequencing. […]
8:00 AM | The Real History Of The Engagement Ring
Ever wonder why a man has to buy not one, but two rings to marry a woman? Wouldn't one ring for one girl make sense? For the longest time, it did make sense. Until corporations decided to take advantage of an obscure law and change tradition itself. In today's day and age, the real reason men buy engagement rings for their future wives is because of a marketing ploy, conceived to double sales and nothing more. The post The Real History Of The Engagement Ring appeared first on KnowledgeNuts.
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