November 07, 2014

1:00 PM | Stuff online, doom and despair edition
This week, at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! Tracing the genetic origins of migration in monarch butterflies. We’re living in the future, item umpteen. We have photos of sunlight shining on the seas of Saturn’s moon Titan. Ugh. The midterm … Continue reading →
9:09 AM | Testing the Multiverse
Here’s an interesting article from Quanta. It’s about efforts by physicists to test the idea of the multiverse: If modern physics is to be believed, we shouldn’t be here. The meager dose of energy infusing empty space, which at higher levels would rip the cosmos apart, is a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion…
8:37 AM | A week of links
Links this week: The freedom to pursue informed self-harm has a long and noble tradition. What happens when behavioural economics is used to explain rational behaviour. A great summary of some of Gordon Tullock’s work. HT: Garett Jones Another study on the limited effect of parenting on IQ. HT: Billare via Stuart Ritchie What Hayek might […]
4:51 AM | Wooster’s Fossil of the Week: Upper Ordovician bivalve bioimmured by a bryozoan
This week’s fossil is a simple and common form in the Cincinnatian Series (Upper Ordovician) of the Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky tri-state area. We are looking above at the base of a trepostome bryozoan that encrusted the outside of an aragonite bivalve shell. The bivalve shell (probably a species of Ambonychia) dissolved away, leaving its […]

November 06, 2014

6:19 PM | Highlights from the 2014 Ecological Genomics Symposium
Ecological genomics is a rapidly growing field that aims to understand the genetic mechanisms responsible for the adaptive responses of organisms to their environment. I’m jumping into this area of research as a postdoc in the Kelly Lab at Louisiana … Continue reading →
5:27 PM | Into the woods!
It’s still pretty jarring to see Disney’s sparkly branding all over the original anti-Disney take on fairytales, but man, this looks pretty good. I’m on board just for Chris Pine’s delivery of “I was raised to be charming, not sincere.”
2:47 PM | Fall Fungi - Fly Agaric
Here's a link to some nice images of fly agarics (Amanita muscaria). They are a very spectacular mushroom, large, colorful!  TPP's best advice; don't eat them. They are extremely toxic and while hallucinogenic, way too scary for even an adventurous botanist. A mild fall and quite a bit of rain have been very good to the fungi. 
2:00 PM | The Ust’-Ishim Genome
This year has been monumental in pulling together several interesting pieces in the human evolution out of Africa puzzle (Lazaridis et al., Ruiz-Linares et al., Skoglund et al., Huerta-Sanchez et al., Jeong et al., Pickrell et al., Raghavan et al., … Continue reading →
2:00 PM | Tracing the start of monarch butterflies’ epic journey, in their genes
Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) are among the most widely recognized wild creatures in North America. Their distinctive orange-and-black wings, which warn predators that the butterflies are chock full of toxins from the milkweed they eat, make them easily spotted in backyard flower beds. They’re also known for a massive annual migration, flying thousands of miles […]
1:00 PM | So that’s where the penis comes from!
Well, the title pretty much says it all – two recent studies shed some light on the biological origin of the wiener. Today, two teams of researchers report having solved one part of this mystery, pinpointing how the organ gets its start in snake, lizard, mouse, and chick embryos. Now that they understand the penis’s […]
7:57 AM | Skepticism of Certain Aspects of Evolutionary Psychology is Not Science Denial
Chris Mooney has an astonishingly weak op-ed in a recent edition of The Washington Post. Desperate to make an argument that liberals deny science just as surely as conservatives do, he seizes on a recent study that shows a large percentage of sociologists are not open to the idea that certain gender differences are the…
6:27 AM | Science Triumphs in Oregon and Colorado: GMO Labeling Measures Fail
The midterm elections are over, and a number of significant changes lie ahead. Marijuana has taken several key steps towards legalization, more women than ever are in congress, and the Republican party has taken control of the senate—surely, it will be an interesting couple of years. But one thing hasn’t changed: GMO foods will not […]The post Science Triumphs in Oregon and Colorado: GMO Labeling Measures Fail appeared first on Science Sushi.

November 05, 2014

10:33 PM | Job: Assistant Prof Bioinformatics at UC Riverside
University of California, Riverside POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT: ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF BIOINFORMATICS POSITION: The University of California, Riverside is searching for a new faculty member at the ASSISTANT PROFESSOR level in the area of Bioinformatics. Areas of preferred interest include developing and deploying methods for genomic data analysis such as variant identification, transcriptomics, genome assembly, comparative genomics. […]
10:28 PM | Job: Faculty Computational Microbial Genomics UNC-Charlotte
Tenure Track Faculty Position, Computational Microbial Genomics @ UNC Charlotte, NC (US)  SUMMARY: The Department of Bioinformatics and Genomics seeks a data scientist in computational microbial genomics to fill a tenure-track position at the Assistant or Associate Professor level. This position is part of a larger university-wide research initiative in Data Science and Analytics. RESPONSIBILITIES: […]
7:04 PM | The psychology of coalition. Why do men gather into gangs and political parties, but women do not
Men are more violent that women. It is fact that has been biologically and sociologically demonstrated. The male aggression has been predetermined by the roles of hunters and protectors that males have had throughout evolution. Thanks to a larger body volume and to much more developed muscles, males got the mission to protect the group […] The post The psychology of coalition. Why do men gather into gangs and political parties, but women do not appeared first on Social Ethology.
6:23 PM | Public domain book illustrations
Here's a huge HT to the Agricultural Biodiversity Blog for  alerting us to the over 14 million images obtained by scanning books in the public domain, books on which the intellectual property rights have expired, a date that varies quite a bit from place to place, generally 70 years after the death of the author in the USA. At any rate, these are available at the Internet Archive but just browsing could take quite awhile. Search the commons on botany or plants and […]
5:52 PM | Wordless Wednesday: We did it for Lindsey and The Fab Lab!
I am over-the-moon delighted to announce that Lindsey Murphy, a.k.a. Crazy Aunt Lindsey has successfully reached her crowdfunding goal to bring back her fan-favorite science edutainment show –... -- Read more on
3:00 PM | Science lost a lot in the failed launch last week
No lives were lost in the launch of the Antares (thankfully). But the loss of science was substantial. Experiments that were destined for the space station, parts meant for repair, the list goes on. WIRED wrote a good synopsis about risk in space exploration and all that was lost.
2:00 PM | The Tortoise Time Warp
Recent advances in genetic data analysis continue to provide the ability to reveal some amazingly detailed (and previously unattainable) information about species’ evolutionary history. In this recent study from Molecular Ecology, Dr. Ryan Garrick and colleagues use a variety of … Continue reading →
1:00 PM | Doing More With Less
Biology concepts – protists, complexity, undulipodia, flagella, cilia, amoebas, Emotions are one of the things that make humans so complex. Memories attached to associations, stimulated by individualized brain chemistry makes it so you can’t predict how any one person might feel about a particular stimulus. But perhaps we are not so complex. A new study suggests that there are really only four human emotions, happy, sad, afraid, and mad. The other two commonly held states, disgusted […]

Jack, R., Garrod, O. & Schyns, P. (2014). Dynamic Facial Expressions of Emotion Transmit an Evolving Hierarchy of Signals over Time, Current Biology, 24 (2) 187-192. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.11.064

Dhawan S, Jain D & Mehta VS (2013). Balantidium coli: an unrecognized cause of vertebral osteomyelitis and myelopathy., Journal of neurosurgery. Spine, 18 (3) 310-3. PMID:

Chou J, Hao J, Kuroda S, Ben-Nissan B, Milthopre B & Otsuka M (2014). Bone regeneration of calvarial defect using marine calcareous-derived beta-tricalcium phosphate macrospheres., Journal of tissue engineering, 5 2147483647. PMID:

Yuasa T & Takahashi O (2014). Ultrastructural morphology of the reproductive swarmers of Sphaerozoum punctatum (Huxley) from the East China Sea., European journal of protistology, 50 (2) 194-204. PMID:

Sifuentes LY, Choate BL, Gerba CP & Bright KR (2014). The occurrence of Naegleria fowleri in recreational waters in Arizona., Journal of environmental science and health. Part A, Toxic/hazardous substances & environmental engineering, 49 (11) 1322-30. PMID:

Mah JL, Christensen-Dalsgaard KK & Leys SP (2014). Choanoflagellate and choanocyte collar-flagellar systems and the assumption of homology., Evolution & development, 16 (1) 25-37. PMID:

10:49 AM | Politics
Here in the math department at James Madison University, we are currently debating certain changes to the major. The problem is that we have distinct groups in pure mathematics, applied mathematics, statistics and math education. We also have students that major in mathematics for very different reasons. Some are training to be teachers, some are…
8:00 AM | Tracking the Warren Root Collar Weevil
The following is a guest post from ESC student member Sharleen Balogh. Sharleen is a Masters student at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) working with Dezene Huber and Staffan Lindgren on Warren Root Collar Weevils. She recently took home a President’s Prize for best talk at the ESC/ESS JAM in Saskatoon.    For the past two years, […]

November 04, 2014

11:45 PM | How to be a reviewer/editor
Many articles have been written about how to be a good/responsible/fair/rigorous/timely reviewer or editor. Having now reviewed more than 400 papers and having been an editor for 100 more, I find myself developing rather strong opinions on the subject. If those opinions meshed nicely with the ones previously published, a blog wouldn’t be needed – but they don’t. Instead, I find myself holding rather different views on how to be a reviewer and editor. As time has gone on, these […]
10:54 PM | Horrible, terrible, no good, very bad changes - SCOTUS to blame
Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing is as discouraging, as disgusting, as bad as the roll back on voter rights sanctioned by SCOTUS. What the ever loving hell are these black-robed morons thinking?  OK, not all of them, but the majority. Voting rights were hard fought to give minorities and the poor access to the ballot box, and it was not pretty at all. But now all sorts of states are doing everything they can to disenfranchise voters, especially minorities and the poor. […]
10:31 PM | Phytosaurs, (mostly) gharial-snouted reptiles of the Triassic, part I
As I hope I’ve said several or many times, there are many, many, many tetrapod groups that have never, ever received coverage on Tet Zoo. I know, it’s shocking. Today I’m extracting a section of text... -- Read more on
7:00 PM | New faces: Melissa DeBiasse
This week we’re pleased to welcome a big group of new contributors to the blog. By way of introduction, I asked each of them to answer a few quick questions about him- or herself. —Jeremy My name is Melissa DeBiasse … Continue reading →
5:47 PM | The gods themselves...
OK, so there are parallel universes which may influence our own universe, and yes, quantum effects can register a full 10 point Oh on the weird stuff-a-meter. This news was an instant reminder of Issac Asimov's 1972 scifi novel, The Gods Themselves, which deals with a parallel universe with different physical laws, and an interaction between the two universes which is beneficial to one, but potentially deadly for the other, at least […]
5:00 PM | New faces: Noah Snyder-Mackler
This week we’re pleased to welcome a big group of new contributors to the blog. By way of introduction, I asked each of them to answer a few quick questions about him- or herself. —Jeremy Who are you? Is this … Continue reading →
3:00 PM | New faces: Stacy Krueger-Hadfield
This week we’re pleased to welcome a big group of new contributors to the blog. By way of introduction, I asked each of them to answer a few quick questions about him- or herself. —Jeremy Who are you? Stacy A. … Continue reading →
1:00 PM | U.S. citizens: Vote, please
Because until you do, you won’t be able to get this song out of your head: Okay, maybe that’s not going to leave your head after you vote, either. Not sorry. Find your fucking polling place and vote for the … Continue reading →
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