November 28, 2014

12:36 PM | Friday Cephalopod: Your mother sacrificed so much for you…
Have you called her lately? Look at this mother octopus, clinging to a deep-sea cliff, hanging over the abyss, guarding her clutch of eggs. She stayed there, never leaving, for four years. The MBARI submersible would regularly visit the spot and check on her, and there she was, getting weaker and weaker, but still defending…

November 27, 2014

4:00 PM | Polio ausrotten – so nahe dran!
Poliomyelitis, auch bekannt als Kinderlähmung, ist eine schlimme, durch Viren ausgelöste Krankheit, die v.a. unter schlechten hygienischen Bedingungen durch fäkal-orale Schmierinfektionen übertragen wird. In Deutschland kommt sie seit 1992 praktisch überhaupt nicht mehr vor, dafür aber in anderen Weltregionen, z.B. einigen afrikanischen Ländern, Indien, Pakistan und Afghanistan, obwohl das vermeidbar wäre und trotz der enormen…

November 26, 2014

10:36 PM | Creationist ‘audits’ science museum
Imagine you are 10 years old and your crazy aunt is taking you out for a treat. A crazy aunt can be fun. Problem is this aunt is also a creationist and she is taking you to the local natural history museum. … Continue reading →
9:37 PM | When you think about spirits, do you see ghosts?
Humans are finely honed for spotting intentional agents in our environment. Meaning that if you hear a rustling, or see a branch move, you’re instantly on the alert in case it is another person (this effect is has a name: ‘hyperactive agency detection’). You can see why evolution would have favoured that. Better safe than [Read More...]

van Elk, M., Rutjens, B., van der Pligt, J. & van Harreveld, F. (2014). Priming of supernatural agent concepts and agency detection, Religion, Brain & Behavior, 1-30. DOI: 10.1080/2153599X.2014.933444

5:26 PM | Necedades
Por Martín Bonfil OliveraDirección General de Divulgación de la Ciencia, UNAMPublicado en Milenio Diario, 26 de noviembre  de 2014Quienes confiamos en el pensamiento racional como base fundamental de nuestras decisiones y acciones (después de todo, es eso precisamente lo que nos distingue de nuestros demás primos animales y nos permite trascender nuestros instintos y emociones para ir muchas veces en contra de ellas, cuando así lo […]

November 25, 2014

10:29 PM | “Real” experts’ on climate change? Really?
The Heartland Institute has produced a new propaganda poster on climate change. Here it is: And this is what they say about it: This poster presents clear and undeniable evidence that the debate is not over. Looking out from this poster … Continue reading →
3:30 PM | Homöopathie taugt nicht mal als Ausrede
Daß es sich bei Homöopathie um bestenfalls nutzlose, schlimmstenfalls gefährliche Esoterik handelt, wurde u.v.a. auch hier immer wieder diskutiert und vorgeführt und darf getrost als Fakt betrachtet werden. In der Forensik hingegen hat man es recht selten mit Homöopathie zu tun: gegen den Tod hat die Homöopathie noch kein Mittel gefunden, Vergiftungen mit reinem Wasser…

November 23, 2014

9:02 PM | Water fluoridation and dental fluorosis – debunking some myths
Dental fluorosis is really the only “negative” side effect of community water fluoridation (CWF). It occurs in non-fluoridated as well as fluoridated areas but is often a little more common in the fluoridated areas. However, there is a lot of … Continue reading →

November 22, 2014

1:50 PM | The two faces of JE Brandenburg
Brandenburg is a physicist who submitted a paper to the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference a few years ago. It’s way outside my area of expertise, but it postulated an interesting scenario from the ratios of rare isotopes in the atmosphere of Mars: that there was evidence of a natural nuclear reactor, like Oklo…

November 21, 2014

1:08 PM | Friday Cephalopod: They are diminished from ancient days
May they rise to glory again!

November 20, 2014

3:30 PM | 12 + 3 Tips, um schlechte(n) Wissenschaft(sjournalismus) zu erkennen
Bei Compound Interest habe ich eine Liste von Tips gefunden, die helfen können, schlecht gemachte oder berichtete Wissenschaft und Forschung zu erkennen. Sie hat mir so gut gefallen, daß ich sie gestohlen und übersetzt habe und nun hier präsentiere. Die Liste ist nicht erschöpfend und nicht jeder erfüllte Punkt macht eine Studie oder einen Artikel…
3:22 AM | Proving anecdotes are reliable
Here’s one to go with Let’s rely on anecdotes instead! Something I picked up on Facebook Similar articles  

November 19, 2014

8:43 PM | Religious and paranormal believers are high in empathy – but confused about how the world works
There’s a strand of thought that says that belief in the supernatural is founded upon a misunderstanding of how the world works (see: You either believe in it all, or you don’t). On the other hand, there’s another perspective that says the cognitive problem is with the atheists. Belief in gods, according to this school [Read More...]
3:55 PM | Memoria y dolor
Por Martín Bonfil OliveraDirección General de Divulgación de la Ciencia, UNAMPublicado en Milenio Diario, 19 de noviembre  de 2014Estructura química del midazolamHace poco, viendo un video en YouTube, me encontré con algo que me dejó muy asombrado e intrigado. Se trataba de una fractura doble de tobillo (confieso ser aficionado a los videos morbosos; me encanta ver cómo se exprimen barros y espinillas, se extraen tapones de […]
2:19 PM | Every university is broken
But the University of Hawaii at Mānoa looks to be more broken than others. Christie Wilcox writes about the budget cuts there: the place is being gouged to the bone — the College of Natural Sciences has a cohort of graduate students to whom they are failing to live up to their responsibilities (the university…

November 18, 2014

12:40 PM | A specular conundrum
Every year in my intro biology course, I try to do one discussion of bioethics. One lecture is not much, but this is a course where we try to introduce students to the history and philosophy of science, and I think it’s an important issue, so I try to squeeze in a little bit. So…
1:00 AM | Declan Waugh pushes another anti-fluoride myth
Declan Waugh seems a bit of a late developer. He has only just got around  to finding those papers that anti-fluoride propagandists like to cite as evidence that oral health does not decline when community water fluoridation is stopped. Of … Continue reading →

November 17, 2014

1:22 PM | Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Now that’s a pair of fangs
No summary available for this post.
2:26 AM | Una ensalada de fin de semana al natural… ¿natural?
Lo realmente curioso es analizar cómo eran los ancestros silvestres de todos nuestros alimentos. Solo comentarles que la zanahoria es naranja por cuestiones políticas

November 16, 2014

9:29 PM | When did insects evolve?
Just consult the chart. Be sure to click on the image to see it at a better resolution! This is from a paper that looked at the molecular phylogenies, and worked out estimated branch times. I like it. I want it on my wall. Insects are the most speciose group of animals, but the phylogenetic…

November 15, 2014

9:26 PM | Quackery in my back yard!
Oh, great. Orac just has to tell me that the University of Minnesota is going to host an anti-vaccine conference on 24 January. First, let me say this, though: they get to do that. Presumably they’ve rented out (or possibly obtained student or faculty sponsorship) Cowles Auditorium at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and…
8:00 PM | Severe dental fluorosis the real cause of IQ deficits?
A new study finds cognitive function defects, like IQ, in children are not significantly related to fluoride in drinking water. But they are associated with medium and severe dental fluorosis. This interests me for two reasons: The report is by Choi and Grandjean … Continue reading →
5:33 PM | ‘Denk aan de kinderen!’ – Wit nationalisme, de overheid en zwarte piet
We hebbeneen overheid die niet in staat is artikel 1 van de Grondwet af te dwingen, die er ook niet in slaagt de schijn van neutraliteit hoog te houden doordat men het gevaar vooral lokaliseert bij zwarte burgers (maar niet de zwart geschminkte burgers) en de steen des aantoots juist gebruikt om voor veiligheid van witte burgers te zorgen. En geen enkele politicus die daar ook maar één kritisch woord over uitbrengt.

November 14, 2014

1:02 PM | Friday Cephalopod: I think it’s flashing gang signs
No summary available for this post.

November 13, 2014

10:28 PM | Hard times, tough gods
Almost all cultures have some kind of supernatural beliefs. But it may surprise you to know that belief in moralising supernatural beings, who care about whether mortals do good or bad, are far from universal. That’s fascinating, and it begs the question: “why?”. Why do some cultures bother to believe spirits who watch over us [Read More...]
5:00 PM | WTF Forensik – Fäulnisflüssigkeit auf dem Turiner Grabtuch?
 Warnung: in dieser Reihe stelle ich schräge, drastische, extreme oder auf andere Weise merkwürdige Studien und Fallberichte vor, die die Forensischen Wissenschaften in ihrer ganzen Breite und Vielseitigkeit portraitieren sollen, die aber in ihrer Thematik und/oder den beigefügten Abbildungen nicht für alle LeserInnen geeignet sind und obgleich ich mich stets bemühen werde, nicht ins Sensationalistische…

November 12, 2014

10:14 PM | Catch 22 in Ukraine
MH17 recovery team finally start work at crash site. Credit:  RIA Novosti. Alexey Kudenko The Dutch team investigating the MH17 Malaysian Airline crash in eastern Ukraine report it has problems collecting debris from the crash site in eastern Ukraine. But aren’t … Continue reading →
1:40 PM | Interestelar: ¿mala o maravillosa?
Por Martín Bonfil OliveraDirección General de Divulgación de la Ciencia, UNAMPublicado en Milenio Diario, 11 de noviembre  de 2014La semana pasada hablé aquí sobre la película Interestelar, de Christopher Nolan, sin haberla visto. O más bien, de cómo la colaboración del físico Kip Thorne le permitió presentar la visualización de un hoyo negro más precisa hasta hoy.Ahora puedo decir que […]

November 11, 2014

4:12 AM | Let’s rely on anecdotes instead!
Image credit: Anecdotes, testimonials and urban legends This satirical piece from The Shovel highlights an unfortunate way many politicians (mainly US and Australian)  and internet propagandists approach scientific matters – relying on anecdotes and not evidence. It is also true … Continue reading →

November 10, 2014

9:39 PM | Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Can’t we all get along?
This is devious: Mexican free-tailed bats have jamming sonar to disrupt competitor bats’ food hunting. It’s like there aren’t enough insects for everyone to eat!
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