Posts

September 16, 2014

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11:11 PM | Breaking battery convention: new study indicates fast charging not necessarily detrimental to cycling lifetimes
It’s exciting in science when a conventional view is overthrown, as this opens the way for both new perspectives on old data and new experiments to design to test new theories.  A great example of this challenging of convention appears … Continue reading →

Li Y, El Gabaly F, Ferguson TR, Smith RB, Bartelt NC, Sugar JD, Fenton KR, Cogswell DA, Kilcoyne AL, Tyliszczak T & Bazant MZ (2014). Current-induced transition from particle-by-particle to concurrent intercalation in phase-separating battery electrodes., Nature materials, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25218062

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5:14 PM | New Cocktail Turns Adult Cells into Stem Cells
For those of us who were following stem cell news, recently the field had a huge setback when a paper, that offered a cheap and novel way to create stem […]

Buganim Y, Markoulaki S, van Wietmarschen N, Hoke H, Wu T, Ganz K, Akhtar-Zaidi B, He Y, Abraham BJ, Porubsky D & Kulenkampff E (2014). The Developmental Potential of iPSCs Is Greatly Influenced by Reprogramming Factor Selection., Cell stem cell, 15 (3) 295-309. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25192464

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4:16 PM | ‘Eskimo1′ gene helps plants survive drought conditions
Genetic modification (GM) has been a hot topic for the past couple of decades, and with scaremongering over ‘Frankenstein foods’ you’d be forgiven for thinking that GM is only being used to produce horrifying steroid-addled mutant plants, which will one day develop a taste for human flesh and take over the Earth (like in Day…

Xu F, Liu Z, Xie H, Zhu J, Zhang J, Kraus J, Blaschnig T, Nehls R & Wang H (2014). Increased Drought Tolerance through the Suppression of ESKMO1 Gene and Overexpression of CBF-Related Genes in Arabidopsis., PloS one, 9 (9) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25184213

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10:18 AM | Should Policy Makers and Financial Institutions Have Access to Billions of Brain Scans?
"Individual risk attitudes are correlated with the grey matter volume in the posterior parietal cortex suggesting existence of an anatomical biomarker for financial risk-attitude," said Dr Tymula. This means tolerance of risk "could potentially be measured in billions of existing medical brain scans." 1 -Gray matter matters when measuring risk toleranceLet's pretend that scientists have discovered a neural biomarker that could accurately predict a person's propensity to take financial risks […]

Gilaie-Dotan, S., Tymula, A., Cooper, N., Kable, J., Glimcher, P. & Levy, I. (2014). Neuroanatomy Predicts Individual Risk Attitudes, Journal of Neuroscience, 34 (37) 12394-12401. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1600-14.2014

Levy, I., Rosenberg Belmaker, L., Manson, K., Tymula, A. & Glimcher, P. (2012). Measuring the Subjective Value of Risky and Ambiguous Options using Experimental Economics and Functional MRI Methods, Journal of Visualized Experiments, (67) DOI: 10.3791/3724

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6:50 AM | The schizophrenias (plural)
A micropost if you will, to draw your attention to the paper by Javier Arnedo and colleagues [1] mentioning the concept of 'the schizophrenias' (plural). Some media coverage of this paper can be found here and here. The crux of the paper is that although currently unified by a diagnostic label, schizophrenia seems to be comprised of various conditions: "caused by a moderate number of separate genotypic networks associated with several distinct clinical syndromes"."... dogs and cats living […]

Javier Arnedo, Dragan M. Svrakic, Coral del Val, Rocío Romero-Zaliz, Helena Hernández-Cuervo, Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia Consortium, Ayman H. Fanous, Michele T. Pato, Carlos N. Pato, Gabriel A. de Erausquin & C. Robert Cloninger (2014). Uncovering the Hidden Risk Architecture of the Schizophrenias: Confirmation in Three Independent Genome-Wide Association Studies, The American Journal of Psychiatry, Other:

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September 15, 2014

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8:01 PM | Humanized FoxP2 and the timing of habits
Last week, Elizabeth Pennisi asked me to comment on the recent paper from Schreiweis et al. entitled “Humanized FoxP2 accelerates learning by enhancing transitions from declarative to procedural performance”. Since I don’t know how much, if anything, of my answers […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry...

Schreiweis, C., Bornschein, U., Burguiere, E., Kerimoglu, C., Schreiter, S., Dannemann, M., Goyal, S., Rea, E., French, C., Puliyadi, R. & Groszer, M. (2014). Humanized Foxp2 accelerates learning by enhancing transitions from declarative to procedural performance, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1414542111

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4:58 PM | The Genetic Roots of Schizophrenia
I have a friend who lost an eye — not in a war zone like you might suspect given my background — but to his brother. Yes, you read that […]

avier Arnedo, M.S.; Dragan M. Svrakic, M.D., Ph.D.; Coral del Val, Ph.D.; Rocío Romero-Zaliz, Ph.D.; Helena Hernández-Cuervo, M.D.; Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia Consortium; Ayman H. Fanous, M.D.; Michele T. Pato, M.D.; Carlos N. Pato, M.D., Ph.D. (2014). Uncovering the Hidden Risk Architecture of the Schizophrenias: Confirmation in Three Independent Genome-Wide Association Studies, The American Journal of Psychiatry, Other:

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4:06 PM | Poop Transplants Let Pack Rats Eat Poison
Can’t eat poison without dying? Maybe your gut microbes are to blame. Rodents in the Mojave Desert have evolved to eat toxic creosote bushes with the help of specialized gut bacteria. Although scientists had long suspected that bacteria might be key to the rats’ power, they proved it by feeding the rodents antibiotics and ground-up […]The post Poop Transplants Let Pack Rats Eat Poison appeared first on Inkfish.

Kohl KD, Weiss RB, Cox J, Dale C & Denise Dearing M (2014). Gut microbes of mammalian herbivores facilitate intake of plant toxins., Ecology letters, 17 (10) 1238-46. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25040855

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9:57 AM | Turritopsis Dohrnii - Is It Really Immortal?
The "Immortal" JellyfishCredit: Peter Schuchert/The Hydrozoa DirectoryKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: CnidariaClass: HydrozoaOrder: AnthoathecataFamily: OceaniidaeGenus: TurritopsisSpecies: Turritopsis dohrnii (formerly classified as T. nutricula.)Common Name: The immortal jellyfishMost of the animals featured on the site are chosen based on their unusual looks. However, this not the case with Turritopsis dohrnii, which seemingly has no notable morphological characteristics. On the outside, […]

Martínez DE (1998). Mortality patterns suggest lack of senescence in hydra., Experimental gerontology, 33 (3) 217-25. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9615920

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8:57 AM | How to increase children’s patience in 5 seconds
A single act increases adults’ compliance with researchers. The same act makes students more likely to volunteer to solve math problems in front of others. Moreover, it makes four-year-olds more patient. What sounds like a miracle cure to everyday problems is actually the oldest trick in the book: human touch. How do researchers know this? […]

Guéguen N & Fischer-Lokou J (2002). An evaluation of touch on a large request: a field setting., Psychological reports, 90 (1) 267-9. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11898995

Guéguen, N. (2004). Nonverbal Encouragement of Participation in a Course: the Effect of Touching, Social Psychology of Education, 7 (1) 89-98. DOI: 10.1023/B:SPOE.0000010691.30834.14

Leonard JA, Berkowitz T & Shusterman A (2014). The effect of friendly touch on delay-of-gratification in preschool children., Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006), 1-11. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24666195

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8:47 AM | Zinc and copper and autism
The paper by Li and colleagues [1] looking at serum copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) levels in a group of participants diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the source material for today's post. Highlighting how "mean serum Zn levels and Zn/Cu ratio were significantly lower in children with ASD compared with normal cases... whereas serum Cu levels were significantly higher" the continued focus on the metallome in autism carries on at a pace. I should at this point out that I'm not […]

Li SO, Wang JL, Bjørklund G, Zhao WN & Yin CH (2014). Serum copper and zinc levels in individuals with autism spectrum disorders., Neuroreport, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25162784

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8:28 AM | Pupils benefit from praise, but should teachers give it to them publicly or privately?
There's a best practice guide for teachers, produced by the Association of School Psychologists in the US, that states praise is best given to pupils in private. This advice is not based on experimental research - there hasn't been any - but on surveys of student preferences, and on the rationale that pupils could be embarrassed by receiving praise in public.Now, in the first study of its kind, John Blaze and his colleagues have systematically compared the effect of public and private praise […]

Blaze JT, Olmi DJ, Mercer SH, Dufrene BA & Tingstom DH (2014). Loud versus quiet praise: A direct behavioral comparison in secondary classrooms., Journal of school psychology, 52 (4) 349-60. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25107408

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September 14, 2014

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10:55 PM | JUST PUBLISHED: The Dance of Communication: Retaining Family Membership Despite Non-Speech Dementia
As the majority of people in developed countries will be touched in some way by dementia in the 21st century, current ways of interacting in dementia care may no longer be acceptable. In particular, when people with dementia appear uncommunicative, their retained awareness and ability to interact is often dismissed or overlooked. Facing social isolation and further decline, many languish with unmet needs for human interaction. However, the intimacies of family interaction in dementia care […]

Walmsley, B. & McCormack, L. (2013). The dance of communication: Retaining family membership despite severe non-speech dementia, Dementia, 13 (5) 626-641. DOI: 10.1177/1471301213480359

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6:24 PM | Biospleen Helps Clean Blood to Prevent Sepsis
When a patient has sepsis Things can go downhill fast. A life-threatening condition in which bacteria or fungi multiply in a patient’s blood — sepsis is often too fast for antibiotics to […]

Kang JH, Super M, Yung CW, Cooper RM, Domansky K, Graveline AR, Mammoto T, Berthet JB, Tobin H, Cartwright MJ & Watters AL (2014). An extracorporeal blood-cleansing device for sepsis therapy., Nature medicine, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25216635

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September 13, 2014

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5:13 PM | Need a Kidney? Lab Grown Kidneys Coming Soon!
Stem cells offered the promise of having a patents own organ grown to replace a failing or damaged one. Unfortunately the road to that future has been paved with seemingly […]

In Kap Ko,, Mehran Abolbashari,, Jennifer Huling,, Cheil Kim,, Sayed-Hadi Mirmalek-Sani,, Mahmoudreza Moradi,, Giuseppe Orlando,, John D. Jackson,, Tamer Aboushwareb,, Shay Soker, & James J. Yoo, (2014). Enhanced re-endothelialization of acellular kidney scaffolds for whole organ engineering via antibody conjugation of vasculatures, Technology , Other:

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2:13 PM | Solving the puzzle of Greenland melting 20,000 years ago
Using a combination of experimental data taken from ice cores from the frigid glacier of Greenland and computer models of global circulation, scientists have partially solved a mystery about a lagged melting of Greenland 20,000 years ago, when the glaciers … Continue reading →

Buizert C, Gkinis V, Severinghaus JP, He F, Lecavalier BS, Kindler P, Leuenberger M, Carlson AE, Vinther B, Masson-Delmotte V & White JW (2014). Greenland temperature response to climate forcing during the last deglaciation., Science (New York, N.Y.), 345 (6201) 1177-80. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25190795

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September 12, 2014

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7:44 PM | Inflammation of the Brain and Memory Problems
Neurological disorders typically involve memory issues. Most of the problems are attributed to plaques that build up in the brain (which are typically prions), yet some causes are unknown. New research […]

Czerniawski J & Guzowski JF (2014). Acute neuroinflammation impairs context discrimination memory and disrupts pattern separation processes in hippocampus., The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 34 (37) 12470-80. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25209285

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3:47 PM | Insulin, growth hormone and risk of schizophrenia?
"Overall, the present findings suggest that metabolic and hormonal disturbances such as effects on insulin and growth hormone may represent a vulnerability factor to develop mental disorders". That was the conclusion reported by van Beveren and colleagues [1] (open-access) looking at "disruption of insulin and growth factor signaling pathways as an increased risk factor for schizophrenia"."Years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars"Drawing on data derived from participants taking part […]

van Beveren NJ, Schwarz E, Noll R, Guest PC, Meijer C, de Haan L & Bahn S (2014). Evidence for disturbed insulin and growth hormone signaling as potential risk factors in the development of schizophrenia., Translational psychiatry, 4 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25158005

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8:33 AM | Astrocyte role in gamma waves
The study of the brain has been very neuron centered. Glial cells outnumber neuron by about 10 to 1 in the cortex and are known to be important to brain function but it is not clear just what they do other than some housekeeping tasks and shepherding neurons to their final locations during development. Astrocyte […]

Lee, H., Ghetti, A., Pinto-Duarte, A., Wang, X., Dziewczapolski, G., Galimi, F., Huitron-Resendiz, S., Pina-Crespo, J., Roberts, A., Verma, I. & Sejnowski, T. (2014). Astrocytes contribute to gamma oscillations and recognition memory, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111 (32) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1410893111

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8:23 AM | Psychologists compare the mental abilities of Scrabble and crossword champions
Completed Scrabble (left) and crossword grids (image from Toma et al 2014).Every year, hundreds of word lovers arrive from across the US to compete in the American Crossword Puzzle tournament. They solve clues (e.g. "caught some Z's") and place the answers (e.g. "sleep") in a grid. Meanwhile, a separate group of wordsmiths gather regularly to compete at Scrabble, the game that involves forming words out of letter tiles and finding a suitable place for them on the board.Both sets of players have […]

Toma, M., Halpern, D. & Berger, D. (2014). Cognitive Abilities of Elite Nationally Ranked SCRABBLE and Crossword Experts, Applied Cognitive Psychology, DOI: 10.1002/acp.3059

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3:00 AM | Transcendental idealism and Post’s variant of the Church-Turing thesis
One of the exciting things in reading philosophy, its history in particular, is experiencing the tension between different schools of thought. This excitement turns to beauty if a clear synthesis emerges to reconcile the conflicting ideas. In the middle to late 18th century, as the Age of Enlightenment was giving way to the Romantic era, […]

Post, E.L. (1936). Finite combinatory processes -- formulation 1., Journal of Symbolic Logic, 1 (3) 103-105.

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September 11, 2014

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4:45 PM | The Origami Brain and a new marker for Schizophrenia
Anyone who has seen pictures or models of the human brain (like the one above) is aware that the outside layer, or cortex, of the brain is folded in an […]

Nanda P, Tandon N, Mathew IT, Giakoumatos CI, Abhishekh HA, Clementz BA, Pearlson GD, Sweeney J, Tamminga CA & Keshavan MS & (2014). Local gyrification index in probands with psychotic disorders and their first-degree relatives., Biological psychiatry, 76 (6) 447-55. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24369266

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1:55 PM | Treating autism in the first year of life
I had been waiting y'know. Waiting a while for the paper by Sally Rogers and colleagues [1] to finally appear quite a few days after the media headlines about 'reducing', 'reversing' and even 'eliminating' the signs and symptoms of autism in early infancy had appeared. Personally, I prefer the New Scientist headline: 'Early autism intervention speeds infant development' given the text of the paper. I should perhaps also add the words 'for some' to that sentence as you will hopefully […]

S. J. Rogers, L. Vismara, A. L. Wagner, C. McCormick, G. Young & S. Ozonoff (2014). Autism Treatment in the First Year of Life: A Pilot Study of Infant Start, a Parent-Implemented Intervention for Symptomatic Infants, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Other:

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1:52 PM | Stop Worrying, Good-Looking Dudes: Your Sperm Is Fine
You may have seen headlines over the past week proclaiming that handsome men have lower-quality sperm. If this made you panic because you happen to be a great-looking guy, you can stop. (If you’re an un-handsome man who’s been gloating—sorry.) This scientific study did say a few interesting things about Spaniards, Colombians, and cheekbones. But […]The post Stop Worrying, Good-Looking Dudes: Your Sperm Is Fine appeared first on Inkfish.

Soler C, Kekäläinen J, Núñez M, Sancho M, Alvarez JG, Núñez J, Yaber I & Gutiérrez R (2014). Male facial attractiveness and masculinity may provide sex- and culture-independent cues to semen quality., Journal of evolutionary biology, 27 (9) 1930-8. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25056484

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8:42 AM | Omega-3 fatty acids rescues Fragile X phenotypes in Fmr1-Ko mice
"These results demonstrate that n-3 PUFAs dietary supplementation, although not a panacea, has a considerable therapeutic value for FXS [Fragile X syndrome] and potentially for ASD [autism spectrum disorder], suggesting a major mediating role of neuroinflammatory mechanisms".A view @ Wikipedia That was the conclusion reached by Susanna Pietropaolo and colleagues [1] who "evaluated the impact of n-3 PUFA dietary supplementation in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome […]

Pietropaolo S, Goubran MG, Joffre C, Aubert A, Lemaire-Mayo V, Crusio WE & Layé S (2014). Dietary supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids rescues fragile X phenotypes in Fmr1-Ko mice., Psychoneuroendocrinology, 49C 119-129. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25080404

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September 10, 2014

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6:26 PM | Multiple Sclerosis and Myelin loss
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. The […]

Vasily L. Yarnykh, James D. Bowen, Alexey Samsonov, Pavle Repovic, Angeli Mayadev, Peiqing Qian, Beena Gangadharan, Bart P. Keogh, Kenneth R. Maravilla & Lily K. Jung Henson & (2014). Fast Whole-Brain Three-dimensional Macromolecular Proton Fraction Mapping in Multiple Sclerosis, Radiological Society of North America , Other:

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3:49 PM | Apple Does 3D Cell Culture
Andrew Pelling has a new application for the apple, but it is not the latest i-gizmo from Cupertino, CA. Pelling and colleagues at the University of Ottawa have come up with a possible solution to the limitations of traditional, two-dimensional (2D) cell culture, which does not reproduce the microenvironment and tissue architecture that surrounds cells in a living organism—the apple, the one-a-day fruit that keeps the doctor away and is an essential ingredient to the All-American […]

Modulevsky DJ, Lefebvre C, Haase K, Al-Rekabi Z & Pelling AE (2014). Apple derived cellulose scaffolds for 3D mammalian cell culture., PloS one, 9 (5) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24842603

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3:49 PM | Are Deaf Dogs and Blind Dogs just like other Dogs?
Do dogs that are deaf and/or blind have specific behavioural traits? New research sets out to investigate – and finds they are very similar to dogs with normal hearing and vision.Photo: Amy Rene / ShutterstockNo one knows exactly how many dogs have hearing or vision problems. Congenital deafness and/or blindness occur in several breeds. In some cases this is related to coat colours – for example the double merle gene in Australian Shepherds is linked to deafness and […]

Farmer-Dougan, V., Quick, A., Harper, K., Schmidt, K. & Campbell, D. (2014). Behavior of Hearing or Vision Impaired and Normal Hearing and Vision Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris): Not the same but not that different , Journal of Veterinary Behavior,

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2:39 PM | Bacteria Can Really Get Around
Biology concepts – motility, microbiology, bacteria, evolution, gliding, twitching, flagella, pilusThe Giant Devil Ray, or mobula ray (Mobula mobular) can reach 18 ft. (5.4 m) wide. It’s not so much that they fly or glide, they just breach the waves and look like they are trying to flap wings. They were almost fished to extinction in the 1970’s. Their meat was sold as scallops after they cut it out with a round cookie cutter!How many different ways can humans move about? Walk, […]

Balish MF (2014). Giant steps toward understanding a mycoplasma gliding motor., Trends in microbiology, 22 (8) 429-31. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24986074

Kinosita Y, Nakane D, Sugawa M, Masaike T, Mizutani K, Miyata M & Nishizaka T (2014). Unitary step of gliding machinery in Mycoplasma mobile., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111 (23) 8601-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24912194

Jin F, Conrad JC, Gibiansky ML & Wong GC (2011). Bacteria use type-IV pili to slingshot on surfaces., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108 (31) 12617-22. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21768344

Stocker R (2011). Reverse and flick: Hybrid locomotion in bacteria., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108 (7) 2635-6. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21289282

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Editor's Pick
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1:54 PM | Se trovi cattivo questo mondo, dovresti vedere gli altri!
In effetti questa è (o dovrebbe essere) la versione estesa di una conferenza di Philip K. Dick alla convention fantascientifica di Metz, in Francia, nel 1977. Non sono riuscito a trovare trascrizioni dell'intervento realmente fatto dallo scrittore a Metz, ma il video (via Open Culture) è abbastanza differente (non troppo rispetto ai contenuti) rispetto al testo (archive.org) successivamente pubblicato sulla Philip K. Dick Society Newsletter #27.Innanzitutto Dick esprime l'idea […]

Susskind L. (1995). The world as a hologram, Journal of Mathematical Physics, 36 (11) 6377. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.531249

Bousso R. (2002). The holographic principle, Reviews of Modern Physics, 74 (3) 825-874. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/revmodphys.74.825

Bekenstein J. (2008). Bekenstein-Hawking entropy, Scholarpedia, 3 (10) 7375. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4249/scholarpedia.7375

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