Immunology for the Spineless

Besides being a delicacy in Japan and various other parts of the world, sea urchins have a longstanding career as a model organism in biology. The first description of these spiny, spineless creatures can be found in Aristotle’s History of Animals, dating from the 4th century BC 1. From the 1800s onward, the sea urchin [...]...

Rast, J., Smith, L., Loza-Coll, M., Hibino, T., & Litman, G. (2006) Genomic Insights into the Immune System of the Sea Urchin. Science, 314(5801), 952-956. DOI: 10.1126/science.1134301  Genomic Insights into the Immune System of the Sea Urchin

Buckley KM, Terwilliger DP, & Smith LC. (2008) Sequence variations in 185/333 messages from the purple sea urchin suggest posttranscriptional modifications to increase immune diversity. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 181(12), 8585-94. PMID: 19050278   Sequence variations in 185/333 messages from the purple sea urchin suggest posttranscriptional modifications to increase immune diversity.


See original: Research Blogging - All Topics - English Immunology for the Spineless

A matter of Life and er... Matter [The Scientific Indian]

As I was stuffing my face today, I wondered if the Universe cared. The short answer is no. The slightly longer and more depressing answer is: my existence is more marginal than a speck of stray DNA on a grain of sand staring at vast oceans (that's literally true, oh the irony...). Clearly, there's no point to existence except amusement. So, here's some:

On average, each of us human beings from birth till death consume about (2000 per day x 365 days x 70 years) calories. That is a pretty big number (51,100,000 calories).Big, of course, is a relative term. The big calories translates to about 0.00002 milligrams of matter. In the scheme of things--compared to, say, the amount of matter Sun converts to pure energy per second--, the amout of matter we manage to process in 70 years is stupefyingly underwhelming. Sun converts about 4,000,000,000 kilograms of mass to pure energy every second compared to our biological knickers-in-knots process*. Still, we are here and we can point a resounding finger at the Sun. That's quite something, isn't it? Life is an extraordinarily strange and fragile business whichever way you look at it (the strangeness includes the looking-at-it part too). Perhaps, in a thousand years, we may climb up the energy ladder, sit alongside stars and have a proper material breakfast of a few hundred tons of hydrogen. It would be way more amusing than what we do with the less-than-nothing we consume today. Of course, we've got to survive to do that.


*The comparison is sort of fudged. Sun does atom crushing, we don't do that. Sun literally converts the mass to energy. OTOH, we do a lot of very very minute electrochemical energy extraction. The comparison aims to show the scale of energies involved, which differ by orders of magnitude. Physics savvy readers please pitch in and clarify my muddle if needed. Read the comments on this post...

See original: ScienceBlogs Select A matter of Life and er... Matter [The Scientific Indian]

Jon Foley argues for resilient integration of industrial and organic agriculture

Jon Foley argues for the integration of industrial and organic agriculture to meet the challenge of rising demand for agriculture production in a turbulent world in Room for Debate Blog on Can Biotech Food Cure World Hunger?
… Currently, there are two paradigms of agriculture being widely promoted: local and organic systems versus globalized and industrialized [...]

See original: Resilience Science Jon Foley argues for resilient integration of industrial and organic agriculture

Are your Muscles dysfunctional? Treating neck pain: Part 3

Treating the complexity of neck pain...

OLEARY, S., FALLA, D., HODGES, P., JULL, G., & VICENZINO, B. (2007) Specific Therapeutic Exercise of the Neck Induces Immediate Local Hypoalgesia. The Journal of Pain, 8(11), 832-839. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2007.05.014  Specific Therapeutic Exercise of the Neck Induces Immediate Local Hypoalgesia


See original: Research Blogging - All Topics - English Are your Muscles dysfunctional? Treating neck pain: Part 3

Psychiatric Tales: Last Chapter http://j.mp/1SMPXw

sandygautam: Psychiatric Tales: Last Chapter http://j.mp/1SMPXw

See original: Twitter Psychiatric Tales: Last Chapter http://j.mp/1SMPXw

Can We Talk About Science? I Mean, Really? [Thus Spake Zuska]

You should never, ever criticize something a New Atheist says about science and religion. Never tell them maybe it's not the best idea in the world to just go on about science/evolution + religion in whatever way, at whatever time, in whatever manner, for whatever reasons. In fact, you cannot criticize the speech of New Atheists even if your goal is not to tell them to shut up, but to suggest that they might get their message across better and more effectively if they tried delivering it in a different manner than the one they've been using, because suggestions like that are CENSORSHIP and it is telling them to SHUT UP and that is WRONG and MEAN.

If you have no idea what I am talking about just Google any of the following in combination: Mooney, Kirshenbaum, PZ Myers, Unscientific America. Be warned, it is not for the faint of heart.

On the other hand, if you are not a New Atheist, and you want to speak about Science and Religion, you might want to choose your words pretty carefully. People might question why in the world you have been allowed to blog on ScienceBlogs. They might question your scientific credentials. They might call you a word-twisting intellectually dishonest buffoon. They will offer nuanced critiques of your writing such as: pathetically wrong and mind-numbingly boring.

I am amused at the outrage caused by one of my newest Sciblings, David Sloan Wilson, who writes the blog Evolution for Everyone. The dude's not shy - he launched himself at Scienceblogs with a post on Science as a Religion that Worships Truth as its God. What's behind all the sputtering anger? I mean, this dude is not the first person ever to posit such notions. Why are everybody's knickers in such a knot? C'mon, you can't pretend that idea isn't out there and doesn't have some serious resonance. And I'm talking about more than "high school debate team" level, as one of his commenters complained. Let's review.

Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...

See original: ScienceBlogs Select Can We Talk About Science? I Mean, Really? [Thus Spake Zuska]

E-News for ARL Directors (Nov. 6, '09)