Last week, I wrote about how urban trees—or the lack thereof—can reveal income inequality. After writing that article, I was curious, could I actually see income inequality from space? It turned out to be easier than I expected.
Consequences, Choices, Children in Crisis, Challenges. HBO’s multi-part research documentary The Weight of the Nation examines obesity in America in four parts, marshaling leading doctors, epidemiologists, economists, researchers, and community leaders to understand and explain the individual costs and public solutions to a multi-faceted social and individual problem. The documentary both explores large picture statistics, while giving voice “to those that often too seek to be invisible: members of the nearly 70 percent of Americans currently diagnosed as overweight or obese. (AV Club Review)” [more inside]
Are bias and fraud damaging the existing public trust in scientific and medical research? (previously) [more inside]
"Experimental adaptation of an influenza H5 HA confers respiratory droplet transmission to a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus in ferrets." After an extensive, months-long debate, one of two controversial papers showing ways the H5N1 "avian" influenza virus could potentially become transmissible in mammals with only 3 or 4 mutations was published in Nature today. The journal included an editorial on the merits and drawbacks of "publishing risky research" with regard to biosafety. The debate included an unprecedented recommendation by The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to block publication -- a decision they later reversed. (Via: 1, 2) Nature's special report has additional articles, including interviews with the teams behind both papers.
The learning paradox is at the heart of “productive failure." While the model adopted by many teachers and employers when introducing others to new knowledge — providing lots of structure and guidance early on, until the students or workers show that they can do it on their own — makes intuitive sense, it may not be the best way to promote learning. [more inside]
Is Some Homophobia Self-Phobia? Many have suspected but now the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has published empirical research on the subject. In the study, 20% of self-identified "highly-straight" participants demonstrated some level of same-sex attraction in reaction time tests. These individuals were significantly more likely than any other group of participants to favor anti-gay policies. Also in NYTimes.
For my 250th post: There is a lot of interesting research going on in business schools, and some of it is even fun to watch. Wharton has been hosting 10 minute entertaining talks on cutting-edge research by faculty including: where inspiration comes from at work, how time relates to happiness, how to run an innovation tournament, socially responsible investing, learning from people who leave your company and what breakfast cereal and Steve Jobs have to tell us about the secret sources of innovation. If you want less academics in your business school mini-lectures, Stanford also has a collection of advice to entrepreneurs on many subjects that includes everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Guy Kawasaki.
How Creativity Connects with Immorality Are creative types more likely to cross moral boundaries?
A researcher at St. Andrews University is using a tool called a densitometer to measure which pages in medieval manuscripts are the dirtiest, and therefore the most frequently read. The complete (and well-illustrated) study is available online from the Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art. [more inside]
While growth prospects in the field are incredibly high, recent trends, such as "tools grow[ing] more advanced" (see Adobe Flash Builder or MS Visual Studio) have had people wondering over the past few years if computer science has much room for growth left. Some question whether it is alive. Others, such as Carnegie Mellon, say not so fast. In any case, employment has been a bit iffy (/.). There is the possibility that Computer Science is simply growing up (PDF), then again the U of Florida decided to say good bye to it this past week. But hey, if you are not going to that University, and still are shooting for computer science, here are some tips.
LiveHoods: Using Social Media and Machine-Learning to Study Cities [via mefi projects] [more inside]
According to research recently published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research[DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01711.x], tattooed people drink significantly more than their peers (as well as other risky behaviours).
How to read a paper is a series by Trisha Greenhalgh in BMJ, the British Medical Journal, that explains how to critically read and apply the biomedical literature. Deciding what the paper is about. Assessing methodological quality. Statistics for the non-statistician: parts I and II. Drug trials, diagnostic and screening tests, economic analyses, systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PDF), and qualitative research (PDF).
It's getting harder to do genealogical research using the SSDI, and this bill might make it impossible. [more inside]
MIT is leading an NSF-funded project with researchers from University of Pennsylvania and Harvard that aims to enable anyone to "design, customize and print a specialized robot in a matter of hours." Constructed from "cyber-physical primitives," the robots (some early examples here) would be able to be made in bulk on demand and could help change the entire workflow of device and robot creation, from engineering to warehousing to assembly.
How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public's Expense: Report looks at methods of corporate abuse, suggests steps toward reform [Full Report (PDF)] [Executive Summary (PDF)] [more inside]
The committee took the unprecedented step of recommending that some details of these biological studies [be] kept from the public, so that no one could use them as recipes for new bioweapons. [more inside]
"Pseudonyms are the most valuable contributors to communities because they contribute the highest quantity and quality of comments." As anonymous and pseudonymic online contributors struggle to remain non-identifiable, Disqus data show pseudonymous commenters are the best. (most recently previously)
The Spam Poetry Institute is an organization dedicated to collecting and preserving the fine literature created by the world’s spammers
Relating SCIENCE! to everyday life, Ouch: A Year's Worth of Occasionally Disturbing Research on How to Get Ahead is comedic advice on how to excel in the new year (from the usually-more-serious Harvard Business Review's "The Daily Stat") - reminiscent of Barking Up The Wrong Tree, a blog of tongue-in-cheek nuggets of research by Eric Barker.
Here are some evidence-based and research based psychotherapy modalities you may or may not have heard of, a few in the words of their creators: David Burns and CBT and T.E.A.M. Therapy [pdf], Steven Hayes and ACT (also), Marsha Linehan and DBT (also [pdf] and also [pdf]), Joseph Weiss and Control Mastery Theory (also), Eugene Gendlin and Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy (also).
Amazon has recently declared that tomorrow is Price Check day. If you go into a brick and mortar retail store with Amazon’s new Price Check App on your smart phone, and scan a barcode with the location settings active, and then report back to Amazon on the price of that product, Amazon will deduct $5 from your online purchase of that product. Amazon claims it’s trying to keep prices low for consumers, but others attribute the move to a less innocuous agenda. [more inside]
Serum hemoglobin is related to endurance running performance. Smoking is known to enhance serum hemoglobin levels ... alcohol may further enhance this beneficial adaptation.A recent paper by Kenneth Myers in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reviews the potential benefits of smoking for endurance atheletes. [more inside]
Shattered Families, a new report from the Applied Research Center, has found that there are at least 5,100 children currently living in foster care who are prevented from uniting with their detained or deported parents. Executive Summary(PDF) and Full Report(PDF) [more inside]
Emory University English professor Mark Bauerlein (previously) argues that the majority of research by literary academics has no meaningful value. [more inside]
Obese monkeys lose weight by new drug that kills off fat cells. Adipotide is the newest weapon in the war on obesity. Unlike other weight-loss drugs that try to suppress appetite, boost one's metabolism, or block the absorption of fat, Adipotide blocks the blood supply that feeds fatty tissue. Studies show monkeys lost 11% of their body weight after 4 weeks of treatment.
This video introduces the concepts behind Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer, a new open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework. [more inside]
Is the internet rewriting history? Teaching the difference between truth and propaganda online via BBC [more inside]
Dr. Emily Lethbridge of Cambridge University is on a year-long research trip to document the settings of Icelandic Sagas. The short documentary Memories of Old Awake beautifully captures those dramatic landscapes, and you can read more about her research on her blog The Saga-Steads of Iceland: A Twenty-First Century Pilgrimage. (via) (previously)
An experiment done in the 1990s exposed children to various levels of lead. The lawsuit filed in 2001 by the parents of over 100 participants accuses the Kennedy Krieger Institute that the scientists knowingly used the kids as test subjects in toxic dust control study. [more inside]
Is that review a fake? A new paper from Cornell researchers proposes an algorithm for sussing out fake reviews from websites. Here's a summary of tell-tale signs.
Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness is a global organisation that matches people in need of distant genealogical research with remote volunteer researchers. Volunteer services range from help with searching physical records and obtaining documents to the discovery and photography of graves. [more inside]
NASA May Have Discovered Flowing Water on Mars Dark, finger-like features appear and extend down some Martian slopes during late spring through summer, fade in winter, and return during the next spring. Repeated observations have tracked the seasonal changes in these recurring features on several steep slopes in the middle latitudes of Mars' southern hemisphere.
Want to (dis)prove who killed JFK? Start with the 5 million pages of material in the National Archives' Assassination Records Collection1. Better review the 26 volumes of hearings and exhibits published by the Warren Commission. And each frame of the Zapruder film2. And just to be on the safe side, the operating manual for his then top-of-the-line Bell & Howell 414PD camera. (1: previously, but with outdated link. 2: related) [more inside]
There is an European Commission budgetary proposal to boost E.U. funding for science and technology by 45% from €55B to €80B by trimming some fat form the controversial Common Agricultural Policy. [more inside]
The Beer Archaeologist. "Biomolecular archaeologist" Dr. Patrick McGovern has unearthed millennia-old alcohol recipes and ancient medicinals, "by analyzing residues in ancient pottery. Now he's working with brewer Sam Calagione, (of Discovery Channel's Brew Masters, (autoplaying video)) whose pub Dogfish Head serves up beers based on recipes that are thousands of years old." (Via) [more inside]
Facebook users are more trusting than other people. A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project takes a broad look at the social impact of social networking sites (SNSs). [more inside]
The Triumph of New-Age Medicine "Medicine has long decried acupuncture, homeopathy, and the like as dangerous nonsense that preys on the gullible. Again and again, carefully controlled studies have shown alternative medicine to work no better than a placebo. But now many doctors admit that alternative medicine often seems to do a better job of making patients well, and at a much lower cost, than mainstream care—and they’re trying to learn from it." [more inside]
"Over the past few decades, 160 million women have vanished from East and South Asia — or, to be more accurate, they were never born at all. Throughout the region, the practice of sex selection — prenatal sex screening followed by selective termination of pregnancies — has yielded a generation packed with boys. From a normal level of 105 boys to 100 girls, the ratio has shifted to 120, 150, and, in some cases, nearly 200 boys born for every 100 girls. In some countries, like South Korea, ratios spiked and are now returning to normal. But sex selection is on the rise in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East." American journalist Mara Hvistendahl's new book: "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men," examines and tries to predict the actual and potential effects of unequal sex ratios on men, women and the social economies of the affected regions, including the recent spike in sex trafficking and bride-buying across Asia. More. [more inside]
Mind Reading: The Researchers Who Analyzed All the Porn on the Internet. "Searching all the porn on the Internet might not seem like the most scientifically productive activity, but computational neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam did it anyway. For their new book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire, Ogas and Gaddam analyzed the results of 400 million online searches for porn and uncovered some startling insights into what men and women may really want from each other — at least sexually." [more inside]
Editors of the journal Science have asked the co-authors of a 2009 paper that linked chronic fatigue syndrome to a retrovirus called XMRV to voluntarily retract the paper. Science editor-in-chief Bruce Alberts and executive editor Monica Bradford cited concerns about the validity of the findings, saying other scientists hadn't been able to replicate them, among other reasons. [more inside]
Research Blogging is an aggregator for blog posts on peer-reviewed research. The posts are on various subjects, such as culinary trends in an extinct hominid , the distance and mass of Saggitarius A* and when chemists go to war