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Posts

April 03, 2014

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3:44 AM | Closed access irony award: Christine Greenhow & Benjamin Gleason on social media and scholars
Well, isn't this ironic.  There are a few news stories I was pointed to about a recent paper from Christine Greenhow & Benjamin Gleason at Michigan State.  Here is one of the stories: Why scholars don't trust social media? | Business Standard.  And here is a link to the paper: Social scholarship: Reconsidering scholarly practices in the age of social media. In the news story linked above one of the authors of the study is reported to have said:"Only a minority […]
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3:17 AM | Springy things
It's about time that some springy things happened. A few clumps of snowdrops are now in flowering. Both early and standard crocus have begun flowering, which sort of belies the "early" concept, and the proof is right there, the bits of yellow petals left from the bunny breakfast. Scilla is also starting to flower, although full flowering will be a bit later when the thousands and thousands of them will turn the lawn blue. This is just great; Scilla is not liked by bunnies so […]

April 02, 2014

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10:49 PM | It’s Still a Dog
I’d like to take a minute to examine this common claim of creationists. When creationists claim “X is still a Y.” They are using this as an argument against macro-evolution. That is that species can change over time and maybe speciation can occur[1], but larger changes between higher taxonomic groups don’t occur. In other words, birds are birds and […]
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10:40 PM | On Time and Space
The long-term evolution experiment (LTEE) began in 1988, and the E. coli populations are approaching 60,000 generations.  That’s a long time for an experiment, and I hope it continues for much, much longer. But when I give talks about the … Continue reading →
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8:07 PM | Live 3-D X-ray video of a fly’s muscles in mid-flight
Flies are incredibly agile on the wing, pulling off twists and turns that outstrip anything we’ve accomplished. Their flight is …Continue reading →

Walker, S., Schwyn, D., Mokso, R., Wicklein, M., Müller, T., Doube, M., Stampanoni, M., Krapp, H. & Taylor, G. (2014). In Vivo Time-Resolved Microtomography Reveals the Mechanics of the Blowfly Flight Motor, PLoS Biology, 12 (3) DOI:

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7:33 PM | Dinosaur Antetonitrus Set the Stage for Sauropods
Do you wanna evolve a sauropod? The Triassic’s the perfect time. Down on four legs instead of two, …
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3:30 PM | Did Hobbits Exist?
Transcript: Everyone knows that Lord of the Rings is a work of fiction.  There is no evidence that JRR Tolkien’s elves, wizards, dwarves or orcs ever existed.  But recent discoveries have raised an important question: did hobbits actually exist?   In September 2003 a team of archaeologists led by Peter Brown and Mike Morwood unearthed […]Did Hobbits Exist? was first posted on April 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm.©2013 "The Advanced Apes". Use of this feed is for personal […]
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2:56 PM | Biologist claims controversial stem-cell method might work
A Hong Kong developmental biologist says he has succeeded in reproducing a method of reprogramming cells to an embryonic like state by applying mechanical stress. The surprising new development, which the author describes as a “megatwist”, took place on 1 April, the same day that the Japanese researcher who invented the method was found guilty of scientific misconduct. The new claim, however, has been greeted with scepticism.  Read more
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12:00 PM | It’s Not Just Chili Peppers That Are Hot
Biology concepts – cinnamaldehyde, nasal hyperreactivity, piperine, allyl isothiocyanate, eugenol, gingerol, tinyatoxin, osmotic stress, agonist/antagonistThe last few years have seen the rise and fall of The Cinnamon Challenge. I can’t tell you why it came, but I can explain why it went. And the reason relates to the capsaicin receptors we have been talking about.Don’t think cinnamon candy can be hot. Your unbearably hot cinnamon bears from Jelly Belly and your Atomic […]

Holland C, van Drunen C, Denyer J, Smart K, Segboer C, Terreehorst I, Newlands A, Beerahee M, Fokkens W & Tsitoura DC & (2013). Inhibition of capsaicin-driven nasal hyper-reactivity by SB-705498, a TRPV1 antagonist., British journal of clinical pharmacology, PMID:

Chung G, Im ST, Kim YH, Jung SJ, Rhyu MR & Oh SB (2014). Activation of transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 by eugenol., Neuroscience, 261 153-60. PMID:

Alpizar YA, Boonen B, Gees M, Sanchez A, Nilius B, Voets T & Talavera K (2014). Allyl isothiocyanate sensitizes TRPV1 to heat stimulation., Pflugers Archiv : European journal of physiology, 466 (3) 507-15. PMID:

Ciura S, Liedtke W & Bourque CW (2011). Hypertonicity sensing in organum vasculosum lamina terminalis neurons: a mechanical process involving TRPV1 but not TRPV4., The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31 (41) 14669-76. PMID:

Sudbury JR, Ciura S, Sharif-Naeini R & Bourque CW (2010). Osmotic and thermal control of magnocellular neurosecretory neurons--role of an N-terminal variant of trpv1., The European journal of neuroscience, 32 (12) 2022-30. PMID:

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9:00 AM | Digital lab notebook
brightcove.createExperiences();  … Read more
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8:37 AM | Strong earthquake hits northern Chile
Chile declared three regions to be disaster areas after a powerful earthquake killed at least five in northern Chile.  Read more
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3:01 AM | Ancient Carnivorous Frog Was Small in Stature, But Sported Thorns
Beelzebufo differs from all known living and extinct frogs in that it possessed long bony spikes protruding from its head like devilish horns and similar spines down the vertebrae of its back.
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1:32 AM | Grounds for War: The Evolution of Territorial Conflict
In international relations, unlike the natural sciences, there are few fundamental principles or laws.The world map reveals at least one iron law of global politics: human territoriality.
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12:33 AM | A night of science and stars at the Chabot Space & Science Museum with OZY and me
There has been much talk about new media organizations as of late. Whom and which are innovative enough, new enough, dynamic enough? Diverse enough? Well, it’s still too early to call it but I... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

April 01, 2014

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11:31 PM | It’s Not That Big a Deal
If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed my manic/depressive nature. I tend to be a pessimist and only really cool stuff that happens (or I learn) can change that for a while. As such, I tend to see things in the worst possible light. Believe me, I’ve been worse. […]
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11:25 PM | RiffTrax Roasts NatGeo TV
Tonight, three stars from the classic comedy show Mystery Science Theater 3000 are going to do something I …
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10:29 PM | Webinaring Bayes
Yesterday, I gave my first webinar, or online lecture if you want. The occasion was that a few people from another university asked me if I could give an introductory lecture about Bayesian statistics, and because traveling would have cost me a full day, I suggested doing a “virtual visit” instead. It’s a funny coincidence…
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9:43 PM | Paul Ryan. Budget proposal. April 1st?
Oh, those funsters of the GnOPe!  All those cuts to social welfare programs and federal pensions; no one could seriously propose such a thing, so it's an April Fools joke!  Why if it's not, you'd get the idea that the GnOPe doesn't think people need any public assistance ever.  And certainly let's do away with Pell grants so that people who can't afford college will have one less way to better their position.  Why you'd think Ryan Paul (brother/cousin of Rand?) doesn't […]
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9:09 PM | How Leopards Helped Make the Fossil Record
I have to apologize to carnivores. In an article about how to become a fossil, published last summer, …
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6:31 PM | Khat - more dope stupidity
Khat consists of the leaves and young stems of Catha edulis, a shrub from the horn of Africa, where for centuries, wads of the leaves have been chewed for their stimulating effect. Rather than being elicit, khat is consumed in a socially acceptable manner like coffee is here. A news article from some weeks back from the Chi-town Trib reports that some poor mope was picked up at O'Hare with 90 pounds of khat.  The article uses the following phrases to describe the haul: "illegal […]
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3:51 PM | Fat Cat
I’ve described our “Walking the Cat Back” Leverhulme Trust-funded project with Dr. Anjali Goswami and colleagues before, but today we really got stuck into it. We’re dissecting a 46kg male Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) as the first “data point” (actually several hundred data points, but anyway, first individual) in our study of how limb and […]
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3:14 PM | Certified nutritional microscopist
Whaz that?  TPP knows more than a little bit about microscopes, but how do you get certified as a nutritional microscopist?  And by whom are you certified?  The nutritional part was puzzling as well, but apparently practioners of NM can look at your blood and figure out what nutritional changes are needed for you to maintain your health.  Apparently some CNM tend to push the boundaries a bit by diagnosing cancer and blood mould, and if that isn't enough, then they examine […]
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2:52 PM | Carnival #70 is up!
Carnival of Evolution #70 is now up!  We had an embarrassment of riches this month, with guest posts from Jacques Labonne about the new Basque fish blog, Fish&Bits, Dan Hasselman on how Anthropogenic habitat disturbance can impact species integrity, Katja Räsänen on the mosaic of reproductive isolation… not to mention posts from Andrew on the meaning of “extinctive” and his visit to Darwin’s pub.In the end, though, we nominated a fascinating post […]
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1:42 PM | New Evidence for Neanderthal Language Announced (on April 1st…)
In keeping with Sean’s previous Evolang Preview some Neanderthal&language evolution-related news: As Andrew Lamont writes on the official LINGUIST List Blog: The controversy over whether Neanderthals possessed a capacity for language may have been resolved. After years of speculation by evolutionary anthropologists and geneticists, a group of linguists has announced today that they have uncovered written evidence […]
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1:00 PM | A science-y tweet makes my heart skip a beat
When I first heard about Twitter (several years before I actually understood what it was) – I remember thinking it sounded silly. Who cares what celebrities are thinking (Figure 1)? I dismissed everything Twitter-related as irrelevant and continued on my merry way. I think it was during Evolution 2011 that Jeremy (from this blog) suggested I join Twitter because you […]
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11:00 AM | How to break out of a scientific career rut Part 2: Examine external barriers
Contributor, Ben Thomas  … Read more
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4:59 AM | March Sci-shimi: waves from the Big Bang and more
Welcome to Sci-shimi, my monthly roundup of  great science online! Like a delicious, fresh platter of sashimi, these tasty links are meant to be shared —どうぞめしあがれ !  This month’s mind-blowing science moment: Gravitational waves—remnants of the birth of the universe—detected for the first time. Read how the discovery is exciting physicists, challenging old models, and leaving us in awe. […]
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12:35 AM | Natural Gas – Not Such a Good Deal
Last year sometime, I wrote a post about how natural gas was a good fit with wind power. Natural gas has many advantages when paired with a renewable power supply like wind. It can begin producing power very quickly (minutes) compared to coal or oil fired power plants (which take days to begin producing power […]

March 31, 2014

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10:20 PM | Government video give lets you choose your own clinical research (mis)adventure
It seems hardly a day goes by without a new report of research misconduct. To help prevent such behavior from occurring, the US Department of Health and Human Services has released an  interactive training video called ‘The Research Clinic’ that gives viewers the opportunity to assume the role of one of four decision-makers who are frequently involved in clinical research: a principal investigator, a clinical research coordinator, a research assistant and the chair of an […]
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9:36 PM | Trust the “trust hormone”? Oxytocin can increase deceit
Oxytocin has perhaps the best reputation of any molecule on the planet. In a culture of chemophobia where any compound is fair game for attack, oxytocin has been heralded as “The Source of Love and Prosperity“. If you listen to the tales, this “moral” molecule—the “trust hormone“—is the “most amazing molecule in the world,” and […]The post Trust the “trust hormone”? Oxytocin can increase deceit appeared first on […]

Shalvia S. & De Dreub C. (2014). Oxytocin promotes group-serving dishonesty , PNAS, DOI:

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