November 14, 2014

4:31 PM | Stuff online, pointing out the problem edition
This week, at The Molecular Ecologist: The evolution of the insect immune system, the vital importance of genetics for habitat restoration, how to make admixture maps in R, and reproductive isolation in chickadees. And, at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! … Continue reading →
4:10 PM | Kubki Ferrari or A Brief Ode to Andrzej*
As you may remember from biology class, biological females have variation in hormones across the menstrual cycle.  The exact length of the hormone cycle and the levels of hormones vary between women** and across an individual woman’s life.  How this variation in circulating hormones might affect other physiological systems and ultimately health outcomes is a complex and understudied area.  A major part of our research projects is that we are interested in how hormones and […]
3:42 PM | New books party: Books that arrived recently | @GrrlScientist
This week, I share my first impressions about a scientific biography about John Napier, a Very Small Introduction about Alexander the Great, and a novel by an Australian writer.John Napier: Life, Logarithms, and Legacy by Julian Havil [Princeton University Press, 2014; Guardian bookshop; Amazon UK hardcover; Amazon US hardcover/kindle US] Continue reading...
1:00 PM | The forest resounding at rare intervals with the note of … reproductive isolation
Hybrid zones are often used as a window with which to gaze upon the evolutionary process (Barton and Hewitt 1989). With the advent of genomic tools, it is possible to detect the genomic signatures and the architecture underlying reproductive isolation. In … Continue reading →
8:25 AM | A week of links
Links this week: W. Brian Arthur on economic complexity. A great article on humans as imitators. Higher latitudes have colder weather which leads to larger people which causes lower population and higher investment in children which triggers economic growth. An epidemic of over-diagnosis. Financial price data are converted into music, the music is played to […]
8:04 AM | Is E O Wilson Senile, Narcissistic, or Just an Asshole?
Last weekend, renowned evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson was interviewed by BBC Newsnight. In the course of the interview, he continued his public feud with Richard Dawkins. Like most feuds, this one probably can be attributed to multiple causes, but it centers primarily around Wilson’s disavowal of kin selection. The bit of the interview that […]
7:20 AM | Net Neutrality and the Contrarian Backlash
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama gave a speech laying out strong support for “net neutrality”. Obama called on the FCC to change classification of broadband internet providers to “common carrier” class, meaning that they would be prohibited from privileging — or blocking — particular sorts of traffic passing through their systems. The backlash was […]
4:21 AM | Wooster’s Fossils of the Week: A new crinoid species from the Middle Jurassic of southern Israel (with a bonus parasitic infection)
These fossils are a joy to present this week. Lizzie Reinthal (’14), Bill Ausich (Ohio State University) and I have a new paper out in the latest issue of the Journal of Paleontology. It is titled: “Parasitism of a new apiocrinitid crinoid species from the Middle Jurassic (Callovian) of southern Israel”. Allow me to introduce […]
1:39 AM | How the cat got its spots (and hearing problems)
Mammal domestication is a hot topic, with many groups releasing detailed genetic studies of different models of domestication. This week we’ll look at the genetics of cat colors and follow up on the recently published domestication syndrome hypothesis. Next week … Read More The post How the cat got its spots (and hearing problems) appeared first on Genes to Genomes.

November 13, 2014

8:24 PM | Cure for winter blues - the tropics
It snowed today, the 13th of November, and rather early for these parts. It technically snowed yesterday too. The novelty of this form of precipitation has worn off already. Saw enough of it growing up in the snow belt of upstate New York to last several lifetimes. One of the great joys, and head aches, of TPP's academic career was developing and instructing a course in rainforest ecology, an out growth of his tropical field research. This year's class is busily getting all their gear […]
7:29 PM | Dugin Syndrome. Why some intellectuals are chauvinistic and aggressive?
”Experience proves that it is rather the so-called “intelligentsia” that is most apt to yield to these disastrous collective suggestions, since the intellectual has no direct contact with life in the raw but encounters it in its easiest, synthetic form — upon the printed page” (Albert Einstein, in his letter to Sigmund Freud, 1932). People […] The post Dugin Syndrome. Why some intellectuals are chauvinistic and aggressive? appeared first on Social Ethology.
3:27 PM | Last Fieldtrip for Climate Change
As the weather cools – the Wooster Geology Climate Change class ventured out in the field one more time. For the remainder of the semester we will try to get some work done. Two sites were visited – the Cedar Creek Mastodon Site and the OARDC. Two weeks ago a pit was dug from our coring […]
2:00 PM | Admixture maps in R for Dummies
Before we get started, I’d like to point everyone to an excellent tutorial here by Kim Gilbert on making maps in R. I have been grappling with overlaying admixture plots, and migration routes on top of maps recently, and thought I’d put … Continue reading →
1:53 PM | Itchcraft by Simon Mayo | review | @GrrlScientist
Our teen-aged hero, Itch, is back. This, the third book in a mystery-thriller trilogy, follows Itchs continuing adventures as he and his friends try to outwit criminal masterminds who are desperately seeking radioactive chemical element 126 -- an element that still lurks out there. Somewhere.Even though its dangerously radioactive, element 126 is indestructible. Or so it seems in Itchcraft, the third instalment in Simon Mayos trilogy about a teen-aged element hunter and chemistry aficionado […]
10:00 AM | Spiders with an identity crisis: a new taxonomy paper
The following is a guest post by Terry Wheeler, from the Lyman  Entomological Museum at McGill University. It is re-posted from the Lyman Museum Blog, where it originally appeared.  Two wolf spiders, whose names are Pardosa lapponica and Pardosa concinna, run across open ground all over northern Canada. Here’s the problem: these two species of spiders live in a […]
12:19 AM | Hello, 67P/C-G!
Earlier today, the Rosetta lander Philae successfully docked with the comet it’s going to study, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko! By now, the lander …Continue reading →

November 12, 2014

9:13 PM | Chris Packham asks Ant and Dec to end ‘Celebrity Abuse’
After reading this BBC article, I realised that Chris Packham must have been a bit muddled and got things the wrong way round. So I re-wrote it for him. TV insect Chris Packham has written an open letter to Ant and … Continue reading →
5:38 PM | Short-snouted, suction-feeding ‘proto-ichthyosaur’ sheds light on fish-lizard beginnings
Regular readers will know that I have a major interest in ichthyosaurs, the so-called fish-lizards of the Mesozoic (see links below). As you’ll know if you keep your finger on the pulse of Mesozoic... -- Read more on
3:46 PM | Money, the root of all evil
Here you go, a nice cartoon. Don't know how many of you are familiar with Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, but it is often very funny, and very on target, like this one about money. However TPP is a bit skeptical about there being trace amounts of ethics in all human dealings. As evidence a number of Lincolnland politicians are offered.  When TPP first found this cartoon, just the name was hilarious because it reminded him of a childhood where Saturday mornings were spent […]
3:00 PM | A Conversation about High Throughput Sequencing and General Biology
In a recent keynote address at the High Throughput Sequencing for Neuroscience meetings, Sean Eddy from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute addresses the need for biologist to do their own sequence analysis. Although this talk was given by a neuroscience rather than an evolutionary biologist, the conversation is generally applicable to the entire biological community. Favorite quotes: […]
2:52 PM | Is genetics a requirement for restoration?
The fields of conservation and genetics have relied heavily on one another for quite a while now (they even made an aptly named journal together!). Using genetic information is now an accepted, and even expected, step in recognizing and protecting … Continue reading →
2:11 PM | A Goat For Thanksgiving
Biology concepts – cornucopia, goat, nutrition, sustainability, browser/grazer, Cassandra hypothesisThe image on top is the traditional cornucopia, filled with foods or riches. The bottom image is the version form the Hunger Games movies, filled with survival gear and weaponry. Boy, did they go the other way with that idea. I prefer a different Horn of Plenty, the Dizzie Gillespie album from 1953.Thanksgiving is a traditional time to remember the work of planting and tending, and to be […]

O'Callaghan YC, O'Brien NM, Kenny O, Harrington T, Brunton N & Smyth TJ (2014). Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Wild Irish Mushroom Extracts in RAW264.7 Mouse Macrophage Cells., Journal of medicinal food, PMID:

Liu YT, Sun J, Luo ZY, Rao SQ, Su YJ, Xu RR & Yang YJ (2012). Chemical composition of five wild edible mushrooms collected from Southwest China and their antihyperglycemic and antioxidant activity., Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 50 (5) 1238-44. PMID:

1:00 PM | What’s lurking on your glabella
Our skin is an amazing organ – it keeps our guts in and intruders out. We have an average of 1.8 m2 and this area contains many distinct regions that vary in pH, temperature, moisture, exposure, etc. Your forearm is dry, your cheeks are oily and your elbow crease is considered “moist”. Hair follicles, pores, glands, […]
9:00 AM | Scientific Schadenfreude | @BobOHara & @GrrlScientist
Advice to scientists on how to game the Altmetrics score system.Like everyone, scientists tend to cut corners when writing early drafts of our research papers: just to get our thoughts from brain to screen, to be reformulated later. For example, Bob OHaras early drafts uses prosaic comments like (REF) or BLAH BLAH BLAH, whereas GrrlScientist prefers the more pithy fuckity fuck fuck. Or (REF).These comments -- or obvious searchable flags -- are replaced later with the appropriate citations or […]
8:02 AM | Ignorance feels so much like expertise
In the Pacific Standard, David Dunning of the Dunning-Kruger effect writes: A whole battery of studies conducted by myself and others have confirmed that people who don’t know much about a given set of cognitive, technical, or social skills tend to grossly overestimate their prowess and performance, whether it’s grammar, emotional intelligence, logical reasoning, firearm […]

November 11, 2014

7:00 PM | Disappointing fall color - Persian ironwood
A Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica) was installed in our gardens about 14-15 months ago. It was decent sized, nicely shaped, and a reasonable price, so it seemed like a good idea. The tree has established itself in the medium back border of our lily pond, and looks handsome enough. Well, the fall color was pretty good this year, now most of the trees are pretty bare. Now some very cold weather is bearing down on us, so the fall color season will officially be over tonight. The […]
5:51 PM | Job Announcement: Moore Foundation Program Associate
This seems like a potentially interesting job.  I note - I love the Moore Foundation - and just about everything they are doing in science.  Below is the email I recieved from the Project Lead Jon Kaye:We have opened a search for a Program Associate. Details at the link below and attached. Please share with Bachelor’s and Master’s level individuals who may be interested. We will […]
4:50 PM | GSA journals partner with bioRxiv
    Today we announced good news for our authors who use the bioRxiv preprint server! In partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the GSA journals GENETICS and G3 are rolling out a new feature that allows authors to submit … Read More The post GSA journals partner with bioRxiv appeared first on Genes to Genomes.
2:46 PM | Stuff Matters wins Royal Society's 2014 Winton Prize for Science Books | @GrrlScientist
Mark Miodowniks Stuff Matters has won the 2014 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. Stuff Matters, published by Viking, takes the reader on a lively and engaging exploration of some of the myriad materials that shape the modern world.Fans of popular science books will be excited to learn that Professor Mark Miodowniks Stuff Matters won the 2014 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. Continue reading...
12:24 PM | Bugs fighting bugs: the evolution of the arthropod immune system.
Since the beginning of time, animals have needed to protect themselves from invaders. They primarily do so via their innate immune system, in which trained killer cells attack foreign pathogens – ranging from microscopic bacteria to macroscopic worms. While we … Continue reading →
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