Posts

July 09, 2014

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1:30 PM | If only more retractions could be like this: Authors of cardiac stem cell paper show the way
Researchers at Qingdao University have fully retracted a paper originally published in Molecular Medicine Reports with a clear, detailed outline of what went wrong and how they discovered the error. Here’s the notice for “Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells using skin fibroblasts from patients with myocardial infarction under feeder-free conditions:” After the publication of […]
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4:00 AM | The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future
By Naomi Oreskes and Erik M Conway Synopsis: The year is 2393, and the world is almost unrecognizable. Clear warnings of climate catastrophe went ignored for decades, leading to soaring temperatures, rising sea levels, widespread drought […]
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1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Clive Gifford and Anil Seth
Special thanks to Clive Gifford and Anil Seth for answering 6 questions about their recently featured book – Eye Benders: the science of seeing and believing Clive Gifford is a highly experienced journalist and author with over […]
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12:15 AM | WHO targets elimination of TB in over 30 countries
WHO nowadays, together with the European Respiratory Society (ERS), presented a new framework to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) in countries with low levels of the disease. Today there are 33* countries and territories where there are fewer than 100 TB cases […]test The post WHO targets elimination of TB in over 30 countries appeared first on Australian Science.

July 08, 2014

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5:56 PM | Spontaneous Combustion of Polyurethanes
The Polyurethane Blog has an account of a large house fire that is being blamed on spontaneous combustion of polyurethane foam insulation. My first reaction on reading this was to shout "Boy Scout" or more properly, the initials of "Boy Scout". Polyurethanes are stable polymers that don't catch on fire as any house having wood floors with a urethane finish will verify. Further, the fire had just been put out. Knowing the cause that quickly seems like something appropriate for a news reporter to […]
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3:41 PM | SAGE Publications busts “peer review and citation ring,” 60 papers retracted
This one deserves a “wow.” SAGE Publishers is retracting 60 articles from the Journal of Vibration and Control after an investigation revealed a “peer review and citation ring” involving a professor in Taiwan. Here’s the beginning of a statement from SAGE: London, UK (08 July 2014) – SAGE announces the retraction of 60 articles implicated […]
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3:00 PM | Shoddy Photoshopping sinks immunology paper
Biochemical Journal has pulled a 2006 paper for an undisclosed “background subtraction box” in an image - which, if you take a not-particularly-close look at the figure to the right, means somebody added a black rectangle over the control lane. Here’s the notice: for “Phosphorylation of Ser158 regulates inflammatory redox-dependent hepatocyte nuclear factor-4a transcriptional activity”: It has […]
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12:00 PM | University where researcher faked HIV vaccine findings won’t receive last $1.4 million of grant
There has been another development in the case of Dong-Pyou Han, the former Iowa State University (ISU) researcher who admitted last fall to spiking rabbit blood samples to make it look as though his team’s HIV vaccine was working in the animals. The Des Moines Register reports: A spokeswoman told the Register on Monday that […]
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4:00 AM | From X-rays to DNA: How Engineering Drives Biology
By W. David Lee, with Jeffrey Drazen, Phillip A. Sharp and Robert S. Langer Synopsis: Engineering has been an essential collaborator in biological research and breakthroughs in biology are often enabled by technological advances. Decoding the double helix structure of […]
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12:15 AM | Ernest Hemingway’s Summer Camping Recipes
With regard to writing, Ernest Hemingway was a man of simple tastes. Were I to employ a metaphor, I’d describe Hem as the kind of guy who’d prefer an unadorned plum from William Carlos Williams’ icebox to Makini Howell’s Pesto […]test The post Ernest Hemingway’s Summer Camping Recipes appeared first on Australian Science.

July 07, 2014

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3:00 PM | Education researchers retract paper for differences in “positionality”
Here’s an odd one from the University of Western Australia’s education journal, Education Research and Perspectives: A paper was retracted at the request of the authors, both UWA professors, because the participants “may have differed significantly from others in terms of their positionality,” whatever that means. Here’s the notice: The Editor in Chief and the […]
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2:21 PM | Oh No! Polymer Chemistry to Publish Weekly
The journal Polymer Chemistry, published by the RSC has announced that starting in 2015, they will be publishing weekly - or nearly so. They currently published 24 issues a year on the 7th and 21st of each month. They are now doubling that rate to 48 issues a year (presumably the other issues will come on the 14th and 28th of each month). I have mixed feelings about this change. The journal is on my list of "must reads" and so I will soon have twice as much to keep up with. Plus, I referee […]
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12:30 PM | Serbian journal lands in hot water after challenge on 24 hour peer review that cost 1785 euros
This story began as a report of a one-off case of potential predatory practice last month, and has escalated to an official call to disband an entire international editorial board, and an accusation against the editor of mass-scale nepotism and other publishing misconduct. The journal, Archives of Biological Sciences (ABS) is the official publication of […]
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5:20 AM | New GigaDB Dataset: Ever wondered whats in your gut?
A paper published in Nature Biotechnology today reveals the most comprehensive catalogue of genes in any single microbiome to date. While the roughly 20,000 genes in the human genome have been available for over a decade, the gene catalogue of the microbiome, our much larger “other genome” has to date been much more poorly understood and characterized. The team, including multiple authors from our host institution BGI, reveal a staggering 9.8 million genes in the collective […]
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4:00 AM | Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread—The Lessons from a New Science
By Alex Pentland Synopsis: From one of the world’s leading data scientists, a landmark tour of the new science of idea flow, offering revolutionary insights into the mysteries of collective intelligence and social influence. If the […]
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1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Brian Southwell
Special thanks to Brian Southwell for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – Social networks and popular understanding of science and health: Sharing Disparities Brian Southwell, PhD, is an expert in communication and human behavior […]
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12:15 AM | Isaac Asimov on Optimism vs. Cynicism about the Human Spirit
Why cynicism is, above all, a disservice to our own happiness. “As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman,” E.B. White wrote in a letter to a man who had lost faith […]test The post Isaac Asimov on Optimism vs. Cynicism about the Human Spirit appeared first on Australian Science.

July 06, 2014

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4:00 AM | Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies
By Lawrence Goldstone Synopsis: From acclaimed historian Lawrence Goldstone comes a thrilling narrative of courage, determination, and competition: the story of the intense rivalry that fueled the rise of American aviation.   The feud between this […]
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12:15 AM | Weekly Science Picks
It seems we come to the end of this week before we left the previous one. Time has passed so quickly, has not it? We just turned around ourselves and we are at the end of one more week of […]test The post Weekly Science Picks appeared first on Australian Science.

July 05, 2014

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1:01 PM | Weekend reads: Fallout from STAP stem cell retractions, confessed HIV vaccine fraudster pleads not guilty
Another busy week at Retraction Watch, with developments in two closely watched cases at Nature and PNAS. Here’s what was happening around the web: “As a researcher, I am deeply ashamed of the fact that two papers of which I was an author were found to contain multiple errors and, as a result, had to […]
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4:00 AM | Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
By Douglas R Hofstadter  Synopsis: Douglas Hofstadter’s book is concerned directly with the nature of “maps” or links between formal systems. However, according to Hofstadter, the formal system that underlies all mental activity transcends the system that […]
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12:15 AM | New insights into pain relief drugs
Scientists from the Research School of Biology have opened the door to a new world of pain treatments with their discovery of the exact way that pain relief drugs, such as anaesthetics, work on the body. Dr Ben Corry and […]test The post New insights into pain relief drugs appeared first on Australian Science.

July 04, 2014

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12:36 PM | Botany journal retracts paper for “at least” one error
The South African Journal of Botany has retracted a 2012 paper that claimed a variety of herbal extracts have antioxidant and anti-fungal properties, due to errors in “at least” one figure. Here’s the notice for “Contribution of herbal principles towards cytoprotective, antioxidant and anti-Rhizopus activities:” This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal […]
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4:00 AM | Sightlines: A Conversation with the Natural World
By Kathleen Jamie Synopsis: With her poet’s eye and naturalist’s affinity for wild places, Kathleen Jamie reports from the field in this enthralling collection of fourteen essays whose power derives from the stubborn attention she pays […]
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1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Christopher Potter
Special thanks to Christopher Potter for answering 6 questions about his recently featured book – How to Make a Human Being: A Body of Evidence Christopher Potter is the author of two books: How to Make a […]
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12:15 AM | Biological agent closing in on weedy rampant escapee
Sticky snakeroot, Mexican devil or Crofton weed – call it what you want – since the early 1900s this weed has been causing grief in Australia. But now the release of a new biological control agent brings some hope. The […]test The post Biological agent closing in on weedy rampant escapee appeared first on Australian Science.
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12:00 AM | #flashbackfriday: 1001 Inventions that Changed the World
#flashbackfriday this week is from July 16, 2013 and is edited by Jack Challoner, 1001 Inventions that Changed the World. It proved to be a very popular book, regularly turning up in the top 10 books […]

July 03, 2014

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9:00 PM | Rapid mood swing: PNAS issues Expression of Concern for controversial Facebook study
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is subjecting a much-criticized study involving Facebook that it published just two weeks ago to an Expression of Concern. From the abstract of the original study: In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals […]
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7:22 PM | GigaScience – making open peer review more open: Q&A with Publons co-founder, Andrew Preston
At GigaScience, one of our major goals is to improve transparency and reproducibility of research and one of the ways we do this is through open peer review. After the unusual “meta peer review” of our Assemblathon2 paper (see more in biome), we thought our peer review couldn’t get more open, but a small New Zealand-based start-up, Publons, who also happens to be the world’s largest open peer-review platform, approached and told us about their exciting, innovative […]
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3:30 PM | Author squabble sinks cardiology papers
Two papers on “novel techniques” have been retracted with what is unfortunately a very non-novel technique: an odd notice and silence when we asked for comment. Here’s the explanation for retraction of “A novel approach to treat residual peridevice leakage after left-atrial appendage closure,” by Wunderlich N, Wilson N, and Sievert H: The above article in […]
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