Archive for: September, 2011

IgNobel Prize Coverage, and the first of the posts: The Beetle and the Beer Bottle

Sep 30 2011 Published by under Academia

Sci had a GREAT time at the IgNobels last night!  Best ceremony I've ever been, by far.  So much fun, so much crazy, and so much audience participation! But I'll warn you, they really SUCKS for accuracy at throwing paper airplanes. 🙂  Make sure you check out the winners, the Storify and recording of the ceremony, and the first of the coverage of the winners: The Beetle and the beer bottle, a sad tale of forbidden lust.

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Don't forget to go to SciAm for your IgNobel news!

Sep 28 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Sci is SO EXCITED! I'm going to be at the IgNobel prizes this week, on Thursday night, blogging my little hands off on all the latest weird stuff!  I'll be doing it at SciAm, so please head over to my blog there, where we'll be having a live tweet stream and a live feed of the awards!!!  And a few days after, Sci will be going to some of the fascinating Saturday talks as well, and may even get to talk to a few of the winners!  So make sure to check out the latest and GREATEST weird science!

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At SciAm Blogs today: I don't remember where I'm going, I remember where I've been

Sep 27 2011 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Sci's at SciAm blogs today talking about hippocampal place cells, how rats explore space, and how it's easier to remember where you've been...once you've been there.  Go check it out, and if you would like to comment without registering, you can do so here!

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Friday Weird Science: The Sexiness of Stubble

Sep 23 2011 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Men, do you ever worry about your facial hair? Do you worry about how manly it makes you look, how handsome, how old, how responsible? Have you ever become concerned about how your pencil thin moustache or your joined mutton chops is affecting your dating life?

Well wonder no more! This study is here for you. Or at least, it’s here for those of you with stubble, bare chins, or full beards.

Neave and Shields. “The effects of facial hair maintenance on female perceptions of attractiveness, masculinity, and dominance in male faces. Personality and Individual Differences, 2008.

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One injection can make you grow older...

Sep 20 2011 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Sci is over at Scientific American today, talking about a new paper on aging in mice.  It shows that a particular cytokine, CCL11, may be responsible for some of the effects of aging like decreased neurogenesis in the brain, and decreased cognitive performance.  And it's got parabiosis.  Because OMG I didn't even know people still did that!  And it WORKED!


And if you'd like to discuss the post, but don't want to register with SciAm, go ahead and comment here!  I'll be monitoring both threads.



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In which Sci is on Spark

Sep 17 2011 Published by under Blog Carnivals

Yes! Sci was on the radio just recently, on the CBC show Spark
, talking about pseudonyms, and why I have one, and why I think they are important. Interesting chance to hear both sides of the debate. So if you'd like to hear Sci's dulcet tones (and they are so very dulcet), head on over and give it a listen!

And because I feel like it, here's a kitty.

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Friday Weird Science: Small Squid do the SNEAK

Sep 16 2011 Published by under Friday Weird Science, Uncategorized

This awesome paper on "sneaker squid" made headlines a few weeks ago. And so it should! I mean, SNEAKER SQUID? Heeeeehehehehe. Not only that, it's got SPERM.

Obviously I must blog this.

Iwata et al. "Why small squid have big sperm: dimorphic squid sperm linked to alternative mating behaviors" BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2011.

And of course, I can't just BLOG it. Sneaking Squid, that's song worthy...

Well, it won't let me embed. But suffice to say today's Friday Weird Science is based on this song.

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Weird Science Is ALL Science at the IgNobels!

Sep 15 2011 Published by under Friday Weird Science

YES! The Ignobel Prizes are coming up again this year, where some of the oddest authors of the oddest studies out there get honored by real Nobel Laureates. It's a very interesting prize series, because not only are these studies often funny, they are also often USEFUL. So the study could, say, entirely change how men in hospitals cover themselves to work with patients, but it's really about bacterial cultures in people beards. Or the study could change the way we look at managing pain...but it's about cussing. Or it could change the way the think about transport planning...and it happened to involve a slime mold taking over Tokyo. You know, like you do.

And who KNOWS what this year's prizes are going to BE! Well, I don't know yet...but I'm going to know FIRST! That's because Sci is going to BE AT the IgNobels this year, blogging her little heart out on all the best weird science!! I'll be blogging and tweeting all the stuff I can get my little hands on. So follow along over at SciAm and on my Twitter for all the latest and greatest weird science has to offer!!

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Tingling Neurons Titillating your Tinnitus at #sciamblogs today!

Sep 13 2011 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Sci is at SciAm today talking about the latest paper which may show why we get tinnitus, which is that annoying thing where your ears ring. You can read it over there, and if you feel like, you can comment over there...or over here! It's up to you. Please ignore the ringing sound, it doesn't really exist.

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Friday Weird Science: THIS JUST IN! Orgasms aren't an evolutionary by-product!

Sep 09 2011 Published by under Friday Weird Science, Uncategorized

Greg Laden pointed me to this paper the other day. He's got a write up of it on his blog from an anthropological point of view, and Wired and the Mary Sue both covered the story (though amusingly the Mary Sue reported that only 1 in 10 women COULD orgasm, when in fact it's the other way round or I imagine there'd be a lot less to talk about), but of course, it's orgasms. FEMALE orgasms, and this means that I have to give it my own special Scicurious treatment (the one from the...orgasmic...point of view??). Especially since I feel that the abstract and findings of this paper glossed over what I think is definitely the most important finding: sure, the female orgasm isn't an evolutionary byproduct, but it looks like there may be a genetic component.

Zietsch and Santtila. 'Genetic analysis of orgasmic function in twins and siblings does not support the by-product theory of female orgasm' Animal Behavior, 2011.

Also, their main point. Well. Yes, these findings do not SUPPORT the by-product theory of female orgasm...but they don't actually refute it either. Oops.

(You know what I'm talkin' about...)

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