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Science on Google+ has been at 22 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
Science on Google+662,039Please join us on 5/5 for a @105917944266111687812 HOA with Dr.@101190098041697372043, Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology, and Neuroscience at @116716695368502903076, and founder of Duke's Center for Neuroengineering. Dr. Nicolelis is a pioneer in neuronal population coding (simultaneously recording from hundreds to thousands of neurons), Brain Machine Interface (controlling robotic or avatar limbs with thoughts), neuroprosthetics (prosthetic limbs that directly communicate with sensory and motor cortices), and Brain to Brain Interface (tactile or visual information encoded by rat 1 is decoded by rat 2). Dr. Nicolelis has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, with many of these publications appearing in high impact journals such as _Nature_, _Science_, and _Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_ (see below for a short list of publications). More recently, Dr. Nicolelis’ research made it possible for a quadriplegic child to use his mind to control a bionic exoskeleton and kickoff the opening game at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. RSVP “yes” to add this event to your calendar. We will open up the Q & A app so feel free to post your questions on this event post or by using the app during the hangout. *Relevant Links:* Faculty page: http://goo.gl/qs8NfM  Lab page: http://www.nicolelislab.net  2012 Ted Talk: http://goo.gl/kxCxT8  2014 Ted Talk: http://goo.gl/23OqmV  Book: http://goo.gl/x7Kg5J  *Relevant Readings (see http://goo.gl/nQadag for a more exhaustive list):* Schwarz D, Lebedev MA, Tate A, Hanson T, Lehew G, Melloy J, Dimitrov D, Nicolelis MAL. Chronic, Wireless Recordings of Large Scale Brain Activity in Freely Moving Rhesus Monkeys. Nat. Methods doi:10.1038/nmeth.2936, 2014. Thomson EE, Carra R, Nicolelis MAL. Perceiving Invisible Light through a Somatosensory Cortical Prosthesis. Nat. Commun.10.1038/ncomms2497, 2013. Ifft P, Shokur S, Li Z, Lebedev MA, Nicolelis MAL. A Brain-Machine Interface Enables Bimanual Arm Movements in Monkeys. Sci. Transl. Med. 5: 210, DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3006159, 2013. Shokur S, O’Doherty J.E., Winans J.A., Bleuler H., Lebedev M.A., Nicolelis M.A.L. Expanding the primate body schema in sensorimotor cortex by virtual touches of an avatar. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 110: 15121-6, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1308459110, 2013. O’Doherty JE, Lebedev MA, Ifft PJ, Zhuang KZ, Shokur S, Bleuler H, Nicolelis MAL. Active tactile exploration enabled by a brain-machine-brain interface. Nature 479: 228-231, 2011. Fuentes R, Petersson P, Siesser WB, Caron MG, Nicolelis MAL. Spinal Cord Stimulation Restores Locomotion in Animal Models of Parkinson’s disease. Science 323: 1578-82, 2009. Pereira A, Ribeiro S, Wiest M, Moore LC, Pantoja J, Lin S-C, Nicolelis MAL. Processing of tactile information by the  hippocampus. PNAS 104: 18286-18291 (Epub) November 2007. Krupa DJ, Wiest, MC, Laubach M, Nicolelis MAL Layer specific somatosensory cortical activation during active tactile discrimination   ScieScience HOAs2015-05-05 21:30:00134  
Science on Google+662,039Dr. Theodore (Ted) P. Pavlic, Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering at @116794495783422850685. @111099133387608816869 received his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2010 from The Ohio State University where he learned to combine behavioral ecology and control theory to build algorithms that allow automation to make flexible decisions that are rational with respect to the current environment. Inspiration came from optimal foraging theory and cooperative breeding, and target applications ranged from military to the sustainable built environment. From 2010 to 2012, he worked as a postdoctoral scholar in Computer Science and Engineering studying cyber-physical systems of the future composed of fully autonomous and human driven cars operating in parallel in the cities of the near future. Since 2012, he has worked as a research scientist at Arizona State University in the social-insect laboratory of Stephen Pratt studying the collective decision-making processes of ants and honeybees. Not only have these studies inspired novel stochastic programming techniques for swarm robotics, but these animal models are also providing insights into the information structures that emerged at the origins of life. In August of 2015, he will join the engineering faculty of Arizona State University where he will use a variety of theoretical, computational, and empirical methods to study decision-making and organization across a wide range of artificial and natural systems. Potential graduate students interested in trans-disciplinary explorations of decision making are welcome to contact him to discuss opportunities. *Links* Personal website in desperate need of updating: http://www.tedpavlic.com/ Current host (Stephen Pratt) laboratory for ant work:  http://pratt.lab.asu.edu/ Collaborator (Sara Imari Walker) laboratory for info. theory work: http://emergence.asu.edu/ *Recommended Readings* Sean Wilson, Theodore P. Pavlic, Ganesh P. Kumar, Aurélie Buffin, Stephen C. Pratt, and Spring Berman. Design of ant-inspired stochastic control policies for collective transport by robotic swarms. Swarm Intelligence, 8(4):303–327, December 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11721-014-0100-8 Theodore P. Pavlic, Alyssa M. Adams, Paul C. W. Davies, and Sara Imari Walker. Self-referencing cellular automata: A model of the evolution of information control in biological systems. In: Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems (ALIFE 14), pages 522–529, July 31 – August 2, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.7551/978-0-262-32621-6-ch083 Theodore P. Pavlic and Stephen C. Pratt. Superorganismic behavior via human computation. In: Pietro Michelucci, editor, Handbook of Human Computation, pages 911–960. Springer, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8806-4_74Cognition in Ants, Robots, and Pre-biotic Chemistries2015-04-15 16:15:0051  
Science on Google+662,039Please join us on 4/6 for a Developmental Science HOA with Dr.@116253080293692056641, Associate Professor of Psychology at Southern Illinois University and director of the SIU Vision Lab. Matthew Schlesinger received his graduate degree in cognitive development from the University of California at Berkeley in 1995. After spending a year as a visiting lecturer in psychology at Berkeley, Dr. Schlesinger received a Fulbright fellowship to study artificial life models of sensorimotor cognition with Domenico Parisi at the Italian National Research Council in Rome. Dr. Schlesinger continued his postdoctoral work in 1998-2000 with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts, studying machine-learning approaches to adaptive motor control.  He is currently involved in three areas of research:  (1) visual attention and spatial working memory in infants, children, and adults, (2) neural network models of early visual processing and oculomotor control, and (3) neural substrates of working memory and spatial-directed attention.  RSVP “yes” if you want to add this event to your calendar. *Relevant Links*: Faculty page: http://goo.gl/JZro2y  Lab page: http://goo.gl/5mxvZA  Developmental Robotics Book: http://goo.gl/NEpoBg  ICDL-EpiRob Conference:  http://goo.gl/KfnvG  *Relevant Readings*: Schlesinger, M., Johnson, S.P., & Amso, D.  (2014).  Prediction-learning in infants as a mechanism for gaze control during object exploration. _Frontiers in Perception Science, 5_, 1-12.  http://goo.gl/ZiXuDo  Schlesinger, M., & McMurray, B. (2012). The past, present, and future of computational models of cognitive development. _Cognitive Development, 27_, 326-348.  http://goo.gl/T8Bgnd  Schlesinger, M., Johnson, S.P., & Amso, D.  (2014).  Learnability of infants’ center-of-gaze sequences predicts their habituation and posthabituation looking time. _In Proceedings of the Fourth Joint IEEE Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics_ (pp. 267-272). New York: IEEE. http://goo.gl/qEc54GScience HOAs2015-04-06 16:15:0056  
Science on Google+662,039Please join us on 3/4 for a Developmental Science HOA with Dr.@102662655160025117683, Associate Professor of Psychology at @109618943120182321190 and director of the Developmental Language and Cognition Lab. Dr. Wagner studies how children acquire language, and in particular, how they learn about meaning. Her research has looks at various dimensions of meaning, including children's understanding of temporal and event semantics (especially the linguistic category of aspect), and their understanding of social indexical meanings coded in dialect and register. She conducts her studies at her lab on OSU's campus, and also at the Columbus Center of Science and Industry (@108175964516692755798). We will enable the Q & A app prior to the HOA so feel free to posts your questions on the event post or by using the app. RSVP “yes” to add this event to your calendar. *Relevant Links:* Faculty page: http://goo.gl/la3xYa  Lab page: http://goo.gl/CduTn0  Buckeye Language Network: http://goo.gl/YA6dNW  *Relevant Readings:* Wagner, L., Clopper, C. G., & Pate, J. (2014).  Children’s perception of dialect variation. _Journal of Child Language, 41,_ 1062 – 1084. http://goo.gl/aFFmPc Clopper, C., Rohrbeck, K. L. & Wagner, L. (2013). Perception of talker age by young adults with High-Functioning Autism. _Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43_, 134 - 146. http://goo.gl/oyf8uD  Wagner, L. (2010). Acquisition of Semantics. _Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1_ (4), 519 - 526. http://goo.gl/8H9rct Science HOAs2015-03-04 16:00:0077  
Science on Google+662,039Join us for a @105917944266111687812  Hangout on Air as we speak to Professor @116255230904882614629 and Dr @107413067341871105647 about the recent Ebola outbreak. We will discuss the basics of Ebola, why the epidemic has spread, how it might be curtailed, and debunk some of the myths surrounding this outbreak. Please leave your questions on the Event page. Vincent is a professor of virology at the University of Columbia and is a fantastic science communicator. Tara is an epidemiologist at Kent State University who has written numerous articles debunking some of the myths surrounding Ebola. This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229  and Dr @110756968351492254645. You can tune in on *Sunday August 10th at 2.30 PM Pacific, 5.30 PM Eastern*. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.Science HOAs2014-08-10 23:30:0088  
Science on Google+662,039Please join us for _Developmental Science HOA_, a new collaborative Hangout On Air series which is co-hosted by @105917944266111687812 and @101300484336332917485. In the first Developmental Science HOA we will be talking with Dr. @105599496459565727178. @105599496459565727178 is a Professor of Cognitive Science and Human Development at @117506114004660150074 and is the director of the @113073858999174005281. @105599496459565727178 studies the dynamics of infant social interactions and social learning, using experimental behavioral paradigms, ethnographic investigations, physiological studies, and computer simulations. He and his collaborators conducted the first study of real-time interactions between parents and toddlers with high-density EEG and motion capture of both participants. He also studies how children learn and use words, and how they flexibly shift their attention, representations, and inferences. *Important Links* Curriculum Vitae: http://goo.gl/qLtUaC Lab Website: http://goo.gl/AQ78h6 ResearchGate: http://goo.gl/Mj8deH *Relevant Papers* Watch the hands: infants can learn to follow gaze by seeing adults manipulate objects: http://goo.gl/bSMzKy Young children’s fast mapping and generalization of words, facts, and pictograms :http://goo.gl/nhykZF A Unified Account of Gaze Following: http://goo.gl/f14c04 Micro-analysis of infant looking in a naturalistic social setting: insights from biologically based models of attention: http://goo.gl/i0S8uA Visual Prediction in Infancy: What is the Association with Later Vocabulary? :http://goo.gl/I1xUaS Please note that some of the papers are behind a paywall. Manuscripts can be downloaded through the lab pubs page, http://www.cogsci.ucsd.edu/~deak/cdlab/publications.html.Science HOAs2014-08-05 18:00:00103  
Science on Google+662,039The American Arachnological Society Conference is right around the corner and this year’s conference is being hosted by @116139679307670875382 at @112087710053841939824. The conference sponsors a great lineup of speakers (see details below) for their annual public event, “Casual Night with Arachnids”, and @105917944266111687812 will stream these presentations on Google+ in a Hangout On Air. Each talk will be approximately 10 – 12 minutes and there will be time to ask each presenter questions. Google+ members can submit questions using the Q & A app or by posting questions on the event post (http://goo.gl/knJbyX). RSVP “yes” if you want to add this event to your Google calendar. Anyone can view this event live or watch the archived youtube video; however, individuals not using Google+ will have to submit questions to @spiderprofessor on twitter. Please use the hashtag #arachnids14 . *Sharing on other social networks* Please use this link (http://goo.gl/knJbyX) if you want to share this event via email or on other social networks. *Do you live in the Columbus area?* The event is open to the public and will be in the Reese Center at 1209 University Dr, Newark, OH 43055. See more details about the event here: https://u.osu.edu/arachnids/ *List of Presentations*  Times below are in EST. 7:00 – 7:20pm, Doug Gaffin, *Mind-melding a scorpion*. 7:20 – 7:40pm, Cara Shillington, *Male versus wild: Radio-tracking tarantulas*. 7:40 – 8:00pm, Bob Suter, *Messing with time—see the invisible, hear the inaudible*. 8:00 – 8:20pm, George Uetz & Dave Clark, *Avatar 2.0: Digital imaging and (virtual) spider communication*. 8:20 – 8:40pm, Rick Vetter, *Mythconceptions of the brown recluse spider in Ohio*. 8:40 – 9:00pm, Joe Warfel, *Getting together with family: Spiders and their Relatives*. *Abstracts* _Douglas Gaffin, PhD (Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma)_ *Mind-melding a scorpion*. Scorpions are secretive, mysterious, and patient animals. What are they thinking as they wait for hours in their burrows? Although we can’t answer that yet, we can use a trick called electrophysiology to listen in to their nerve cells and to get a sense of what they perceive. It looks like mad science, but I will lead you through the maze of equipment we use, demystifying the process and explaining how easy and useful it actually is. _Cara Shillington, PhD (Department of Biology, Eastern Michigan University)_ *Male versus wild: Radio-tracking tarantulas*. Despite their notoriety and popularity in the pet trade, surprisingly little is known about tarantulas in their natural environment.  Where do they go and what do they do when they’re free of the glassy confines of your home aquarium? I will discuss many aspects of their life history and behavior both in captivity and in the wild.  Compared to most other arthropods, these animals are exceedingly long-lived (surviving 15 years or more in some cases).  Females remain in burrows for much of their lives, but matuScience HOAs2014-06-23 01:00:0077  
Science on Google+662,039Join our latest +Science On Google+ HOA this Sunday the 18th of May at 2.30 pm Pacific time, as we chat with two of our Community members, scientists @113151517166814371827  and Dr @103054542906066129325. They are co-founders of Paleo Quest, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes research and educational projects in Paleontology for the public (http://paleoquest.org). Jason and Aaron also founded SharkFinder, a STEM education program that studies fossil remains of elasmobranch (shark, skates and ray) along the USA Atlantic coastal plain of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. SharkFinder provides kits and learning modules for citizens and classrooms to participate in data collection (http://www.sharkfinder.org/).  Jason and Aaron will talk about their efforts to expand citizen science, with a special focus on how students can be better guided into STEM careers through these hands-on citizen science programs. We will also discuss their upcoming publications that will incorporate data collected by students and the public, as reported by Scientific American (http://goo.gl/4drR1Z). We'll then chat about how we can better support children from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in STEM. This HOA will be hosted by two Moderators from SoG+, Dr @108510686109338749229  and Dr @110756968351492254645. You can join in the discussion by posting your questions on our Google+ Event page or on Twitter @scienceongoogle using #scienceongoogle . The video will be available afterwards on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts Citizen Science: Getting Students into STEM with Jason Osborne & Dr Aaron Alford2014-05-18 23:30:00103  
Science on Google+662,039Join us for a Science on Google+ HOA as we speak to @103606144980849672198 and Dr @106260309299618873309 about their recently published research on cancer signalling (http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/6/225/225ra28). We will discuss the basics of cancer signalling, explain the link between inflammation and cancer, and how their research identifies a novel role for immune cells in the development of colon cancer. This Pub Talks HOA will be part of a series in which we explain published research in a jargon-free manner that is understandable to the public. This HOA will be hosted by Dr @108510686109338749229 and you can tune in on Sunday March 23rd at 2 PM CDT/ 12PM PDT/ 7 PM GMT. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.Pub Talks: Cancer Signalling2014-03-23 20:00:0086  
Science on Google+662,039Can you believe it! The +Science on Google+ community is approaching 200k members! We'll have reached that number by this weekend, so we're going to have a huge community celebration! Join your hosts +Scott Lewis and +Buddhini Samarasinghe as they start the celebration of being the #1 science community and the #10 community in *all of Google+*!!  During our Hangout On Air, you'll get a chance to meet the moderators  who dedicate so much time and energy into making sure that good, high quality science content is showcased in the community.  After we hear from the moderators on *who* they are, we'll have a discussion on what the curator team looks at for community posts to get put on the *Curator's Choice*.  We are all extremely excited to be celebrating with all 200,000 of you! Let's stay curious and find new and better ways to understand this amazing Universe we all live in! #ScienceSunday   #STEM   #ScienceEveryday   #SoGp200k  200,000 member community celebration!2014-01-12 22:00:00183  
Science on Google+662,039Unfortunately the gap between science and society is massive and only growing larger. +SciFund Challenge exists to do something about this problem, by helping to close this gap in three distinct ways. ⚛Training and encouraging researchers in their science outreach activities. ⚛Helping connect the public directly to science and scientists. ⚛Running science crowdfunding drives to help fund research and has just initiated SciFund 4: http://scifundchallenge.org/. Do you want to know about alternatives for raising money for research? What about Crowdfunding? This +Science on Google+ Hangout will discuss crowdfunding for research and features the SciFund Challenge coordinators +Jarrett Byrnes and +Anthony Salvagno as well as SciFund 3 participant, +Alisa Woods. SciFund 3 participant Alisa Woods raised 6K+ to buy analytical software for mass spectrometry and is Crowdfunding again, to support her research on autism protein biomarkers. She will discuss tips for successful Crowdfunding, including setting realistic goals and developing your audience. Her project is available here and as one of the incentives, she's offering consulting and coaching for Science Crowdfunding: http://www.rockethub.com/projects/36715-protein-biomarkers-for-autism-spectrum-disorder#description-tab  Join host +Scott Lewis and learn about Science Crowdfunding and Science Outreach! #ScienceEveryday   #Crowdfunding   #Science   #Research   #SciFundChallenge  Crowdfunding for research and the SciFund Challenge.2014-01-02 21:00:00137  
Science on Google+662,039*Isaac Newton's Birthday is on Christmas* Join us in a Newton-inspired holiday physics hangout with rockstar physicist +Henry Reich of +MinutePhysics and +MinuteEarth  and brilliant ballerina biologist +Carin Bondar of +National Geographic, +Scientific American and host of Wild Sex, a science show about the strange reproductive habits of the animal kingdom. She knows how the world gets physical. +Veritasium  AKA +Derek Muller may pop in.  We hear there may even be more special guests so you should probably go ahead and RSVP yes to join the lively conversation. BYOB. Hosted by +Amy Robinson of +Science on Google+ .Happy Newtonmas Hangout2013-12-19 00:00:00144  
Science on Google+662,039Please join us for a collaborative Hangout On Air with Autism Brainstorm (http://goo.gl/HO5LZL). We will be discussing current research in Autism and Autism Education, as well as the protein biomarkers associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Topics:  1) Lead by Dr. +Stephen Shore:   *Research in Comparative Approaches to Autism Education with special emphasis on the Miller Method®.* Dr. Shore will be joined by Ethan Miller and Amir Naimov for discussion and Q&A. 2) Lead by +John Elder Robison:   *Current research topic(s) being considered by IACC* (The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee  is a Federal advisory committee charged with coordinating all activities concerning autism spectrum disorder within the U.S. 3) Lead by Dr. +Alisa Woods:  *Protein Biomarkers and Autism Spectrum Disorders* *PDF LINKS:* Dr. Stephen Shore Dissertation: Comparative Approaches to Autism Education: http://goo.gl/lnqpxb Dr. Stephen Shore: ICDL The Miller Method: http://goo.gl/X6XQoq John Elder Robison: Scholar in Residence at William And Mary: http://goo.gl/QPxtLH  John Elder Robison: IACC Government Strategic Plan for Autism Research: http://goo.gl/reBc9a Dr. Alisa G Woods: Treating Clients with AS and ASD: http://goo.gl/175424 Dr. Alisa G Woods: Proteomics and Cholesterol in Autism: http://goo.gl/SklhcL *Dr. Stephen Shore:* Diagnosed with "Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies" and "too sick" for outpatient treatment Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism. In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Stephen presents and consults internationally on adult issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure as discussed in his books Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Ask and Tell: Self-advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum, the critically acclaimed Understanding Autism for Dummies., and the newly released DVD Living along the Autism Spectrum: What it means to have Autism or Asperger Syndrome. President emeritus of the Asperger’s Association of New England and former board member of the Autism Society, Dr. Shore serves in the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, United States Autism and Asperger Association, and other autism related organizations.  Dr. Shore is on the advisory board of AUTISM BRAINSTORM and is the primary autism education advisor. He frequently participates in Google Hangout events hosted by AUTISM BRAINSTORM. education.adelphi.edu/profile/steven-shore www.autismasperger.net  *John Elder Robison:* Self Advocate, Parent and Author, Mr. John Elder Robison joined the IACC as a public member in 2012. Mr. Robison is an Aspergian who grAutism Brainstorm and Science On Google+ Collaborative Hangout On Air2013-12-10 04:00:0088  
Science on Google+662,039Join mathematicians Dana Ernst , Sara Del Valle , Vincent Knight , Luis Guzman  and Robert Jacobson  as they talk with Amy Robinson  about their favorite math gifs and ideas and what it's like to be a mathematician. How many numbers are there? Do mathematicians see the world differently? And why is the last panel of this xkcd comic funny? http://xkcd.com/804/ +Dana Ernst   is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, USA.  +Sara Del Valle   is a mathematical epidemiologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM, USA. +Vincent Knight   is a LANCS lecturer at the Cardiff University School of Mathematics in Operational Research in Cardiff, Wales, UK. +Luis Guzman   is a graduate student in mathematics at the University of West Florida in FL, USA. +Robert Jacobson   is Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Roger Williams University in RI, USA. Hangout hosted by Science on Google+'s +Amy Robinson Math: from GIFs to xkcd2013-11-22 02:00:0064  
Science on Google+662,039Data blitz is a new hangout (not Hangout On Air), which is hosted by the Science on Google+ Community (http://goo.gl/uhJCN). This monthly hangout will start at 10:00 PM (EDT) on the second Wednesday of each month, and the main goal is to create a platform so researchers can get feedback on their hot off the press research findings and to discuss other issues in research, funding, and publishing. RSVP “yes” if you want an invite for the next Science on Google+ Data Blitz.Science on Google+ Data Blitz2013-11-14 04:00:0020  
Science on Google+662,039Happy Hour is a new hangout (not Hangout On Air), which is hosted by the Science on Google+ Community (http://goo.gl/uhJCN). The monthly hangout will start at 10:00 PM (EDT) on the last Wednesday of each month. Grab a coffee, beer, wine, or cocktail and join us as we discuss recent science findings, our favorite science communities and pages on Google+, and ways to improve the Science on Google+ community. This hangout is open to all of the friendly people in the Science on Google+ community. RSVP “yes” if you want an invite for the next Science on Google+ Happy Hour.Science on Google+ Happy Hour2013-10-31 03:00:0068  
Science on Google+662,039Data blitz is a new hangout (not Hangout On Air), which is hosted by the Science on Google+ Community (http://goo.gl/uhJCN). This monthly hangout will start at 10:00 PM (EDT) on the second Wednesday of each month, and the main goal is to create a platform so researchers can get feedback on their _hot off the press_ research findings and discuss other issues in research, funding, and publishing. There are only two rules. First, to keep things moving, presentations cannot exceed one slide! Second, due to the 10 person limit of hangouts, all individuals who join the hangout will be expected to contribute to the discussion by presenting research or research related issues. RSVP “yes” if you want an invite for the next Science on Google+ Data Blitz.Science on Google+ Data Blitz2013-10-10 04:00:0052  
Science on Google+662,039Happy Hour is a new hangout (not Hangout On Air), which is hosted by the Science on Google+ Community (http://goo.gl/uhJCN). The monthly hangout will start at 10:00 PM (EDT) on the last Wednesday of each month. Grab a cocktail and join us as we discuss recent science findings, our favorite science communities and pages on Google+, and ways to improve the Science on Google+ community. This hangout is open to all of the friendly people in the Science on Google+ community. Be social and stop by and say hi. RSVP “yes” if you want an invite for the next Science on Google+ Happy Hour.Science on Google+ Happy Hour2013-09-26 04:00:0055  
Science on Google+662,039Posterside Hangouts is a new Hangouts On Air, which is hosted by the Science on Google+ Community (http://goo.gl/uhJCN). The main goal of this HOA series is to recreate a poster session-like atmosphere here on G+, so researchers can present their recent findings. Presentations will be grouped by discipline and individual presentations will last approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Do you have a recent conference presentation, manuscript, or book that you would like to share with the Google+ community? Do you want to give your undergraduate or graduate students practice presenting their research? If yes, then let us know by filling out this short form: http://goo.gl/e0KPhE. ================================ *Psychology Talks for Posterside Hangouts #1, Authors (Affiliations)* _When audition dominates vision: Evidence from cross-modal statistical learning_ +Chris Robinson (The Ohio State University at Newark) _Automatic selection of eye tracking variables in visual categorization for adults and infants_ +Samuel Rivera (The Ohio State University at Columbus) _Foreign accent does not influence cognitive judgments_ +Andre L. Souza (Concordia University) and +Art Markman (The University of Texas at Austin) _Positive mood may enhance cognitive flexibility: Evidence from category learning_ +Paul Minda (The University of Western Ontario) and +Ruby Nadler(The University of Western Ontario) _The effects of aging on face perception_ +Allison Sekuler (McMaster University) ================================ *Abstracts and Links* _When audition dominates vision: Evidence from cross-modal statistical learning_ Presenting information to multiple sensory modalities sometimes facilitates and sometimes interferes with processing of this information. Research examining interference effects shows that auditory input often interferes with processing of visual input in young children (i.e., auditory dominance effect), whereas visual input often interferes with auditory processing in adults (i.e., visual dominance effect). The current study used a cross-modal statistical learning task to examine modality dominance in adults. Participants ably learned auditory and visual statistics when auditory and visual sequences were presented unimodally and when auditory and visual sequences were correlated during training. However, increasing task demands resulted in an important asymmetry: Increased task demands attenuated visual statistical learning, while having no effect on auditory statistical learning. These findings are consistent with auditory dominance effects reported in young children and have important implications for our understanding of how sensory modalities interact while learning the structure of cross-modal information. Link to Poster: http://goo.gl/NfoMvg Link to Manuscript: http://goo.gl/VFBVkD  Personal Website: http://goo.gl/glUXv2 _Automatic selection of eye tracking variables in visual categorization for adults and infants_ We present a computational apScience on Google+ Posterside Hangouts #12013-08-13 02:30:00100  
Science on Google+662,039*Be curious. Question assumptions. Explore the world from atoms to astrophysics with Veritasium*. Join +Derek Muller of popular +YouTube Channel Veritasium on a journey to the beautiful, viral side of physics, hosted by Science on Google+ in honor of *YouTube Geek Week* (Aug 4-10). Our +Amy Robinson, +Jason Davison and +Nic Hammond will host, along with +Joe Hanson of +It's Okay To Be Smart and a few members of the community who ask Derek interesting questions on the event page.   The hangout happens on *Wednesday, August 7th at 5 pm US PT / 8 ET*. Derek will share why he creates Veritasium and how it has evolved into one of YouTube’s favorite sources of answers to epic science questions. He’ll also answer your questions so leave them here on the event page. You may be selected to join the hangout live and ask him in person.   Check out *Veritasium* on YouTube at http://veritasium.com   This is the third hangout in a new series that brings science to life through conversations with the world's leading minds. Join +Science on Google+: A Public Database for the latest events.Veritasium: A Science on Google+ Conversation2013-08-08 02:00:00241  
Science on Google+662,039"There's a lot of amazing science out there. Let's go discover it together."  Join Dr. +Joe Hanson  biologist and host of popular YouTube/ +PBS Digital Studios series +It's Okay To Be Smart  + +AAAS  Mass Media Fellow at +WIRED  on a journey to the awesome side of science. This hangout will be hosted by Science on Google+'s +Amy Robinson , +Jason Davison   and +Nic Hammond   . *The hangout happens on Monday, July 22rd at NOON PT/ 3 PM ET.*  Joe will answer your questions and give insights on bringing science to the masses, the power of YouTube, why GIFs are awesome and much more.  _Add your thoughts and questions for Joe on this page. Joe will invite a few insightful fans to join the hangout in person!_ Get to know Dr Joe: check out his blog at http://www.itsokaytobesmart.com/ This is the second hangout in a new series that brings science to life through conversations with the world's leading minds. Subscribe to the Science on Google+ communities for the latest.It's Okay To Be Smart: A Science on Google+ Conversation2013-07-22 21:00:00122  
Science on Google+662,039We will be updating and sharing this General Science Page Circle (see http://goo.gl/9muuE) on Tuesday (10/9) at 9:00 PM (EST). Please add your Science Page to this database (http://goo.gl/WCohT) if you would like to add your page to the circle. Here's the form: http://goo.gl/bfqHa. You do not have to fill out the form if you are already in the database. Here's the link to the updated Science Page circle, http://goo.gl/aGQPB.Science Page Circle2012-10-10 03:00:00134  

Shared Circles including Science on Google+

Shared Circles are not available on Google+ anymore, but you can find them still here.

The Google+ Collections of Science on Google+

Activity

Average numbers for the latest posts (max. 50 posts, posted within the last 4 weeks)

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 78

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2015-02-01 09:51:41 (78 comments, 23 reshares, 127 +1s)Open 

PSA: Evidence-Based Science on Google+

Some scientific facts aren't up for debate in our science community. As scientists, we follow where the evidence leads, and the overwhelming evidence supports anthropogenic climate change, the efficacy of vaccines, the soundness of evolutionary theory, and the safety of GMO. There is vigorous debate within various scientific disciplines on how these settled areas of science work and what future outcomes of (for example) climate change or evolution will be. However, debate over mechanisms and outcomes should never be considered debate over the basic facts of a subject. A person claiming, for example, that anthropogenic climate change is a hoax is making an extraordinary claim against a huge body of peer-reviewed evidence, and barring extraordinary, credible, peer-reviewed evidence to support that claim, a post making... more »

Most reshares: 159

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2014-08-08 12:40:15 (42 comments, 159 reshares, 495 +1s)Open 

Bad Meme Rising
Everyone loves a clever science meme! When done well, they educate and make us laugh; they inspire us with a pithy quote by a celebrated researcher; or they give us information that encourages us to see the world in a new way.

The trouble with memes is that many of them are misinformed at best - see almost every quote about Einstein. Bad memes reproduce incorrect myths about science - for example, the idea that people only use 10% of their brains is wrong; we use 100% of our brains all the time. At worst science memes contribute to science illiteracy, by perpetuating the idea that science is just about "pretty pictures" and that the details don't matter. Memes give factoids that people love to share but don't always bother to check if they're true. They sound cool - but is it science?

Our Community is... more »

Most plusones: 716

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2014-10-05 12:53:53 (25 comments, 99 reshares, 716 +1s)Open 

Astrophotographer Mike Taylor caught this shot of a bright flash from an Iridium flare, the Milky Way, rolling cloud cover and an incredible amount of light pollution photographed from the Maine western mountains.

Latest 50 posts

2015-08-28 20:54:16 (5 comments, 4 reshares, 18 +1s)Open 

How do we tackle cancer in kids and teens? What are the differences between children’s cancers and adult’s cancers? What are the big research challenges we face at the moment? Join us for a +Cancer Research UK and +Science on Google+ Hangout on Air as we speak to Professor +Pamela Kearns and Professor +Richard Gilbertson about childhood cancers.

Pam is a Professor of Clinical Paediatric Oncology at the University of Birmingham. She is also the Director of the Cancer research UK Clinical Trials Unit, which is one of the largest cancer trials units in the UK. Her research focuses on the development of new therapies for childhood leukaemias. Richard is a world renowned expert in childhood brain tumours, and is the new director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. He has led international efforts that have dramatically advanced our understanding of the biology of several commonchildh... more »

How do we tackle cancer in kids and teens? What are the differences between children’s cancers and adult’s cancers? What are the big research challenges we face at the moment? Join us for a +Cancer Research UK and +Science on Google+ Hangout on Air as we speak to Professor +Pamela Kearns and Professor +Richard Gilbertson about childhood cancers.

Pam is a Professor of Clinical Paediatric Oncology at the University of Birmingham. She is also the Director of the Cancer research UK Clinical Trials Unit, which is one of the largest cancer trials units in the UK. Her research focuses on the development of new therapies for childhood leukaemias. Richard is a world renowned expert in childhood brain tumours, and is the new director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. He has led international efforts that have dramatically advanced our understanding of the biology of several common childhood brain tumours.
 
This HOA will be hosted by Dr +Buddhini Samarasinghe and Dr +Kat Arney  You can tune in on Wednesday September 23rd at 4 PM UK time. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.___

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2015-08-03 19:47:03 (17 comments, 7 reshares, 39 +1s)Open 

President Obama's Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan sets achievable standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. 

Climate Change

President Obama just released a new plan called the Clean Power Plan. The plans goal is: sets achievable standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

In his speech, Obama said he has committed the United States to leading the world on this challenge. 

Please watch the video below that he released today and check out the action plan on the White House website:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change___President Obama's Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan sets achievable standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. 

2015-07-24 14:56:42 (0 comments, 6 reshares, 17 +1s)Open 

We are live in 5 mins! Join us as we chat to +Ben Willcox and +Frances Balkwill about cancer immunotherapy.

What does the immune system have to do with cancer? What exactly is immunotherapy? Join us for a +Cancer Research UK and +Science on Google+ Hangout on Air as we speak to Professor +Frances Balkwill and Professor +Ben Willcox about cancer immunotherapy. 

Fran is a Professor of Cancer Biology at Queen Mary University in London and is a fantastic science communicator. Her research focuses on the links between cancer and inflammation. Ben is a Professor of Molecular Immunology at the University of Birmingham and his work focuses on understanding immune receptor recognition. 
 
This HOA will be hosted by Dr +Buddhini Samarasinghe  and Dr +Kat Arney . You can tune in on Friday July 24th at 4 PM UK time. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.___We are live in 5 mins! Join us as we chat to +Ben Willcox and +Frances Balkwill about cancer immunotherapy.

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2015-07-08 19:51:18 (2 comments, 5 reshares, 34 +1s)Open 

In 10 minutes we'll be discussing dating violence and dating violence prevention programs with Drs. +Kelly Cahill Roberts and +Nathaniel Swigger. Feel free to use the Q & A app if you have any questions.

In 10 minutes we'll be discussing dating violence and dating violence prevention programs with Drs. +Kelly Cahill Roberts and +Nathaniel Swigger. Feel free to use the Q & A app if you have any questions.___

2015-07-07 17:38:40 (3 comments, 11 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

Please join us on July 8th for a +Science on Google+ HOA with Drs. Kelly Cahill Roberts and +Nathaniel Swigger, Associate Professor of Political Science at +OhioStateNewark. We will be discussing dating violence and dating violence prevention programs. Feel free to post your comments on this event post or by using the Q & A app during the event.

Fund or learn more about the prevention program here: https://goo.gl/0SEPbt 

Please join us on July 8th for a +Science on Google+ HOA with Drs. Kelly Cahill Roberts and +Nathaniel Swigger, Associate Professor of Political Science at +OhioStateNewark. We will be discussing dating violence and dating violence prevention programs. Feel free to post your comments on this event post or by using the Q & A app during the event.

Fund or learn more about the prevention program here: https://goo.gl/0SEPbt ___

2015-07-06 18:48:25 (20 comments, 26 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

What does the immune system have to do with cancer? What exactly is immunotherapy? Join us for a +Cancer Research UK and +Science on Google+ Hangout on Air as we speak to Professor +Frances Balkwill and Professor +Ben Willcox about cancer immunotherapy. 

Fran is a Professor of Cancer Biology at Queen Mary University in London and is a fantastic science communicator. Her research focuses on the links between cancer and inflammation. Ben is a Professor of Molecular Immunology at the University of Birmingham and his work focuses on understanding immune receptor recognition. 
 
This HOA will be hosted by Dr +Buddhini Samarasinghe  and Dr +Kat Arney . You can tune in on Friday July 24th at 4 PM UK time. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.

What does the immune system have to do with cancer? What exactly is immunotherapy? Join us for a +Cancer Research UK and +Science on Google+ Hangout on Air as we speak to Professor +Frances Balkwill and Professor +Ben Willcox about cancer immunotherapy. 

Fran is a Professor of Cancer Biology at Queen Mary University in London and is a fantastic science communicator. Her research focuses on the links between cancer and inflammation. Ben is a Professor of Molecular Immunology at the University of Birmingham and his work focuses on understanding immune receptor recognition. 
 
This HOA will be hosted by Dr +Buddhini Samarasinghe  and Dr +Kat Arney . You can tune in on Friday July 24th at 4 PM UK time. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.___

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2015-05-25 12:14:22 (18 comments, 52 reshares, 200 +1s)Open 

Center of Mass

The animations in the link shows how the barycenter shifts depending on the relative masses of the orbiting bodies (Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barycenter)

The barycenter is the point in space around which two objects orbit. For the Moon and Earth, that point is about 1000 miles (1700 km) beneath your feet, or about three-quarters of the way from the Earth’s center to its surface. That means the Earth actually wobbles around a point deep in its interior, pulled around by the Moon.

Source:
http://www.itsokaytobesmart.com/post/119785206632/orbital-barycenter

#space   #astronomy  ___Center of Mass

The animations in the link shows how the barycenter shifts depending on the relative masses of the orbiting bodies (Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barycenter)

2015-05-05 19:18:46 (1 comments, 3 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

In 10 minutes we’ll be hanging out with Dr. +Miguel Nicolelis, Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Psychology and Neuroscience at +Duke University and Co-Director of Duke’s Center for Neuroengineering. Hope you can join us! Feel free to submit your questions using the Q & A app.

Please join us on 5/5 for a +Science on Google+ HOA with Dr.+Miguel Nicolelis, Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology, and Neuroscience at +Duke University, and founder of Duke's Center for Neuroengineering. Dr. Nicolelis is a pioneer in neuronal population coding (simultaneously recording from hundreds to thousands of neurons), Brain Machine Interface (controlling robotic or avatar limbs with thoughts), neuroprosthetics (prosthetic limbs that directly communicate with sensory and motor cortices), and Brain to Brain Interface (tactile or visual information encoded by rat 1 is decoded by rat 2). Dr. Nicolelis has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, with many of these publications appearing in high impact journals such as Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (see below for a short list of publications). More recently, Dr. Nicolelis’ research made it possible for a quadriplegic child to use his mind to control a bionic exoskeleton and kickoff the opening game at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

RSVP “yes” to add this event to your calendar. We will open up the Q & A app so feel free to post your questions on this event post or by using the app during the hangout.

Relevant Links:
Faculty page: http://goo.gl/qs8NfM 
Lab page: http://www.nicolelislab.net 
2012 Ted Talk: http://goo.gl/kxCxT8 
2014 Ted Talk: http://goo.gl/23OqmV 
Book: http://goo.gl/x7Kg5J 

Relevant Readings (see http://goo.gl/nQadag for a more exhaustive list):

Schwarz D, Lebedev MA, Tate A, Hanson T, Lehew G, Melloy J, Dimitrov D, Nicolelis MAL. Chronic, Wireless Recordings of Large Scale Brain Activity in Freely Moving Rhesus Monkeys. Nat. Methods doi:10.1038/nmeth.2936, 2014.

Thomson EE, Carra R, Nicolelis MAL. Perceiving Invisible Light through a Somatosensory Cortical Prosthesis. Nat. Commun.10.1038/ncomms2497, 2013.

Ifft P, Shokur S, Li Z, Lebedev MA, Nicolelis MAL. A Brain-Machine Interface Enables Bimanual Arm Movements in Monkeys. Sci. Transl. Med. 5: 210, DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3006159, 2013.

Shokur S, O’Doherty J.E., Winans J.A., Bleuler H., Lebedev M.A., Nicolelis M.A.L. Expanding the primate body schema in sensorimotor cortex by virtual touches of an avatar. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 110: 15121-6, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1308459110, 2013.

O’Doherty JE, Lebedev MA, Ifft PJ, Zhuang KZ, Shokur S, Bleuler H, Nicolelis MAL. Active tactile exploration enabled by a brain-machine-brain interface. Nature 479: 228-231, 2011.

Fuentes R, Petersson P, Siesser WB, Caron MG, Nicolelis MAL. Spinal Cord Stimulation Restores Locomotion in Animal Models of Parkinson’s disease. Science 323: 1578-82, 2009.

Pereira A, Ribeiro S, Wiest M, Moore LC, Pantoja J, Lin S-C, Nicolelis MAL. Processing of tactile information by the  hippocampus. PNAS 104: 18286-18291 (Epub) November 2007.

Krupa DJ, Wiest, MC, Laubach M, Nicolelis MAL Layer specific somatosensory cortical activation during active tactile discrimination   Science 304: 1989-1992, 2004.

Nicolelis MAL, Dimitrov DF, Carmena J, Crist R, Lehew G, Kralik J, Wise S. Chronic, multi-site, multi-electrode recordings in macaque monkeys. PNAS 100: 11041-11046, 2003.

Nicolelis MAL. Actions from thoughts. Nature 409: 403-407, 2001.

Image Sources:
http://goo.gl/9pCg8d
http://goo.gl/FlChhV___In 10 minutes we’ll be hanging out with Dr. +Miguel Nicolelis, Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Psychology and Neuroscience at +Duke University and Co-Director of Duke’s Center for Neuroengineering. Hope you can join us! Feel free to submit your questions using the Q & A app.

posted image

2015-05-04 12:54:36 (0 comments, 11 reshares, 21 +1s)Open 

We will be hanging out with Dr. +Miguel Nicolelis tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 (ET). Here's the link (http://goo.gl/Wlv006) if you want to watch the HOA.

Dr. +Miguel Nicolelis is a pioneer in neuronal population coding (simultaneously recording from hundreds to thousands of neurons), Brain Machine Interface (controlling robotic or avatar limbs with thoughts), neuroprosthetics (prosthetic limbs that directly communicate with sensory and motor cortices), and Brain to Brain Interface (tactile or visual information encoded by rat 1 is decoded by rat 2). Check out this video if you are not familiar with his work. We will be hanging out with Dr. Nicolelis tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 (ET). Here's the link (http://goo.gl/Wlv006) if you would like to watch the HOA___We will be hanging out with Dr. +Miguel Nicolelis tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 (ET). Here's the link (http://goo.gl/Wlv006) if you want to watch the HOA.

2015-04-29 20:06:25 (20 comments, 35 reshares, 40 +1s)Open 

Please join us on 5/5 for a +Science on Google+ HOA with Dr.+Miguel Nicolelis, Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology, and Neuroscience at +Duke University, and founder of Duke's Center for Neuroengineering. Dr. Nicolelis is a pioneer in neuronal population coding (simultaneously recording from hundreds to thousands of neurons), Brain Machine Interface (controlling robotic or avatar limbs with thoughts), neuroprosthetics (prosthetic limbs that directly communicate with sensory and motor cortices), and Brain to Brain Interface (tactile or visual information encoded by rat 1 is decoded by rat 2). Dr. Nicolelis has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, with many of these publications appearing in high impact journals such as Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (see below for a short list of publications). More recently, Dr. Nicolelis’rese... more »

Please join us on 5/5 for a +Science on Google+ HOA with Dr.+Miguel Nicolelis, Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology, and Neuroscience at +Duke University, and founder of Duke's Center for Neuroengineering. Dr. Nicolelis is a pioneer in neuronal population coding (simultaneously recording from hundreds to thousands of neurons), Brain Machine Interface (controlling robotic or avatar limbs with thoughts), neuroprosthetics (prosthetic limbs that directly communicate with sensory and motor cortices), and Brain to Brain Interface (tactile or visual information encoded by rat 1 is decoded by rat 2). Dr. Nicolelis has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, with many of these publications appearing in high impact journals such as Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (see below for a short list of publications). More recently, Dr. Nicolelis’ research made it possible for a quadriplegic child to use his mind to control a bionic exoskeleton and kickoff the opening game at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

RSVP “yes” to add this event to your calendar. We will open up the Q & A app so feel free to post your questions on this event post or by using the app during the hangout.

Relevant Links:
Faculty page: http://goo.gl/qs8NfM 
Lab page: http://www.nicolelislab.net 
2012 Ted Talk: http://goo.gl/kxCxT8 
2014 Ted Talk: http://goo.gl/23OqmV 
Book: http://goo.gl/x7Kg5J 

Relevant Readings (see http://goo.gl/nQadag for a more exhaustive list):

Schwarz D, Lebedev MA, Tate A, Hanson T, Lehew G, Melloy J, Dimitrov D, Nicolelis MAL. Chronic, Wireless Recordings of Large Scale Brain Activity in Freely Moving Rhesus Monkeys. Nat. Methods doi:10.1038/nmeth.2936, 2014.

Thomson EE, Carra R, Nicolelis MAL. Perceiving Invisible Light through a Somatosensory Cortical Prosthesis. Nat. Commun.10.1038/ncomms2497, 2013.

Ifft P, Shokur S, Li Z, Lebedev MA, Nicolelis MAL. A Brain-Machine Interface Enables Bimanual Arm Movements in Monkeys. Sci. Transl. Med. 5: 210, DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3006159, 2013.

Shokur S, O’Doherty J.E., Winans J.A., Bleuler H., Lebedev M.A., Nicolelis M.A.L. Expanding the primate body schema in sensorimotor cortex by virtual touches of an avatar. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 110: 15121-6, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1308459110, 2013.

O’Doherty JE, Lebedev MA, Ifft PJ, Zhuang KZ, Shokur S, Bleuler H, Nicolelis MAL. Active tactile exploration enabled by a brain-machine-brain interface. Nature 479: 228-231, 2011.

Fuentes R, Petersson P, Siesser WB, Caron MG, Nicolelis MAL. Spinal Cord Stimulation Restores Locomotion in Animal Models of Parkinson’s disease. Science 323: 1578-82, 2009.

Pereira A, Ribeiro S, Wiest M, Moore LC, Pantoja J, Lin S-C, Nicolelis MAL. Processing of tactile information by the  hippocampus. PNAS 104: 18286-18291 (Epub) November 2007.

Krupa DJ, Wiest, MC, Laubach M, Nicolelis MAL Layer specific somatosensory cortical activation during active tactile discrimination   Science 304: 1989-1992, 2004.

Nicolelis MAL, Dimitrov DF, Carmena J, Crist R, Lehew G, Kralik J, Wise S. Chronic, multi-site, multi-electrode recordings in macaque monkeys. PNAS 100: 11041-11046, 2003.

Nicolelis MAL. Actions from thoughts. Nature 409: 403-407, 2001.

Image Sources:
http://goo.gl/9pCg8d
http://goo.gl/FlChhV___

posted image

2015-04-27 23:55:21 (49 comments, 20 reshares, 93 +1s)Open 

Science vs. Chipotle

Now that the fast food chain is going GMO-free in response to public sentiment, not science, it's a good time to remind our readers of some GMO myths. Remember, Jane Goodall knows her primates but apparently not molecular biology.

Busting a few GMO Myths

I'm reposting this from a discussion on my Facebook wall.

A little while back, I posted the attached link about Jane Goodall, and it sparked a conversation about GMOs.  Some of the things that people were saying are frequently-repeated misconceptions about genetic modification, so I think my attempt to clear up the confusion is worth reposting here.  I'll update, maybe, as the conversation evolves.  I'm bolding the (edited) claims, and leaving my responses unformatted.

Claim: Science doesn't say things like "GMOs are safe."  Anyone advocating GMOs is a business person, because scientific claims are more contextual than that, and there's no preponderance of evidence.

Response:

That's absurd. There's a tremendous amount of peer reviewed evidence that GMOs are in no way harmful. Asserting that anyone disputing claims that they pose health risks is a "business person" is just as crazy as saying that anyone claiming that climate change is a real problem is being paid off by the government (or whatever). It's a conspiracy theory, and it's irrational.

The parallels between climate deniers and GMO skeptics are striking and obvious. In both cases, there's a strong scientific consensus about the right answer to some question, along with a popular rejection of that scientific consensus. Virtually every study done on GMOs has shown that they pose absolutely no additional health risk to human beings; asserting that GMOs are safe is absolutely a scientific position. I'm not sure what you mean when you say that "science is contextual." Yes, of course we haven't done every single test possible on the health risks associated with consuming GMOs in every possible circumstance. We don't know if they pose a health risk when consumed on Mars, while standing on your head, while sitting in a bathtub full of homemade gin, and so on; to be skeptical of their general safety on that basis is totally insane, though. 

By every indicator we have, they're perfectly safe, and it's reasonable to base our opinion on the best science we currently have. Claiming that any scientist (that includes me, by the way!) who agrees that GMOs are safe is a shill for agribusiness is exactly the same thing as claiming that any scientist who claims vaccines are safe is a shill for "big pharma." It's a completely unwarranted conspiracy theory. Of course science can't make a claim like "All GMOs are completely risk free for every person in all circumstances," but that's a strawman--no one is making that claim. The claim is that based on all the evidence we have, GMOs are pose no more health risks than non-GMO crops for the majority of people. There are, of course, people out there who might have allergies to some component in GMO foods, just as there are people who have allergies to some components of vaccinations. However, that has absolutely no bearing on their general safety, and (again) we have strong evidence that they are indeed safe.

Just as with climate change, it's really, really important that people keep abreast of the genuine research on this issue before making claims like this. In both cases (as well as with vaccinations), the body of scientific literature is extensive, and the evidence is firmly on one side of the issue. Climate change is real, GMOs are safe, and vaccines save lives. Disputing any of those points is to go against the scientific consensus. In all cases, of course, research is ongoing and always evolving. It's possible that we'll discover some hidden danger associated with GMOs, just as it's possible that we'll discover that we've been entirely mistaken about anthropogenic climate change. Basing beliefs or public policy on the unsupported supposition that future research will overturn the current consensus, though, is crazy.

Claim: Glyphosate is incredibly dangerous.  It's been linked to Celiac disease (citing http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/), as well as the widespread die-off of honeybees.

Response:

The first (and most important) point here is that even if glyphosate is actually dangerous to humans (a claim for which there is virtually no evidence), that's a problem with glyphosate rather than with GMOs. Saying that pesticide resistant GMO crops are inherently dangerous because of the pesticides is absurd--if there's a risk there, it's a risk associated with the pesticide itself, rather than with genetic modification. This is similar to the point about monoculture that I mentioned above--we can say that some of the farming practices associated with GMO agribusiness are suspect without that implying that GMOs themselves are suspect. If I engineer an organism to grow better in the presence of arsenic, and people become sick after consuming the arsenic covered crops, that doesn't show that it was the genetic modification that made people sick--it was the arsenic. Again, there's a strong parallel with climate change here. The fact that some approaches to dealing with global warming (say, geoengineering) carry substantial risks themselves is not evidence that global warming isn't happening, nor is it an argument against trying to deal with the problem in some way.

All that aside, the study that you linked to is itself suspect in a number of different ways. A quick review of the article shows that the authors are basing their conclusions on a single paper out of India from 2009 (http://cropandweed.com/vol5issue1/46.1.html) in which the investigators exposed fish to a "glyphosate containing" (emphasis mine) compound. The researchers found changes in the fish's digestive tract which (in their words) "appeared to resemble Celiac disease." That's not much of a link. I did a little more digging, though, and things are even more suspect. The particular compound that they used in the 2009 study is a commercial compound called "Excel Mera 71" (EM71). EM71 is a terrestrial herbicide--not designed for use in water--that contains, in addition to glyphosate, a number of other compounds--most notably a couple of surfactants. Surfactants aren't used in non-terrestrial applications, as lots of aquatic animal life is known to be vulnerable to it, and the damage associated with surfactants is the sort that the authors noticed in this study. In fact, the National Pesticide Information Center notes that "pure glyphosate is low in toxicity to fish and wildlife, but some products containing glyphosate may be toxic because of the other ingredients in them." Every other study conducted shows that glyphosate is minimally harmful to fish, but compounds that it is mixed with can be harmful, which is why those formulations aren't used in water. The 2009 study on which the Celiac claim is based doesn't take this into account, and fails to control for damage that might have been induced by other compounds in EM71. That's bad science, but jumping from that single study conducted on fish that found damage that looked like Celiac disease to the researchers to the claim that glyphosate causes Celiac disease in humans is beyond bad science: it's fear-mongering that's completely without basis in reality.

So, there are three major things wrong with the claim that GMOs are dangerous because glyphosate might cause Celiac disease: (1) If that's true, it's a risk associated with glyphosate, not GMOs. (2) The proposed glyphosate/Celiac link itself is based on a single study of EM71's damage to fish, and (3) the fish study itself was methodologically suspect. That's very unconvincing.

Honeybee colony collapse disorder is indeed worrying, but I've never seen a single plausible paper suggesting that it's linked to GMOs directly. There are a lot of proposed mechanisms on the table, and we're still trying to figure out what's going on. However, none of the proposed mechanisms blame genetic modification. In fact, the biggest metastudy done on that question (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2169303/) found that there is no discernable link between GMOs and honeybee health. Even when exposed directly (and exclusively) to Bt crops, bee fertility, larvae viability, or adult lifespan. Blaming colony collapse on GMOs is completely unwarranted speculation that isn't backed up by science.

Claim: Saying "GMOs are no more dangerous than other crops" isn't the same as saying "GMOs are safe."  Some GMOs are bred to require more water, or encourage more pesticide use.  Pesticides can run off into the water supply, and that's really bad.

Response:

I suppose "no safer than non-GMO food" isn't the same as "safe," that's true. That seems like sort of a peculiar point, though. There are risks associated with agriculture, especially the large-scale industrial agriculture (which is one of the largest contributors to climate change, incidentally) that we practice in much of the world now. I'm happy to admit that, and I share your concern about water table contamination and water use--I'm quite worried about that stuff as well.

However, I think framing this stuff in terms of GMO vs. non-GMO food muddies the water (so to speak) of the debate, and distracts from the very real problems associated with industrial farming practices. Worrying that genetic modification as a practice is dangerous, or claiming (as Goodall does here) that we're "poisoning ourselves" with GMOs confuses one problem with another, which makes it harder to solve the real problem. Genetically modified food itself poses no health hazard, according to the best scientific evidence we have. GMOs are not poison, or even risky as far as we can tell.

Now, if it's true that some GMO crops need more water to grow (a claim for which I'd like to see a citation), that's a concern. However, framing the problem in terms of an issue with GMOs themselves also blocks off a potential avenue for solving the problem: engineering crops that require less water to thrive. A cursory Google search shows that at least some people are actively working on this idea (http://12.000.scripts.mit.edu/.../genetically-modified.../). That's wonderful. If the public narrative is dominated by claims that GMOs are inherently unsafe, though, that makes it that much harder for these sorts of crops to come into wide use, which makes the problem significantly worse.

Similarly, if we're worried about pesticide runoff into lakes and rivers (which we should be!), framing the problem in terms of a risk associated with genetic modification just makes it that much harder to solve. A significant number of genetic modifications are actually designed to produce crops that don't require pesticides in virtue of allowing the plant itself to produce proteins that harm local pests. This piece from the New York Times discusses one such crop, a genetically modified species of eggplant being grown in some places in Africa, which has been engineered to be toxic to the most pervasive local pest: http://mobile.nytimes.com/.../how-i-got-converted-to-gmo...

Using that crop seems unequivocally great. It's helping the environment by decreasing the use of pesticides, and it's helping a small subsistence farmer make a better living. However, the crop has met with considerable resistance from environmental activists who oppose its use purely on the grounds that it is genetically modified. This reflects a lack of scientific understanding on the part of the activists, and has the potential to do a lot of damage, both environmentally and economically. That's the problem with framing this debate in terms of GMO-associated dangers. It obfuscates the real problem, and can prevent real, helpful solutions that benefit both people and the environment.

Claim: I guess I'll just have to trust you on this

Response: 

No, don't trust me on this! I'm incredibly untrustworthy in general, but at least when it comes to climate change I've done an extensive amount of real original work on the issue, and am an expert in my own right. I'm not an expert on GMOs. However, I am a scientist and I have a tremendous amount of trust in the scientific method and institution. I'm happy to put my faith in my colleagues working on this issue, just as I'd hope that they'd put their trust in me and my fellow climate change researchers when it comes to AGW. I'm basing my claims here on the existence of a strong consensus among those who are experts on this issue. That's the only reasonable position to take with respect to any complicated issue in which I'm not an expert. If the people who know the most about this stuff overwhelmingly say that it's safe, I'm very inclined to believe them.

#GMO   #gmofree   #environmentalism   #scienceeveryday  ___Science vs. Chipotle

Now that the fast food chain is going GMO-free in response to public sentiment, not science, it's a good time to remind our readers of some GMO myths. Remember, Jane Goodall knows her primates but apparently not molecular biology.

2015-04-08 19:24:22 (2 comments, 15 reshares, 20 +1s)Open 

Dr. Theodore (Ted) P. Pavlic, Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering at +Arizona State University. +Ted Pavlic received his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2010 from The Ohio State University where he learned to combine behavioral ecology and control theory to build algorithms that allow automation to make flexible decisions that are rational with respect to the current environment. Inspiration came from optimal foraging theory and cooperative breeding, and target applications ranged from military to the sustainable built environment. From 2010 to 2012, he worked as a postdoctoral scholar in Computer Science and Engineering studying cyber-physical systems of the future composed of fully autonomous and human driven cars operating in parallel in the cities of the near future. Since 2012, he... more »

Dr. Theodore (Ted) P. Pavlic, Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering at +Arizona State University. +Ted Pavlic received his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2010 from The Ohio State University where he learned to combine behavioral ecology and control theory to build algorithms that allow automation to make flexible decisions that are rational with respect to the current environment. Inspiration came from optimal foraging theory and cooperative breeding, and target applications ranged from military to the sustainable built environment. From 2010 to 2012, he worked as a postdoctoral scholar in Computer Science and Engineering studying cyber-physical systems of the future composed of fully autonomous and human driven cars operating in parallel in the cities of the near future. Since 2012, he has worked as a research scientist at Arizona State University in the social-insect laboratory of Stephen Pratt studying the collective decision-making processes of ants and honeybees. Not only have these studies inspired novel stochastic programming techniques for swarm robotics, but these animal models are also providing insights into the information structures that emerged at the origins of life. In August of 2015, he will join the engineering faculty of Arizona State University where he will use a variety of theoretical, computational, and empirical methods to study decision-making and organization across a wide range of artificial and natural systems. Potential graduate students interested in trans-disciplinary explorations of decision making are welcome to contact him to discuss opportunities.

Links
Personal website in desperate need of updating:
http://www.tedpavlic.com/

Current host (Stephen Pratt) laboratory for ant work: 
http://pratt.lab.asu.edu/

Collaborator (Sara Imari Walker) laboratory for info. theory work:
http://emergence.asu.edu/

Recommended Readings
Sean Wilson, Theodore P. Pavlic, Ganesh P. Kumar, Aurélie Buffin, Stephen C. Pratt, and Spring Berman. Design of ant-inspired stochastic control policies for collective transport by robotic swarms. Swarm Intelligence, 8(4):303–327, December 2014.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11721-014-0100-8

Theodore P. Pavlic, Alyssa M. Adams, Paul C. W. Davies, and Sara Imari Walker. Self-referencing cellular automata: A model of the evolution of information control in biological systems. In: Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems (ALIFE 14), pages 522–529, July 31 – August 2, 2014.
http://dx.doi.org/10.7551/978-0-262-32621-6-ch083

Theodore P. Pavlic and Stephen C. Pratt. Superorganismic behavior via human computation. In: Pietro Michelucci, editor, Handbook of Human Computation, pages 911–960. Springer, 2013.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8806-4_74___

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2015-04-08 04:23:52 (0 comments, 9 reshares, 55 +1s)Open 

California Water Cycle

Water cycle modeling connects the physics between groundwater, surface water, and the atmosphere. +Jason Davison models the complete California system using 3D models, and explores the feedbacks between the two systems. 

Check out his work below and at the European Geophysical Union (EGU) on Monday morning (April 13). 

Water Cycle Modeling

I coupled HydroGeoSphere (HGS), a three-dimensional integrated surface and subsurface flow and energy transport model, to Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF), a nonhydrostatic Mesoscale three-dimensional numerical weather model. HGS replaced the land surface components of WRF and provides the evapotranspiration and saturation from the porous media to the atmosphere. WRF provides HGS with the potential evapotranspiration and precipitation. 

I'm currently working on modeling all of California, with the goal of finding the relationship between water resources and the climate. We are also looking at the current drought in California and study the future climate under the new precipitation patterns. 

Our work on California is still in the early stages and our results are showing the initial spin-up period before quasi-equilibrium. I'm presenting my research at the  Universität Tübingen this week and to EGU (Monday, 13th morning) next week. 

Please learn more about my research at JasonDavison.com!

#california   #climate   #science   #climatechange   #drought   #water  ___California Water Cycle

Water cycle modeling connects the physics between groundwater, surface water, and the atmosphere. +Jason Davison models the complete California system using 3D models, and explores the feedbacks between the two systems. 

Check out his work below and at the European Geophysical Union (EGU) on Monday morning (April 13). 

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2015-04-06 14:09:06 (0 comments, 7 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

In 5 minutes we’ll be discussing Developmental Robotics with Dr. +Matthew Schlesinger, Associate Professor of Psychology from SIU. Hope you can join us!

In 5 minutes we’ll be discussing Developmental Robotics with Dr. +Matthew Schlesinger, Associate Professor of Psychology from SIU. Hope you can join us!___

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2015-04-05 18:20:17 (10 comments, 18 reshares, 168 +1s)Open 

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs!

The Science behind Egg Color: bile pigments, transporters and retroviruses.

Do You Like Green Eggs And Ham?

Yes, I like them, Sam-I-Am
White eggs, Brown eggs,  Pink ones too
But Tell me, how Do they turn Blue?
(With apologies to Dr. Seuss) 

Egg color in birds evolved for obvious reasons of camouflage and recognition, and for less obvious reasons such as thermal regulation, protection against UV light, and even antimicrobial defense. Chicken eggs are commonly white (no pigment), or brown (protoporphyrin). Rare breeds from China and Chile lay blue eggs, colored by the bile pigment biliverdin, a breakdown product of the hemoglobin in red blood cells.  Biliverdin is normally excreted by liver cells into the bile. So how does it end up in the egg shell? 

Organic anion transporters are proteins that move a large number of compounds- drugs, toxins, hormones and bile pigments, across cell membranes, as part of the liver's detoxifying day job. Genetic sleuthing mapped the blue color trait to a region of a chicken chromosome. Here was a gene for a transporter protein, SLCO1B3, that could provide blue-green biliverdin to color the shell. But why was the gene inexplicably turned on only in the shell gland of the blue egg laying chicken?

Endogenous retroviruses (ERV) are ancient viruses that inserted randomly into the genomes of prehistoric birds. One such viral fragment inserted right next to the SLCO1B3 gene in blue egg laying chickens, where it behaved like an accidental transcription enhancer, or "on switch". Because of its sequence, scientists speculate that it mediates estrogen specific regulation, accounting for the high levels of the biliverdin transport protein in the shell gland. Although this story nicely explains our Seussian curiosity about green eggs and ham, it also shows how viruses shape diversity in the living world. For example, an insertion of the avian leukosis virus inside a gene for the enzyme tyrosinase results in white plumage in chickens. Viral insertions can also be incredibly harmful, triggering cancer when they accidentally turn on oncogenes.

REFS (open access papers): http://goo.gl/3yJ1FS and http://goo.gl/ypZyCF

Fun Fact: Green Eggs and Ham, published in 1960, is one of the best selling and most beloved children's books of all time. It has just 50 words, and was written by Dr. Seuss in response to a bet by his publisher. 

Photo: Tammy Riojas, Elgin, TX;

H/T to +Lorna Salgado for posting the news story that led to this   #ScienceSunday  post. ___Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs!

The Science behind Egg Color: bile pigments, transporters and retroviruses.

2015-03-29 12:37:54 (3 comments, 19 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Please join us on 4/6 for a Developmental Science HOA with Dr.+Matthew Schlesinger, Associate Professor of Psychology at Southern Illinois University and director of the SIU Vision Lab. Matthew Schlesinger received his graduate degree in cognitive development from the University of California at Berkeley in 1995. After spending a year as a visiting lecturer in psychology at Berkeley, Dr. Schlesinger received a Fulbright fellowship to study artificial life models of sensorimotor cognition with Domenico Parisi at the Italian National Research Council in Rome. Dr. Schlesinger continued his postdoctoral work in 1998-2000 with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts, studying machine-learning approaches to adaptive motor control.  He is currently involved in three areas of research:  (1) visual attention and spatial working memory in infants, children, and adults, (2) neuraln... more »

Please join us on 4/6 for a Developmental Science HOA with Dr.+Matthew Schlesinger, Associate Professor of Psychology at Southern Illinois University and director of the SIU Vision Lab. Matthew Schlesinger received his graduate degree in cognitive development from the University of California at Berkeley in 1995. After spending a year as a visiting lecturer in psychology at Berkeley, Dr. Schlesinger received a Fulbright fellowship to study artificial life models of sensorimotor cognition with Domenico Parisi at the Italian National Research Council in Rome. Dr. Schlesinger continued his postdoctoral work in 1998-2000 with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts, studying machine-learning approaches to adaptive motor control.  He is currently involved in three areas of research:  (1) visual attention and spatial working memory in infants, children, and adults, (2) neural network models of early visual processing and oculomotor control, and (3) neural substrates of working memory and spatial-directed attention. 

RSVP “yes” if you want to add this event to your calendar.

Relevant Links:
Faculty page: http://goo.gl/JZro2y 
Lab page: http://goo.gl/5mxvZA 
Developmental Robotics Book: http://goo.gl/NEpoBg 
ICDL-EpiRob Conference:  http://goo.gl/KfnvG 

Relevant Readings:
Schlesinger, M., Johnson, S.P., & Amso, D.  (2014).  Prediction-learning in infants as a mechanism for gaze control during object exploration. Frontiers in Perception Science, 5, 1-12.  http://goo.gl/ZiXuDo 

Schlesinger, M., & McMurray, B. (2012). The past, present, and future of computational models of cognitive development. Cognitive Development, 27, 326-348.  http://goo.gl/T8Bgnd 

Schlesinger, M., Johnson, S.P., & Amso, D.  (2014).  Learnability of infants’ center-of-gaze sequences predicts their habituation and posthabituation looking time. In Proceedings of the Fourth Joint IEEE Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics (pp. 267-272). New York: IEEE. http://goo.gl/qEc54G___

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2015-03-22 21:06:35 (19 comments, 23 reshares, 170 +1s)Open 

Water Absorption

Here's the interesting science behind water absorption by polymers found in diapers to satisfy your #ScienceSunday  curiosity!

Sodium polyacrylate: The fluff that absorbs water!

❅ Sodium polyacrylate is an example of a super-absorbing polymer. It is a cross-linked (network) polymer that contains sodium atoms. It absorbs water by a process called osmosis. 

Explanation from; http://goo.gl/IPzPU2 (h/t +Rajini Rao)

The white powder is a polymer of sodium polyacrylate. The particles have a membrane of the polyacrylate which surrounds the sodium ions. By the process of osmosis, the water is attracted to the sodium polyacrylate because it contains sodium ions (an ion that you would find in table salt).

It expands the crystals of the powder and makes it into solid like gel. This is an example of an osmosis process reaction involving a polymer. Sodium polyacrylate contains a high number of sodium ions within each particle. Water is highly attracted to sodium ions. So when the water is poured into the beaker containing the sodium polyacrylate, it moves into the individual powder particles and expands the polymer particles to become a solid like gel.

❄  Sodium polyacrylate can absorb 800 times its weight in distilled water, but only 300 times its weight in tap water, since tap water contains some sodium, calcium and other mineral salts.

Source : http://goo.gl/PwVwUT   #sciencesunday   #scienceeveryday   #chemistry  ___Water Absorption

Here's the interesting science behind water absorption by polymers found in diapers to satisfy your #ScienceSunday  curiosity!

2015-02-17 13:46:55 (25 comments, 19 reshares, 36 +1s)Open 

Please join us on 3/4 for a Developmental Science HOA with Dr.+Laura Wagner, Associate Professor of Psychology at +The Ohio State University and director of the Developmental Language and Cognition Lab. Dr. Wagner studies how children acquire language, and in particular, how they learn about meaning. Her research has looks at various dimensions of meaning, including children's understanding of temporal and event semantics (especially the linguistic category of aspect), and their understanding of social indexical meanings coded in dialect and register. She conducts her studies at her lab on OSU's campus, and also at the Columbus Center of Science and Industry (+COSI). We will enable the Q & A app prior to the HOA so feel free to posts your questions on the event post or by using the app. RSVP “yes” to add this event to your calendar.

Relevant Links:
Faculty page:http:... more »

Please join us on 3/4 for a Developmental Science HOA with Dr.+Laura Wagner, Associate Professor of Psychology at +The Ohio State University and director of the Developmental Language and Cognition Lab. Dr. Wagner studies how children acquire language, and in particular, how they learn about meaning. Her research has looks at various dimensions of meaning, including children's understanding of temporal and event semantics (especially the linguistic category of aspect), and their understanding of social indexical meanings coded in dialect and register. She conducts her studies at her lab on OSU's campus, and also at the Columbus Center of Science and Industry (+COSI). We will enable the Q & A app prior to the HOA so feel free to posts your questions on the event post or by using the app. RSVP “yes” to add this event to your calendar.

Relevant Links:
Faculty page: http://goo.gl/la3xYa 
Lab page: http://goo.gl/CduTn0 
Buckeye Language Network: http://goo.gl/YA6dNW 

Relevant Readings:
Wagner, L., Clopper, C. G., & Pate, J. (2014).  Children’s perception of dialect variation. Journal of Child Language, 41, 1062 – 1084. http://goo.gl/aFFmPc

Clopper, C., Rohrbeck, K. L. & Wagner, L. (2013). Perception of talker age by young adults with High-Functioning Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 134 - 146. http://goo.gl/oyf8uD 

Wagner, L. (2010). Acquisition of Semantics. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1 (4), 519 - 526. http://goo.gl/8H9rct ___

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2015-02-12 23:36:52 (57 comments, 34 reshares, 249 +1s)Open 

Happy Darwin Day

In celebration of Charles Darwin's 206th birthday, here is a post on how species continue to evolve to this day. Speciation caught in the act! 
#DarwinDay  

Evolution of a Species

Assortive Mating: The diversity of lifeforms on our planet is central to evolution. But how do new species form? A key step is assortive mating, when individuals use physical or vocal cues to choose mates that resemble themselves. Perhaps natural selection favors offspring from similar matings. Eventually, the populations diverge genetically to the extent that the hybrids are unfit, and separate species emerge.

Caught in the act? Take the curious case of the Australian Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae). There are black and red head color morphs (see image) that prefer to mate with like types. This preference is genetic, as chicks reared by foster parents of different type still prefer to mate with their own head color morph. In fact, the head color and mating preference are tightly linked on the sex chromosome Z (males are ZZ and females are ZW in birds). This lack of "sexual imprinting" is unusual, since most birds get their cues from rearing parents.

Hybrid drama: Both head color types coexist in the same geographical area. Shrinking and unequal populations mean that mates of the same type can be hard to find (the bird is endangered). The birds seem to "make the best of a bad situation" and breed with different head color morphs anyway. But there is a steep price to pay : more than a third of the offspring die. The mortality rate is worse in female chicks, nearly half fail to survive. Curiously, the mothers seem to control for this by producing broods with more males. So, if they are tricked into thinking that their mate is of a different head color  (using bird make-up!) they produce biased broods! All of this suggests that the Gouldian finch may be in the process of splitting into species, unless it becomes extinct before then :(

▪ Images (National Aquarium): http://aqua.org/explore/animals/gouldian-finch

▪ H/T +Mindy Weisberger whose post on the phosphorescence beads marking the gouldian finch chick's mouth (http://goo.gl/Zw8tv) set me off on this evolutionary hunt!

▪ Further readings by Sarah R. Pryke ▶ http://goo.gl/Tngj1
#ScienceEveryday  ___Happy Darwin Day

In celebration of Charles Darwin's 206th birthday, here is a post on how species continue to evolve to this day. Speciation caught in the act! 
#DarwinDay  

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2015-02-01 09:51:41 (78 comments, 23 reshares, 127 +1s)Open 

PSA: Evidence-Based Science on Google+

Some scientific facts aren't up for debate in our science community. As scientists, we follow where the evidence leads, and the overwhelming evidence supports anthropogenic climate change, the efficacy of vaccines, the soundness of evolutionary theory, and the safety of GMO. There is vigorous debate within various scientific disciplines on how these settled areas of science work and what future outcomes of (for example) climate change or evolution will be. However, debate over mechanisms and outcomes should never be considered debate over the basic facts of a subject. A person claiming, for example, that anthropogenic climate change is a hoax is making an extraordinary claim against a huge body of peer-reviewed evidence, and barring extraordinary, credible, peer-reviewed evidence to support that claim, a post making... more »

PSA: Evidence-Based Science on Google+

Some scientific facts aren't up for debate in our science community. As scientists, we follow where the evidence leads, and the overwhelming evidence supports anthropogenic climate change, the efficacy of vaccines, the soundness of evolutionary theory, and the safety of GMO. There is vigorous debate within various scientific disciplines on how these settled areas of science work and what future outcomes of (for example) climate change or evolution will be. However, debate over mechanisms and outcomes should never be considered debate over the basic facts of a subject. A person claiming, for example, that anthropogenic climate change is a hoax is making an extraordinary claim against a huge body of peer-reviewed evidence, and barring extraordinary, credible, peer-reviewed evidence to support that claim, a post making such a claim will be removed from this community. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

The focus of our community is on research trying to address these issues, and not to rehash or debate the evidence. Unlike politicians, we don't take positions to win votes or gain popularity. Rather, we ground our positions in the best evidence available to us, recognizing that scientific evidence may be incomplete but is constantly self-correcting. 

What is scientific consensus? :  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Scienceongoogleplus/posts/5LRg4oTFAFU

Cartoon credit: http://joyreactor.com/post/805720

#ScienceSunday  ___

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2015-01-28 15:10:31 (1 comments, 9 reshares, 31 +1s)Open 

In 5 minutes we’ll be discussing eye tracking technology and perceptual/cognitive development with Dr. Scott Johnson from UCLA. Hope you can join us!

In 5 minutes we’ll be discussing eye tracking technology and perceptual/cognitive development with Dr. Scott Johnson from UCLA. Hope you can join us!___

2015-01-21 19:06:05 (3 comments, 8 reshares, 29 +1s)Open 

Please join us on 1/28 for a Developmental Science HOA with Dr. Scott Johnson, Professor of Developmental Psychology at UCLA and director of the UCLA +Baby Lab. Dr. Johnson research interests include: cognitive development, perceptual development, visual perception, eye movements, attention, computational modeling, neural foundations of vision and cognition, neurophysiological development, and learning mechanisms. On 1/28 we will be discussing: (1) big issues in perceptual and cognitive development, (2) eye trackers, how they work, and how can they give us insight into the developing mind, and (3) Dr. Johnson’s recent research interests and findings. We will open up the Q & A app prior to the Hangout On Air so feel free to post your questions on the event post or by using the app on the day of the HOA. RSVP “yes” to add this event to your calendar.

Important Links:
Faculty page:http:/... more »

Please join us on 1/28 for a Developmental Science HOA with Dr. Scott Johnson, Professor of Developmental Psychology at UCLA and director of the UCLA +Baby Lab. Dr. Johnson research interests include: cognitive development, perceptual development, visual perception, eye movements, attention, computational modeling, neural foundations of vision and cognition, neurophysiological development, and learning mechanisms. On 1/28 we will be discussing: (1) big issues in perceptual and cognitive development, (2) eye trackers, how they work, and how can they give us insight into the developing mind, and (3) Dr. Johnson’s recent research interests and findings. We will open up the Q & A app prior to the Hangout On Air so feel free to post your questions on the event post or by using the app on the day of the HOA. RSVP “yes” to add this event to your calendar.

Important Links:
Faculty page: http://goo.gl/Fbklji 
Lab page: http://goo.gl/xC0LiV 
Related Article: http://goo.gl/GHfO8B

Image Sources:
http://goo.gl/S5NZ1u  
http://goo.gl/qRDmKQ  
http://goo.gl/sXvoHY ___

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2015-01-21 04:45:53 (44 comments, 5 reshares, 69 +1s)Open 

Climate Change in the State of the Union:

I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.

State of the Union 2015: Obama
No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change

This year President Obama identified climate change as the greatest threat to future generations, and I agree with him. While the President is not a scientist, he identified the brilliant scientists that we have in NASA, NOAA and our university system. 

Obama also used a fantastic statistic, 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century. Climate change is happening today, we do not need any more proof.

Climate speech:
And no challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.

2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does — 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.

I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.

That’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it. That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history. And that’s why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure American leadership drives international action. In Beijing, we made an historic announcement — the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions. And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got.


#ClimateChange  
#Science  
#stateoftheunion  
#STOTU  ___Climate Change in the State of the Union:

I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what — I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.

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2015-01-03 21:31:15 (5 comments, 19 reshares, 141 +1s)Open 

The Saltiest Lake on Earth

New findings that have implications for similar briney features, known as recurring slope lineae (RSL), found on Mars. "Thus, if RSL and chloride-bearing basin floor units on Mars do represent DJP-like hydrologic systems, they may have significant potential for hosting resilient microbiota, and the most habitable places on Mars may mimic the least habitable places on Earth."

The Lake in Antarctica That Does Not Freeze

There are lakes on the frozen continent of Antarctica.  Most have thick layers of ice year round but there is one that has so much salt that the water does not freeze, even in the frigid depths of winter in the coldest area on earth.  Well, not a really big lake but just a pond; it is the Don Juan Pond located in the west end of Wright Valley (South Fork), Victoria Land, Antarctica.  Where does the salt come from?

Don Juan Pond, also called Lake Don Juan, is a small and very shallow hypersaline lake in the west end of Wright Valley (South Fork), Victoria Land, Antarctica, 9 kilometers (5.6 mi) west from Lake Vanda. It is wedged between the Asgard Range in the south and the Dais in the north. On the west end there is a small tributary and a feature that has been described as a rock glacier. With a salinity level of over 40%, Don Juan Pond is the saltiest known body of water on Earth.  ⓐ
Don Juan Pond was discovered in 1961. It was named for two helicopter pilots, Lt Don Roe and Lt John Hickey, who piloted the helicopter involved with the first field party investigating the pond. On that initial investigation, the temperature was −30 °C (−22 °F) and the water remained in a liquid state.  ⓐ

While discovered in 1961, it is in the news now because of the images just released by NASA taken by the Earth Observatory satellite.  One of the images is shown below on the right.
 
The image on the left is from the 2013 study done by researchers by James Dickson and James Head from Brown, Joseph Levy from Oregon State, and David Marchant from Boston University.  They were investigating the source of the calcium chloride salt. (both pictures are high resolution so have a closer look)

The research represents the most detailed observations ever made of Don Juan Pond. “It was a simple idea,” Dickson said of the team’s approach. “Let’s take 16,000 pictures of this pond over the course of two months and then see which way the water’s flowing. So we took the pictures, correlated them to the other measurements we were taking, and the story told itself.”  ⓑ

Using time lapse photography and other data, the researchers show that water sucked out of the atmosphere by parched, salty soil is the source of the saltwater brine that keeps the pond from freezing. Combine that with some fresh water flowing in from melting snow, and you’ve got a pond able to remain fluid in one of the coldest and driest places on Earth. And because of the similarities between the Dry Valleys and the frozen desert of Mars, the findings could have important implications for water flow on the Red Planet both in the past and maybe in the present.  ⓑ

What the pictures showed was that water levels in the pond increase in pulses that coincide with daily peaks in temperature, suggesting that the water comes partly from snow warmed just enough by the midday sun to melt. But that influx of fresh water doesn’t explain the pond’s high salt content, which is eight times higher than that of the Dead Sea. For that explanation, the researchers looked to a second source of liquid documented in the photos.  ⓑ

The second source comes from a channel of loose sediment located to the west of the pond. Previous research had found that sediment to be high in calcium chloride salt. To see if that was the source of the pond’s salt, the researchers set up a second time-lapse camera to monitor the channel and synchronized the pictures with data collected from nearby weather stations.  ⓑ

The pictures show dark streaks of moisture called water tracks forming in the soil whenever the relative humidity in the air spiked. Similar water tracks also form on a cliff face north of the pond. What’s forming these tracks is the salt in the soil absorbing any available moisture in the air, a process known as deliquescence. Those water-laden salts then trickle down through the loose soil until they reach the permafrost layer below. There they sit until the occasional flow of snowmelt washes the salts down the channel and into the pond.  ⓑ

When the team saw how closely correlated the appearance of water tracks was to their humidity readings, they knew the tracks were the result of deliquescence and that the process was key to keeping the pond salty enough to persist.  ⓑ

The findings refute the dominant interpretation of Don Juan Pond’s origin. Since the pond’s discovery in 1961, most researchers had agreed that its briney waters must be supplied mainly from deep in the ground. However, these new images show no evidence at all that groundwater contributes to the pond.  ⓑ


ⓐ  Wiki
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Juan_Pond

ⓑ  News from Brown
How the world’s saltiest pond gets its salt
https://news.brown.edu/articles/2013/02/antarctica

Scientific Reports (open access)
Don Juan Pond, Antarctica: Near-surface CaCl2-brine feeding Earth's most saline lake and implications for Mars
http://www.nature.com/srep/2013/130130/srep01166/full/srep01166.html

Live Science
World's Saltiest Body of Water Seen from Space (Photo)
http://www.livescience.com/49284-worlds-saltiest-body-of-water.html?

Image on right,
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team and the U.S. Geological Survey.  
NASA Earth-Observing Satellite photo showing Don Juan Pond, a network of channels carved into the bedrock east of the Wright Upper Glacier, and the frozen Lake Vanda to the northeast of the pond.
Image on left,
Credit: Geological Sciences/Brown University
A camera installed above Don Juan Pond in Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys took 16,000 images in two months, documenting geological processes in real time.___The Saltiest Lake on Earth

New findings that have implications for similar briney features, known as recurring slope lineae (RSL), found on Mars. "Thus, if RSL and chloride-bearing basin floor units on Mars do represent DJP-like hydrologic systems, they may have significant potential for hosting resilient microbiota, and the most habitable places on Mars may mimic the least habitable places on Earth."

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2014-12-30 02:52:06 (18 comments, 15 reshares, 92 +1s)Open 

#ScienceMediaHype   on Growth Hormones
+Irene Riz shows why the media reports on billionaire investor Peter Thiel's growth hormone comments are scientifically inaccurate and irresponsible.

#science   #stem   #health  

Recently published paper directly shows the role of growth hormone mediated activation of #mTOR in aging (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25456069). It supports accumulating studies indicating that inhibition of mTOR by caloric restriction prolongs life and activation of mTOR leads to accelerated aging.
Despite that Peter Thiel takes growth hormone pill every day and plans to live until 120.
“The 47-year-old investor, who co-founded PayPal and made an early bet on Facebook Inc, said he’s taking human growth hormone every day in a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-18/investor-peter-thiel-planning-to-live-120-years.html
The only thing he is afraid of is higher chance of cancer for which Mr. Thiel is optimistically expecting to find cure in 10 years. (Biologists can promise anything to get funded, but biology is the most difficult science for future predictions). Cancer apart, premature #stem cell exhaustion is a major problem that is expected if to stimulate mTOR, one of the important downstream targets of growth hormone.

Mr. Thiel somehow missed the point that natural decline of the growth hormone levels and lower mTOR activity might be an approach of a healthy body fighting aging, giving body longer periods for #autophagy mediated self-cleaning and error correction versus active growth and building. In addition, as I already mentioned, an over-activation of mTOR may cause exhaustion of stem cell supplies in human the same way as it was seen in mice. The animals with genetically unleashed mTOR showed not only anemia (due to exhaustion of hematopoietic stem cells) but also grey hair and hunched backs.

A group of Russian scientists are taking the inhibitor of mTOR as a supplement.  They hope to live longer and to stay younger as well as Mr. Thiel. 
mTOR is a builder. So maybe the appearance of Mr.Thiel’s muscles will improve but the effectively working muscle needs also time to clean up and rebuild -the time out moment of mTOR inhibition. 

In normal cell mTOR oscillates under direct control of day light, supported by chemical signaling connecting eyes-brain and body. The better synchronization, the healthier organism is.   With age the synchronization is less efficient contributing to inflammation and cancer. So who will live longer?

Image is based on Heinrich Hoffman 1844 illustration to The Story of Augustus, who would not have any Soup.___ #ScienceMediaHype   on Growth Hormones
+Irene Riz shows why the media reports on billionaire investor Peter Thiel's growth hormone comments are scientifically inaccurate and irresponsible.

#science   #stem   #health  

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2014-12-26 23:24:20 (14 comments, 14 reshares, 86 +1s)Open 

Structural Coloration: From Blue Jays to Butterflies, find out how colors can be based on nanostructures instead of pigments. 

Researchers are working to understand how often-colorless biological nanostructures give rise to some of the most spectacular technicolor displays in nature.

So what do the feathers of blue-jays and peacocks, the blue eyes of some gorgeous women, the opalescence of some gem stones, and the blue sky above us all have in common? Math. Because none of them are actually blue: rather, they are all colorless, yet they scatter blue light but not larger wavelengths of light. Rayleigh scattering in the sky, and Tyndall Scattering in blue feathers and eyes. How does this work, exactly? With a delightful mixture of microbiology and physics. 

The formulas have an inverse fourth power dependence on the wavelength of the light  (λ^−4), which in English means the red and blue ends of the spectrum get treated differently, with the blue light being scattered, unlike the red light. Which accounts for why our sky is blue and not red or yellow or white, for instance. You can also see Tyndall scattering if you have friends who ride motorcycles: look for blue smoke spewed from them; the particles are provided by burnt engine oil, and they also scatter only the blue light. 

But it's much more unintuitive in feathers and eyes, because we know that pigments tend to cause coloring in animals, and they do for most other colors of feathers, for instance. But not for blue feathers; and not for the colors in the irises of our eyes. Blue feathers and eye colors are called "structural colors" because they are generated by light interacting with the 3-D shape of the colorless material, as opposed to a colored pigment or dye, which simply selectively absorbs some colors and reflects others. Note that pigments and dyes fade (think of your old blue-jeans or tie-dyed shirts that have faded). Structural colors, on the other hand, can easily last for hundreds or thousands of years or more in the feathers after the animal has died.

With blue feathers, blue-jays and other blue birds as well have no blue pigment at all of any kind in their feathers. Rather, blue-jay feathers consist of extremely small specialized cells. As the feather grows, keratin elongates in the cells and separates from water. Then when the cell dies, the water evaporates and the keratin forms permanent, honeycombed, sponge-like structures, called “barbs” in blue jays. These structures absorb the red end of the spectrum and scatter and reflect the blue end, thus making the blue-jay appear blue to us. 

In our eyes, the colored part, the iris, is composed of two cell layers: the front stroma layer; and the rear epithelium layer. The stroma consists of colorless collagen fibers. The stroma only occasionally will contain brown melanin pigmentation, but sometimes is totally colorless, containing no melanin. When this occurs, and the stroma is colorless, we have blue eyes, because when light enters the eyes the blue light gets scattered and reflected back out. This also accounts for the variations in the shades of color of someone's blue or green eyes, depending on the lighting they are in.

Article on eyes: 
https://medium.com/@ptvan/structural-eye-color-is-amazing-24f47723bf9a 
Article on Rayleigh scattering in the sky:
http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/General/BlueSky/blue_sky.html
Article on the why the Martian sky is Pink, and not Blue:
http://www.doublexscience.org/everyday-science-why-is-the-sky-pink/
Article on blue feathers below.

#scienceeveryday   #sciencesunday   #physics   #microbiology  ___Structural Coloration: From Blue Jays to Butterflies, find out how colors can be based on nanostructures instead of pigments. 

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2014-12-08 02:42:25 (9 comments, 48 reshares, 137 +1s)Open 

Airborne or Droplets: Know the Difference

A useful graphic that explains how viruses are transmitted through different routes. 

Viruses can spread through the air in two ways: inside large droplets that fall quickly to the ground (red), or inside tiny droplets that float in the air (gray). In the first route, called droplet transmission, the virus can spread only about 3 to 6 feet from an infected person. In the second route, called airborne transmission, the virus can travel 30 feet or more___Airborne or Droplets: Know the Difference

A useful graphic that explains how viruses are transmitted through different routes. 

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2014-12-04 18:45:08 (3 comments, 14 reshares, 40 +1s)Open 

In 15 minutes we'll be discussing bullying and school violence with +Dr. Pescara-Kovach's School Violence Prevention and Intervention. Got questions? Feel free to submit them using the Q & A app.

In 15 minutes we'll be discussing bullying and school violence with +Dr. Pescara-Kovach's School Violence Prevention and Intervention. Got questions? Feel free to submit them using the Q & A app.___

2014-11-22 19:19:51 (3 comments, 15 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

Young people are victimized by bullies at an alarming rate and the consequences have tragic effects on teens, parents, schools and communities. We hope you can join us on 12/4 as we chat with +Dr. Pescara-Kovach's School Violence Prevention and Intervention  about the research on school violence and bullying. Dr. Pescara-Kovach teaches courses in the field of human development as well as graduate level seminars on the causes, consequences, and prevention of school violence. She is co-chair of U.T.’s Anti-Bullying Task Force and author of “School Shootings and Suicides: Why We Must Stop the Bullies.” You can learn more about Dr. Pescara-Kovach's research by clicking on the links below.

http://www.utoledo.edu/education/depts/efl/faculty/kovach/index.html 
www.preventingbullying.org
www.oregoncs.orgwww.oregoncs.org 
http://www.utoledo.edu/tlc/bully 

Young people are victimized by bullies at an alarming rate and the consequences have tragic effects on teens, parents, schools and communities. We hope you can join us on 12/4 as we chat with +Dr. Pescara-Kovach's School Violence Prevention and Intervention  about the research on school violence and bullying. Dr. Pescara-Kovach teaches courses in the field of human development as well as graduate level seminars on the causes, consequences, and prevention of school violence. She is co-chair of U.T.’s Anti-Bullying Task Force and author of “School Shootings and Suicides: Why We Must Stop the Bullies.” You can learn more about Dr. Pescara-Kovach's research by clicking on the links below.

http://www.utoledo.edu/education/depts/efl/faculty/kovach/index.html 
www.preventingbullying.org
www.oregoncs.orgwww.oregoncs.org 
http://www.utoledo.edu/tlc/bully ___

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2014-11-16 05:28:57 (5 comments, 33 reshares, 124 +1s)Open 

Breathe, Breathe in the Air

+Rich Pollett brings us extreme closeups of insects breathing. Watch the spiracles rise and fall as air is pumped through a system of breathing tubes, as seen in this infograph: http://tabletopwhale.com/2014/10/24/3-different-ways-to-breathe.html 


A Giant Texas Katydid (Neobarrettia spinosa) chirping, breathing, and grooming is way more captivating than I expected it might be. Have you ever looked so closely at an insect? I don't mean macrophotography. I'm talking about extremely close-up footage of a bug in motion. Insects respire a lot differently than us.

Like us however, they depend on oxygen to fuel their cellular processes, but instead of breathing through their mouths, they take in air through a series of tiny holes called spiracles. These spiracles are distributed along an insect's exoskeleton, and act as portals to a ramifying network of tiny, internal, fluid-filled tubes called tracheae, which the insect uses in place of lungs. Air enters through the spiracles and diffuses down the tracheae. Oxygen from the atmosphere is delivered to the insect's cells, where it is exchanged for carbon dioxide. CO2 is then emitted back into the atmosphere via the tracheael system, typically through spiracles located toward the rear of the insect.

Video by precarious333:
Neobarrettia spinosa (Giant Texas Katydid) adult male

Texas Entomology: http://texasento.net/Neobarrettia.htm

#science #scienceeveryday #entomology #grooming
#respiration #spiracles #tracheae  
.___Breathe, Breathe in the Air

+Rich Pollett brings us extreme closeups of insects breathing. Watch the spiracles rise and fall as air is pumped through a system of breathing tubes, as seen in this infograph: http://tabletopwhale.com/2014/10/24/3-different-ways-to-breathe.html 

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2014-11-15 02:37:31 (22 comments, 27 reshares, 128 +1s)Open 

Soap Science!

SoG+ community member J Bennet shares the cool chemistry behind his soap making hobby with us. Have you ever tried making soap? 

I plan to make a batch of soap this weekend, and I thought it might be interesting to bring up here. Soapmaking is a simple home craft, but there's some interesting science behind it.

For one thing, what exactly is soap? It's sort of waxy, but it's not wax. It's sort of oily, but it's not oil. It turns out that soap is a kind of salt, the thing you get when you react acid and metal. The soap we use for bathing is made with a lye solution (sodium hydroxide and water) and any number of vegetable or animal oils.

In the soap-making reaction, called saponification, the sodium in the lye is the metal. That's for bar soap. For liquid soap you use potassium hydroxide. The acid comes from the oils, which are made of triglycerides. A triglyceride is a glycerol molecule with three fatty acid molecules attached.

The characteristics of your soap depend on the fatty acids in the oils you choose, since each type of acid yields a different salt. You might even see the names on some soap packages. Sodium cocoate is the salt (really a mixture of salts) you get when making soap with cocoa oil. Sodium palmate comes from the palmitic acid in palm oil, and it's also where the "palm" in napalm comes from.

Like any chemical operation, you have to be careful about amounts. Too much lye for the oils you use, and your homemade soap will have drain cleaner as the secret ingredient. It's a harsh way to exfoliate. That's why soap recipes use extra oil, typically around 4% to 10%. Soapers call that superfatting. It makes sure that all your lye will react, and the extra oil helps moisturize your skin.

It's a fun hobby, relatively safe if you're careful with the lye, and a good example of how even non-scientists can use science to make life smell better.

A final interesting (I hope) point. You make soap with lye, water, and oil. A similar process using lye, alcohol, and oil yields biodiesel.___Soap Science!

SoG+ community member J Bennet shares the cool chemistry behind his soap making hobby with us. Have you ever tried making soap? 

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2014-11-12 00:37:12 (13 comments, 13 reshares, 67 +1s)Open 

What did you think of the science in Interstellar? The film was based on the ideas of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne and Neil deGrasse Tyson thought the science was credible. 

Science of Interstellar
Theoretical physicist Professor Kip Thorne served as a scientific advisor to director Christopher Nolan on his film, Interstellar. Professor Thorne was a academic at California Institute of Technology from 1967 to 2009 and remains an Emeritus Professor. Professor Thorne has released a book explaining the science behind the script, including discussion of wormholes, black holes and interstellar travel (http://goo.gl/KF5kQW).

Professor Thorne tells +Nature News & Comment that the initial idea for the film came from him and his producer and colleague Lynda Obst, which initially interested Steven Spielberg, but that the Nolan brothers eventually took over the script and changed most of it except the "warped space-time and splendidly fulfilled our vision of a science-fiction movie with real science woven deeply in its fabric." Thorne's equations were used to "compute what a camera would see through the wormhole": He explains:

"Black holes do not emit light, so you visualize them through gravitational lensing — how they bend light from other objects. I took equations based on Einstein's general theory of relativity and created a description of a wormhole with three parameters: diameter, interior length and the degree of flare where the wormhole joins the external Universe." (http://goo.gl/YBAorD)

You can watch Prof. Thorne speaking about his scientific input in the video below or head to the film's website to see more of the science as it appears in the film, including Prof Thorne's equations! (http://goo.gl/GoegmQ) .  

Thumbs Up for Science
Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has been critical of the science in other films like Gravity, has given Interstellar the nod of approval in terms of its depiction of science. On Twitter, deGrasse Tyson says the science is solid, and except for critiquing a scene involving violence between two scientists, he also notes that the film is notable in having depicted gender diversity amongst its central STEM characters. Below are his tweets:

In  #Interstellar: The producers knew exactly how, why, & when you’d achieve zero-G in space. http://goo.gl/ogDgTF

In #Interstellar: You observe great Tidal Waves from great Tidal Forces, of magnitude that orbiting a Black Hole might create. http://goo.gl/dY2OOU

In #Interstellar: You enter a 3-Dimensional portal in space. Yes, you can fall in from any direction. Yes, it’s a Worm Hole. http://goo.gl/fgdpYQ

In #Interstellar: They reprise the matched-rotation docking maneuver from "2001: A Space Odyssey," but they spin 100x faster. http://goo.gl/Ydsk79

In #Interstellar: Of the leading characters (all of whom are scientists or engineers) half are women. Just an FYI. http://goo.gl/2N4dtk

In #Interstellar: On another planet, around another star, in another part of the galaxy, two guys get into a fist fight. http://goo.gl/uG3w67

In #Interstellar, if you didn’t understand the physics, try Kip Thorne’s highly readable Bbook “The Science of Interstellar" http://goo.gl/eCWF5C

In #Interstellar: They explore a planet near a Black Hole. Personally, I’d stay as far the hell away from BlackHoles as I can http://goo.gl/yGzY75

Hollywood Meets Science
Thorne is not the first high-profile scientist to consult on a big budget film, of course. Professor Brian Cox for example was the Science Advisor on Danny Boyle's Sunshine. While the basis of the science for the film was correct, Cox has explained that the producers asked him to tweak the science. Watch him talk about how he "scientifies the film," in director Danny Boyle's words (http://goo.gl/JkhnJy).

Astrophysicist and +Science on Google+ moderator, Professor +Brian Koberlein,  recently wrote that while films are now aiming for stronger scientific "reality," he has mixed emotions about the impact of cinematic attempts to capture astrophysics. He argues that films can either help the public make an emotional connection to science, or feed misinformation:

"If a manned mission to Mars can be made with the hum of a computer rendering farm, what’s the big deal about landing on a comet. Our real triumphs pale in comparison to cinematic dreams. Then again, these dreams might actually inspire us to continue exploring. From cinematic dreams we may find the ambition to make them real."  (http://goo.gl/x3Jkf0)

Over to You, Science Lovers!
If you've seen the film, what did you think of the science? Please keep comments focused on science rather than other aspects of the plot please. Are there other films you love that are scientifically accurate?

#SoG+CuratorsChoice #science   #stem   #physics   #astrophysics   #space  ___What did you think of the science in Interstellar? The film was based on the ideas of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne and Neil deGrasse Tyson thought the science was credible. 

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2014-10-31 22:51:35 (11 comments, 26 reshares, 227 +1s)Open 

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Sun

Did you know the sun is a jack-o-lantern? Or... at least it looks like one if you use the right false colors? This is a real photograph of the sun taken in two colors. Those colors aren't actually orange and red... they're two flavors of x-ray at 171 and 193 angstroms. To visualize it, scientists translated those into "orange" and "red."

In any case, here's the sun wishing us happy halloween!

Source
I found this image on the wonderful blog by Tom Yulsman, ImaGeo.
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/imageo/2014/10/10/jack-o-lantern-sun/

#sun   #science   #halloween  ___Happy Halloween!

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2014-10-18 19:59:20 (25 comments, 21 reshares, 83 +1s)Open 

Black Doll, White Doll

A recreation of the famous 1940s experiment by the Clarks that was instrumental in the US Supreme court ruling that racial segregation was unconstitutional.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_and_Mamie_Clark 

News story on the newer version: http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/13/doll.study/

See what happens when kids grow up in a world of racial stereotypes 
The video shows a repeat of an old experiment where children can chose between two dolls. See these black children demonstrate a complete lack of self-esteem or even outright self-hatred by choosing a white doll (the 'nice one') over a black one while they are perfectly aware of their own skin color.

If all you hear and see are images where a black skin is linked with violence, crime and poverty, it's no wonder young kids already disassociate themselves of their own color. 

The original 1940s experiment by Kenneth and Mamie Clark led to the famous High Court decision to forbid racial school segregation. This small scale repetition of the experiment shows we still have a long way to go. 

The relevance for my own country of birth, the Netherlands, is that the national debate about 'Zwarte Piet', a blackface helper to the December celebration of 'Sinterklaas' is really important for black all children.

Black Pete is mostly played by white people, using black makeup, over the top afro wigs, golden earrings and large red lips. They act 'funny' by pretending to be stupid, while jumping around in an energetic way. 

They act as the little helpers to the wise, white, bearded Saint Nicolas who arrives on his even more white high horse...

The contrast can't be bigger and the stereotyping can hardly be more over the top. Complaints by the relatively small black community in the Netherlands are mostly put aside as 'it's all good fun and don't spoil the party for the children'. 

Maybe watching this little experiment helps realize defenders of this tradition realize that stereotyping does make children suffer.

Racism goes much deeper than skin; it really is a brain disease

#ZwartePiet   #BlackPete   #racism  ___Black Doll, White Doll

A recreation of the famous 1940s experiment by the Clarks that was instrumental in the US Supreme court ruling that racial segregation was unconstitutional.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_and_Mamie_Clark 

News story on the newer version: http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/13/doll.study/

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2014-10-15 23:57:10 (19 comments, 24 reshares, 94 +1s)Open 

Bats Go Viral

Are bats special? What is it about them that makes them congenial hosts to some of the most deadly viruses?

The Dark Knight Goes Viral
For some reason, many of the scariest virus on this planet - the Ebola virus, rabies, Marburg virus, and SARS coronavirus - seem to find a refuge in bats, of all things. Somehow, these little mammals seem to act as a flying reservoir for all kinds of nasties, but why?
Bats are an extremely diverse order of mammal; there are over 1200 known living species and they account for 20% of all known mammals. So is it simply because there are more bats around, then naturally there would be more viruses found in them?
Well, apart from their sheer diversity and being the only mammal capable of powered flight, there's a bit more to bat than that - it seems that bats also have a high prevalent of genes that encode for proteins which detect and repair DNA - and these genes happen to be the target for many viruses.
So with such an active DNA surveillance system in place, is that why bats are able to harbour such deadly viruses without being harmed by them? Or is that simply a coincidence, that because bats are known to be a reservoir for deadly viruses, so scientists are more likely look for such viruses in bats instead of other mammals, and thus "bats are special virus reservoirs" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Follow the link below to read the article by +nadia drake to find out more.
#scienceeveryday   #virology  ___Bats Go Viral

Are bats special? What is it about them that makes them congenial hosts to some of the most deadly viruses?

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2014-10-05 12:53:53 (25 comments, 99 reshares, 716 +1s)Open 

Iridium Flare

Iridium communication satellites can reflect sunlight from their antennas directly back to earth, resulting in a bright flash lasting a few seconds. The flares can be so bright that they sometimes damage sensitive astronomical equipment, but they are an impressive sight! Since most iridium satellites are controlled, you can predict when and where the flares appear. An Iridium flare looks like a star that moves slowly and quickly brightens, then slowly fades away. 

To spot one, check out http://www.wikihow.com/Find-an-Iridium-Flare

More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_flare

H/T to +Azlin Bloor who loves to spot iridium flares with her kids! 

Astrophotographer Mike Taylor caught this shot of a bright flash from an Iridium flare, the Milky Way, rolling cloud cover and an incredible amount of light pollution photographed from the Maine western mountains.___Iridium Flare

Iridium communication satellites can reflect sunlight from their antennas directly back to earth, resulting in a bright flash lasting a few seconds. The flares can be so bright that they sometimes damage sensitive astronomical equipment, but they are an impressive sight! Since most iridium satellites are controlled, you can predict when and where the flares appear. An Iridium flare looks like a star that moves slowly and quickly brightens, then slowly fades away. 

To spot one, check out http://www.wikihow.com/Find-an-Iridium-Flare

More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_flare

H/T to +Azlin Bloor who loves to spot iridium flares with her kids! 

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2014-09-29 09:44:47 (9 comments, 32 reshares, 95 +1s)Open 

Where's the Proof? Causation & Anecdotes
+Sam Andrews has written an excellent overview of some of the biggest issues facing science communication. In particular, getting the public to understand that correlation does not always equal causation and that scientific evidence trumps anecdotes. 

#SoG+CuratorsChoice #science   #scienceeveryday  

So what is all this science malarkey anyway?

The UK Science Council define science as ”the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence”

As the Council explain, this methodology has some criteria…
”Scientific methodology includes the following:
Objective observation: Measurement and data (possibly although not necessarily using mathematics as a tool)
Evidence
Experiment and/or observation as benchmarks for testing hypotheses
Induction: reasoning to establish general rules or conclusions drawn from facts or examples
Repetition
Critical analysis
Verification and testing: critical exposure to scrutiny, peer review and assessment

Sounds all pretty straight forward doesn’t it?  A bit too straight forward perhaps.  We don’t all have a background in science so it’s not surprising that at times there is some confusion over what science is, how it is done, and what it can actually tell us about the natural and social world.  Fortunately for us, there have been three excellent open access articles have been published in +The Conversation this week which address some of the issues for communicating science:

Where’s the proof in science?  There is none
Astrophysist Geraint Lewis from the +The University of Sydney kicks of this fabulous trio by explaining one of the misconceptions of science: proof.  Yes that’s right, science doesn’t really prove anything.  So what does it do?  In his article, Geraint hands the last word over to Richard Feynman.  I think I will to:
”I have approximate answers and possible beliefs in different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything.”
http://theconversation.com/wheres-the-proof-in-science-there-is-none-30570

Clearing up confusion between correlation and causation
Correlations are all to do with relationships between different factors.  Like chocolate and Nobel Prize winners.  Take a look at the graph below, produced by Franz Messerli of +Columbia University.  Apparently there is a correlation between chocolate consumption.  We can even put a number on this – a ‘P value’ to describe the ‘strength’ of the correlation.  In this case the value was 0.0001 – which means that “there is a less than one-in-10,000 probability of getting results like these if no correlation exists”  .  But as Mathematicians Jon Borwein and Michael Rose from the +University of Newcastle (UON), Australia explain, correlation does not imply causation, which means that increasing your chocolate consumption won’t increase your chances of winning the Nobel Prize.  http://theconversation.com/clearing-up-confusion-between-correlation-and-causation-30761

Why research beats anecdote in our search for knowledge
_”Certainty is seductive” writes Philosopher Tim Dean from the University of New South Wales, _”so we tend to cling to it.  We hunt for evidence that buttresses it, while ignoring or rejecting evidence that threatens to undermine it”.  Research, on the underhand, embraces uncertainty.  It isn’t about finding evidence to back your point of view, it’s about increasing our knowledge – and doing so with a scientifically backed evidence base.  For researchers, sometimes that means re-evaluating your point of view.  http://theconversation.com/why-research-beats-anecdote-in-our-search-for-knowledge-30654  


Image:  From Franz Messerli’s paper Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  Franz added a disclaimer to his paper, that he ”regular daily chocolate consumption, mostly but not exclusively in the form of Lindt's dark varieties.” Unfortunately the paper is behind a paywall, but if you fancied a look you can find it here www.dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMon1211064

#science #sciencesunday #scicomm___Where's the Proof? Causation & Anecdotes
+Sam Andrews has written an excellent overview of some of the biggest issues facing science communication. In particular, getting the public to understand that correlation does not always equal causation and that scientific evidence trumps anecdotes. 

#SoG+CuratorsChoice #science   #scienceeveryday  

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2014-09-21 14:37:48 (31 comments, 24 reshares, 166 +1s)Open 

#ClimateMarch 2014

Happening Now: New York City hosts 100K strong people's march to call for action on #climatechange , ahead of this week's U.N. General Assembly, which brings together 120 world leaders to discuss reducing carbon emissions that threaten the environment. Watch and Listen live on http://peoplesclimate.org/

"You can't fight climate change sitting on your couch and holding your breath," said Jamie Henn, spokesman for 350.org, which is organizing the event with more than a dozen other environmental, labor and social justice groups. The march will include celebrities such as musician Sting, scientists in lab coats, labor groups, 20 marching bands and floats powered by biodiesel vehicles or pulled by hand.

News story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/21/climate-march_n_5856836.html

#ScienceSunday  

#ClimateMarch 2014

Happening Now: New York City hosts 100K strong people's march to call for action on #climatechange , ahead of this week's U.N. General Assembly, which brings together 120 world leaders to discuss reducing carbon emissions that threaten the environment. Watch and Listen live on http://peoplesclimate.org/

"You can't fight climate change sitting on your couch and holding your breath," said Jamie Henn, spokesman for 350.org, which is organizing the event with more than a dozen other environmental, labor and social justice groups. The march will include celebrities such as musician Sting, scientists in lab coats, labor groups, 20 marching bands and floats powered by biodiesel vehicles or pulled by hand.

News story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/21/climate-march_n_5856836.html

#ScienceSunday  ___

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2014-09-17 03:18:44 (19 comments, 23 reshares, 124 +1s)Open 

Science is Massive on Google+
Here's a fantastic article on the "massive engagement" on Google+ communities! Journalist +Simon Owens has featured our community as one example of the dedicated discussions that take place on Google+, dispelling the myth still perpetuated by mainstream media that Google+ is a "ghost town." 

Simon quotes Google product manager +Danielle Buckley who says of G+ communities "People come up with really interesting ways of talking to each other that are community defined and make them really special." 

Thank you to all our members who make our community one of the top 10 largest communities on Google+ as well as an amazing place for smart science discussion! Simon highlights some of our favourite posts by our community members. Take a look!

HT +Johnathan Chung for the ping & +AlexanderHow... more »

Science is Massive on Google+
Here's a fantastic article on the "massive engagement" on Google+ communities! Journalist +Simon Owens has featured our community as one example of the dedicated discussions that take place on Google+, dispelling the myth still perpetuated by mainstream media that Google+ is a "ghost town." 

Simon quotes Google product manager +Danielle Buckley who says of G+ communities "People come up with really interesting ways of talking to each other that are community defined and make them really special." 

Thank you to all our members who make our community one of the top 10 largest communities on Google+ as well as an amazing place for smart science discussion! Simon highlights some of our favourite posts by our community members. Take a look!

HT +Johnathan Chung for the ping & +Alexander Howard  for posting. #science   #scienceongoogleplus   #stem   #scienceongoogle+   #scienceeveryday___

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2014-09-16 03:35:01 (5 comments, 21 reshares, 106 +1s)Open 

Philosophy and Mathematics
How much do you know about the so-called "father of science"? Rather than relying on traditional myths, the Greek philosopher Thales sought to explain natural phenomena through critical observation and the development of theory.  +Stuff That Matters! shows how his work has influenced various branches of mathematics, physics and other scientific areas.

Chosen for #SoG+CuratorsChoice by +Zuleyka Zevallos  #philosophy   #science   #mathematics   #socialscience  

Thales of Miletus, the father of science and natural philosophy 

Although this can be fairly argued, Thales of Miletus is usually regarded as the father of science. Also hailed as the first ever philosopher in the western hemisphere by Bertrand Russel, Thales was indeed a notable figure, without whose achievements, the journey of science and philosophy would have taken a serious toll (it might not have begun that early, had it been not for him). 

Thales was born in Ionia, in the 7th century BC, and he founded what was known as the Ionian school of thought, that produced many other notable early thinkers, including Anaximander and Anaximenes. 

Thales's contributions to scientific thought 

The early Greeks obviously lacked the scientific method that has been the tool of trade for us modern admirers of science. Thought, especially critical thinking, was serious in its infancy back in the time of Thales. That's why, although his ideas might appear too novice to most modern humans, he was still the one who breathed life into science and philosophy. 

1. Natural cause hypothesis Before Thales, all natural phenomena were thought to be the side-effects of some supernatural phenomena going on in the realm of the unseen gods and demons. However, Thales was the first person to put forward what is known as the natural cause hypothesis, which states that whatever we see all around us, are actually results of one or more underlying natural processes or causes. This also gave rise to the deductive reasoning, which enabled Thales to build certain early hypotheses of science. 

The natural cause hypothesis gave rise to natural philosophy, aka the early form of physics. 

2. The primal element: One of the most cherished notions of modern particle physics, fairly regarded as the greatest branch of science by many (including me), is to find the primary substance, the ultimate particle which constitutes everything. Modern M Theory introduces the nation of vibrating filaments of energy or strings, to account for the sheer diversity of particles in the standard model of particle physics today. 

However, even before Democritus and Leucippus who championed the early versions of the atomic hypothesis, Thales is known to have regarded water as the primary substance. This, he concluded, by observing that all living organisms need water to live, and water seems to be more abundant than land mass.

This was wrong, though, but it started the journey of finding the primary substance, and till this day that's continuing. 

3. Naturalism: The philosophy of naturalism developed as a result of Thales's idea that everything has a natural cause. For example, he is said to have remarked that magnets have life, but most probably, by life, he refers to something that would be analogous to the modern term property (in its scientific sense). 

Everything, according to Thales, is the result of something else. This sets forth the world in motion. It was truly the beginning of scientific thought with Thales. 

4. Mathematics as a branch of science: Prior to Thales, mathematics was used in many other parts of the world, including the ancient Babylon and the Rigvedic era in India. However, in the west at least, Thales was the first to fully use mathematics to predict natural events. It is rumoured that Thales had visited Egypt in his youth, and from there he learned the knowledge of mathematics and proto-astronomy. 

The first use of mathematics to predict natural events by Thales was a solar eclipse in 585 BC. This established a crucial idea, that mathematics is the science capable of describing the nature, although it would stay rather underdeveloped and crude for a long time, at least since the Renaissance. 

He also used mathematics to measure the heights of pyramids and other structures, which further emboldened this idea. 

5. Thales's theorem of mathematics: Well, this is pretty basic, and is known to most of us. But Thales was the first to formulate it mathematically, that the angle opposite to the diameter of a circle is always a right angle. 

Legacy 

The intellectual legacy of Thales continued with his disciples, the Ionian school of thought produced other brilliant thinkers as well. Even the Italian school of thought was influenced by him, arguably. 

Although this can be debated as to whether refer to Thales as the Father of science, I believe we can (and should_ argue in his favour.

Sources and reference

http://www.iep.utm.edu/thales/
http://math.mercyhurst.edu/~wrevak/thales.html ___Philosophy and Mathematics
How much do you know about the so-called "father of science"? Rather than relying on traditional myths, the Greek philosopher Thales sought to explain natural phenomena through critical observation and the development of theory.  +Stuff That Matters! shows how his work has influenced various branches of mathematics, physics and other scientific areas.

Chosen for #SoG+CuratorsChoice by +Zuleyka Zevallos  #philosophy   #science   #mathematics   #socialscience  

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2014-09-12 12:45:41 (19 comments, 56 reshares, 163 +1s)Open 

What is a Nanosecond?

One billionth of a second. One nanosecond is to one second as one second is to 31.7 years. But Grace Hopper explains it much better, and with charm and humor. A brief 2 minute video that is well worth the watch. Enjoy!  

Grace Hopper On Length

Want to get a visceral feeling for how fast a nanosecond is? Watch this video where Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, inventor of the compiler, discusses what a nanosecond is.

Really worth watching.
#scienceeveryday   #physics   #computerscience   #history   ___What is a Nanosecond?

One billionth of a second. One nanosecond is to one second as one second is to 31.7 years. But Grace Hopper explains it much better, and with charm and humor. A brief 2 minute video that is well worth the watch. Enjoy!  

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2014-09-04 19:27:33 (11 comments, 24 reshares, 133 +1s)Open 

We must look to nurture, not nature, for change +STEM Women on G+ publish their arguments on +nature.com blogs . 

Nature vs. Nurture: Girls and STEM

Why is there a gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)? You may have heard the arguments that girls find science “boring,” that attempts to bridge the gender divide “deny human biology and nature,” and that efforts to achieve gender equality in STEM fields are doomed. Attributing the gender gap to biology misses the obvious contribution of societal and institutional biases. Our article in +nature.com blogs explains how stereotype threats, lack of role models, social conditioning, unconscious bias and institutional practices create an environment where girls feel unwelcome and insecure in STEM fields. 

Why should we care if girls remain underrepresented in STEM? Apart from basic fairness, if we want our best and brightest working on innovative ideas and creative solutions, it makes little sense to potentially abandon half the population. We already face many hurdles; lack of funding, lack of jobs, and pushback from science denialists backed by populist politics. We need all hands on deck to forge ahead.

We must look to nurture, not nature, for change.

Read more: http://blogs.nature.com/soapboxscience/2014/09/04/nature-vs-nurture-girls-and-stem___We must look to nurture, not nature, for change +STEM Women on G+ publish their arguments on +nature.com blogs . 

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2014-08-25 22:43:11 (49 comments, 36 reshares, 199 +1s)Open 

Educating the Uneducated

Scientist must come together and educate their representatives!

Unscientific Politics

American politicians have claimed an ignorant stance on science because of their lack of education, there are only 6 scientist and 5 engineers in congress. However, we have 225 lawyers and 201 businessmen leading congress. While I don't expect every member of congress to read (and understand) the most recent studies in Nature, I do expect them to call their local university faculty for scientific advice. 

The current GOP strategy against climate change is pure ignorance:
John Boehner: Listen, I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change.
Rick Scott: I’m not a scientist.
Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist. I’m not qualified to make that decision.

Battle of the Climate Minds
A group of ten scientist in Florida tried to educate Rick Scott with a short course on climate change. They personally sent a letter to the Governor:

In short, Florida is one of the most vulnerable places in the country with respect to climate change, with southeastern Florida of particular concern.

This is not a hypothetical. Thousands of scientists have studied the issue from a variety of angles and disciplines over many decades. Those of us signing this letter have spent hundreds of years combined studying this problem, not from any partisan political perspective, but as scientists — seekers of evidence and explanations. As a result, we feel uniquely qualified to assist you in understanding what's already happening in the climate system so you may make the most effective decisions about what must be done to protect the state, including reducing emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants.

After receiving the letter, Scott agreed to a 30 minute information session from three environmental professors. Now Scott can't claim ignorance, the unbiased experts told him the facts. Rick Scott can not disagree with the scientific consensus in future debates or policy because of his unscientific credentials. 

The scientific community must come together and educate their representative.

Sources:
http://www.salon.com/2014/08/21/meet_the_scientists_who_sat_rick_scott_down_and_explained_climate_change_to_him/

http://www.salon.com/2014/07/16/scientists_offer_to_explain_climate_change_to_not_a_scientist_rick_scott/

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/florida-scientists-press-gov-scott-on-climate-change/2188637___Educating the Uneducated

Scientist must come together and educate their representatives!

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2014-08-25 12:31:46 (13 comments, 21 reshares, 151 +1s)Open 

Herpes and Global Warming

What do they have in common? Well, they are both bad news. It turns out that some people pay to avoid hearing potentially bad news. There's a point to be made from this research and the way we counter the looming clouds of climate change. Would you go to extraordinary lengths to diminish or ignore warning signs?

The ostrich effect

Why do people think ostriches stick their heads under the sand when they're scared?  A Roman named Pliny the Elder might be to blame.  He wrote that ostriches "imagine, when they have thrust their head and neck into a bush, that the whole of their body is concealed."  

That would be silly - birds aren't that dumb.  But people will actually pay to avoid learning unpleasant facts.  It seems irrational to avoid information that can help us survive.  But people do it.  It's called information aversion.

Here's a new experiment:

In order to gauge how information aversion affects health care, one group of researchers decided to look at how college students react to being tested for a sexually transmitted disease.

That's a subject a lot of students worry about, according to Josh Tasoff, an economist at Claremont Graduate University who led the study along with Ananda Ganguly, an associate professor of accounting at Claremont McKenna College.

The students were told they could get tested for the herpes simplex virus. It's a common disease that spreads via contact. And it has two forms: HSV1 and HSV2.

The type 1 herpes virus produces cold sores. It's unpleasant, but not as unpleasant as type 2, which targets the genitals. Ganguly says the college students were given information — graphic information — that made it clear which kind of HSV was worse.

"There were pictures of male and female genitalia with HSV2, guaranteed to kind of make them really not want to have the disease," Ganguly says.

Once the students understood what herpes does, they were told a blood test could find out if they had either form of the virus.

Now, in previous studies on information aversion it wasn't always clear why people declined information. So Tasoff and Ganguly designed the experiment to eliminate every extraneous reason someone might decline to get information.

First, they wanted to make sure that students weren't declining the test because they didn't want to have their blood drawn. Ganguly came up with a way to fix that: All of the students would have to get their blood drawn. If a student chose not to get tested, "we would draw 10 cc of their blood and in front of them have them pour it down the sink," Ganguly says.

The researchers also assured the students that if they elected to get the blood tested for HSV1 and HSV2, they would receive the results confidentially.

And to make triply sure that volunteers who said they didn't want the test were declining it to avoid the information, the researchers added one final catch. Those who didn't want to know if they had a sexually transmitted disease had to pay $10 to not have their blood tested.

So what did the students choose? Quite a few declined a test.

And while only 5 percent avoided the HSV1 test, three times as many avoided testing for the nastier form of herpes.

For those who didn't want to know, the most common explanation was that they felt the results might cause them unnecessary stress or anxiety.

Let's try extrapolating from this.  Global warming is pretty scary.  What would people do to avoid learning more about it?  You can't exactly pay scientists to not tell you about it.  But you can do lots of other things: not listen to them, pay people to contradict what they're saying, and so on.  And guess what?  People do all these things.

So, don't expect that scaring people about global warming will make them take action.  If a problem seems scary and hard to solve, many people will just avoid thinking about it.

Maybe a better approach is to tell people things they can do about global warming.  Even if these things aren't big enough to solve the problem, they can keep people engaged.

There's a tricky issue here.  I don't want people to think turning off the lights when they leave the room is enough to stop global warming.  That's a dangerous form of complacency.  But it's even worse if they decide global warming is such a big problem that there's no point in doing anything about it.  

The quote is from here:

• Shankar Vedantham, Why we think ignorance Is bliss, even when It hurts our health, http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/07/28/333945706/why-we-think-ignorance-is-bliss-even-when-it-hurts-our-health.

Here's the actual study:

• Ananda Ganguly and Joshua Tasoff, Fantasy and dread: the demand for information and the consumption utility of the future, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2370983.

The photo, probably fake, is from here:

http://www.ostrichheadinsand.com/___Herpes and Global Warming

What do they have in common? Well, they are both bad news. It turns out that some people pay to avoid hearing potentially bad news. There's a point to be made from this research and the way we counter the looming clouds of climate change. Would you go to extraordinary lengths to diminish or ignore warning signs?

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2014-08-21 08:02:34 (32 comments, 22 reshares, 153 +1s)Open 

Curator's Choice: Most Awesome Comment of the Day
Have you ever seen ice grow upward on your ice tray and wondered why?+Lyle Hardin was curious about why the bowl of ice he left out overnight turned out this curious configuration. Our Community had an interesting collective response! +Brady MacDonald noted this phenomenon is known as an Ice Spike. +Casey Webster explains:

"Water vapor gradients are strongest around edges of ice. The thinner and sharper of the edge or point, the stronger the gradient. This causes ice to preferentially grow where the gradient is stronger. With a good initial perturbation this results in a spike growing just as you pictured."

Kevin Lui from Caltech University shows that ice spikes tend to work better with distilled water. There is higher success of growing them "when the temperature is just belowfre... more »

Can anyone explain this phenomenon?  I found this on the deck a few years ago, one very cold morning. It was just a small glass bowl of water. Somehow, when it froze overnight, this happened. I wish I would've taken more photos and recorded the temperature, etc.___Curator's Choice: Most Awesome Comment of the Day
Have you ever seen ice grow upward on your ice tray and wondered why?+Lyle Hardin was curious about why the bowl of ice he left out overnight turned out this curious configuration. Our Community had an interesting collective response! +Brady MacDonald noted this phenomenon is known as an Ice Spike. +Casey Webster explains:

"Water vapor gradients are strongest around edges of ice. The thinner and sharper of the edge or point, the stronger the gradient. This causes ice to preferentially grow where the gradient is stronger. With a good initial perturbation this results in a spike growing just as you pictured."

Kevin Lui from Caltech University shows that ice spikes tend to work better with distilled water. There is higher success of growing them "when the temperature is just below freezing" and when installing a fan to blow the air in your freezer.  Lui should know; he investigated the Physics of ice spikes (http://goo.gl/8HUNmW). 

Stephen Morris, Professor of experimental nonlinear Physics at the University of Toronto, has also devoted his research to ice spikes. He notes in +Scientific American that ice spikes are more likely to be formed in an ice tray ("a container with vertical sides"), birdbaths or pet drinking dishes left out overnight. But he also notes: "It is rather rare for them to form naturally - like on the surface of lakes or ponds — because the cooling rate of natural bodies of water is usually not rapid enough. They can, however, sometimes form on falling sleet pellets." (http://goo.gl/KqJhq4). 

Want to see an ice spike growing at rapid speed or other science resources? Check out Morris' ice spikes webpage! (http://goo.gl/YOkXVi)

Chosen for #SoG+CuratorsChoice by +Zuleyka Zevallos who loves learning cool science from our Community members. #science   #physics   #ice   #icespike  

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2014-08-16 01:08:40 (34 comments, 128 reshares, 502 +1s)Open 

The Butterfly Whisperer

Watch this lovely Monarch Butterfly emerge from its cocoon. If you missed our previous share of +Carissa Braun's post on Monarchs and Milkweeds, catch it here: http://goo.gl/h5ZpDg

Also see Carissa's autoawesome pictures of the Queen Butterfly here: http://goo.gl/EZct3p  

Another Queen Emerges

I know I shared a butterfly-cocoon emerging last week, but this one was a bit more fun. The key to a successful hatching is to have the cocoon upside down. If it's pinned wrong, or if it falls, the butterfly will die. The wings may be permanently crippled or the butterfly may not be able to emerge. After emerging, the butterfly must remain upside down to let the wings successfully dry. Thankfully for this Queen, even though the cocoon fell, it decided to try to emerge while I was there. An interesting, and rather cool, experience. Just after, I let it grip a nearby stick so it could finish drying. :)

I used the Photo app to manual add motion. It's slightly off and repeats two photos, but it works well enough.___The Butterfly Whisperer

Watch this lovely Monarch Butterfly emerge from its cocoon. If you missed our previous share of +Carissa Braun's post on Monarchs and Milkweeds, catch it here: http://goo.gl/h5ZpDg

Also see Carissa's autoawesome pictures of the Queen Butterfly here: http://goo.gl/EZct3p  

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2014-08-15 21:50:50 (28 comments, 23 reshares, 111 +1s)Open 

June 2014, the warmest June on record

+Noah Diffenbaugh  presented this great figure below illustrating the continued increase in global temperature. June 2014 was the hottest June on record since the start of records in 1880.

This past June was 0.72 degrees celsius above the 20th century average!

This curators choice was chosen by +Jason Davison  because he loves climate science. 

Just Released: June 2014 Was The Warmest June On Record

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced that June 2014 had the warmest global temperature of any June since record keeping began in 1880:

"According to NOAA scientists, the globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for June 2014 was the highest for June since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 38th consecutive June and 352nd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average global temperature for June was in 1976 and the last below-average global temperature for any month was February 1985."

The image shows where the June 2014 temperature ranked relative to other Junes in the past 135 years for different areas of the globe. Reds show where June 2014 was warmer than average, and blue shows where June 2014 was cooler than average.

The full report (and image) are available here:
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/ncdc-releases-june-2014-global-report

#climatechange   #globalwarming   #science   #sciencecommunication  ___June 2014, the warmest June on record

+Noah Diffenbaugh  presented this great figure below illustrating the continued increase in global temperature. June 2014 was the hottest June on record since the start of records in 1880.

This past June was 0.72 degrees celsius above the 20th century average!

This curators choice was chosen by +Jason Davison  because he loves climate science. 

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2014-08-09 15:07:27 (9 comments, 87 reshares, 270 +1s)Open 

Science   #Caturday  

A fun post on the science behind the feline allure for catnip. Thanks, +Aida Hazlan !

The Chemical Behind Catnip's Effects on Cats

CATNIP: EGRESS TO OBLIVION?

- 4aα,7α,7aα-Nepetalactone is the specific isomer responsible for the catnip effect

☠ Firstly, nepetalactone will enter the cat’s nasal tissue, and there it will bind to certain receptors.

☠ These can then trigger particular sensory neurons to signal to other neurons, and eventually the brain; in particular, the ‘olfactory bulb’, a region at the front of the brain responsible for processing smells.

☠ This region then signals other regions of the brain, including the amygdala, responsible for emotional responses to stimuli, and the hypothalamus, responsible for behavioural responses to stimuli.

☠ This results in the observed response in cats – a response that is actually similar to their response to natural sex pheromones.

☠ The effect of catnip lasts for around ten minutes, and afterwards there will be a refractory period of around an hour where the cat will remain unaffected.

☠ Interestingly, not all cats are affected by catnip; the response is genetic, and autosomal dominant, which means if one parent passes on the gene, then the offspring will inherit the response. 

Article source: http://goo.gl/lTHpY7

Video by BBC Nature: http://goo.gl/wLvZ5B

Read more :  Inheritance of the catnip response in domestic cats , J. Hered (1962) 53 (2): 54-56 http://goo.gl/cCxU5a

#caturday #chemistry   #scienceeveryday  ___Science   #Caturday  

A fun post on the science behind the feline allure for catnip. Thanks, +Aida Hazlan !

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2014-08-08 12:40:15 (42 comments, 159 reshares, 495 +1s)Open 

Bad Meme Rising
Everyone loves a clever science meme! When done well, they educate and make us laugh; they inspire us with a pithy quote by a celebrated researcher; or they give us information that encourages us to see the world in a new way.

The trouble with memes is that many of them are misinformed at best - see almost every quote about Einstein. Bad memes reproduce incorrect myths about science - for example, the idea that people only use 10% of their brains is wrong; we use 100% of our brains all the time. At worst science memes contribute to science illiteracy, by perpetuating the idea that science is just about "pretty pictures" and that the details don't matter. Memes give factoids that people love to share but don't always bother to check if they're true. They sound cool - but is it science?

Our Community is... more »

Bad Meme Rising
Everyone loves a clever science meme! When done well, they educate and make us laugh; they inspire us with a pithy quote by a celebrated researcher; or they give us information that encourages us to see the world in a new way.

The trouble with memes is that many of them are misinformed at best - see almost every quote about Einstein. Bad memes reproduce incorrect myths about science - for example, the idea that people only use 10% of their brains is wrong; we use 100% of our brains all the time. At worst science memes contribute to science illiteracy, by perpetuating the idea that science is just about "pretty pictures" and that the details don't matter. Memes give factoids that people love to share but don't always bother to check if they're true. They sound cool - but is it science?

Our Community is inundated with memes and we strive to correct them wherever possible. Have you seen the one with this "fact"?: "If an alien in a galaxy 65 million years away is looking at us through a telescope right now, then they are looking at dinosaurs."

Sounds fascinating, right? This has been shared to our Community many times, and it continues to be shared even though we keep correcting it. One of our Moderators, Astrophysics Professor +Brian Koberlein corrected the information just the other day. He notes:

While it's an interesting idea, that isn't how things work.  For one, resolving images at a distance takes timed exposures, and that would blur out any dinosaur motion. For another, the region of space between us and 65 million years isn't completely empty, so light from Earth would be distorted by interstellar media and such.  Then there is the fact that the universe is expanding, so a telescope currently 65 million years away would be observing a region of time less than that now.

Basically the post takes a basic idea (that light travels at a finite speed), and draws a conclusion that simply isn't true. It is similar to the claim that since quantum mechanics is probabilistic, "anything is possible."

In short, no, it is not a fact.

At time of writing, there were dozens of comments beneath Brian's correction that continue to marvel about the incorrect science in the meme...

Have you seen other bad science memes? Share them with us in the comments and tell us why they're wrong. Our Community is striving to improve science education, so if there are some especially interesting corrections, we'll feature your writing on our Community and Page!

Image: Vector Belly: http://vectorbelly.com/electrical264.html

#science   #stem   #stemeducation   #scienceoutreach  ___

2014-08-08 10:26:18 (53 comments, 39 reshares, 53 +1s)Open 

Join us for a +Science on Google+  Hangout on Air as we speak to Professor +Vincent Racaniello and Dr +Tara C. Smith about the recent Ebola outbreak. We will discuss the basics of Ebola, why the epidemic has spread, how it might be curtailed, and debunk some of the myths surrounding this outbreak. Please leave your questions on the Event page.

Vincent is a professor of virology at the University of Columbia and is a fantastic science communicator. Tara is an epidemiologist at Kent State University who has written numerous articles debunking some of the myths surrounding Ebola. This HOA will be hosted by Dr +Buddhini Samarasinghe  and Dr +Zuleyka Zevallos. You can tune in on Sunday August 10th at 2.30 PM Pacific, 5.30 PM Eastern. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.

Join us for a +Science on Google+  Hangout on Air as we speak to Professor +Vincent Racaniello and Dr +Tara C. Smith about the recent Ebola outbreak. We will discuss the basics of Ebola, why the epidemic has spread, how it might be curtailed, and debunk some of the myths surrounding this outbreak. Please leave your questions on the Event page.

Vincent is a professor of virology at the University of Columbia and is a fantastic science communicator. Tara is an epidemiologist at Kent State University who has written numerous articles debunking some of the myths surrounding Ebola. This HOA will be hosted by Dr +Buddhini Samarasinghe  and Dr +Zuleyka Zevallos. You can tune in on Sunday August 10th at 2.30 PM Pacific, 5.30 PM Eastern. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.___

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