Scientia Pro Publica 28
Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! We’ve got tons of posts so let’s jump right into it. Enjoy!
In her observations of a Great Blue Heron, Clare McLean (of Bird Word Girl) writes, “Herons are about as tall as a second grader and have a wing span of six feet. They employ acrobatics, yoga, and hormone-propelled ambition to snap branches off, which are then shuttled back to the nest for precision placement.” Read more—and see photos—in Croak Loudly and Carry a Big Stick.
At Skeptic Wonder, Psi Wavefunction writes about onychophorans (velvet worms) who cuddle and eat spiders much bigger than themselves in Social Onychophorans!
I can’t believe I missed International Beaver Day, but I’m putting it on my calendar for next year! DN Lee tells us all about the holiday and all about beavers in Happy International Beaver Day!
Hilary Miller reports on recent research that finds that some Tasmanian devils may be able to resist devil facial tumor disease in Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease: too good a match for the immune system at The Chicken or the egg.
In Tournament Marlins Get Bigger? Andrew (of Southern Fried Science fame) explores an interesting contrast in fisheries science: commercially-caught top predators (like swordfish) are getting smaller, but fish caught for sport (like marlins) are getting bigger.
If you’re gonna manage a species, you need to know how big the population is…and determining the size of a population (almost any population) is a LOT harder than it sounds. Andrew explains it all in an effort to provide managers and conservationists with the tools necessary to understand population assessments in Crowdsourcing ConGen: Effective size of a population in flux.
Ethical Issues/ Deep Thoughts
At Southern Fried Science, WhySharksMatter explores an issue that’s been bugging all of us (or maybe just me) in Ethical Debate: Should we have freed Willy?
Tom Tritton, of Periodic Tabloid, reports on the ruling that Myriad Genetics’ patent on the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 in Patent Medicine.
Octopuses do some awesome s**t, but are they intelligent? Read what Hannah Waters has to say about octopuses doing tricks on the internet and our search for non-human intelligence.
We all get caught up in stuff—life, numbers, religion, faith—but let’s not forget that the coolest things, the things that can teach us the most and make us happiest are all around us. Priscilla Stuckey makes “a plea for natural history” in her inspirational post Where science and religion meet: the natural world.
Earth is pissed. Read all about it in Sarah’s A Letter from Earth at Surprising Science.
If April’s eruption of Eyjafjallajökul grounded airplanes, it must have done a doozy on migrating birds. Right? GrrlScientist has all the answers (all the answers that exist, anyway) and a whole lotta questions in (How) Are Birds Affected by Volcanic Ash?
In Oceans of Climate Change, Denis DuBay reminds us that climate change isn’t only about increasing air temperature. The heat content in the oceans is increasing too…
Stuff Scientists Dream About
At rENNISance woman, Cath Ennis shares a couple fantasies (of the scientific research variety, people!) in Science Idol. In one, she hopes to explore a question that has perplexed hockey fans forever (or at least since the first televised game): how do ice hockey goalies react so quickly?
In Nursing Some Thoughts About Science Funding, Bob O’Hara shares Sir Paul Nurse’s big idea for science funding. In my opinion, Nurse’s idea is rather nutty, but O’Hara is generous, concluding that it “may not be totally nuts.”
At Culturing Science- biology as relevant to us earthly beings, Hannah Waters reports that Major universities write open letter in support of FRPAA, open access publishing act.
Humans, Human Health, Medicine and Food
In What a ride…, biochemist and molecular biologist Carla Davidson (a.k.a. The Mommiologist) tries to understand the incredible cognitive journey of her now-five-month-old daughter.
Can a plant virus make you sick? Vincent Racaniello examines this question and leaves you thinking differently about Tabasco sauce at Virology Blog.
Jessica Wright reports on Dr. Gottschling’s finding “that getting older [is] linked to funky DNA” in Day 81- Studying the Deep, Deep Details of How We Age at 365 days of science, life, and running through it.
At Contemplation, Akshat Rathi reports on a talk by Dr. Stephen Cartwright in How a Homeopath tried to understand the science behind Homeopathy.
Romeo Vitelli (author of Providentia) is always a wealth of information about fascinating, weird and just plain disturbing aspects of medical history. In Battey’s Operation, he tells us about a once-common surgery to treat women suffering from “hysteria.”
Dr. Shock MD writes, “Often smelling something nice makes me wonder of what it reminds me of. But is this also evidence based or just sentimental crap?” Find out in Dr. Shock’s post Autobiographical Odor Memory.
Do blind people have a better sense of smell than the sighted? Andrew from 360 Degree Skeptic reports on a recent study in The Scent of a Myth.
Meanwhile, at Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog, Luigi ponders the domestication of the odd little lentil known as the chickpea. In Early Farmers Got High on Chickpeas? He writes, “…early farming communities consuming wild chickpeas would have been more fertile, less hungry, less depressed, more accepting of social complexity, more innovative and more self-confident.”
Evolution, Education, Ferratins and Astronomy
Disclaimer: These posts may be category-less, but they’re all worthy of your time.
At A Primate of Modern Aspect, Zinjanthropus writes about a hominid foot…the foot of an adult that was eaten by a crocodile in How old was the Olduvai Hominid?
Kylie Sturgess ponders the usefulness of magic in the classroom in Is it every little thing she does is magic? Health, Confidence and Teaching Tricks.
In Iron and Stress, S.E. Gould explains the role of ferratins in plants…they’re not just storage bins.
Finally, for those of you who can read German, there’s …bees do it* by Kerstin at More Than Honey. According to Kerstin, the post is about sperm competition in bees…I can’t read German.