Tag Archives: Links

Wednesday Links

Wednesday Links

Chiropractors playing to a parent’s deepest fear – SIDS. We don’t know what causes it, we know little about how to prevent it, but Chiropractors lay claim to secret knowledge and take advantage of new parents’ willingness to do anything for their children by lying to them.

Ed Yong tells an inspiring story of a triumph in genomic medicine. Lilly Grossman carries a gene mutation that fills her nights with shaking and seizures instead of sleep, but finding it delivers the treatment she needs to live an almost normal life. Grab your hankies.

This won’t make a lot of sense to many people, but an abstract that shows a possible neurobiological connection for skin picking and hair pulling (dermatillomania and trichitillomania) makes me think how nice it would be to eventually find a way to fix it.

Take this, people who think diet can prevent all disease. So there.

This may seem like a wonderful advancement in prosthetics, but can you say. . .mind control?!?!?

Recognize a pattern? Republican sticks to party platform, opposes gay marriage. Republican offspring comes out as gay. Republican weasels out of original stance.

I can’t say this where it’s appropriate, but you can tell when someone thinks he knows more than he actually does when he’s not even wrong. Unfortunately, the Dunning-Kruger effect means it will be impossible to educate him as to why this is so. He does not experience the discomfort of cognitive dissonance and learns only what strengthens his confirmation bias. Worse, this is willful ignorance and intellectual dishonesty. Rationalwiki is an appropriate source of information to reflect my repressed snarkiness. Enjoy.

Bookmark this site for when you need a good laugh or a healthy dose of schadenfreude. There is simply too much here for me to give it to you a bit at a time. Bask in its guanophrenic glory as it slowly loads the page bit by bit up to the top. If you really want to get in the spirit, go to the pantry and get some tinfoil to make yourself a party hat first.


Wednesday Links

Wednesday Links

Colin McGinn, in the New York Review of books, has plenty to say to Ray Kurzweil (and anyone else who thinks that brains are like computers) in his review of “How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed.”

The only people who think that there’s such a thing as genetic determinism are environmental determinists. So over at Discover online, An anthropologist explains the gene!

If these porn stars‘ before pictures were put up on facebook, there’d be no shortage of nasty comments about their looks. The transformations are amazing – and show how deceptive makeup can be!

Scientific American shares some interesting history about, um, butt-wiping.

I suppose if you’re going to major in something dangerous, it helps to be able to laugh about it.

When I first saw the video of this amazing small space, I didn’t think about much else but how cool it was. Gawker, on the other hand, has some insightful things to say about its owner’s exhortation to “live with less.”


I saw this adorable page of what looked like a pet otter. Obviously, I needed to read it in English to find out um, what goes into obtaining caring for one of these sweet little creatures. Let’s just say that Google translate still has a few bugs to work out! (I’m especially fond of the picture subtitled, “Dark, dark, dark cousin dark ~ ♪ ~ ♪ ~ Dai favorite Crotch, crotch, crotch crotch us ~ ♪ ~ ♪ ~ Dai favorite”)

Wednesday Links

Wednesday Links

Do yourself a favor and buy or download The Holy Family. It’s a story that follows a man on his path from faith to unbelief, and shows eloquently how he manages to live and love with triumph and tragedy, just like any other person. Even if it hadn’t been written by a friend of mine, I’d be telling you to read it.

A pharmacist weighs in on the (lack of) benefits of dietary supplements.

Researchers have a new tool to help find the genetic causes of disease. Edit the genome of a stem cell and see if it gets sick. . .sounds crazy, but it seems to have potential!

Right after reading an essay by neuropsychologist Vaughn Bell about how the human brain is not as simple as we think, which talks about how neuroscience findings are being dumbed down and twisted to confirm folk wisdom even when they don’t. . .there’s an example of this very thing in action. Athena Andreadis writes in a Scientific American blog about a language gene study being misinterpreted as scientific confirmation that women talk more than men. (N.B., that’s not what it says. . .) Which, of course, brings me back to Dr. Steven Novella’s excellent post from December about why people turn to alternative medicine. Confirmation bias trumps cognitive dissonance every time.


Wednesday Links

Wednesday Links

Sorry for the paucity of links this week, but I have been spending a significant portion of my days either sleeping or wandering about wishing I were asleep. This should keep you busy for a little while, though.

Carl Zimmer explains what’s up with the wrinkly brains.

Theory of Mind describes our ability to understand the emotions and thoughts of others by relating them to our own. Rebecca Saxe is using fMRI to study how it develops.

The Human Brain Map Project proposed by President Obama sounds really cool, but some scientists have what sound like legitimate gripes about it.

Jon Stewart interviewed Steven Brill about his Time Magazine Article, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us, and didn’t ask him too many tough questions about his information. However, Matthew Iglesias did in Slate, and David Dobbs agreed and added a story of his own as illustration on Wired. (H/T to Miss Cellania)

Gorillas playing in leaves!!

Wednesday Links

Wednesday Links

Welcome to another edition of Wednesday links. As you can see, I have been reading instead of writing. I hope to have some actual original content for you all in the near future. In the meantime, have some links:

The Discovery Institute feels sorry for my students is an excellent smackdown of Intelligent Design and the “cdesign proponentsists” who support it.

Several states are looking into legitimizing Naturopathy through legislation (as opposed to making sure its practitioners know anything about medicine.) Pretty Scary Stuff.

Fayhan al-Gamdi may actually be punished a little more for the brutal murder and rape of his five year old daughter, Lama. The Saudi royal family is shocked! Shocked, I say! Even though activist groups are pointing out that this kind of thing happens all the time.

Ben Hardwidge could give these folks a lesson or two. In Confessions Of A Former Misogynist he explains his mindset as a proud misogynist and the course of his enlightenment. He likens it to escaping from a religious cult, and I think that’s pretty apt.

And The Curious Case of Reeva Steenkamp’s Boyfriend has some food for thought about why we’re so concerned about the perpetrator but not the victim.

In case you’re not tired of women being hurt when they can’t fight back, read this piece by Amanda Marcotte about a woman who died in surgery, so we should abolish surgery.


Epigenetics Links

Epigenetics Links

Starting with the easiest one. . .Hank from scishow (subscribe!!) explains epigenetics:

And Scitable, the student section of Nature Online, explains some of the history of the discovery of epigenetics. (Again, subscribe. This is a great place to get free, reputable science information that’s easy to understand.)

Three videos of talks from Harvard graduate students about epigenetic studies in mice. Part 1, part 2, and part 3. They’re a good introduction, but make note that the longevity of the epigenetic effect described turned out to be not quite as promising as they thought it would be back when these were made.

FAQ about the epigenome from the National Human Genome Research Institute.

A good overview, maybe not for an absolute novice, but it comes with pictures: Epigenetics

P. Z. Myers gives an overview from the perspective of a university biology professor.

Jerry Coyne, author of “Why Evolution is True”, has several good posts about it on his blog, here, here, here, here, and here.

ERV gets into some of the more complex aspects of what it is here.

Kevin Mitchell goes into some of the problems surrounding epigenetics and its misunderstanding. Part 1 and part 2.

And, of course, the incomparable Orac both explains what epigenetics is and how it’s not what quacks are telling you it is here. Not only will you understand it better, but you’ll be able to spot the lying liars.

A study on the possible epigenetic changes in twins.

Questions begin to arise about the heritability of environmental epigenetic changes, and whether animal models translate to humans in this study from Nature.

Wednesday Links

Wednesday Links

A collection of photos that show beauty in decay.

Did the ancient Egyptians play Dungeons and Dragons?

Now I’m going to have to learn more about mitochondrial DNA – P.Z. Myers explains why your mother’s mDNA might influence your lifespan.

It looks like the FDA is finally putting the moves on fake cancer doctor Stanislaw Burzynski

But the FDA is powerless right now when it comes to protecting us from other, potentially more dangerous medical threats. Now that Massachusetts has finally gotten its act together and actually inspected its compounding pharmacies, only 4 out of 37 passed.

Greg Laden goes to visit a creationist science fair. At least these kids are homeschooled. Some politicians want us to pay for this kind of education with our tax dollars.


Wednesday Links

Wednesday Links

It’s Wednesday, and I actually planned ahead for this. Enjoy the links!

The saddest web server in the world really, really regrets giving you a 404 page.

Speaking of sad, this is some basic information about the working poor in America. John Scalzi wrote a personal perspective back in 2003 that is still relevant today – and still not understood by people who don’t have to struggle.

And speaking of people who don’t understand. . .Farhad Manjoo over at Slate pitches a hissy fit about two spaces after a period. Only recently has it come to my attention that I’ve been DOING IT WRONG for 40 years. Until I read this article, I was considering trying to overcome the habit that was instilled in me in high school typing class, but now I’ll keep doing it just to piss off people like this. So there.

Carl Zimmer talks about modularity in The Parts of Life and a computer model of the eye that might explain how this evolved in nature.

This one reminds me of a discussion with someone who apparently thought that dogs were just wolves that had been trained by humans to be tame. It was a silly idea, especially since dogs have been so obviously bred by purpose by man. Virginia Hughes, in People and Dogs: A Genetic Love Story, explains how dogs’ ability to digest starch is key to understanding how they came to be companions to humans.

Good news for anyone who might need a CT scan in the future: Next-generation CT scanner provides better images with minimal radiation It just got approved, so it might be a while before the machines are easy to find, but now you know they’ll be out there somewhere.

Infactorium takes on the problems caused by gathering up funds for research and has some ideas to make things better here.

These are not otters, but they are close, and having a wonderful time:

OK, I’ll give you an otter, but only because you insist. Video after the pics.

Wednesday Links

Wednesday Links

Some of these are actually old, but I’ll bet they’re new to you! Most bloggers put up regular link pages on Fridays or Saturdays, some will go for Sundays or Mondays. I procrastinate, so I pick Wednesday. These will be individual articles, not the massive collections of information I put up earlier this week. Eventually there will be stuff besides science, but right now I’m on a roll because I lost my regular outlet. However, I will try to keep up with cute otter news.


The Great and Powerful (Dr.) Oz, dissected inThe New Yorker. Orac tells us exactly why we need to stop listening to Doctor Oz.

Seeking Common Ground in the Syndromes of Autism Where does the genetic predisposition for autism lie?

Robustness and fragility in neural development In fact, where do the genetics for any neurological differences lie?

NIH study advances understanding of movement control “Voluntary movements involve the coordinated activation of two brain pathways that connect parts of deep brain structures called the basal ganglia, according to a study in mice by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health. The findings, which challenge the classical view of basal ganglia function, were published online in Nature on Jan. 23.”

Neuroskeptic tells us How To Respond to Criticism and does a pretty darned good job of it.

If you try one detox this year, make it this one
Detox your brain!

Emily Willingham gives us 10 Questions To Distinguish Real From Fake Science and they are all very good ones.

No link roundup would be complete without. . .OTTERZ!!!

Brain Function, Brain Anatomy Linky Goodness!

Brain Function, Brain Anatomy Linky Goodness!

Do you want to understand the structure and function of your brain? Are you curious about how brain anatomy affects behavior and thinking? I have some good sites for you!

brain diagram

If you have to start somewhere, this site, The Brain from Top to Bottom is a great place. Not only is it indexed based on brain function, but you can select from three levels of understanding, based on your current knowledge of brain anatomy and functions.

UNDERSTANDING HOW THE BRAIN WORKS Written by Glen Johnson, a Clinical Neuropsychologist, this is a pretty understandable general overview.

MyBrainNotes™.com was written by Sarah-Neena Koch as a way to understand the structures of the brain and brain functions for a novel she was writing. The end result is pretty impressive – it’s pretty comprehensive while also being comprehensible. You should be able to understand it, and there are lots of embedded links.

Chapter Two of “Psychology, an Introduction” by Russ Dewey: The Human Nervous System has some description of brain anatomy and functions, and also covers certain deficiencies that result from brain injuries or hereditary differences. Again, more basic, because it’s not written for neurologists.

Patrick McCaffrey has an online syllabus and course supplements for a class on Neuroanatomy of Speech, Swallowing and Language and an equally informative set of pages on Neuropathologies of Language and Cognition

Anatomy of the Brain
from The Mayfield Clinic is designed for patient education, and has illustrations to make the information more understandable.

Keith A. Johnson, M.D. and J. Alex Becker, Ph.D. from Harvard compiled The Whole Brain Atlas which takes a more neuroanatomical view with a focus on specific injuries and diseases.

The Allen Brain Atlas is “A growing collection of online public resources integrating extensive gene expression and neuroanatomical data, complete with a novel suite of search and viewing tools.”

“Welcome to Neuroscience Online, the Open-Access Neuroscience Electronic Textbook! This online, interactive courseware for the study of neuroscience is provided by the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.”