Archive for: September, 2008

The Fastest Flights in Nature: The Spores!

Sep 16 2008 Published by under Natural Sciences "The spores! The spores!"
When I was in undergrad (which is beginning to seem a depressingly long time ago), all the Biology majors had to take Botany. The pre-meds HATED this class, which not only was not really relevant to medical school, but was also MWF at 8:00am. And had a lab.
It was the lab I remember best. We had a brief section on mycology (the study of fungi), and the TA for the course had us each do a presentation on a different type. She encouraged us to do something interesting: pictures, something clinically relevant (or something people like to eat), or even interpretive dance. Most of the kids in the class did powerpoint presentations, the kind where it's obvious they are only doing enough to get the desired grade.
I started out bored and did a powerpoint, but about halfway through my prep, I got silly. Could have been the lack of sleep (it was sophmore year and I was also in organic chem). Also the caffeine. Or the sugar. I ended up doing a presentation entitled "Mycology as Performance Art". I did give the powerpoint, but I also did interpretive dance to a poem I'd written (oh yes, it rhymed) on the reproduction of Ascomycota. The best part was definitely the bit where I burst my arms open, crying "THE SPORES! THE SPORES!" Of course the class rolled their eyes (no art appreciation these days), but the TA fell over laughing (and a good thing, I'd hate to be taken seriously). I think I may have been one of the only As in the lab section. So when in doubt, do the interpretive dance.
Anyway, after that episode the mycotes receeded in my memory. Until today...

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7 responses so far

Teh Links!

Sep 16 2008 Published by under Uncategorized

The SAUSAGE links...mmm...sausage... sorry, that was brought to you by the list of things I wish I had for breakfast. The life of a starving grad student is full of things you WISH you had for breakfast. Or lunch. Or any time really.
Scicurious has announcements!

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Weird/Horrifying Science Friday: Choking on Toilet Paper

Sep 11 2008 Published by under Friday Weird Science
I sincerely hope that none of you out there have ever had thoughts of suicide or death. Suicide is never funny, please don't do it, and if you ever do have thoughts of suicide or death, please talk to a professional about it. Do not suffer in silence.
This Weird Science is mostly just...weird. I was looking through some of the articles from A Good Poop, and I saw this and WAY.
I'd like you to take a minute, look around, and think of what things around your home could be used to kill someone/yourself/cause severe trauma. Say your home is being invaded by flesh eating zombies and you have to defend yourself. The things most people hit on would be:
1) The knives in the kitchen. Sharp, you always see people trying to defend themselves with them in horror movies. But no good against zombies.
2) Rope or a belt. Everyone's seen someone hang themselves with a belt in the movies, or heard about it. And you could whip the zombies bloody, or tie them up, or something.
3) Chemicals under the sink, medicine in the cabinet. Bleach is deadly to zombies. Also anything to make them clean. Have YOU ever seen a zombie wash his hands before eating?
4) A gun (if you own one). Completely ineffective against the zombies.
So how many of you looked and thought....the toilet paper!

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5 responses so far

Depression, ADHD, and Cocaine

Sep 10 2008 Published by under Uncategorized
Anyone who read my previous blog will probably know that I've got a couple of big interests: blows to the head, diabetes, sex (who doesn't?). I've also got a really big interest in both psychiatric disorders such as depression and ADHD, and what scientists like to formally call "drugs of abuse" (it just sounds better than saying "yeah, I study crack"). And this paper combines both psychiatric disorders AND cocaine! Depression on cocaine, it's life really sucking in fast forward.
Levin et al. "Effects of major depressive disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder on the outcome of treatment for cocaine dependence". Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 34, 2008.

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4 responses so far

An Essay on the Shaking Palsy

Sep 09 2008 Published by under Uncategorized

Can I just say how much I LOVE these old papers! Today I present to you one of the best historical papers neuroscience has to offer, and a real classic in the field.
Parkinson, J. "An Essay on the Shaking Palsy". Published in Neuropsychiatry classics, Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 14 (2), 2002. Originally published as a monograph in 1817. (I cannot for the life of me find the DOI.)
I'm sure that everyone has at least heard of Parkinson's, otherwise known as Parkinson Disease or PD. It affects about 120-180 out of everyone 100,000 people worldwide, though in some populations it is more prevalent than in others. Though that doesn't seem like too many, when I go into children's classrooms to talk about neuroscience, it seems like every child knows someone or is related to someone with PD.
Now obviously, Parkinson didn't call it Parkinson's disease, though it would have been a magnificent feat of ego to say "I would like to characterize a disease that I shall name after Myself, and it shall be called 'Parkinson's' disease, because 'James's disease' just didn't sound as good". No, Parkinsons's has been diagnosed since the time of Galen, but James Parkinson was the first to document the symptoms and to clearly distinguish them from any other disease. Parkinson would have known the disease as "paralysis agitans", or the shaking palsy. The neurochemical changes behind Parkinson's weren't identified until 1950, by Dr. Carlsson, the discoverer of dopamine as a neurotransmitter in it's own right (not just the precursor to norepinephrine), who got the Nobel Prize in 2000 for the finding.

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8 responses so far

Charging women for their own rape kits?

Sep 09 2008 Published by under Uncategorized

This is one of those things I simply can't fathom. How does a woman pretend to be pro-women and then charge other women for basic forensic services following a rape?
She justifies it as necessary to cut taxes. Which begs the question: how much of a tax burden did sex crimes place on the town of Wasilla?
If your answer is "not much", I simply can't understand how this basic service now becomes the responsibility of the victim, who has to rebuild her life after a traumatic event. (Unless you're one of them thar self-loathin' wimmen who blames the victim, but that's another can 'o' worms.) Certainly there's got to be some books to burn or a librarian to fire, which will save a lot more money.
If your answer is "a lot", doesn't that mean you're soft on crime? Rapists are running rampant through the community? Placing such a burden to your community that it's going bankrupt, and there is absolutely no possible to make up the shortfall? What kind of dog-and-pony show are you running with your police force over there?
If cutting taxes is a priority over violent felonies like sexual assault, why not just start cutting the police force? I'm sure you'd save a whole lot of money there. Start with... say... your ex brother-in-law.

12 responses so far

Hello ScienceBlogs!

Sep 09 2008 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

Hi, I'm Scicurious! I am a graduate student in Physiology and Pharmacology in North Carolina, and I tried for some time to stay focused on my word, but I'm pretty sci-curious. In my free time, I am a nerd, a geek, and a dork. And I will be joining Evil Monkey on this here blog! I'm really excited to be here, and I welcome comments on my work and idea for posts! Keep for eyes peeled for the next post, going up soon!

10 responses so far

Neurotopia takes a coblogger

Sep 08 2008 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

In a bit of a shift, I've decided to take a co-blogger. I'm up to my ears in work and whatnot so I think it would be worthwhile to have another voice here. Look for the official introduction in the next couple days!!!!

2 responses so far

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