Posts

September 21, 2014

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2:58 PM | Why Natural Gas, Including Fracking, Is Better For The Environment Than Wind And Solar
There is nothing inherently superior about natural gas from hydraulic fracturing - fracking - it has the same emissions as regular natural gas. But it is a lot lower than coal and does not have the political baggage of nuclear energy and that is why environmentalists lobbied for it over the last 40 years.read more
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2:36 PM | Long-distance Communication From Leaves To Roots
Leguminous plants are able to grow well in infertile land, and bear many beans that are important to humans. The reason for this is because most legumes have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria, called rhizobia, that can fix nitrogen in the air and then supply the host plant with ammonia as a nutrient. The plants create symbiotic organs called nodules in their roots. However, if too many root nodules are made it will adversely affect the growth of the plants, because the energy cost of […]
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2:36 PM | Neurons Express 'gloss' Using Three Perceptual Parameters
Japanese researchers showed monkeys a number of images representing various glosses and then they measured the responses of 39 neurons by using microelectrodes. They found that a specific population of neurons changed the intensities of the responses linearly according to either the contrast-of-highlight, sharpness-of-highlight, or brightness of the object. This shows that these 3 perceptual parameters are used as parameters when the brain recognizes a variety of glosses. They also found that […]
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2:35 PM | Graphene Sensor Tracks Down Cancer Biomarkers
An ultrasensitive biosensor made from the wonder material graphene has been used to detect molecules that indicate an increased risk of developing cancer. The biosensor has been shown to be more than five times more sensitive than bioassay tests currently in use, and was able to provide results in a matter of minutes, opening up the possibility of a rapid, point-of-care diagnostic tool for patients. The biosensor has been presented today, 19 September, in IOP Publishing's journal 2D […]
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12:51 PM | Unconscious effects
There is an interesting item in ScienceDaily (here) on the effect of perceptions that we are not conscious of. We can perceive an object, understand its meaning, and have that meaning affect our behavior, without any conscious awareness of the object. The paper’s lead author, Cacciamani, says, “Every day our visual systems are bombarded with […]
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11:21 AM | Warning: This Post Will Change Your Brain
Last week I gave a talk in Brazil called Why Is It So Hard To Think About The Brain?, Well, no sooner have I returned than a story appeared that illustrates my point all too well. A neuroscience paper made headlines around the world on Friday. Here’s Time‘s take: One Dose of Antidepressant Changes the […]The post Warning: This Post Will Change Your Brain appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Schaefer, A., Burmann, I., Regenthal, R., Arélin, K., Barth, C., Pampel, A., Villringer, A., Margulies, D. & Sacher, J. (2014). Serotonergic Modulation of Intrinsic Functional Connectivity, Current Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.08.024

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3:12 AM | Planarians, Regeneration, and the Medicine of the Future – From Quarks to Quasars
Hi! I would like to share a short interview/profile that the website “From Quarks to Quasars” (http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/) posted about The First Brain and yours truly. You can access the interview here. Want to see more of the things I write? Go here for some other posts. TFB is available as an ebook (Kindle, Nook, as well …
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2:45 AM | Seemingly futile cycles are not thermodynamically futile
Scientists discover an on/off switch for aging cells The switch controls the growth of telomeres, the timekeepers of cells September 19, 2014 Excerpt: Understanding how this “off” switch can be manipulated–thereby slowing down the telomere shortening process–could lead to treatments...Read more
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1:21 AM | Do bacterial proteins evolve?
Among the phrases most likely to get my attention but least likely to get the attention of an evolutionary theorist is “bacterial proteins evolve.” See for example (with my emphasis): To provide insight into how bacterial proteins evolve to adapt to...Read more
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12:59 AM | “Kardashians” in science
On “Kardashians” in science and the general relationship between achievement and fame Posted on September 19, 2014 by Lascap Excerpt Ultimately, it is all about the relevance of one’s contribution. But trying to discredit an increasingly important form of academic...Read more

September 20, 2014

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11:48 PM | Living in Our Bodies: Embodiment, Eating Disorders and the IDEA Scale
A good deal of my time is devoted to reading articles about eating disorders, feminism, qualitative research, and embodiment. I don’t know if this makes me a very interesting person or a very boring one, but it certainly makes me a very opinionated one, especially about these topics. Lately, I’ve been exploring the literature around eating disorders and embodiment in particular, trying to get a sense of how researchers attend to “embodiment” in the development, course, […]
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9:18 PM | EXACTLY HOW IRRATIONAL ARE DELUSIONS? Raj Persaud talks to Lisa Bortolotti
DOWNLOADABLE PODCAST Raj Persaud in conversation with Lisa Bortolotti – Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham – discussing her latest book on delusions and irrationality Lisa Bortolotti is Professor of Philosophy at Birmingham University and her main research area is the philosophy of cognitive science. In her work she has focused so far […]
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9:18 PM | IS THERE SUCH A THING AS ‘FUNERAL MANIA’? Raj Persaud in conversation with Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Katherine Keyes DOWNLOADABLE PODCAST
Katherine Keyes is Associate Professor of Epidemiology Columbia University and with serveral colleagues had published a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry investigating what happens when people suffer one of the worst stresses of all – the unexpected death of a loved one. The Burden of Loss: Unexpected Death of a Loved One and […]
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8:05 PM | More Children Making Music, But Are Lessons Too Conventional?
Does this count as homework? Credit: Rob Boudon, CC BYBy Mark Banks, University of Leicester read more
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7:43 PM | Lengthen Telomeres and Turn Back Aging
Want to live longer and healthier? Of course you do, well science may just have the answer! Scientists have discovered an on-and-off “switch” in cells that may hold the key […]

Tucey, T. & Lundblad, V. (2014). Regulated assembly and disassembly of the yeast telomerase quaternary complex, Genes & Development, DOI: 10.1101/gad.246256.114

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3:48 PM | Probable changes in connectivity
Table of Contents: Nature Reviews Neuroscience October 2014 Vol 15 No 10 Excerpt from: Research Highlights: Learning and memory: Uncoupling memory traces “The emotional valence of a memory can be changed, and this probably involves a change in the connectivity...Read more
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1:01 PM | Vitamin E, Selenium Don't Help Age-Related Cataracts In Men
Taking daily supplements of selenium and/or vitamin E appears to have no significant effect on the development of age-related cataracts in men, according to new findings from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) Eye Endpoints (SEE) Study.   Some research, including animal studies, has suggested that dietary nutrients can have an effect on the onset and progression of cataracts. Vitamin E and selenium are of particular interest. read more
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7:00 AM | Link feast
Our pick of the best psychology and neuroscience links from the past week:What’s Up With That: Why Do All My Friends Like the Same Music?Nick Stockton at WIRED speaks to Petr Janata, a psychologist who studies music and the brain at UC Davis.Conspiracy Theories Used To Be Just For eccentrics. Now Sensible People Are Getting Carried Away With Them Too In one poll, nearly half of Scots said they believed the government was hiding an oil field. This, says Dorian Lynskey, is just […]

September 19, 2014

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11:28 PM | Nanosponges Clean up Antibody-mediated Autoimmune Disease
What does lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatic heart disease have in common? All of these (and many other) apparently unrelated disorders are caused by autoimmunity, […]

Copp JA, Fang RH, Luk BT, Hu CM, Gao W, Zhang K & Zhang L (2014). Clearance of pathological antibodies using biomimetic nanoparticles., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111 (37) 13481-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25197051

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11:00 PM | In A Global Warming Future, Autumn Foliage Will Come Later Later, Last Longer
There are few things as spectacular as flying into Pennsylvania in the autumn. The myriad vibrant colors in the trees inspire people to take jaunts into the countryside.  That will still happen in the future, it may just come later next century, according to new research, because climate change could postpone fall leaf peeping in some areas of the United States as summer temperatures linger later into the year. The paper birch, a popular foliage tree that is the state tree of New […]
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11:00 PM | In A Global Warming Future, Autumn Foliage Will Come Later, Last Longer
There are few things as spectacular as flying into Pennsylvania in the autumn. The myriad vibrant colors in the trees inspire people to take jaunts into the countryside.  That will still happen in the future, it may just come later next century, according to new research, because climate change could postpone fall leaf peeping in some areas of the United States as summer temperatures linger later into the year. The paper birch, a popular foliage tree that is the state tree of New […]
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10:30 PM | Could Worldwide Climate Protests Make A Difference?
Is protest pointless or productive? Credit: EPABy Olaf Corry, The Open UniversityIt is set to be one of the largest ever coordinated protests. The People’s Climate March is due to take place in cities all over the world this weekend to try and influence the UN climate summit that follows on September 23. The marches promise to be a major global event, billed by organizers as an “unprecedented mobilization”. read more
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10:25 PM | Erosion Rate And Previous Extent Of Interior Layered Deposits On Mars Revealed By Obstructed Landslides
Landslides on Mars typically have runout distances much larger than equivalent features on Earth, and therefore can interact with older landforms that are distal to the failure scarp. Regardless of the exact formation mechanism of these landslides, it is evident that their combined large area and relatively well constrained formation age can be exploited to better understand the evolution of coincident features, particularly if those features have been modified since the landslide event. […]
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9:40 PM | Longer Telomeres And Genetic Determinant For Melanoma Risk
An international research consortium has found that longer telomeres increase the risk of melanoma.read more
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9:30 PM | Ig Nobel Prizes 2014: From Jesus On Toast To Baby Feces In Sausages
Lord Toast. Credit: Catarina Mota, CC BY-NC-SABy Akshat Rathi, The Conversation and Flora Lisica, The ConversationThe 24th Ig Nobel prizes were announced on September 18th. The prizes annually award scientific research that “first makes people laugh and then makes them think." read more
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8:36 PM | GelSight: Fingertip Sensor Gives Robot Dexterity In Real Time
Researchers have equipped a robot with a novel tactile sensor that lets it grasp a USB cable draped freely over a hook and insert it into a USB port. Its processing algorithm is faster, so it can give the robot feedback in real time.  The sensor is an adaptation of a technology called GelSight, which was developed by the lab of Edward Adelson, the John and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Vision Science at MIT, first described in 2009. The new sensor is less sensitive than the original […]
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8:03 PM | 'Cli-Fi': Literary Genre Rises To Prominence In The Shadow Of Climate Change
Could novels help us fight climate change? Credit: Asian Development Bank/flickrBy Stephanie LeMenager, University of OregonA frail risk analyst rediscovers his inner frontiersman in a devastating flood that hits Manhattan; an insightful rural woman glimpses the grace of god in the revelations of biological science; genetically engineered hominids who purr themselves to wellness inherit a devastated Earth. read more
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7:05 PM | New technique used in report of atomic-level ecological adaptations
Archaerhodopsin variants with enhanced voltage-sensitive fluorescence in mammalian and Caenorhabditis elegans neurons Directed evolution of a far-red fluorescent rhodopsin reported as: New technique uses a genetic tool and light to view and map neuronal circuits Excerpt 1): “This [directed evolution]...Read more
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6:37 PM | Second Skin: Skintight Spacesuits Leave The Bulk Behind
For future astronauts, the process of suiting up may go something like this: Instead of climbing into a conventional, bulky, gas-pressurized suit, an astronaut may don a lightweight, stretchy garment, lined with tiny, musclelike coils. She would then plug in to a spacecraft's power supply, triggering the coils to contract and essentially shrink-wrap the garment around her body. The skintight, pressurized suit would not only support the astronaut, but would give her much more freedom to move […]
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6:30 PM | Domestic Violence For Same-Sex Couples Much Higher
A new review of literature suggests that while domestic violence rates are higher for homosexual couples, they aren't as high as previous studies have found, and the authors of the paper say the minority stress model may explain the high prevalence rates. Previous studies indicate that domestic violence affects up to 75 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals. A lack of representative data and underreporting of abuse paints an incomplete picture of the true landscape, suggesting […]
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