Archive for: November, 2008

Friday Weird Science: Cool Tunes

Nov 14 2008 Published by under Friday Weird Science

I actually had another piece in mind for this Friday's Weird Science, but a friend of mine sent me a link to this paper, and I HAD to do it. It's not just weird, it's awesome! Long, Fee. "Using temperature to analytze temporal dynamics in the songbird motor pathway." Nature, 2008.
I will start this post with an observation. My brother and I observed, around about the time the movie "Titanic" came out, that you can do "the Macarena" to ANY song. Really. Any song you like. Pick one. Our personal favorite was "My Heart will Go On", partially because we didn't like the song. This paper made me think of the Macarena, and how you can do the same sequence of movements to any song written in anything like 4 or cut time (or even 6/8, but you had to get creative). The same sequence of movements can be performed at many different paces.
But what controls how fast you perform a particular series of movement? How can you sing "Happy Birthday" at a breakneck pace, and then at the pace of a funeral dirge, all without losing the tune (if you can keep the tune in the first place)? And that is what this article is about. And it's the way they did it that makes it weird.

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3 responses so far

GOD: Do I have your attention?

Nov 12 2008 Published by under Uncategorized

I WAS going to blog on the history of action potentials tonight, but it's late, I'm really tired (14 hour days in the lab add up), and action potential history is hard. Luckily for all of us, a new and cool article is out in PLoS ONE! Do not fear, I'll get to that history of action potentials soon enough. Colzato et al. "Losing the big picture: how religion may control visual attention" PLoS ONE, 2008.
Unfortunately, this paper has no graphs. Yet again, it's all tables. I fix for you.

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5 responses so far

The Little things in Life

Nov 12 2008 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

Two things while I attempt to wake up (I've technically been "awake" for 2.5 hours already, but we all know that's just a word).
1) Not Exactly Rocket Science has a BOOK! I'm so jealous. Ed is a master of science blogging and gives me someone to look up to. I have no idea how he puts up solid stuff like that day after day. I need about 2.5-3 hours for a good post, and I don't have that every day. How does he do it?
2) Vote for Brian! Laelaps made it into the final 20 for the 2008 Blogging Scholarship! He's a fantastic blogger, and a scholarship would certainly make his little student life a little better (though he'll probably get out and dive right back in to grad school. Don't do it, Brian! You'll be poor 'til you're 90!). Just think, vote and you could feed Brian Ramen for weeks! Such riches.
Somehow I think I'd be a little more motivated if all my work weren't on my computer. If it was piled up all around me in piles I could barely see over, THEN I would feel the fear.

2 responses so far

General Stuff I like to Blog about: The Action Potential

Nov 10 2008 Published by under Neuroscience

Action potentials are special to me. They are special to me because action potentials are what got me into science in the first place.
Well, ok, they didn't really get me in to science. Little Sci had been a Biology major for about two years before she first really studied the action potential in depth, and she was doing research (in watershed ecology, of all things. How we do change.) But I wasn't a very enthusiastic Biology major. General Bio was made up of huge classes with tests where you spit back information, Chemistry gave me headaches, and all the math they made me take was REALLY not my thing. I liked Philosophy a whole lot more, but I was determined to have a "useful" major. And I had no idea what I was going to do with myself after college. Grad school had been my fixed idea for some time, to keep me out of the scary big world and in the college life I loved so much. But for what? And why? Eh.
So after all the general biology classes were over, we could enroll in higher levels classes. The classes were generally smaller and got progressively more specialized, and you had to take a certain number of classes in certain categoried to be considered a Biology Major (tm). I enrolled in Animal Physiology.

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11 responses so far

InaDWriMo Update

Nov 09 2008 Published by under Academia

Whoops. Apparently I was supposed to give this update on Saturday, but I was busy! Busy working!! In InaDWriMo!
Thus far: papers read: 7 (out of 20). I should clarify that, when Sci reads a paper, she doesn't just read the abstract and glance at the figures. She reads, takes notes, and puts the relevant notes into a large special book she calls her "dissertation bible", which is then scanned on a relatively frequent basis so it's not all lost. It is, all together, a huge example of pathetic geekdom. I read 7 and I am proud.
Paper progress: I have been informed that it would in fact be best to have THREE paper drafts ready by December 1. This adds another level to my panic, obviously. Thus far, paper 1 now has methods, the figures, and the sketching of an introduction. Hopefully by the end of tonight it will have results and a better introduction.
Outside of that, I've been prepping a poster for an uncoming conference, running experiments (I am in fact still in the lab, yeah, I know), and writing posts for the glory of the public (one of which gotten eaten by the intertubes, I am SO angry. I put two hours into that thing!). The work must continue! Onward! And someone hand me a caffeine i.v. bag.

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Warm fuzzies and getting to know your profs

Nov 08 2008 Published by under Academia

Dr. Isis has a very interesting post up over at her new place on how and if one should relate personally to one's students. In reply, Stephanie has posted a beautiful story of her own. And JLK posted some quite excellent comments. Both of these posts made me think a lot, which is probably the only reason you will catch me blogging on a weekend. Being a grad student, weekends are the time when I catch up on all the crazy work that I didn't manage to get done during the week. Yeah, no life. I know.
How do you relate to your profs? How are you supposed to? When I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed little undergrad on my first day of orientation, there were lots of warm words spoken to the effect of "get to know your professors and get them to know you". This is not just to give you warm fuzzies inside or get yourself invited over to professorial houses for home-made dinners (a thing I heard of, which, alas, never happened to me). Getting to know your professors can have a profound impact on whether or not you get that precious reference to grad/med school. And it can make the difference between a college (or grad school) experience that was "you know, college", and one that was intellectually stimulating, challenging, and the kind of college experience that every young geek dreams about when they're stuck in some sort of "rocks for jocks" in high school.

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19 responses so far

And it seemed so promising...

Nov 07 2008 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Or perhaps I should call this "Friday Weird Science...NOT!" Seriously, I'm pissed. Because when Scicurious sees a headline like this:
The Stink in Farts Controls Blood Pressure
she thinks "SWEET! This will be awesome!" and starts hunting around for the paper. The original article itself was less promising than hoped, but wishful thinking was going strong here. And imagine her surprise and dismay when the real title of the article turned out to be THIS:
H2S as a Physiologic Vasorelaxant: Hypertension in Mice with Deletion of Cystathionine -Lyase
Guangdong Yang, Lingyun Wu, Bo Jiang, Wei Yang, Jiansong Qi, Kun Cao, Qinghe Meng, Asif K. Mustafa, Weitong Mu, Shengming Zhang, Solomon H. Snyder, and Rui Wang
Science 24 October 2008: 587-590.
But you know what, it's still got weird science correlates. And so it shall be blogged! Once more, dear friends, into the breach! He that outlives this post, and comes safe from the internet, will stand a'tiptoe when this blog is named, and rouse him in the name of SCIENCE!

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2 responses so far

Like a goddess descending...

Nov 07 2008 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

Dr. Isis has arrived!

I'm so thrilled to see Dr. Isis join the Borg! She advises poor fashion-idiot Scicurious on how to look less like she's still in college. And color-blind. And her science is top notch. And she's one heck of a runner. Check her out!! Well, except she didn't say in her blog how much she loves me. I am sad. Sacrifices to the goddess have not worked. 🙁 Check her out anyway!

2 responses so far

Hot Apple Cider...mmm...MY, you're such a nice person!

Nov 05 2008 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

First of all, I just want to say that I am in a wonderful mood today. This day would have to totally kick puppies to ruin my mood. The only dark spot is Prop 8 in California.
But there is something else to make me happy! Check this out! I absolutely wanted one of these when I was a kid. Heck, I still want one.
ANYWAY. Welcome to option number 2 for Things I could Present at Journal Club! I welcome input! This is kind of, ok, tomorrow. And I have to turn in my choice today.
I don't know about you, but I love fall. One of the things I love most about it is enjoying hot delicious drinks (Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks is the most delicious thing ever) while suggled up beneath a fleece blanket and a cat. There's just something about the chill in the air that makes you appreciate things that are warm. Drinks, cats, blankets, and...people? Williams and Bargh. "Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth" Science, 2008.

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3 responses so far

Do you love to eat? Or do you not love your food enough?

Nov 03 2008 Published by under Addiction

OMG, teh blags aspoloded! And it's all revolving around Dr. Isis. I urge everyone to check out Bora's post, it generated some great discussion and it appears that people are friendly again. And Bora said nice things about me, which I always urge people to read. 🙂
It's that time again! What time is it? It's time for Sci to give Journal Club. I know, it just happened. But I'm a relatively senior grad student, and our Journal Club is very small, so it happens fairly often. And so, I need your help. Luckily, this time I have narrowed the field to two possibilities, which is especially good as I have about three days to put it together. In fact, both of these papers I got from posts by other lovely ScienceBloggers, though unfortunately I do not recall which ones. I owe you hat tips!
So which one? Which one? Here I present to you the first option: Stice et al. "Relation between obesity and blunted striatal response to feed is moderated by Taq1A A1 Allele" Science, 2008.

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6 responses so far

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