Archive for: January, 2011

This is your Brain on Music

Jan 31 2011 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Sci will admit I spent most the time "preparing" for this post by listening to LOTS of music.

This is your brain:

Is this your brain on Music?

Well, to be entirely honest...probably not. But music's still nice. Let's take a look at why.

So, let's start out with a little bit of a musical "high":

(ahhhhhh, that's the stuff)

Salimpoor, et al. "Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music" Nature Neuroscience, 2011.

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61 responses so far

Green Porno Vid of the Week: DUCKS

Jan 29 2011 Published by under Friday Weird Science, Synaptic Misfires

"Hey, Drake"

This one is a shoutout to Ed Yong and his iconic post on duck penises! I think this video came out after that, but it's beautifully done.

You can check out the rest of ISabella Rosselini's killer green porno work here.

2 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: The new cure for the hiccups? Rectal stimulation

Jan 28 2011 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Yeah, you heard me right.

We all have various ways of attempting to get rid of the hiccups. Drinking a glass of water backward, eating a spoonfull of sugar, getting surprised or scared, holding your breath. The list goes on. But what if those DON'T WORK? What if even medications don't work!? Wherever shall you go? Whatever shall you do?

Well, have you tried stimulating your rectum? (But please, please, NOT on the puppy!!!) Odeh et al. "Termination of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage" Journal of Internal Medicine, 1990.

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17 responses so far

Let's talk about sex (in science)

Jan 27 2011 Published by under Activism

Sci has been really thrilled to see so much talk over the past few days on women science bloggers, where they are, and why they appear to fly under the radar.  But I’ve noticed that, while female science bloggers and female scientists aren’t big fans of comments on their appearance...most of them have no problem with using some sexy to sell science to the public.  What is the difference, and can the two options of trying to get people to ignore looks in favor of content, and using cool and sexy to sell science actually coexist without one harming the other?  So when my most glorious partner in science blogging-crime Miriam hit me up, we thought it’d be a good idea to get some discussion out there.  Our chat has been edited for grammar, clarity, length, and some side discussion of things like hats.

*The entirety of this text has been cross posted at Deep Sea News. Continue Reading »

34 responses so far

Where are the female science bloggers?

Jan 27 2011 Published by under Activism, Uncategorized

There's been a great conversation going on in the blogsphere over the past few days about blogging as a woman. I hear I'm a woman, so it's rather natural that I've got some interest in this. One of the things I found particularly interesting is that people don't seem to KNOW that female science bloggers are even THERE! I saw lots of comments like this (on Christie's most excellent post about being a woman science blogger):

This post made me examine my own blog choices. On my RSS feed (which includes 10) and those to which I don't subscribe but check regularly (which adds another 10), you are one of two female bloggers and the only female science blogger. In fact, I couldn't even name another female science blogger! I was (and am) dismayed by this discovery. Time to revise my reading habits...

And other bloggers (like Stephanie's excellent take, as well as the brilliant Kate Clancy, who's promotion of this topic has been inspiring) have noted that women science bloggers just...don't seem to promote.

Well. Let's change that. Let's self-promote! And male science bloggers? Promote us! Cause whether or not we are female, many of us are DANG good writers.


And there are loads of OTHER excellent female science bloggers. In fact there's an entire list available at the Guardian, though it is by no means complete. Not only that, there's a friendfeed, where you can follow female science bloggers. So get out there, look for us, and read up! We're here and we're good, and we shouldn't stay invisible.

40 responses so far

First, Amoeba Farming. Next, THE WORLD.

Jan 26 2011 Published by under Basic Science Posts, Natural Sciences

I for one welcome our new amoeba overlords…

Sci is aware that the world freakin covered this paper last week. I don’t get access to press releases and so couldn’t get the paper until Friday, and well, time. But I really wanted to read it myself (yes, sometimes I read scientific papers for fun. What?!?!). And dang, this paper is COMPLETELY FASCINATING. I normally don’t say that about stuff outside my field. But WHOA.

Amoebas. They navigate mazes. They go from single, solitary little beings to huge conglomerates of cells in times of trouble. And now, they’re farming. Next, the WORLD. After all, they already figured out the transport system of Tokyo.

Brock, et al. “Primitive agriculture in a social amoeba” Nature, 2011.

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3 responses so far

#scio11 Wrap Up: Explaining Science In Blog Posts

Jan 25 2011 Published by under Blog Carnivals

Yeah, I know it was over a week ago, but when you've got 10 collaborators, and none of them has spare time, you can understand why it took a while. And now. Here we are.

At Science Online 2011 this past weekend, Joanne Manaster, Maryn McKenna, Vivienne Raper, Eric Michael Johnson, Brian Mossop, Carin Bondar, Melody Dye, Christie Wilcox, Ed Yong and I led a session on "how to explain science in blog posts". The topic sounds prosaic, but it's more complicated than it sounds. It's often hard for a hardcore scientist to really get down to a lay level and its equally hard to keep it entertaining without becoming a fact-spewing machine. We wanted people to get tips out of the session on how to write for a lay audience, and how to tell whether it was working.

But we all acknowledged that we don't know it all about explaining science, and so we decided to break the session up into five discussion groups, where people could voice their ideas on specific topics. We then got together and shared what we'd learned, and had everyone from all of the five discussion groups weigh in. I feel like I personally got a lot out of it that will change the way I blog in the future (when I have to implement some of it!).

And of course we pooled out notes. So below is the basic transcript of what went down, with a couple of comments added in from me. And for those who were there: did we miss anything? Fill me in in the comments!!

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2 responses so far

Movies and The Smoking Brain

Jan 24 2011 Published by under Addiction, Behavioral Neuro, Neuroscience

Sci saw this paper come out last week, it made it big in the mainstream media, and a couple of blogs covered it. Whenever something like this comes up in the news, I just have to get the paper myself and make sure whether it's all really true. And now I have it, so here we go.

Wagner, et al. "Spontaneous Action Representation in Smokers when Watching Movie Characters Smoke". The Journal of Neuroscience, 2010.


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7 responses so far

"A penis in Water has disadvantages"

Jan 23 2011 Published by under Friday Weird Science

I LOVE Isabella Rossellini.

Her Green Porno series is a must-see. Especially if you like animal sexual behavior. AWESOME.

And she has one that is VERY relevant to this past Friday's Weird Science!

And then I, the strongest, will MATE WITH HER!"


One response so far

Friday Weird Science: The Magnificent Mammal Menage a Trois

Jan 21 2011 Published by under Friday Weird Science

...aka "The Thrilling Whale Threesome"
...aka "Constant Coupling Clubs in Cetacean Coitus"
...aka...I could keep going!

Cause this is more than mammals. It's WHALES, BABY!!! Whales GETTING IT ON. Strap yourselves in, cause we're headed on a journey to the bay, complete with a bendable 8 foot penis.

I do hope we've all had our coffee. Mate et al. (heh, poor guy, but that's amazingly appropriate) "Observations of a Female North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) in Simultaneous Copulation with Two Males: Supporting Evidence for Sperm Competition" Aquatic Mammals, 2005.

(Pictures below NSFW, if you're a whale at work, anyway)

Kudos go out to Mary Roach, who sent the citation, and to the folks who first posted the picture. I THINK it was Deep Sea News, but I can't find it on there...
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39 responses so far

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