Morsels For The Mind – 29/11/2013
Every day we provide you with #SixIncredibleThingsBeforeBreakfast 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 & fin – birds, beasts, fishes, and the things they do
Welcome home? What do non-human animals feel when their offspring return? Thought-provoking piece by Barbara King.
A whale of a time. It’s the season when tons of cetaceans head to Monterey Bay. Awesome overview by Nadia Drake.
Whales’ night out. What happens when a whale & a whale shark meet in a bar? Science! Alistair Dove has great fun with this post, and reveals some cool facts at the same time.
Sit. Stay. Eavesdrop. Dogs ID generous folks by eavesdropping on human interplay. Superb reporting of cool research by Companion Animal Psychology.
Pet hypothesis. Might China’s embrace of pet dogs decrease demand for exotic animal parts? David Biello on a tough subject.
What’s new? Pussycat! Wild feline species discovered hiding in a hybrid swarm. Sarah Zielinski on a subject that’s cool for cats.
A pox on both your houses? Not red squirrels - some seem resistant to pox virus. Victoria Gill on an interesting development.
Caws & effects. How the crow brain works.
“This is a different kind of nightlife.” On sobriety, tracking endangered birds, & island life. Superb, personal reflection by Amy Liptrot. Read of the week.
Travel advisory. If you’re a migratory bird, even a raptor, it’s safer to stay put. Sarah Zielinski looks into it.
It’s a hoot! Owl chicks recognise siblings' calls.
Toxic relationship. Poison frogs make tadpoles taste blech.
If you go down to the wood today. You’ll find deep sea critters. Living off wood on the ocean floor. This Ed Yong piece on Craig McClain’s ocean wood fall research is fabulous. Evolution wins. Read of the week.
Getting a grip. How octopus suckers do it.
Better natured. Best nature photos.
To sea is to believe? An amazing sea monster that was most certainly a hoax. Fascinating cryptozoology history, by Darren Naish.
Bugs’ life – insects and other things that creep, crawl and otherwise delight
Pieces of life. Latest cool posts on segmented critters, nicely bundled. Chris Buddle has been rocking his new blog at SciLogs.
Walloping websnappers. Amazing garden spiders.
Gee whiz. Spiders don't like human urine. Experiments proved it.
Castles in the air. Paper wasp nests are marvels of insect industriousness.
Oh nothing. Just a praying mantis catching a goldfish.
Fossil finds – organisms of times past – palaeontology, archaeology, anthropology, history and the like
Down in the dumps. Huge "prehistoric latrine" full of coprolites unearthed. As James Morgan says, “Each poo is a time capsule.” Beautiful. Read of the week.
A crested development. How a “unicorn” dinosaur became one with a nasal crest. Interesting discovery reported by Brian Switek.
A black & white case? Of molecular clocks, the fossil record & evolution of modern penguins. Travis Park ties all the threads together beautifully.
Cheep trek. Oldest bird tracks etched in rock. Looks like a shore thing.
“We are united by our science and the adventure of discovery. There’s nothing greater than that.” Quote by Elen Feuerriegel, on her awesome experience on the Rising Star Expedition. Speaking of which:
Beautiful botanicals – wonders of the photosynthesising world – that is, mainly plants
Destructive frond ship. A helicopter & careful herbicide use combat an invasive fern. Brooke Borel reports on an intriguing approach to conservation.
Microscopic marvels – smaller than the eye can see, but big in action – bacteria, fungi and viruses
Flyway to hell? Are antibiotic resistant microbes riding on migratory birds? This post by Jonas Waldenström is exemplary research blogging. Superb introduction & well-explained details. Love the way their antibiotic-resistant-microbes-aboard-birds research is framed and the way limitations are considered. Read of the week.
Molecular machinery – the toils of the macromolecules of life – nucleic acids and proteins (and others) – from molecules to cells to organs to organisms (including genetics & genomics)
Missing links? Genes may be linked to disease using huge electronic medical record database. Carl Zimmer reports on the latest approach to linking genetics with health.
What’s up dock? In silico docking of drugs to proteins suggests mode of action. Super feature by Sara Reardon.
Amplifying history. Celebrating the thermal cycler, as polymerase chain reaction turns 30.
Earth, wind and fire – planet shaping – geology, meteorology, oceanography, the environment & climate
Beyond cool. A poet reports on marine life beneath the Antarctic ice. Beautiful piece by Jynne Dilling Martin.
Who has seen the wind? You can, in these astounding animated computer models. Tom Yulsman shares some interesting geoscience.
Star attractions – the final frontier, space
It’s full of stars. Astonishing views of cosmos in new “In Saturn’s Rings” trailer. Jason Major shares. View of the week.
Holey moley! The black hole at centre of our universe is shooting out particle jets! Clara Moskowitz reports on this amazing find.
Shocking find. Mach 1000 reverse shock wave lights supernova remnant.
Smashing discovery. Galaxy collision next door.
Keeping their ISON the prize. Astronomers eye comet’s trajectory post-sun-grazing. Robert Gonzalez reported on the ISON follow up.
Poo floats. And in space that’s just the start of the problem. Intriguing issue, reported by Amy Shira Teitel.
Forces of nature – big-ticket items – cosmology, mathematics, computation, chemistry, physics, ecology & evolution
That’s life? Not even close, but elements of synthetic “protocell” start to shape up, as reported by Michael Marshall.
Ready for prime time? Mathematicians counting on advances in prime numbers, as Erica Klarreich reports.
A trick of the light. A single photon has been observed, without absorbing it. Phenomenal observation, expertly reported by Andrew Grant.
Shell game. Contrary to what we learned in chemistry, bonds may form with inner shell electrons. Clara Moskowitz on a fascinating theoretical chemistry hypothesis.
The wonder stuff. Graphene. Stronger than steel & conducts better than copper, reports David Larousserie.
Waking moments. How tiny bubbles form in the wake of motion in water. Cool physics, by Alexis Rudd.
Matters of mind – how we, and other animals, perceive our world and our place in it
Finding Neo. Are we living in the Matrix? How would we know? Zeeya Merali explores in this fascinating piece.
Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind? Erasing bad memories. Interesting science by R. Douglas Fields.
“Here I was, using my living brain to look at the dead brain belonging to a complete stranger.” Quote by Christian Jarrett on bringing his awesome neuroscience blog, Brain Watch, to Wired Science Blogs.
“In neuroscience, confusing correlation with causation is close to unforgivable.” Quote from super piece by Chris Chambers on power & pitfalls of brain scans. They don’t ID psychopaths.
The newlywed game. Gut reaction to partner just after marriage foretells of future bliss. Regina Nuzzo covered it.
Healthy mind, healthy body? Evidence emerging for impact of mental state on biology. Great feature article by Jo Marchant.
Dread, not. Rather than dreading pain, folks prefer to get it over with. Sci Curious provides excellent insight into some intriguing research.
Live & let DIY? Rise of do-it-yourself neuroscience. Is this a good thing? Peter Hildebrand considers.
Behind the scenes – the workings of the museum – discovery and communication
The upside of the downside. Positive feedback on publication of negative results. Eva Amsen offers the perspective gleaned from F1000 Reports.
It takes a thief. But just polite words to stop them when it’s research equipment. GrrlScientist reports.
Real game changer. Switching from pro athlete to scientist is better than some may think.
Hire education? Why couldn’t students’ classwork actually be useful work? Jim Davies has some good advice.
Address the stress. Tackling the travails of being an early career researcher. Jean Adams has some superb advice here.
Da Vinci mode. Over 500 yrs ago, Leonardo designed a “viola organista”. It’s now been made, and its sound is divine. But it turns out that “Da Vinci’s bowed instrument” is actually an “obscure German contraption”, as Norman Lebrecht reveals.
Same old, same old? Where’s the next generation of disruptive technology? Martin Angler delves into it.
Drawing conclusions. What comics tell us about communicating. Great piece by David Robson featuring Neil Cohn. If you desire proof of the communicative power of comics in science, the next two morsels link to Jed McGowan’s amazing work:
Hey! Look what these kids did! Science edited for kids, *by* kids. Spectacular! Speaking of which, here’s the backgrounder: