April 22, 2014

5:02 AM | Cow Manure Harbors Diverse New Antibiotic Resistance Genes
Manure from dairy cows, which is commonly used as a farm soil fertilizer, contains a surprising number of newly identified antibiotic resistance genes from the cows' gut bacteria. The findings, reported in mBio® the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, hints that cow manure is a potential source of new types of antibiotic resistance genes that transfer to bacteria in the soils where food is grown. Thousands of antibiotic resistance (AR) genes have already […]
4:51 AM | "Mhm" and other sounds that help in conversations
Sounds that fill in the spaces in conversations serve a vital function.
4:43 AM | Pollen may increase suicide rates
Scientists have established a correlation between pollen count in the air and suicide rates in Denmark.
4:27 AM | Earth Day: Parents Concerned About The Planet For Future Generations – But Aren't Taking Action
2,234 adults surveyed online between March 12 and 17, 2014 by The Harris Poll reveal that people are concerned about the environment - but may not be doing much about it.And over 80 percent avoid labels like “green”, “conservationist” and “environmentalist”, which shows that environmental corporations have lost a lot of credibility among the public. However, parents with younger kids are more concerned than childless people, though they are only […]
4:11 AM | Cómo escribir sobre el alma y los transgénicos en una revista de ciencia
(English intro to Spanish lang post) Today we comment on a terrific piece about GM corn in Mexico. With 7 print pages and nearly 10 different sources from industry, research centers, NGO’s and sociologists, it’s one of the most documented and balanced stories about GMO we’ve read in the country. The aim of the story is not to give a clear conclusion, but to analyze the reasons for the controversy. It doesn’t even […]
3:58 AM | The Strange Remains the Same for 21 April 2014
“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfeast cereals based on color instead of taste.” ― John Green – Paper Towns New Medicare Data Reveal Startling $496 Million Wasted On Chiropractors. Man claiming to be ‘magical warlock’ arrested for sex crimes against children… Source: Doubtful News
3:29 AM | Cuckoo Mafia: Birds Raise The Young Of Others To Avoid Retaliation
We are all familiar with the Mafia. In China, it is the Triads, in Italy it is La Cosa Nostra. You pay for protection or disaster is sure to befall you.It happens in the bird world too, according to a new report. A bird will lay an egg in your home and you will raise the hatchling or pay the price. Throw the little parasite out and an accident will befall your nest.It is a child-rearing strategy, but is it an effective one? Evolutionary biologist Amotz Zahavi postulated the mafia hypothesis […]
3:13 AM | Epidemiology: Should farmers try to do more work near noon?
The CDC has a wealth of classroom information (case studies, discussion material) regarding epidemiology. No surprise there. It’s what they do. In my Microbiology class we’re starting a unit on epidemiology that students are working on in their free time either alone or in groups. We will talk about the project as questions come up, […]
2:00 AM | Black Death: A Plague In Your Family
For the first time, researchers have studied the Black Death bacterium's entire family tree to fully understand how some of the family members evolve to become harmful. Contrary to popular belief, pathogenic members of this bacterial family do not share a recent common disease-causing ancestor, but instead, have followed parallel evolutionary paths to become harmful.read more
1:37 AM | Living on the Edge – Extremophiles
Extremophiles, in essence, are organisms that can survive, thrive, and reproduce in unforgiving geochemical conditions. These incredible life forms can be found inside rocks up to 1900 feet below the sea floor and on the surface of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The most famous of extremophiles are thermophiles, which live in hydrothermal vents and […]
1:26 AM | Now That's Warming: 50 Million Years Ago, Antarctica Was Like California
Think global warming might change things a little? You haven't seen anything compared to 50 million years ago. Though Antarctica is year-round one of the coldest places on Earth, and the continent's interior is the coldest place, with annual average land temperatures far below zero degrees Fahrenheit, during the Eocene epoch, 40-50 million years ago, there was a period with high concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and consequently a greenhouse climate.  read more
12:53 AM | Self-Lensing Binary System And The Upside-Down Planet
What looked at first like a sort of upside-down planet in the binary star system KOI-3278 has instead revealed a new method for studying binary star systems, according to a University of Washington team who writes of the first "self-lensing" binary star system — one in which the mass of the closer star can be measured by how powerfully it magnifies light from its more distant companion star. Our sun stands alone but about 40 percent of similar stars are in binary (two-star) or multi-star […]
12:20 AM | Now You Have No Excuse To Miss the Lyrid Meteor Shower Tonight
Once a year, Earth experiences the Lyrid meteor shower as it passes through a region of cosmic debris left behind by a comet known as Comet Thatcher, which orbits the sun once every 415 years leaving behind fresh debris each time. This year, that’ll be happening tonight. The shower is expected to be at its peak […]
12:15 AM | Two Artificial Intelligence Chatbots Talk to Each Other & Get Into a Deep Philosophical Conversation
The folks at the Cornell Creative Machines Lab are “interested in robots that create and are creative.” Here’s one such example of robots getting creative. Above, the lab lets two chatbots (essentially computer programs designed to simulate an intelligent conversation) [...]testThe post Two Artificial Intelligence Chatbots Talk to Each Other & Get Into a Deep Philosophical Conversation appeared first on Australian Science.

April 21, 2014

11:52 PM | Blowing the Top Off a Mountain to Build a Telescope So Big It Can See Signs of Life On Other Planets
In a few short weeks, engineers in the Chilean Coastal Ranges of the Andes Mountains in South America will be blowing off the top of Cerro Armazones.  Standing at 10,000 feet, it’s one of the tallest peaks in the region. Here’s Gird Hudepohl, the head engineer for the project: “We will take about 80ft off the top of […]
11:33 PM | Is it Okay to Say Female Insect has a “Penis”? Sexy News Story Sparks Language Dispute
Not long ago I’d get hate mail for merely mentioning the word penis in print. Readers regarded the publication I wrote for as a “family” newspaper, and they seemed to feel that even a biology-based discussion of genitalia would be disruptive to families. But now, thankfully, this week’s genitally-oriented controversy surrounds the best use of language to clearly and accurately communicate science. The story in […]
11:14 PM | The Men Who Made Us Fat
Over the weekend I watched a documentary series called “The Men Who Made Us Fat”, playing on the BBC Knowledge channel (but also available on Youtube). It is a fascinating look at how the food industry has used marketing to alter our eating habits, fought against attempts to regulate unhealthy foods and engaged in dubious [...]
11:10 PM | Fluoridation: putting chemical contamination in context
Anti-fluoridation activists often claim fluoridating chemicals used for water treatment are contaminated with heavy metals and radionuclides. I have written about this before in Fluoridation – are we dumping toxic metals into our water supplies?, Water treatment chemicals – why pick on fluoride? and Hamilton – … Continue reading →
10:39 PM | Cuando la naturaleza manda a callar a las mujeres
La teoría cromosómica de la herencia establece que los genes están ubicados en los cromosomas y que éstos son los vehículos de esos genes cuando se realiza la meiosis para formar los gametos. En los individuos con sexos diferentes existen dos tipos de cromosomas, los autosomas y los cromosomas sexuales. Los primeros son iguales para ambos sexos, mientras que los cromosomas sexuales son diferentes justamente porque determinan si el individuo es macho o hembra. […]
9:21 PM | A Belly Full Of Beaks
The contents of a whale's stomach reveals more than just its diet. Originally published:  Apr 21 2014 - 5:15pm By:  Joel N. Shurkin, ISNS Contributor Science category:  Animals Biology Environment News section:  Inside Science News Service […]
7:00 PM | Who cheats and who eats? An evolutionary conundrum.
Say what you will about our other vices, human beings did not invent cheating. Microbes have been doing it for billions of years. You see, for microbes, cheating can sometimes be an evolutionary advantage. And this can cause it to get out of hand really quickly. Bacteria “cheat” by stealing each other’s lunch. They do it everywhere, all the time,…
6:56 PM | Easter Chocolate Cravings: The Power of Polyphenols
With the Easter weekend over for another year and the family festivities drawing to a close, we can sit and contemplate one thing…just how much chocolate have I eaten the […]

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6:33 PM | Indifference graphs and their construction
I just added a new article to Wikipedia on indifference graphs (also known as unit interval graphs or proper interval graphs): the graphs formed from sets of points on the real line by connecting every two points whose distance is less than one.There are many papers on algorithms for going from the graph to a geometric representation in linear time. The following method for the reverse problem, going from the set of points (or equivalently unit intervals) to its graph must be known, possibly in […]
6:00 PM | Picture of the Week: Buckeye Dragon Mite
Unearthing a new species doesn’t necessarily require traveling to an exotic locale. For entomologist Samuel Bolton, a graduate student at The Ohio State University, a previously unknown mite was waiting to be found about two feet underground, just across the street from his lab.   Close relatives of spiders, mites are an important part of soil decomposition, Bolton says. Curious what tiny organisms were living in the area, Bolton dug a routine soil sample to […]
5:43 PM | Another New Earth… Or Not. You may have heard the news last week...
Another New Earth… Or Not. You may have heard the news last week that astronomers discovered the best candidate to date for an Earth-like planet. Kepler-186f is a rocky planet that is, like other so-called “second Earths”, the right distance away from its parent star to have liquid water on its surface and maybe have the right conditions for maybe having life if that’s the kind of thing that maybe exists somewhere else… maybe. As Adam Mann writes for WIRED, […]
4:45 PM | 3D Printers Are Drastically Improving the Lives of Amputee Victims in Sudan (Video)
Daniel is a young man from the war-torn country of Sudan. He lost both arms to a bomb at the age of 14. His story is not uncommon, however. Sudan’s civil war has been raging for over 3 decades now, and besides the dangers of explosives, the brutal practice of hacking off limbs is not […]
4:37 PM | It occurs to me that I just spent 30 minutes pondering the science of an animated GIF featuring a...
It occurs to me that I just spent 30 minutes pondering the science of an animated GIF featuring a man who resembles Breaking Bad's Gus Fring either accepting or creating pantsfuls of anthropomorphic hot dogs. Now that is what I call productivity.
4:35 PM | SciAm & Read Science! Chat with Neil Shubin
I am very pleased to announce that Neil Shubin, author of “Your Inner Fish” and host of a PBS program by the same name, currently airing over the past several weeks, will be joining... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
4:35 PM | Here’s rionhunter's response, I've added my take on this...
Here’s rionhunter's response, I've added my take on this below: I made a response to this, but unfortunately, tumblr has a way of eating up anything more than 10 lines long, and it got a little lost.  So, even though I’m not Hank, I thought I would make a full post explaining the science.  To understand why it’s happening, though, I’m going to have to quickly explain to you what is happening first.Hopefully we all know that animation (and film) is just a […]
4:29 PM | 3 Basic Stress Management Techniques (From 10-Year Old Mallie)
Back in a time before the internet was actually useful and safe for a child to explore unsupervised (pre-parental controls in the 1990s), I liked to read encyclopedias and other reference books for fun. I admire little Mallie’s patience and concentration, as the thought of doing that today is incredibly boring, despite my preference for…
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