October 31, 2014

3:15 PM | Canonical circuits in neuroscience
Gary Marcus, Adam Marblestone, and Thomas Dean have a nice perspective piece in Science this week on the atoms of neural computation (gated): One hypothesis is that cortical neurons form a single, massively repeated “canonical” circuit, characterized as a kind of a … Continue reading →

Qian, J., Hintze, A. & Adami, C. (2011). Colored Motifs Reveal Computational Building Blocks in the C. elegans Brain, PLoS ONE, 6 (3) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017013

Borst, A. (2007). Correlation versus gradient type motion detectors: the pros and cons, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362 (1479) 369-374. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2006.1964

Pfeffer, C. (2014). Inhibitory Neurons: Vip Cells Hit the Brake on Inhibition, Current Biology, 24 (1) DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.11.001

Mysore, S. & Knudsen, E. (2012). Reciprocal Inhibition of Inhibition: A Circuit Motif for Flexible Categorization in Stimulus Selection, Neuron, 73 (1) 193-205. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.10.037

Marcus, G., Marblestone, A. & Dean, T. (2014). The atoms of neural computation, Science, 346 (6209) 551-552. DOI: 10.1126/science.1261661

2:03 PM | Ten real-life Halloween horrors in the natural world
Wild ThingsAnimals,Microbes by Sarah Zielinski 10:13am, October 31, 2014 Halloween is full of supposedly scary things that aren’t real. Why look to imagination, though, when nature has provided us with plenty of true frights?Alex Mestas/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)Most of the things that make Halloween scary aren’t real — witches, vampires, stumbling mummies, ghosts. I find this […]
1:19 PM | Pesticides-L mailing list: creating a global conversation on pesticides issues
Originally posted on The Plantwise Blog:Written by Melanie Bateman, Integrated Crop Management Adviser, CABI Switzerland As has been mentioned before in this blog, there are a staggering number of chemicals in the world – estimates go as high as…
1:00 PM | What we’re reading: The diversification of bacteria, landscape genomics of cottonwood, and the skewed sex ratio of science
In the journals Plata G., C.S. Henry, and D. Vitkup. 2014. Long-term phenotypic evolution of bacteria. Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature13827. Overall, bacterial phenotypic evolution can be described by a two-stage process with a rapid initial phenotypic diversification followed by a slow … Continue reading →
12:30 PM | Glowing Ants
Just in time for Halloween, MJ Epps and I have created glowing ants. Like mad scientists, we locked ourselves in our office last week with only the faint glow of a black light escaping under our door. With petri dishes scattered across our desks and our fingers stained with fluorescent dye, we finally ended up with a colony of ants that glowed. Why glowing ants? We have been trying to figure out what ants eat. What seems like a simple question can be surprisingly difficult to answer for an […]
12:00 PM | The conference hangover
This week I definitely had a ‘hangover’. Two weeks of meetings* left me a strange mixture of excited, enthusiastic, invigorated and completely drained. I have lots of new ideas and enjoyed both making new connections and reconnecting with others. But I can forget how drained I can feel after such intense social activity, even if…
11:44 AM | Happy Flumpaween!
It’s Friday and it’s October 31, so you are in store for a super spoooooky edition of our weekly list . . .
11:33 AM | Friday links: Hope Jahren’s blog turns 1, Tim Poisot wins the intertubes, and more
Also this week: teaching advice, a classic paper on the ecology of dragons, don’t believe the hype, great minds think link alike, and more. Also, Happy Halloween! From Meg: I enjoyed this post at Tenure, She Wrote on maintaining productivity … Continue reading →
11:05 AM | More than meets the eye!
The largest Transformers exhibition in Asia has made landfall in Singapore – smack in the jewel of Jurong East – Science Centre Singapore! Celebrating 30 years of evolution of the beloved and Transformers series, the Transformers 30th Anniversary Exhibition presents a snapshot of the history of Transformers and the scenes and robots of the Transformers… Continue reading »
9:49 AM | Pesticides-L mailing list: creating a global conversation on pesticides issues
Written by Melanie Bateman, Integrated Crop Management Adviser, CABI Switzerland As has been mentioned before in this blog, there are a staggering number of chemicals in the world – estimates go as high as 2 million different preparations for sale. This is a lot for regulators in any given country to assess and monitor for […]
9:34 AM | Science in a Box
“Where did dinosaurs come from?” “How are black holes created?” “How big is the Universe?” “If we use mud wraps for our skin, why can’t we use mud as shampoo for our hair?!” These are just some of the interesting (and very diverse) questions I’ve received from enthusiastic primary school students over the past couple of weeks. They’re testimony to the curiosity and imagination that’s unleased when you encourage children to […]
12:59 AM | Harvard Announces New Animal Advocacy Program Endowed by Bradley L. Goldberg
Said Goldberg: “Animals have rights to experience a life of respect, free from unnecessary suffering, and the animal advocacy movement needs and deserves a new generation of leaders so that progress can continue. With its long history of pioneering legal … Continue reading →
12:27 AM | Join us to discuss democratization of science at Citizen Science 2015
At the Citizen Science Association Conference in San Jose, the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group will host a discussion and listening session about how the Association can move towards better democratization of science – where all audiences and affiliations have the opportunity to become equal partners in the process of science. Continue reading →

October 30, 2014

10:06 PM | Spooky Spider
I love Halloween. It’s the time of year when I can leave all the spider webs up around the front stoop and call them decorations. This harmless garden spider, the Black and Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia) is not long for the world. She’ll die soon as the nights grow colder. But I’ll keep an eye on her wee ones in the egg sac she left by the railing. In the spring the baby spiders will hatch out, spin a little silk parachute to catch the breeze and sail away to a new home! […]
10:00 PM | Photo of the Week – October 30, 2014
I’ve always had a difficult time taking pleasing landscape photos in heavy fog.  I love the way prairies and wetlands look on foggy days, but I rarely come away with a scenic photo I’m happy with.  Fortunately, I can (and … Continue reading →
4:57 PM | Three out of five!
World Series champs for the third time in the last five years, those “scratch ‘em ’till they bleed to death” San Francisco Giants have done it again. Not quite a dynasty yet, but you have to go back fifteen years … Continue reading →
4:21 PM | Earth Rangers National Tour
Are you a kid? Do you live in Canada? Then there’s a good chance Earth Rangers might be visiting a school near you!
2:59 PM | Haldane’s Sieve
This week we have a guest post by Graham Coop and Joe Pickrell. Here, Graham [GC] and Joe [JKP] answer a few questions we had about the development and future of their blog, Haldane’s Sieve. If you’re interested in population genetics … Continue reading →
2:49 PM | Wayne Farms slammed by OSHA for gaming system on poultry worker injuries
After more than a decade, OSHA used its "general duty clause" to issue citations to a poultry processing firm for ergonomic hazards.
1:44 PM | U.S. mulls adding turtles to endangered species list
The U.S. government has proposed adding four types of freshwater turtles to an international endangered species list, in part to better monitor exports of the species Continue reading →
1:09 PM | Winter Finch Forecast: Help Monitor Wild Bird Health
Birds, like butterflies, are excellent indicators of ecosystem health. Join the Cornell Lab of Ornithology FeederWatch project beginning November 8, 2014, and make a contribution. Continue reading →
8:30 AM | Still still life
Our photography competition is still open to entries (deadline 10th November). Submit one photograph to the album here. Log in with the username ecoevoblog and password which is the same. Remember, don’t give it a name that will reveal the photographer so as to avoid bias. Good luck! Author: Adam Kane, kanead[at], @P1zPalu Photo credit: wikimedia commons
2:28 AM | Turning Waste Into Treasures
[©CSIRO Publishing. This article first appeared in The Helix Issue 158, a science magazine for children produced by CSIRO.] Whenever you throw away something, say an orange peel, you have decided that it is useless to you. It is waste, and you are better off without it. But have you thought if these wastes can […]
12:14 AM | Birds large and small hop over obstacles in similar ways
Wild ThingsAnimals by Sarah Zielinski 7:00am, October 30, 2014 A turkey moves over a step with a strategy similar to the one used by tiny quail and huge ostriches.Oregon State Univ.View the videoA tiny quail and a huge ostrich would seem to have little in common given their 500-fold difference in size. But when faced with an obstacle in their path, the birds tackle it in the same way, […]
12:04 AM | Sensing and Acting Under Information Constraints
I’m having a great time at a workshop on Biological and Bio-Inspired Information Theory in Banff, Canada. You can see videos of the talks online. There have been lots of good talks so far, but this one really blew my mind: • Naftali Tishby, Sensing and acting under information constraints—a principled approach to biology and […]

October 29, 2014

10:17 PM | Canopy in the Clouds development team analyzes its social outreach
A guest post by Greg Goldsmith, a tropical plant ecolog […]
9:28 PM | Analysis: Raising the minimum wage could save billions in public assistance
Raising the federal minimum wage isn’t only good for workers — it’s good for the federal budget as well, according to a new issue brief from the Economic Policy Institute.
4:07 PM | Happy National Cat Day!
Apparently, cat fanciers love celebrating their feline friends with official holidays. A few months ago we were celebrating World Cat Day (August 8, 2014). And now today, just in case you missed the memo, is National Cat Day! We thought we’d seize this opportunity to update you on our Cat Tracker project. To date, we’ve had 350 cat-owners sign up their kitties for our GPS tracking study, including owners in nearly every US state! We’re intensely recruiting cat-owners on Long […]
4:01 PM | Behind the scenes of Plantwise plant clinics in Uganda
PhD student, Andrew Tock, of the Warwick Crop Centre, has spent three months monitoring Plantwise plant clinic success in Uganda as part of a BBSRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership. During this time, he kept a research diary (video above), describing his experiences in Uganda and the day-to-day work of plant doctors in the field. To read […]
2:30 PM | Update: New Pest & Disease Records (29 Oct 14)
We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include new hosts (turmeric and black pepper) of root knot nematode in Pakistan,  two fungal leaf spot pathogens on Indonesian cinnamon, and a species of phytoplasma not previously found on apple […]
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