August 18, 2014

11:00 AM | A Tale of Two Strategies
by S. Marvin Friedman | Bacteria are for the most part gregarious organisms, living predominantly in dense communities consisting of multiple strains. In fact, the majority of infectious bacteria occur as multi-layered structures called biofilms, many of which are composed of multiple types of bacteria. As one can imagine, neighbor relations in such complex populations can be…
10:55 AM | Wellcome Trust Research Round-Up: 18/08/14
Our fortnightly round-up up of news from the Wellcome Trust research community… Mind and body: link between immune system and mental health The immune system may have a role to play in mental illness, suggests research from the University of Cambridge, published in JAMA Psychiatry last week. With funding from the Trust, as well as the […]
10:06 AM | Barche, il rumore attira il biofouling
Potrebbe esserci una spiegazione biologica del perché i piccoli organismi incrostanti, dannazione di tutti i marinai, prosperino abbondanti sopratutto sugli scafi delle barche e delle navi. E questo motivo potrebbe avere a che fare con il rumore: secondo un gruppo di ricercatori neozelandesi e australiani, infatti, lo sviluppo di alcune di queste specie potrebbe essere influenzato proprio dalle vibrazioni dei generatori. La curiosa correlazione è stata testata, per ora, soltanto […]
9:22 AM | The Power of Yawning
No one looks pretty doing it yet somehow, when we see someone compulsively distort their face into a yawn, we feel inclined to do the same. We share this odd behaviour with a whole bunch of animals, who each do it … Continue reading →
9:00 AM | How do you envisage the new Science Centre Singapore to be?
Re-imagining Jurong – That’s the title of Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s blogpost explaining Jurong’s transformation since Singapore’s industrialisation days and the impending transformation described by PM Lee during the National Day Rally on 17 August. Of particular interest to us at Science Centre Singapore (SCS) would be the announcement about the new Science Centre being… Continue reading »
9:00 AM | Logical Reasoning in Helsinki
Ken and I are in Finland this week co-teaching the Logical Reasoning in Human Genetics course that Ken and Joe Terwilliger have taught a number of times in a number of places over the last 10 years.  People in the class, and/or I, may do some live tweeting at #lrhg14. We'll be away for another week or so after the course.  We will do some blogging this week or next if we find the time.  If not, we'll be back the first week of September. Helsinki: Wikipedia
7:56 AM | CRISPR gene therapy prevents muscular dystrophy
Scientists have used the popular new CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system to prevent Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) in mice. DMD is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene. Dystrophin forms part of the scaffolding inside each cell that maintains cell shape. In muscle cells, dystrophin links the contractile apparatus in the cells, called myofilaments, with the […]
7:00 AM | The Origin Of Murphy’s Law And Why It’s Real
If anything can go wrong, it will. This pessimistic phrase has been around for a long time, but it was only called Murphy's law when US Air Force colonel John Stapp applied the label after a technician working on his experiments with G-forces showed up with some key components that were completely defective. Until Stapp applied the unlucky man's name to the rule, it was earlier known as Sod's Law. And researchers have found out that it's a real thing---so next time it feels like the world is […]
6:00 AM | PHOTO DU BoB-207
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5:11 AM | The exceptions of biology
Credit: Stanford University I like stating in my lectures that biology is a science of exceptions.  This in no way invalidates the rules; rather, they give us a new appreciation for them.  I have to confess that I love these exceptions.  In a previous post I wrote about organisms that were at the same time …
2:15 AM | Neither rain
Fresh summer rain. Marathon in six weeks. Gotta do the miles. Running shoes squish and suck all the way down the empty trail to the lakes. The few other runners wave in solidarity. One reaches out for a high-five, shouts … Continue reading →
2:03 AM | Fototerapia, un tratamiento que avanza contra el cáncer
Investigadores de la Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica (FFyB) de la Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) sintetizaron compuestos fotoactivables, derivados de las ftalocianinas, y estudiaron su efecto fototóxico en células tumorales con resultados alentadores. La búsqueda de tratamientos eficaces contra el cáncer y con menos efectos secundarios que afecten la calidad de vida de los pacientes es constante. En la actualidad, el cáncer constituye una de las […]

August 17, 2014

11:43 PM | Why do all cells have the complete genome?
Ophelia has summarized a series of science questions Richard Dawkins asked on Twitter. Hey, I thought, I have answers to lots of these — he probably does, too — so I thought I’d address one of them. Maybe I can take a stab at some of the others another time. I like this one, anyway:…
11:40 PM | The Importance of having a healthy brain
Originally posted on Thoughts of a peculiar mind:What exactly is our brain? Well, is a very important organ of our body which controls our thoughts, functions, our movements and pretty much everything.  Without our brain we wouldn’t be anybody; it evens controls our feelings. When we love somebody, that feeling actually comes from our brain,…
8:14 PM | Zoloft Birth Defects
Zoloft Birth Defects and Pregnancy Complications Zoloft pregnancy complications have been cited by many news organizations and medical journals   around the country.   Unfortunately this information may not have been given to women who were expectant, or mothers who were pregnant and did not know it.   These birth defects put undue hardships on... Read the rest of this entry The post Zoloft Birth Defects appeared first on Zoloft Lawsuit Claims.
5:46 PM | Superhero PhD: Nike!
We last left Superhero PhD and her labmates in a state of noncompliance with the system that is supposed to support them. Fortunately, their misdeeds did not attract the attention of accountants higher up in the matrix. Even the recently purchased equipment from e-bay works just fine. These small triumphs make the days in the […]
5:26 PM | Zebra finches go mad with mercury, and other animal updates
Mercury exposure makes zebra finches bold and hyperactive, and additional research from the 2014 Animal Behavior Society Meeting.
5:22 PM | Zebra finches go mad with mercury, and other animal updates
Wild ThingsAnimals by Sarah Zielinski 1:26pm, August 17, 2014 A study of zebra finches found that the birds get hyperactive when exposed to toxic mercury.Julie anne Johnson/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)PRINCETON, N.J. — I spent this week at the Animal Behavior Society meeting at Princeton University, which, when you're an animal blogger, is something like releasing a kid in a candy store. […]
3:29 PM | The time the cops pulled their guns on me
This post is not about science.I'm writing this because the horrific news out of Ferguson, Missouri—the killing of an unarmed man and the subsequent assault on the populace and media—has been bringing back memories an experience I had with the police ten years ago in Chicago.I should be clear about why I'm choosing to share this. It's not because I think my own problems are particularly deserving of attention in comparison to the violence done to Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and […]
Editor's Pick
3:26 PM | A mosaic vaccine that could potentially protect from different ebola strains
Disclaimer: The mosaic vaccine paper discussed in this article is from my own group and overlaps with some of the research I do. I'm sure you've been following the latest news about the Ebola virus outbreak in Africa."The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the world's deadliest to date and the World Health Organization has declared an international health emergency as more than 1,000 people have died of the virus in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria this year." [Source: BBC News]The […]

Friedrich BM, Trefry JC, Biggins JE, Hensley LE, Honko AN, Smith DR & Olinger GG (2012). Potential vaccines and post-exposure treatments for filovirus infections., Viruses, 4 (9) 1619-50. PMID:

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:

Fenimore PW, Muhammad MA, Fischer WM, Foley BT, Bakken RR, Thurmond JR, Yusim K, Yoon H, Parker M, Hart MK & Dye JM (2012). Designing and testing broadly-protective filoviral vaccines optimized for cytotoxic T-lymphocyte epitope coverage., PloS one, 7 (10) PMID:

2:58 PM | A Short Film on Local Efforts to Preserve Jamaican Reptiles
We’ve discussed the crisis concerning Jamaica’s Goat Islands previously. This film is the work of Robin Moore. Read more about the film and the efforts to preserve Jamaica’s iguanas on National Geographic‘s Newswatch. More relevant videos can be viewed at the Save Goat Islands website.  
2:00 PM | The First Modern Post-Apocalypse Novel: After London
Richard Jefferies’ After London (1885) Gothic and Romantic writers — like Cousin de Grainville, Lord Byron, Edgar Allen Poe, and most significantly, Mary Shelley — wrote the first important End of the World fiction early in the 19th century. But … Continue reading →
2:00 PM | MI weekly selection #88
A switch for internal, external brain processes. Researchers have observed how the brain switches between internal and external information processes in mice. Scientists manipulated […] Read more The post MI weekly selection #88 appeared first on Mapping Ignorance. Related posts:MI weekly selection #86 Carbon nanotubes to study neuron activity Bessel beam plane illumination microscopy: another smart solution for an old challenge.
1:33 PM | "But the chief cause of our natural unwillingness to admit that one species has given birth to other..."
“But the chief cause of our natural unwillingness to admit that one species has given birth to other and distinct species, is that we are always slow in admitting any great change of which we do not see the intermediate steps.” - Charles Darwin. "On the Origin of Species…" Chap. XIV. Recapitulation and Conclusion. 1st ed., p. 481. From the beautiful chapter that summarises the whole work and finishes with the more famous "endless forms most beautiful" quote.
1:33 PM | "The human understanding resembles not a dry light, but admits a tincture of the will and passions,..."
“The human understanding resembles not a dry light, but admits a tincture of the will and passions, which generate their own system accordingly; for man always believes more readily that which he prefers. […] in short, his feelings imbue and corrupt his understanding in innumerable and sometimes imperceptible ways.” - Fracis Bacon. Novum Organum (1620).
1:26 PM | To become an elite sportsperson, you need to win the genetic lottery
A review of The Sports Gene by David Epstein Winners, it is said, are not born but made. That, however, is not the...
12:45 PM | Insect with the Smallest Genome Discovered in Antarctica
Few organisms can survive in harsh environments, such as extreme cold or dry conditions, but some species equipped with some special adaptations can thrive. The Antarctic midge, Belgica Antarctica, the only wingless insect native to Antarctica, has the smallest insect genome among those sequenced, a likely adaptation to the extreme conditions it is exposed to, […]
12:02 PM | Beautiful Sunday: Capturing the Skylark’s Ecstasy
A song of light, and pierces air With fountain ardor, fountain play,            To reach the shining tops of day, And drink in everything discern’d An ecstasy to music turn’d,               -From “Lark Ascending”, George Meredith   Some things in nature are so breathtaking, they move us to try to create something equally beautiful to express […]
11:51 AM | Facebook Humor [on Twitter]
Does anyone know where I can find a picture of a cat?— Jake Vig (@Jake_Vig) August 16, 2014
11:17 AM | John Philip Holland and Liscannor, Co. Clare
The town of Liscannor, Co. Clare is the birthplace of John Philip Holland, the Irishman who invented the modern submarine. More on JPH in this previous post.On a recent visit to Liscannor it was possible to view at least three plaques in the town in honour of the famous scientist and engineer: One near the church:One on the main street:and one marking his birthplace on Holland Street (formerly Castle Street):There's also a JPH display at the spectacular Cliffs of Moher visitor centre featuring […]
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