Posts

October 17, 2014

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8:02 PM | A look at Air Pollution and Your Body
We have all probably seen stories from China on the horrid air pollution there. Accompanying those reports of course are the statistics for air pollution that deaths have caused. For […]

Gamon LF, White JM & Wille U (2014). Oxidative damage of aromatic dipeptides by the environmental oxidants NO2˙ and O3., Organic & biomolecular chemistry, 12 (41) 8280-7. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25207524

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7:39 PM | Have Sharp Vision? Your Brain May Be Fooling You
We assume that we can see the world around us in sharp detail but our eyes only process a fraction of our surroundings precisely. In a series of experiments, psychologists at Bielefeld University investigated how the brain fools us into believing that we see in sharp detail. They find that our nervous system uses past visual experiences to predict how blurred objects would look in sharp detail. Its central finding is that our nervous system uses past visual experiences to predict how blurred […]
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7:00 PM | Fracking Boom Could Mean Up To 12% More Carbon Emissions
Better get our heads out of the sand and run. Credit: Peter Byrne/PABy Erik Bichard, University of SalfordThe consistent message from those who would seek to exploit shale gas is that it has three distinct advantages over existing forms of fossil fuel energy: it is cheap, it has a lower influence on global warming, and it reduces the reliance in foreign imports. read more
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6:32 PM | Nanocryotron Adder: Superconducting Circuits Simplified
Computer chips with superconducting circuits would be 50 to 100 times as energy-efficient as today's chips due to a lack of electrical resistance. That means less heat, less deformation and less energy cost. Superconducting chips also promise greater processing power. Superconducting circuits that use so-called Josephson junctions have been clocked at 770 gigahertz, or 500 times the speed of the chip in the iPhone 6.read more
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6:03 PM | Brainsplode! New post on the BSR blog
My latest on the BSR blog is up! Check it out here. In it, I outline some spooky sensations in the brain, some fun, others not so fun. Please also enjoy the artwork, created by me in powerpoint, except for the … Continue reading →
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5:01 PM | Giant Kangaroos Were More Likely To Walk Than Hop
Modern day kangaroos exhibit a hopping form of locomotion. Credit: Leo/Flickr, CC BY-SABy Christine Janis, Brown UniversityExtinct giant kangaroos may have been built more for walking, rather than hopping like today’s kangaroos, especially when moving slowly. read more
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3:22 PM | Do emotional processing problems run in the family?
Throughout our blogs so far we have looked at who the vulnerability to later alcoholism is transmitted genetic via family members. The task for science is answering the question – “What exactly is inherited in this vulnerability?” Again via various blogs we have looked at certain vulnerabilities that we believe contribute to the aetiology of alcoholism […]
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3:17 PM | Group Sequencing Means High-Speed Evolution In The Lab
DNA analysis has become increasingly cost-effective since the human genome was first fully sequenced in the year 2001. Sequencing a complete genome, however, still costs around $1,000 each so sequencing the genetic code of 100s of individuals would be expensive. For non-human studies, researchers very quickly hit the limit of financial feasibility.  read more
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1:00 PM | Magic Magnetic Mirrors Reflect Light In Uncanny Ways
In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, the 1871 sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the title character finds a mirror that behaves in a surprising and unexpected way.  Now bizarre mirrors have become a reality. In an Optica report, scientists have demonstrated, for the first time, a new class of mirror that works like no other - it forgoes a familiar shiny metallic surface and instead reflects infrared light by using an unusual magnetic […]
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12:39 PM | Trying to cover up black lines #science #neuroscience #painting #brain #science #art #wip
via Instagram http://ift.tt/1riy6JI
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12:31 PM | Brain Activity in Vegetative Patients
A vegetative state is a particular kind of coma in which patients appear to be awake but give no signs (by definition) of any awareness. They do not respond to their environment in any way or do anything purposeful. Some patients display a flicker of awareness, and they are categorized as minimally conscious. Neuroscientists have [...]
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12:30 PM | Snobbery In The Academy Is Alive And Well And Doing Harm
If you've ever felt as though professors treat you with less than respect, you're probably not alone. Credit: Flickr, CC BY-SABy Brian Martin, University of Wollongong and Majken Jul Sørensen, University of WollongongA female engineering student walked into her first lab class. One of the male students said, “The cookery class is in another room.” read more
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12:30 PM | How Mitochondria Began - Parasitic Coevolution Gets A New Wrinkle
Parasitic bacteria were the first cousins of mitochondria, the energy factories in our cells – and first acted as energy parasites in those cells before becoming beneficial, according to a University of Virginia study that used next-generation DNA sequencing technologies to decode the genomes of 18 bacteria that are close relatives of mitochondria.read more
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12:00 PM | Ebola: Bats Get A Bad Rap When It Comes To Spreading Diseases
Credit: Diana Ranslam, CC BY-NCBy Alexandra Kamins, Colorado Hospital Association; Marcus Rowcliffe, Zoological Society of London, and Olivier Restif, University of Cambridge read more
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12:00 PM | Telomere Length Links Soda To Cell Aging Associated In New Study
Soda consumption has been linked to obesity but a new study in the American Journal of Public Health links it to disease independent from its role in fat. The paper finds that telomeres, the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells, were shorter in the white blood cells of survey participants who reported drinking more soda. The length of telomeres within white blood cells — where it can most easily be measured — has previously been associated with human […]
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10:21 AM | The Economic Impact of Irish Higher Education Institutions – Preliminary results
Originally posted on Brian M. Lucey:So, what do higher education institutions add to the economy? A lot? a little? How would we know anyhow? A recent working paper suggests some answers. Today at the Dublin Economics Workshop Policy Conference we…
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7:00 AM | "Place cells" discovered in the rat brain
John O'KeefeImage: Nobelprize.orgThis month John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work identifying the brain's "GPS system" - the internal maps that allow us to understand our position in space. The Moser's discovery of grid cells this century built upon O'Keefe's earlier accomplishment at UCL in London, the discovery of place cells in the brain. Here, we look back to his 1971 "Short Communication" in the journal Brain […]
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5:30 AM | Conventional Medical Centers May Be Unable Stop Ebola
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4:22 AM | …important literature in my lab today. 
…important literature in my lab today. 
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3:15 AM | From Galactic Pile-ups, Stars Are Born: A Crash Course In Clusters
An artist's impression of a galactic protocluster forming in the early universe. Credit: European Southern Observatory, CC BYBy Nick Seymour, Curtin UniversityClusters of galaxies have back-stories worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster: their existences are marked by violence, death and birth, arising after extragalactic pile-ups where groups of galaxies crashed into each other. read more
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1:11 AM | The Physics Of Manicures Reveal A Public Health Warning
Do you like to keep your fingernails and toenails aesthetically pleasing? You could be putting yourself at risk of serious nail conditions, say researchers at the University of Nottingham who have devised equations to identify the physical laws that govern nail growth and used them to throw light on the causes of some of the most common nail problems, such as ingrown toe nails, spoon-shaped nails and pincer nails. Writing in Physical Biology, they note that regular poor trimming can tip the […]
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12:38 AM | Lithium: Wonder Drug? Part II
Note from the author: This post is dedicated to my biology nerds out there.  If you follow my Gene-of-the-Week posts (and you should because they’re the weirdest), you know that I often get lost in the cellular and molecular details of life, and it’s totally overwhelming.  I wrote this post specifically to discuss the mechanisms […]

October 16, 2014

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11:30 PM | Brain Scans Show Who's Likely To Trust Strangers
Won't get fooled again. Credit: Tinfoil hat by Suzanne Tucker/ShutterstockBy Rebecca Slack, University of SheffieldHow do you decide if you can trust someone? Is it based on their handshake, the way they look you in the eye, or perhaps their body language? read more
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10:06 PM | PEBS Neuroethics Roundup (JHU)
Last Edition's Most Popular Article(s): 5 Myths About the Human Brain Debunked, Vox In The Popular Press: How Scientists are Studying Consciousness — With Mirrors, Electrodes, and Anesthesia, Vox Let Science Decide the Voting Age, NewScientist In Interrogations, Teenagers Are...
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10:00 PM | Journey To The Center Of The Earth Finds Primordial Signatures From The Early Solar System
A study of Samoan volcano hotspots has found evidence of the planet's early formation still trapped inside the Earth. Volcanic island chains such as Samoa can contain ancient primordial signatures from the early solar system that have survived for billions of years. To make their determination, the researchers utilized high-precision lead and helium isotope measurements to unravel the chemical composition and geometry of the deep mantle plume feeding Samoa's volcanoes.  In most […]
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9:59 PM | Of mice and birds – what is a zebra finch, really?
 Zebra finch genetics The zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, is an Australian songbird with a black and white striped breast, used by neuroscientists as a model organism to study the learning and production of a complex motor behavior–birdsong. Like other songbirds[1], zebra finches are genetically predisposed to learn their species’ particular song, but they have to […]
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9:30 PM | In DG Canum Venaticorum, A Mini Star Just Produced A Mega Flare
On April 23rd, 2014, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a red dwarf star - 10,000 times more powerful than the largest solar flare ever recorded.'Just produced' in the title is cosmologically speaking -  the "superflare" came from one of the stars in a close binary system known as DG Canum Venaticorum (DG CVn), which is 60 light-years away. Both stars are dim red dwarfs with masses and sizes about […]
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9:20 PM | The “New” Roots of our Friends the Mitochondria
Mitochondria, the proverbial “powerhouse” of the cell. Mitochondria are found in virtually all eukaryotic cells, plant or animal and we thought that was pretty much the end of the story. […]

Zhang Wang & Martin Wu (2014). Phylogenomic Reconstruction Indicates Mitochondrial Ancestor Was an Energy Parasite , PLoS ONE, Other:

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8:51 PM | Biologically functional protein folding
Misfolded proteins clump together in a surprising place Excerpt 1): “Our findings have challenged the notion of the aggregation process as a passive consequence of accumulating misfolded proteins,” says Stowers Investigator Rong Li, Ph.D., who led the study. Using budding...Read more
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8:39 PM | Sperm Wars In The Fight For Promiscuity
It sounds a little trampy to humans but in nature, it's not unusual for a female to copulate with several males in quick succession. Chimpanzees are a well-known example.  When that happens, sperm war breaks out."The sperm of the different males then compete within the female to fertilize the eggs," says   evolutionary biologist Steven Ramm from Bielefeld University. "Generally speaking, the best sperm wins. This may involve its speed or also be due to the amount of sperm transferred. […]
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