December 25, 2014

1:35 PM | A-MAZE-ing squirrels | @GrrlScientist
An entertaining project for the entire family to work on! It’s also much quieter and less destructive than blowing up things with your new chemistry set.After sharing the compilation of the Twelve Days of hamster Christmas (incidentally, today is actually the first day of Christmas -- just thought I’d mention this for those who don’t know), some commenters asked about squirrel videos. Squirrel videos, huh? Continue reading...
1:00 PM | Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
Merry Christmas to those celebrating, and happy holidays to those who aren’t! I hope you find yourself surrounded by friends& family of all shapes and sizes, and I wish you a wonderful winter, and a New Year filled with curiosity, discovery and unparalleled joy.   And for you taxonomy geeks out there, here’s an insect holiday [...]

December 24, 2014

7:11 PM | The Opossum’s Tale
In the continental United States, there’s only one native marsupial – the Virginia opossum. The title’s a bit …
5:15 PM | Merry Christmas
I know that may be a shocking statement from the skeptics, atheists, and humanists. But it’s meant in the spirit of love and sharing. My Christmas has always been about family, love, sharing, and the occasional exploding Christmas present (seriously). It’s a time for kids to be kids and one of the few chances for […]
3:28 PM | The best of TME (for the last two months)
I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for year-end lists. Ten biggest science discoveries. Fifty best albums of 2014. They make fantastic procrastination fodder, and I’ll comb through each one that crosses my desktop before the New Year. In the same spirit, … Continue reading →
3:09 PM | Do preprints count for anything? Not according to Elife & G3 & some authors ..
Well, just got pointed to this paper: Metagenomic chromosome conformation capture (meta3C) unveils the diversity of chromosome organization in microorganisms | eLife by Martial Marbouty, Axel Cournac, Jean-François Flot, Hervé Marie-Nelly, Julien Mozziconacci, Romain Koszul.  Seems potentially really interesting. It is similar in concept and in many aspects to a paper we published in PeerJ earlier in the year (see Beitel et al., 2014 Beitel CW, Froenicke […]
3:00 PM | Happy Holidays to All!
While we all take a quick break for the holidays, we wanted to share this excellent fungal Christmas Tree!   “Fungal Christmas tree. Top: Talaromyces stipitatus; Tree: Aspergillus nidulans; Ornaments: Penicillium marneffei; Trunk: Aspergillus terreus.”
9:44 AM | Twelve Days of Christmas | @GrrlScientist
What can two tiny hamsters teach us about the holiday season? This video provides us with a small glimpse ... I have a confession to make. I confess that I’ve failed you -- I’ve horribly failed you all. Over the past few months, I have forgotten my solemn duty to share cute hamster videos with you on “Caturday”. This is my solemn duty because the first pet I ever lived with was a hamster, whom I named Caesar. He taught me everything I know about friendship, about […]

December 23, 2014

10:51 PM | Long, long ago, far, far away
This is a pretty amazing photograph of NGC 1398, the barred galaxy. There is something strangely compelling about images like this of things so huge and so far away. Their camera must have a mighty fine zoom lens. Think about how many stars are in such a galaxy. Then think about all those other little lights in the background that are also galaxies (all of them), and just in this one little bit of space. Some intellect out there is probably pointing their see-far thingy at the Milky […]
10:50 PM | Banishing the darkness on the winter solstice
Did you notice that the days are getting longer? Yes, the world will not be consumed by darkness as the days continued to shorten. But rather than have fires, or feasts, or religious events to banish the darkness, TPP knows what really does it. On this solstice our premier symbol of rebirth and spring arrived just as we had hoped to banish the darkness and let the sun begin its trek back higher in the sky (Yes, it's axial tilt, but hey.). The first seed and plant catalog came by mail, and […]
8:50 PM | Low-cost, effective bed bug pheromone found!
Researchers at Simon Fraser University have just published a paper describing a bedbug pheromone blend which includes three new volatiles and a surprising arrestant: histamine! Regine Gries, along with colleagues from SFU’s Chemistry and Biological Sciences Departments have been working on pheromone chemistry of these pervasive and damaging pests for years. Regine has led the […]
8:26 PM | Holiday recipe for you - Liquore di zabaglione
This recipe showed up in last Sunday's ChiTown Trib just in time to be used for part of an Italian dinner for friends and family. In August TPP made zabaglione, an liquor flavored egg custard & whipped cream combo for a topping on fresh mixed berries, and we had it for breakfast no less!  Pure decadence. So this is basically a hooched up version of the same complements of Italian cookbook author Domenica Marchetti. Part 1: 1 cup whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp […]
8:02 PM | Buzzfeed includes microbiomes in "77 facts" but alas, gets the facts (and the math) wrong
Well, I admit it - I clicked on this Buzzfeed link someone posted on Facebook - 77 Facts That Sound Like Huge Lies But Are Actually Completely True.  There are some pretty funny and interesting things on the list.  However, I note - I did not click on the link per se for entertainment.   I clicked on it to see if there was anything about microbes on the list.  And happily, there was.  Alas, what there was, was, well, a bit wrong:Let's start with #67.  "There […]
6:31 PM | The role of aggression in the lives of individuals, species and nations
Why do we see aggressive behavior in all animal species, including in humans? What is its usefulness? From an ethological point of view, aggression is a behavior which allows for a hierarchical status to be established within a group, facilitates the access to resources, allows one to defend against the attackers, ensures the territorial defensive […] The post The role of aggression in the lives of individuals, species and nations appeared first on Social Ethology.
5:45 PM | Rejection, Academics, and Success.
With the holiday season in full swing, I thought that I share a link to a recent post on weathering the rejection storm that almost invariably accompanies grant and publication reviews. those of you getting rejections are in great company. … Continue reading →
1:14 PM | One Myrrh-aculous Christmas Gift
Biology concepts – synergism, multidrug resistant cancersThe Commiphora myrrha is the classic source for myrrh resin. It is a short tree that grows in low moisture and poor soil areas. Its branches are very thorny; some propose that the crown of thorns Jesus is said to have worn was made of myrrh twigs.The three original Christmas gifts are usually listed as gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but why that order? Some say it is because you give gold to a king, frankincense was used by priests, […]

Xu, H., Xu, L., Li, L., Fu, J. & Mao, X. (2012). Reversion of P-glycoprotein-mediated multidrug resistance by guggulsterone in multidrug-resistant human cancer cell lines, European Journal of Pharmacology, 694 (1-3) 39-44. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2012.06.046

Wang, W., Uen, Y., Chang, M., Cheah, K., Li, J., Yu, W., Lee, K., Choy, C. & Hu, C. (2012). Protective effect of guggulsterone against cardiomyocyte injury induced by doxorubicin in vitro, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 12 (1) 138. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-12-138

de Rapper, S., Van Vuuren, S., Kamatou, G., Viljoen, A. & Dagne, E. (2012). The additive and synergistic antimicrobial effects of select frankincense and myrrh oils - a combination from the pharaonic pharmacopoeia, Letters in Applied Microbiology, 54 (4) 352-358. DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2012.03216.x

9:28 AM | Eleven hours in the Ladies Waiting Room (Sleeper) at New Delhi Railway Station
When you reach the railway station and find out that your train is going to leave at 2:00 am instead of 4:00 pm, when your father and you have braved the amorphous queue at the Reservation and Cancellation counter only … Continue reading →
8:39 AM | Deck the ‘Nets With PeerJ Papers
Deck the ‘Nets With PeerJ Papers– please sing along! ♬Deck the ‘nets with PeerJ papers, Fa la la la la, la la la la. ‘Tis the day to show our labours, Fa la la la la, la la la la. Downloads free; CC-BY license, Fa la la, la la la, la la la. Read the extant ratite science, […]

December 22, 2014

9:28 PM | Conference: Speciation 2015! Register soon!
Hi all.  A quick announcement regarding an upcoming conference:Who: You – or your grad students!What: Speciation 2015When: March 15–20, 2015Where: Ventura, CAWhy: Modes of Diversification, Ecological Mechanisms, and Genomic SignaturesHow: Register at  There’s lots of additional information at the link above.  This is the world’s largest conference on speciation research, and they have put together a truly […]
7:51 PM | What is Culture that it can Evolve? The Mesh, from Individuals to the Group
Things are complicated, and there’s a sense in which I’ve jumped the gun in some of my earlier posts in this current series, which I’ve provisionally titled “Cultural Evolution: Literary History, Popular Music, Ontology, and Temporality.” So I want to do a little catch-up in this post before a final – I hope – post […]
7:40 PM | Prehistoric Shorebirds Waded Alongside Their Dinosaur Cousins
Birds are dinosaurs. This fact is easily understood by looking at the scaly feet of a chickadee or …
3:38 PM | Open house etiquette
It was a busy weekend socially and the internet connection was flaky, even more than usual so no blogs. Since the Martha Stewart fairy dusted our home with decorations, some one volunteered to host a church open house. This can present several questions of etiquette. Do you serve a jar of home canned sweet pickles that were dated 1999?  OK, that's pretty easy. No, and they weren't that good even when young. Do you serve a bottle of wine that you don't like to get rid of it? Rieslings are […]
2:15 PM | The Bone-house Wasp
This brief post will be the last of the year on Accumulating Glitches. We're tak...
1:52 PM | Birdbooker Report 352
SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read […]
4:52 AM | Roman Holiday
As seen previously on Twitter. Have yourself A merry Saturnalia, If the Fates allow— And if Zeus Does not turn you in-to a cow. Have yourself A merry Saturnalia Let your heart be light! The Alps will keep Those elephants … Continue reading →
3:44 AM | What do men want? (2014)
“A man may feel that he has to woo a woman with his masculinity. When he first meets a woman, he feels under some pressure to perform with confidence and assertiveness. He ‘knows’ that this is what women are supposed to be attracted to … At the same time, men are eager to have a […]
2:23 AM | Adam and Eve, Continued
Let’s continue with the discussion I started in yesterday’s post. We are considering whether it is reasonable to persist in believing in the reality of Adam and Eve given the findings of modern science. The problem is that the Bible seems clear that at the time of their creation, Adam and Eve were the only…
1:30 AM | Neuronal Immaturity in Autism, Schizophrenia, and Bipolar: Some Common Mechanisms?
My last few blog posts on Science Over a Cuppa have focused on some of our recent genomics work involving neuronal immaturity in autism [1, 2]. Specifically, I’ve talked about […]

December 21, 2014

4:41 PM | Crosspost - papers for sale
Crossposting from ICIS Blog (even though this is short - always good to reveal where things are posted first).Well, this is much more elaborate than I could ever have imagined: For Sale: “Your Name Here” in a Prestigious Science Journal – Scientific American. Seems that there are services out there to help people write, in essence, bogus scientific papers filled with pithy somewhat reasonable sounding phrases about certain topics. Seems we could all use some more […]
1:56 PM | Shelf Life: Turtles and taxonomy | @GrrlScientist
For most people, individual plants or animals can be very beautiful, but for scientists, the real wonder lies in understanding the interrelationships between species and how they fit into the tapestry of life.It might surprise you to learn that every week, scientists are discovering new plant and animal species -- even species that are big enough to be seen with the naked eye. With each now discovery comes the same question: how is this new species related to all the others that we already know […]
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