Posts

August 28, 2014

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4:43 PM | Who is a botanist?
The Phytophactor is a botanist. His official title is Professor of Botany Emeritus, his graduate degrees are in botany, and the courses he taught were botany courses. Too many of my colleagues think botany is an old fashioned label rather than one of great distinction. Plant science is a favored label of some, but plant science, plant science, plant science, it just doesn't have a ring to it. The problem is that some of my colleagues prefer a narrower perspective. TPP […]
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4:16 PM | Hawk moths in action, and how biologists study them
As a follow-up to CJ’s post about hummingbird moths—more generally known as hawk moths—let me recommend this episode of Plants are Cool, Too, which features the work of Chicago Botanic Garden conservation scientist Krissa Skogen. At White Sands National Monument, Skogen tracks the nectar rewards that attract hawk moths, and how far the moths carry […]
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4:14 PM | Arabidopsis Research Round-up
Here’s your UK Arabidopsis Research Round-up for this week.  Today we feature a mixed bag of new work from the Universities of Cambridge, Leicester, Leeds andLiverpool. One of the Leeds authors, Emily Hawkes, has been selected to present her work at GARNet 2014, which takes place in just two weeks’ time (9–10 September 2014)! If you haven’t already registered for[...]
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4:06 PM | Developmental plasticity is not Lamarckism
Sometimes, people email me with good questions. Here’s one. When I was a kid, my own visualization of evolution was Lamarckism. But I didn’t know it. In reading Dawkins and others, I know it doesn’t exist. But it seems this article is claiming it does to some extent. Can you comment? I’m curious as to…
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4:00 PM | One Species Becomes Two, Inside an Insect
It’s easy to imagine how a physical barrier, like a river or a mountain range, could create new …
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3:45 PM | Pomeranian Is Guinness' Fastest Dog on All Twos
Spry pup holds speed records in two categories.
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3:18 PM | The Common Scorpionfly (Panorpa Communis)
Common ScorpionflyNotice the enlarged sting-like genitaliaCredit: Gailhampshire  (CC BY 2.0)Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ArthropodaClass: InsectaOrder: MecopteraFamily: PanorpidaeGenus: PanorpaSpecies: Panorpa CommunisConservation Status: Least Concern (Not Threatened)Common Name(s): Common scorpionfly or just scorpionflyThe common scorpionfly is a weird, scorpion-like insect found throughout the UKs. As you can see on the images, males appears to have a stinger-like tail. No wonder why P. […]
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1:59 PM | Dal lievito del pane la morfina del futuro
In un futuro prossimo i fiori potrebbero essere soppiantati dal lievito. Almeno per quanto riguarda l'estrazione di oppio: come suggerisce uno studio pubblicato su Nature Chemical Biology dagli scienziati dell'Università di Stanford, guidati da Christina Smolke, sarà possibile riprodurre gli alcaloidi dell’oppio (le sostanze narcotiche) a partire dalla tebaina, un prodotto intermedio della sintesi della morfina, per mezzo di enzimi […]
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1:36 PM | Anche per i lupi lo sbadiglio è contagioso
Niente è più contagioso di uno sbadiglio. Se vediamo o sentiamo qualcuno sbadigliare, è probabile che lo faremo anche noi, soprattutto se si tratta di un nostro parente o amico. E lo stesso avviene in diverse specie animali, compresi i lupi, come dimostra uno studio pubblicato sulla Public Library Of Science One. Un gruppo di ricercatori dell’Università di Tokyo ha infatti osservato come la probabilità di sbadigliare in risposta allo stesso comportamento […]
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1:12 PM | What’s the Answer? (resource gone missing)
Biostars is a site for asking, answering and discussing bioinformatics questions and issues. We are members of the community and find it very useful. Often questions and answers arise at Biostars that are germane to our readers (end users of genomics resources). Every Thursday we will be highlighting one of those items or discussions here […]
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1:00 PM | A summer of science journalism with the Wellcome Trust-New Statesman scholarship
 Earlier this year the Wellcome Trust and New Statesman announced a joint programme offering paid internships to aspiring science writers from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. The recipients of the first two scholarships spent eight weeks working at New Statesman. Ajit Niranjan, tells us about the experience… This summer I worked as a science writer for the […]
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12:55 PM | Most African Ivory Headed for Asia
Poached African elephant ivory is a billions of dollars business and it is Asians, especially Chinese humans, who make it such through their demand, according to Born Free USA. Ivory has no "real value" to humans. No more than a like weight of human teeth. But that hasn't stopped the killing within a rapidly decreasing population of elephants.That is why we must not be part of the supply chain...and must demonstrate ivory's real lack of value.The Chinese government is one of several which has […]
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12:37 PM | These Sharks and Rays Just Got Protected: Photos
Five new shark species, along with two species of manta ray, gain new worldwide protection next month.
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12:30 PM | On the Case: An Internship in Detective Work, Library Style
Facade, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural HistoryMy earliest memory of the Natural History Museum is climbing the steps to see the “stuffed animal zoo.” It was a very rainy day and our plans of visiting the National Zoo were put on hold. However, my mom had an idea so that I- only about four or five at the time- could still see animals. I had no idea at the time what exactly she meant by “stuffed animal,” but I had a blast and returned frequently during our […]
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12:05 PM | Non-Native Anole in Florida — What Species Is This?
Can you identify this species?  It was recently observed in Pinellas County in Florida, where Anolis sagrei is established but not any other Anolis spp.  This photo is your only clue.
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11:19 AM | Spiders self-amputate legs after wasp stings
Firstly, once again I find myself apologising for not writing more regularly. I WILL become better at this! I’ve been somewhat engrossed in writing up a report for my dreaded first year PhD appraisal, but on the way I have … Continue reading →
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10:57 AM | Good governance, democracy and investment in science
From what others have written here at sciblogs most readers will know that we have elections on in New Zealand soon. While reading the newspaper last weekend I encountered an opinion piece by political commenter Colin James that includes commentary on investing in science that readers might be interested in. His essay opens by talking [...]
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10:53 AM | Borexino, misurata in diretta l'energia del Sole
L’esperimento Borexino ai Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (Lngs) dell’Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (Infn)è riuscito, per la prima volta, a misurare l’energia solare nel momento in cui viene emessa, in tempo reale. Lo studio, che parla in gran parte italiano, è stato pubblicato su Nature, e dimostra che sostanzialmente nel corso degli ultimi 100 mila anni l’energia solare non è cambiata. La novità più importante della […]
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7:29 AM | New implant heals major bone injuries
A new implant embedded with growth factors may help heal major bone injuries. Major damage to bones can be very difficult to repair – especially injuries of the face or the spine. There must be enough bone left on either side of the break to use traditional implants like plates and screws. If a lot […]
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7:23 AM | Choose a blog post and vote!
Choose your favorite blog post among the nominees at 3 Quarks Daily, and vote here!  (There are 3 MT nominees -- just sayin'!)
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7:14 AM | Your Body Is Many Different Ages
How old are you? Whatever you answered, you'll be glad to know that you're not 100 percent correct. Researchers have now developed an algorithm that examines the amount of patterning and chemical buildup in DNA, allowing them to get a look at just how old the different tissues in our bodies actually are. For example, if you're female, your breast tissue is about three years older than the rest of you. The post Your Body Is Many Different Ages appeared first on KnowledgeNuts.
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7:08 AM | Viviamo in un ologramma a due dimensioni?
Forse viviamo in una grande illusione. Forse le certezze su quello che ci circonda non sono solide come sembra. Non è l’incipit apocalittico di un nuovo Matrix, ma quello che intendono svelare i fisici del Fermi National Laboratory, che hanno messo a punto un esperimento – The Holometer, si chiama – per conoscere la vera natura dello spazio che ci circonda. Ovvero, più in particolare, per capire se quello che percepiamo come spazio tridimensionale non sia altro […]
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7:02 AM | Una lunga infanzia per nutrire un cervello affamato
Il cervello di un adulto rappresenta il 2% del peso corporeo e consuma più del 20% dell'energia richiesta dal metabolismo a riposo. In un bambino di 4 anni questa quota arriva al 66%. Secondo gli antropologi della Northwestern University (Illinois), che hanno pubblicato questi dati su Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, la lunga infanzia degli esseri umani sarebbe necessaria proprio per consentire lo sviluppo del cervello. Secondo il loro studio, i bambini crescono molto […]
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7:01 AM | Dynasty of the Plastic Fishapods
[This is the original, unedited text of my shorter, tighter (and I think actually better) News & Views piece for Nature, on the paper described below) Ambitious experimental and morphological studies of a modern fish show how a flexible phenotype may have helped early “fishapods” to make the long transition from finned aquatic animals into […]
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6:50 AM | A beautiful photo of a Senegalese bichir (Polypterus senegalus)...
A beautiful photo of a Senegalese bichir (Polypterus senegalus) from Carl Zimmer’s latest blog post for National Geographic. Unfortunately, I think the post and the Nature paper both get totally confused about the term “fish” (there is no such thing) and our common ancestry with early transitional tetrapods and the bichirs. They also completely miss the point about why bichirs are such awesome creatures. I might write a short post about that soon.
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6:07 AM | The Greatest Chess Tournament in the History of Chess Tournaments
The start of the school year, coupled with the looming deadline for the book I’m coediting, has left little time for blogging. I do, however, feel compelled to point out that six of the world’s top ten chess players have gathered in St. Louis for what is arguably the greatest chess tournament in the history…
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6:00 AM | PHOTO DU BoB-217
No summary available for this post.
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5:38 AM | Sci fi short – Abiogenesis
I think it’d be fair to suggest many scientists are sci fi fans. Hopefully some of my non-scientist readers are too! You might enjoy this short (4-5 minute) sci fi film by New Zealand animator, Richard Mans. Titled Abiogenesis it was backed by the New Zealand Film Commission, and has won a number of awards [...]
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4:03 AM | Postdoc positions at Duke University & MMTP
Postdoc positions in the Heitman lab and through the Molecular Mycology Training Program at Duke University, NC State, and University of North Carolina are available as of December 1, 2014. The Heitman lab at Duke University is seeking Postdoctoral Fellow applicants. The lab focuses on molecular determinants of development and virulence in the pathogenic basidiomycetes Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus […]
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3:56 AM | Self-Assembly For Me
by Elio | I have the grating feeling that the subject of self-assembly of complex biological structures may not always amass the level of respect it deserves. I reckon that its importance is generally appreciated but, as topics go, it tends at times to be set aside. Yet, this is one of the most magnificent aspects of biology, one that...
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