Further Entries in the "Uh, Duh?" Department
Today's candidate for the Least Informative Headline Ever Read By a Neuroscientist award: Chronic Alcohol Exposure Can Affect Brain Protein Expression.
Adventures in Neuroscience could never be more exciting. Well, maybe a little.
Today's candidate for the Least Informative Headline Ever Read By a Neuroscientist award: Chronic Alcohol Exposure Can Affect Brain Protein Expression.
So I realize this violates our family-friendly policy (wow, we're just tearing up the old rules handbook today, aren't we?), but I was divinely inspired by Wonkette last night, and since I can't post this as a comment due to their hipsters-only commenting policy, I will subject this upon the neuroscience-interested readers of the America instead.
I know, I know... this is theoretically a creationism-argumentation-free blog. But still.
…von Baer’s view “was confounded with and then transformed into” the evolutionary doctrine that the embryos of higher organisms pass through the adult forms of lower organisms in the course of their development. It was this evolutionary distortion of von Baer’s work that Darwin considered the strongest evidence for his theory.
In the 1860’s, German Darwinist Ernst Haeckel (pronounced “heckle”) made some drawings to illustrate this distorted view, and Darwin relied on the drawings in later editions of The Origin of Species and in The Descent of Man (1871).
Paging Plant Master Flash...
China plans to blast seeds into space in a novel way of boosting the nation's food production, reports say.
Scientists hope that exposure to cosmic radiation and microgravity will cause genetic mutations in the seeds that will improve crop yield back on Earth...
..."Exposed to special environments such as cosmic radiation and microgravity, some seeds will mutate to such an extent that they may produce much higher yields and improved quality," the paper says.
Nine categories of seeds, including grains, cash crops and forage plants will be aboard the satellite, it says.
China has been experimenting with space-bred seeds for years, with rice and wheat exposed to the universe resulting in increased yields, the paper says.
Space-bred tomato and green pepper seeds have resulted in harvests 10-20% larger than ordinary seeds, while vegetables grown from space-bred seeds have a higher vitamin content, it adds.
Tara links to an article from yesterday's NYT on the history of the discovery that HPV causes cervical cancer. If you want to read more, read the article or her discussion of it. I just wanted to make sure that everyone who reads this blog understands that Scientists Are Bastards, and We Should Not Be Messed With:
Research that could have led them in the right direction was done in the 1930’s by Dr. Richard Shope of the Rockefeller University, who on a hunting trip heard a friend describe seeing rabbits with “horns,” which were actually large warts.
Dr. Shope asked his friend to send some of the horns. He then ground them up, filtered them through porcelain that let only tiny virus-size particles through, and injected the filtrate into other rabbits, which grew horns in turn.
In reference to yesterday's link: the world has not yet come to an end. Also of note is that I just spent ten minutes actually tracking down the name of the Muslim holiday in question, which seems to be Laylat ul Isra' wa-l-Miraaj, to cut-&-paste from wiki. Why is this of note? Because the only people on the internet who seem to be talking about it are people who are proposing--so far as I can tell, out of thin air--that the day would be quite opportune for a unified Muslim attack on Israel. Why? No reason... just seems to be an opportune date. The closest I could find to an explanation was Bernard Lewis' claim at the WSJ that it was "indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22." But it's now 1:20 AM in Tehran (no, I have no idea why Iran is an extra half hour off of GMT), so I suppose this must have been the response in question:
Iran said Tuesday it was ready for "serious negotiations" on its nuclear program, but a semiofficial news agency said the government was unwilling to abandon nuclear enrichment — the key U.S. demand.
Top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani delivered a written response to ambassadors of Britain, China, Russia, France, Germany and Switzerland to a package of incentives aimed at persuading Iran to roll back on its nuclear program.
Larijani refused to disclose whether the response included an offer to suspend uranium enrichment, and no details of Iran's response were released. The state-run television quoted Larijani as telling the diplomats Iran "is prepared as of Aug. 23 to enter serious negotiations" with the countries that proposed the incentives package.
Laylat ul Isra' wa-l-Miraaj (The Night of the Journey and Ascension) - is on 27 of Rajab. It is the night when Muhammad was, according to Hadiths, taken to "the furthest mosque" (generally understood to be Jerusalem) on a Buraq (a beast resembling horse with wings; some people consider it a cherub) and ascended to the highest level of the heavens. It is said that he negotiated with God about the number of prayers, which started at fifty a day, but on his way down he met Moses who asked him to ask for a reduction in the number because the requirement was difficult for Muhammad's people. Muhammad returned to God and several times asked for and was granted a reduction of five prayers, until the number was reduced to five in total, with the blessing that if they were properly performed, the performers would be credited with fifty prayers instead of five.
Via TBogg, I have learned that a select few are attempting to redub the liberal blogosphere the "Sinestrosphere". Now as anyone who didn't fail organic chemistry knows, this is probably a reference to the early Latin meaning of sinister, which would be "left". As such, this is probably just a desperate ploy to get left-wingers to refer to the crazy people on the far-conservative end as the "Dextrosphere", because no one remembers that the word dexter exists. Of course, this means they're being anti-southpaw bigots because the negative connotations to the word "sinister" are due to prejudice against the "unnaturalness" of lefties. Which really just goes to demonstrate that in 1000 years, someone will start referring to us as the "Gayosphere" and everyone will laugh at them.
1. Public Enemy - What You Need is Jesus
Sorry I haven't had the time to post much lately. All I can say is that I'm moving across time and hardcore data-crunching at work.
Oh my God, Michele Bachmann is running for Congress against Patty Wetterling and I'm just finding out now?
Further explorations of event and emerging timing, by Howard N. Zelaznik, Purdue University
Is this really necessary?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to purchase or to use high-strength hydrogen peroxide products, including a product marketed as "35 Percent Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide," for medicinal purposes because they can cause serious harm or death when ingested. FDA recommends that consumers who are currently using high-strength hydrogen peroxide stop immediately and consult their health care provider.
I guess I really have two questions here.
Cognitive Representations of Space in Primate Posterior Parietal Cortex by Matt Chafee, Center for Cognitive Sciences, University of Minnesota.
"Planning Uncertainty" by Giuseppe Pellizzer, Brain Sciences Center, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center & Dept. of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota
"Specialization and Breakdown of Spatial Representations: Mind, brain, and development" by Barbara Landau, John Hopkins University
There were a half dozen anti-primate-testing protestors on the street in front of the hotel on the street as I walked in. However, the hotel is recessed so that if you're walking--or even driving--in, you would be approaching the hotel from either side of the block, and thus from behind them. I only saw them because I bussed in this morning, which took me past them. However, I'm assuming they're here for the conference today because A: there's someone presenting primate-based research today, and B: why else would they be in front of the hotel?
Opening Remarks by Apostolos Georgopoulos, University of Minnesota
Today's the first day of the Motor Control & Cognitive Neuroscience conference. I'm going to attempt to live-blog or pseudo-live-blog it, which really just means I'll be typing instead of writing down my notes and then hitting "Publish Post" when I'm done taking them. If it goes well, I'll try doing it all week. If it doesn't, I'll just switch over to my notebook and give you highlights later on.
I've gotta say. Right now, I totally wish I lived in Nevada, because those are some perversions of the dignity of the electoral process that I could totally get behind.
1. Atmosphere - Apple
Readers of a US parenting magazine are crying foul over the publication's latest cover depicting a woman breastfeeding, with some calling the photo offensive and disgusting
"I was SHOCKED to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine," one woman from Kansas wrote in reaction to the picture in Babytalk, a free magazine that caters to young mothers. "I was offended and it made my husband very uncomfortable when I left the magazine on the coffee table."...
..."Gross, I am sick of seeing a baby attached to a boob," the mother of a four-month-old said...
..."I had to rip off the cover since I didn't want it laying around the house," she said...
...The picture in Babytalk was aimed at illustrating the controversy surrounding breastfeeding in the United States, where a national survey by the American Dietetic Association found that 57 percent of those polled are opposed to women breastfeeding in public and 72 percent think it is inappropriate to show a woman breastfeeding on television programs.
Babytalk executive editor Lisa Moran said though most of those who responded to the poll about the cover photo gave the magazine a thumbs up, she was surprised that some 25 percent expressed outrage.
Kudos to Wonkette for providing the most beautiful imagery I've encountered this week... and I've seen both Once Upoon a Time in America and Miami Vice! Commentary on the Vietnam Wall Visitor Center:
And a 3D “battle scene” — that’ll be a blast For a quarter, you can put on “Ride of the Valkyries” and napalm a miniature village — animatronic Robert McNamera will show you how!
Latest issue of Neuron went up this morning.
In decision-making under uncertainty, economic studies emphasize the importance of risk in addition to expected reward. Studies in neuroscience focus on expected reward and learning rather than risk. We combined functional imaging with a simple gambling task to vary expected reward and risk simultaneously and in an uncorrelated manner. Drawing on financial decision theory, we modeled expected reward as mathematical expectation of reward, and risk as reward variance. Activations in dopaminoceptive structures correlated with both mathematical parameters. These activations differentiated spatially and temporally. Temporally, the activation related to expected reward was immediate, while the activation related to risk was delayed. Analyses confirmed that our paradigm minimized confounds from learning, motivation, and salience. These results suggest that the primary task of the dopaminergic system is to convey signals of upcoming stochastic rewards, such as expected reward and risk, beyond its role in learning, motivation, and salience.
Novelty exploration can enhance hippocampal plasticity in animals through dopaminergic neuromodulation arising in the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA). This enhancement can outlast the exploration phase by several minutes. Currently, little is known about dopaminergic novelty processing and its relationship to hippocampal function in humans. In two functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies, SN/VTA activations in humans were indeed driven by stimulus novelty rather than other forms of stimulus salience such as rareness, negative emotional valence, or targetness of familiar stimuli, whereas hippocampal responses were less selective. SN/VTA novelty responses were scaled according to absolute rather than relative novelty in a given context, unlike adaptive SN/VTA responses recently reported for reward outcome in animal studies. Finally, novelty enhanced learning and perirhinal/parahippocampal processing of familiar items presented in the same context. Thus, the human SN/VTA can code absolute stimulus novelty and might contribute to enhancing learning in the context of novelty.
Michael Berube brings us THE TOP TEN CONSERVATIVE REGGAE SONGS OF ALL TIME.
LiveScience: Vision Gear Bypasses the Eye
The Forehead Retina System (FRS) uses a special headband to selectively stimulate different mechanoreceptors in forehead skin to allow visually impaired people to "see" a picture of what lies in front of them.
Congrats to Seimone:
The Minnesota Lynx and the USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee today announced that Lynx rookie guard Seimone Augustus has been named to the 2006 USA Basketball Women's World Championship Team. The 15th FIBA World Championship is scheduled to be played Sept. 12-23 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Also named to the team on Tuesday were Yolanda Griffith (Sacramento Monarchs) and Alana Beard (Washington Mystics). The selections were made by the USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee.
Jason Ironheart, from the Babylon 5 episode Mind War
Anyway, the experiments went on for months. Genetic manipulation; mutated strains of serotonin and acetylcholine to increase neural processing. Five, ten, sometimes fifteen injections a day. The pain was...
Ever wonder if pop. sci. writers just look at papers and think about how they can best go about overstating and misrepresenting the results?
So if you want to promote honest social behavior, maybe you don't need to install closed-circuit cameras everywhere, spy on your populace, and generally turn into a police state. Maybe you could just paint eyes on everything:
A team from Newcastle University found people put nearly three times as much money into an 'honesty box' when they were being watched by a pair of eyes on a poster, compared with a poster that featured an image of flowers...
...For this experiment, lead researcher Dr Melissa Bateson and her colleagues Drs Daniel Nettle and Gilbert Roberts, of the Evolution and Behaviour Research Group in the School of Biology and Psychology at Newcastle University, made use of a long-running 'honesty box' arrangement.
This had been operating as a way of paying for hot drinks in a common room used by around 48 staff for many years, so users had no reason to suspect an experiment was taking place.
An A5 poster was placed above the honesty box, listing prices of tea, coffee and milk. The poster also featured an image banner across the top, and this alternated each week between different pictures of flowers and images of eyes.
The eye pictures varied in the sex and head orientation but were all chosen so that the eyes were looking directly at the observer.
Each week the research team recorded the total amount of money collected and the volume of milk consumed as this was considered to be the best index available of total drink consumption.
The team then calculated the ratio of money collected to the volume of milk consumed in each week. On average, people paid 2.76 as much for their drinks on the weeks when the poster featured pictures of eyes.