Never Alone – Iñupiat storytelling with spirit

A young girl named Nuna aims carefully, flinging her bola at the shards of ice lingering in the windy sky above. The spirits answer. A crane appears: mysterious, beautiful, perhaps even sorrowful. Is it sorrowful for Nuna? I can’t say, but I know I’m entranced. Nuna is the heroine in Never Alone, a game crafted to introduce aspects of Alaska Native Iñupiat culture to players across the world. Never Alone was developed in partnership between E-Line Media and the Cook Inlet... Read more


Worm-holes in Muscles Lead to Universe of Pain

Do you dream of steak tartare? Are the names ossenworst, kitfo, crudos, yookhwe, or larb lu, music to your ears? You are not alone. Globally, including in the United States, countless people swear by these and other raw meat dishes. The question is – are you putting yourself at risk? According to 2011 CDC estimates, every year foodborne illnesses attack 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people), resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths. The spectrum of foodborne diseases... Read more


Go to College, Get a Tan, Get Melanoma (For the Lucky Ones: You Can Look Like 50 at Age 30)

In the university town where I live, several of the apartment complexes, where many of the students rent, provide free access to tanning beds. Wow . . . it takes a long while for the RISK/benefits of tanning to reach students. In the Jan 14, 2014 post, Guest Blogger Liza Engstrom discussed exercise clubs in our community providing tanning as an extra membership benefit .   Now, a University of North Carolina junior, Alaina Zeitany, who is majoring in nutrition,... Read more


The hands that tinker with nuts and bolts behind research (a fantastic Nature News feature)

I was alerted this morning - via Malcolm Campbell - to an excellent news feature on Nature News - titled: "Not Your Average Technician" - on four individuals who are engaged in behind-the-scenes jobs, which nevertheless support the scientific and technological research work of many in more visible fields. NOTE: An indefatigable curator of the most interesting science news, Dr. Malcolm Campbell - I am honored to be his Scilogs colleague - continues to stimulate our minds with his daily... Read more


We, the scientific community, have failed you…

From time to time I'll use this space to share some great pieces written by others that make me think - and feel. The following is a courageous piece by one of my friends, Dr.  Michael D L Johnson (@blacksciblog) - who works in the Department of Immunology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Michael and I met when he invited me to speak at St. Jude on the value of social media outreach for researchers. He blogs at  Below, he presents his... Read more


Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard – The Grande Dame of Developmental Biology

2015 will mark twenty years since Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard received the Nobel Prize for Medicine. With her research into the genetic control of embryonic development Germany’s most famous biologist has set scientific milestones. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1995, Foto: Peter Badge/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard is worthy of superlatives: in 2000, science journalists voted her “German scientist of the decade”. Academic excellence was not the only criterion; the journalists also took into account how the researchers... Read more


A Lethal Dose

Scientists who work with toxic substances, as well as people who keep (or whose family members keep) venomous animals are (or should be) familiar with the LD50 designation, originally called the DL50 system for dosis letalis 50%. The LD50 of a toxin is the dose at which 50% of the test subjects that ingest the substance die. Invented by J.W. Trevan, a British pharmacologist who published his research on lethal doses in 1927, the LD50 system expresses toxicity in terms of mass... Read more


Munchausen syndrome by proxy — factitious or fiction?

Jury selection began yesterday in the Westchester County, New York, case of Lacey Spears, 27, a mother accused of killing her child, Garnett, by dosing the 5-year-old boy with salt. As the child's condition deteriorated, requiring multiple hospitalizations, Spears posted about the boy's medical status on social media, garnering much attention and sympathy. Spears is facing charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of her son. It's alleged that, even as Garnett suffered repeated hospitalizations, Spears continued to dose... Read more


Ichthyosaur Origins Revealed

Posted by Travis Park in Blogozoic

Few things pique a palaeontologist’s interest more than a good origins story. Finding a new species of an established group is cool and exciting, but it doesn’t compare to a fossil that reveals new information about the beginnings of a lineage. Unfortunately, the incompleteness of the fossil record means that these discoveries are not as common as we would like and the origins of many vertebrate groups remain obscured. One group that has, until now, remained in this category is... Read more


“How can we feed the growing world population?”

Artturi Virtanen asked in his Lindau lecture. The Finnish biochemist received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for an improved method of cattle fodder preservation seventy years ago. Through analysing and experimenting, Virtanen was able to improve the traditional silage method – a fermentation process in air-tight containers, similar to sauerkraut making: bacteria degrade the plant sugars of the green fodder, making it sour while preserving many vitamins and proteins. But in this complicated process, many things can go wrong, making... Read more


A Journal to Advance Citizen Science: an Interview with Caren Cooper

Science communication and citizen science have a lot in common – namely, the desire to engage with people both inside and outside of the traditional science community. But where science communication is often seeking only to educate or to get folks interested in science, citizen science is trying to get people actively involved in the scientific process. Citizen science can take many forms – from “games with a purpose,” such as Phylo, to projects that have people collecting ants from... Read more


Reaching 4,000 Twitter Followers… for Science Plus

One of my favorite quotes from a blogger I recently interviewed for my dissertation research describes science blogging as something more than just science: "’s science plus. Science plus character, science plus atmosphere, science plus... description." - #MySciBlog Interviewee I realized that this is exactly what Twitter has become for me. It's about science, and science communication, in what I tweet, what I retweet, and who I follow. But it's about so much MORE than science. It's science plus friendship.... Read more


Canine Politics in Mauritius

On the beginning of my third week in Mauritius, HSI senior project manager Kelly and I went to Port Louis, the capital city, to meet with the ministry and the heads of MSAW, the quasi independent government agency responsible for animal (dog) control. With us was the head of PAWS, the local animal welfare agency, Moira. We were on the verge of setting up a free-standing spay and neuter clinic in a local shopping mall. We had found a mall... Read more


Morsels For The Mind – 23/01/2015

Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur &... Read more


An Introduction to the Use of Genotyping in Cancer Research

I am delighted to be writing my first blog for SciLogs. I thought for my initial post I should do a bit of an introduction in case you were wondering “Who is this girl with the Nerdy Mind? I spend my days at the USC School of Medicine doing genetic based cancer research. (I often spend my spare time writing, watching movies and listening to my English Bulldog snore, but I think you’re here for the science.) When I started... Read more