Kenneth Chang in the NY Times talks about The Grim Story of Maya Blue:
The vibrant sky color can be seen on pottery, murals and other artifacts produced by the Maya people of Central America centuries ago and the unusual, durable pigment remains vibrant today long after other colors have faded away.
In PLoS One – Singing in the Rain Forest: How a Tropical Bird Song Transfers Information:
How information transmission processes between individuals are shaped by natural selection is a key question for the understanding of the evolution of acoustic communication systems. Environmental acoustics predict that signal structure will differ depending on general features of the [...]
Oh this is going to be a scandal – a large-scale meta-analysis of anti-depressant medication has shown that Prozac, the third most prescribed antidepressant in the US, doesn’t work.
The paper (Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration) obtained all the clinical trial information from [...]
The Encyclopedia of Life has gone online. Unfortunately, she’s currently dead in the water:
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Fortunately, Carl Zimmer has [...]
The dispersal of the Austronesian language family from Southeast Asia represents the last major diaspora leading to the peopling of Oceania to the East and the Indian Ocean to the West. Several theories have been proposed to explain the current locations, and the linguistic [...]
Robert Epstein in Psychology Today:
The mental health fields have, now and then, spawned and nurtured some completely crazy ideas. Physicians in the 18th and 19th centuries, for example, inflicted strange and extremely cruel treatments on their mentally ill patients based on equally bizarre theories of human nature. To try to shock schizophrenics into [...]
No time to read this now, but it looks very interesting: Proportionally more deleterious genetic variation in European than in African populations (doi). Abstract says -
Quantifying the number of deleterious mutations per diploid human genome is of crucial concern to both evolutionary and medical geneticists. Here we combine genome-wide polymorphism data from [...]
Colin McGinn reviews Oliver Sack’s new book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
Sacks opens his book with a striking case, rather literally striking. Tony Cicoria, a forty-two-year-old orthopedic surgeon, was making a phone call to his mother when he was struck in the face by lightning. He thought he was dead [...]
Long-term readers will know that I’ve got a number of friends working on the wonderfully intelligent New Caledonian Crow. These birds make and use a number of different tools for extracting grubs from logs. You can see my catalogue of posts on these birds here.
Recently, they’ve got a new paper out showing [...]
Which brings me to my tyrannical fantasy. I want to take a journey 68 million years back in time to see a Tyrannosaurus rex couple mating. What was it like? Did they trumpet and bellow and stamp their feet? Did they thrash their enormous tails? Did he bite her neck in rapture and exude [...]