The Like Log Study: [SLVimeo] What can we learn from Facebook reactions to online news? Sortable statistics from a study on Facebook "Likes" of major news sites and stories.
Homelessness: Cutting out the middle men (Economist) "The most efficient way to spend money on the homeless might be to give it to them". [more inside]
Research on RNA interference is losing steam. Biotech companies are giving the chop to RNAi, a gene-silencing mechanism once thought to have great promise for human medicine. [more inside]
No Leftovers for Tyrannosaurus Rex: New Evidence That T. Rex Was Hunter, Not Scavenger [Full text] [more inside]
The Price of Altruism - George Price, a (troubled) father of group selection thru his discovery of the eponymous Price Equation, has a rather interesting biography... [more inside]
Inducement Prizes -- Best known for the Ansari X Prize, the DARPA Grand Challenge and the Clay Mathematics Millennium Problems, inducement prizes have a long history, but their recent successes have led to increased government interest, viz. challenge.gov, and resulted in the development of vaccines, thanks in large part to the work of Michael Kremer.* [more inside]
"The rich are different than you and me." A new study out of the Harvard Business School suggests that frequent use of luxury goods and services may encourage a narrower, more self-interested view of the world. Here's a link to the report itself. (Achtung! it's a PDF.)
Feel like nobody really cares whether you live or die these days? Well, you might be on to something...
The Empathy Deficit: "A recent study finds a decline in empathy among young people in the U.S." In fact, the report concludes "empathy levels have been declining over the past 30 years." Podcast on this topic here.
The Line Between Science and Journalism is Getting Blurry….Again by Bora Zivkovic is an excellent, James Burke-ish, essay on science, journalism, and a hopeful future for science journalism. [more inside]
Scientists at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands have deciphered the structure and functional mechanism of the glucansucrase enzyme that is responsible for dental plaque sticking to teeth. [abstract]
Time Magazine (with commentary from Jezebel) look at the question - why would people get married in 2010? These are reports based on a Pew Research survey that complements results with findings from census data. [more inside]
New research hints that schizophrenia and other mental illness may be caused by "endogenous retroviruses" stored in our DNA and activated by common infections such as CMV, toxoplamosis, or the flu
The entire run of the Bell System Technical Journal, from 1922-1983, is available online for your reading pleasure. Bell Labs on the blue previously
"Our findings provide genetic evidence of an increased rate of large CNVs in individuals with ADHD and suggest that ADHD is not purely a social construct." (abstract) Researchers find a genetic basis for ADHD, and the researcher hopes the finding will reduce the stigma associated with the disorder. But maybe it's more complex than just biology. In any case, children who are diagnosed at an early age are 10 times more likely to be depressed as adolescents. (abstract)
Albert Einstein once articulated what many scholars have felt in their own work: The history of scientific and technical discovery teaches us the human race is poor in independent thinking and creative imagination. Even when the external and scientific requirements for the birth of an idea have long been there, it generally needs an external stimulus to make it actually happen; man has, so to speak, to stumble right up against the thing before the right idea comes. The Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University [html][pdf] [more inside]
Sabotage in the lab. "As the problems mounted, Ames was getting agitated. She was certain that someone was monkeying with her experiments, but she had no proof and no suspect. Her close friends suggested that she was being paranoid." Scientific research collides with human nature.
Using a 3-D petri dish, Researchers at Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island have built a completely functional artificial human ovary that will allow doctors to harvest immature human egg cells (oocytes) and grow them into mature, ready-to-be-fertilized human eggs outside the body. (In vitro) The advance could eventually help preserve fertility for women facing chemotherapy or other medical treatments that may be destructive to ovarian folliculogenesis. Press Release. Article link. (paywall) [more inside]
From Obesity Panacea, a blog is written by two obesity researchers: a 5-part series delving into the fascinating and seemingly paradoxical research on people who remain metabolically-healthy despite being obese: 1) Introduction: An Oxymoron? 2) Prospective Risk of Disease 3) Lower Risk of Mortality? 4) Is Weight Loss Detrimental? 5) Is Weight Loss Beneficial? [more inside]
National Geographic has digitized all of Jane Goodall's articles for the publication from the past five decades. They've also added a galley of photographs documenting her extraordinary work with chimps.
Arthur's Classic Novels has 4000 free ebooks, no registration, nicely organized by author and topics: great old Science Fiction magazines l plentiful online education with 650 books for doctors l a vast collection of famous novels l short stories l by women l Buddhist Scriptures, including The Buddhist Bible, a fave of Jack Kerouac l magazines online l stories by Robert Sheckley l The Autobiography of Charles Darwin l huge collection of fairy tales l philosophy l P. G. Wodehouse l vintage technology l Oscar Wilde l Mark Twain l Rudyard Kipling l George MacDonald l the Koran l a collection of eText resource links. About Arthur Wendover. [more inside]
A major study was just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine from Harvard. In approximately 85,000 women who were followed for 26 years and 45,000 men who were followed for 20 years, researchers found that all-cause mortality rates were increased in both men and women who were eating a low-carbohydrate Atkins diet based on animal protein. However, all-cause mortality rates as well as cardiovascular mortality rates were decreased in those eating a plant-based diet low in animal protein and low in refined carbohydrates. [Previously in MeFi]
The human body is made up of more bacteria cells than human cells. Now, researchers at Harvard have isolated the genes responsible for producing amino acids that can block ultraviolet light and managed get E. coli bacteria to produce them too. Can I interest you in some sunblocking bacteria living on your skin?
More research into into the effects of ketamine on depression published today in the journal Science [abstract]. [more inside]
In the year 2182 -- 172 years time -- there's a 1 in 1000 chance that we might be hit by a very large asteroid. With two centuries advance notice, will we be able to develop effective asteroid deflection techniques? [more inside]
The Pentagon is currently surveying the troops to gauge their opinion towards gays and the repeal of Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell. It has recently come to light that previous surveys were done about the fighting man's opinion of 'blacks' and 'jews'. [more inside]
New Adventures in Recent Evolution - In the last few years, biologists peering into the human genome have found evidence of recent natural selection. cf. Social Darwinism: 21st century edition [previously] (via ip) [more inside]
we alone have the power to conjure up at will erotic, orgasm-inducing scenes in our theater-like heads
One reason why humans are special and unique: We masturbate. A lot
The Carnegie Institution for Science reports "a much higher water content in the Moon’s interior than previous studies." For decades, the moon's water content was estimated at less than 1 part per billion; the new estimates range from 64 ppb to 5 parts per million. A scientist at Washington University said, "We can now finally begin to consider the implications—and the origin—of water in the interior of the Moon.” There's more at NASA and the BBC, and the full paper is available at PNAS (PDF).
"Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors" by Scott Carrell and James West is the title of an interesting new study in this month's Journal of Political Economy, a leading journal in economics. (For a summary of the paper, see this review. An ungated version, too). The authors are interested in determining the role of "professor quality" in student learning. They do this by exploiting an unusual institutional feature of the Air Force Academy whereby all undergraduates are randomly assigned their professors, and all professors use the same syllabus. The authors also have the professor's student evaluations, as well each student's subsequent performance in the follow-up classes. To keep it simple, they focus only on Calculus I and the follow-up courses in Calculus (which are mandatory), though they note that an earlier study that looked at Chemistry and Physics found similar things. [more inside]
Mendeley is a cross-platform research management tool which features article databasing, PDF annotation, online backup, private, shared and public collections, metadata lookup on Google Scholar, direct exporting of multiple citation styles to Word, OpenOffice and BibTex, the ability to add documents directly from a web browser, and social networking with other members in your field of study. Like Zotero (previously), but out of the browser and with note-taking abilities. For Windows, Mac and Linux.
London Lives 12 London archives – digitised, marked up and tagged – to "create a comprehensive electronic edition of primary sources on criminal justice and the provision of poor relief and medical care in eighteenth-century London". The Lives page is a good place to start browsing. [related]
A nearly 25-year study has concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers. Results were published this month in Pediatrics: the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Abstract. Free PDF. Scribd). [more inside]
Science vs. Religion: a new book, Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund, discusses the results of her detailed study of 1,646 scientists at top American research universities. Among her findings: ~36% of those surveyed not only believe in God but also practice a form of closeted, often non-traditional faith. They worry about how their peers would react to learning about their religious views. Interview with the author from the Center for Inquiry's Point of Inquiry podcast. Also, here's a webcast from an author discussion forum held at Rice University on April 7th. [more inside]
What do Singing in the Rain, Live Is Life, Don't Worry, Be Happy, I Will Survive and Ça fait rire les oiseaux have in common? In a study, French-speaking Internet users identified these five pop songs out of 100, as the most pernicious earworms. Here are their top 25 picks from BRAMS, including audio clips. [more inside]
Intellectual Ventures is an invention factory founded by Nathan Myhrvold, who previously founded Microsoft Research and was MS's CTO. Bill Gates raves about IV, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article about the IV invention process in The New Yorker, Newsweek profiled Nathan’s company in April 2010, and this week there was an hour-long TV interview with Myhrvold on Charlie Rose. Take a 6-min video tour of the laboratory.
Best of History Web Sites (from EdTechTeacher,) is a resource of annotated and rated-by-content links to over 1200 history web sites across a broad range of related topics. The site also offers links of special interest to educators: hundreds of K-12 lesson plans, teacher guides, activities, games and quizzes and more.
Is a Woman's MBA Worth Less? $4,600. That's how much less women made than men in their first post-MBA jobs, according to research by Nancy Carter and Christine Silva of Catalyst. And it's not because women tend to start at lower positions than men — though they do start at lower positions than men, on average, that's a separate problem. The research controls for job level and industry. What's more, the salary lines aren't parallel; men's salaries start higher, then rise faster. The gap widens over time, even after controlling for factors like having children or differing aspiration levels. The pay just isn't equal.
Odds of Cooking the Grandkids: "There is a horrible paper in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which looks at how the limits of human physiology interact with upper-range global warming scenarios. The bottom line conclusion is that there is a small - of order 5% - risk of global warming creating a situation in which a large fraction of the planet was uninhabitable (in the sense that if you were outside for an extended period during the hottest days of the year, even in the shade with wet clothing, you would die)." [more inside]
pay for research once... you are a taxpayer... pay for research twice... well, we shouldn't pay for research twice
Yesterday (April 15), Representatives Doyle (D-PA), Waxman (D-CA), Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Harper (R-MS), Boucher (D-VA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (HR 5037), a bill that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies. -Alliance for Taxpayer Access. [more inside]
Nothing succeeds like failure. [H]istory shows that breakthroughs often spring not from carefully laid plans, but from mischance or even sheer, ridiculous accidents. A stovetop spill heralded vulcanized rubber; the potency of uranium was revealed when a rock was left in a drawer among photographic plates. And great research seldom follows an unswerving path. At RCA in Princeton in the 1950s, David Sarnoff exhorted his team to invent a flat television that could hang on a wall. “There were an enormous number of failures,” says Princeton historian of science Michael Gordin — and instead of TVs, the world got the Seiko digital watch in 1973.
"She needed company, sympathy — someone, anyone, to see and feel her loss — and searched the face of her assigned social worker in vain." [more inside]
Veronique de Rugy, NRO contributor and George Mason fellow, says her research indicates that stimulus funding was disproportionately directed towards Democratic congressional districts. Nate Silver begs to disagree. De Rugy responds here; Silver responds here. Others say that this is a model "for the quick, effective peer-review that the internet facilitates." Perhaps this is a new model for peer review?
Have you ever wanted to change the functionality of the GUI of a program that you didn't have the source code for? Prefab is a tool that was made to allow you to do exactly that. [more inside]
Followup to this post: A US District Court has ruled that Myriad Genetic's patents on breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which allow them to hold exclusive rights to a widely used genetic test for inherited breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility, are invalid. Genomics Law Report analyzes the ruling in two posts. The decision is likely to be challenged in a legal appeal — but if upheld, it could have huge implications for the biotechnology industry. [more inside]
A new study suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion in human history, as well as more complex economies. (Via). [more inside]