lunedì 28 novembre 2016

# s-pnei: how social status alters immune function in macaques

<< Americans differ in life expectancy by more than a decade. Glaring health inequalities across the socioeconomic spectrum are often attributed to access to medical care and differences in habits such as smoking, exercise and diet. But a new study in rhesus monkeys shows that the chronic stress of life at the bottom can alter the immune system even in the absence of other risk factors. The research confirms previous animal studies suggesting that social status affects the way genes turn on and off within immune cells >>

Upward mobility boosts immunity in monkeys. Nov. 24, 2016

AA << combined genomics with a social status manipulation in female rhesus macaques to investigate how status alters immune function >>

AA << identify specific transcription factor signaling pathways that explain these differences, including low-status–associated polarization of the Toll-like receptor 4 signaling pathway toward a proinflammatory response >>

Noah Snyder-Mackler, Joaquin Sanz et al. Social status alters immune regulation and response to infection in macaques. Science  25 Nov 2016: Vol. 354, Issue 6315, pp. 1041-1045 DOI: 10.1126/science.aah3580

domenica 27 novembre 2016

# s-ecol: largely irreversible changes in the Arctic: 19 regime shifts to complex (chaotic?) transitions

<< Chapter 3 of the report examines 19 documented or potential  regime  shifts  in  the  Arctic  –  from  a  shift  to  sea- ice- free summers, to collapse of different Arctic fisheries, to the transformation of landscapes: from bogs to peatlands, or from tundra to boreal forest or to steppe >>

Arctic Council (2016). Arctic Resilience Report. M. Carson and G. Peterson (eds). Stockholm Environment Institute and Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm.

sabato 26 novembre 2016

# s-evol: more grey on their backs to camouflage (Meliphagidae and Acanthizidae songbirds)

<< Tropical birds are well known for their colorful appearance: vibrantly colored macaws, parakeets and parrots are widely considered to be the quintessential birds of this region. >>

<< But do birds evolve to become more colorful when they move to the tropics? >>

<<  "The pattern is really clear" Friedman [Nicholas Friedman]  reports, "birds living in the desert tend to be more grey on their backs, while birds living in the forest have evolved to be more of a dark green - we think they are evolving these colors to match their background." >>

<< This would be an example of natural selection, in this case more camouflaged organisms can survive and pass on their genes.
"These results help to explain the origins of the diversity of life, how species end up evolving different characteristics over time" >>

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. New research provides insight into plumage evolution. Nov. 4, 2016.

Friedman NR, Remes V. Ecogeographical gradients in plumage coloration among Australasian songbird clades. Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 2016  doi:10.1111/geb.12522 Publ.  Sept. 25, 2016.

giovedì 24 novembre 2016

# s-evol: smarter dinosaurs

<< Dinosaurs have a fearsome reputation for their hunting abilities but less so when it comes to their intelligence. >>

<< But the recent discovery of the first recorded fossilised brain tissue could help challenge that image >>

Alex Liu. First Dinosaur Brain Fossil Suggests They May Have Been Smarter Than We Thought. Oct 28, 2016.

Martin D. Brasier,  David B. Norman, et al. Remarkable preservation of brain tissues in an Early Cretaceous iguanodontian dinosaur. Geological Society, London, Special Publications(2016); SP448.3

lunedì 21 novembre 2016

# s-acad: after POTUS race: Scientists reactions, by

<< Trump victory generates shock, disbelief and fear of funding cuts. >>

<< Some foreign researchers working in the United States started thinking about leaving the country. >>

<< Around the world, researchers expressed sympathy and wondered how the election results might upset US research. >>

<< Other researchers said they were scared that a Trump presidency might reduce funding for science. >>

<< Some researchers expressed concern over the future of climate science. >>

<< And some scientists had more existential worries. >>

Lauren Morello. How scientists reacted to the US election results.  09 Nov2016


<< It is time for scientists and politicians alike to constructively engage with core issues — from climate change and energy independence to social inequality. >>

Reality must trump rhetoric after US election shock. 16 Nov. 2016


Tim Wallace. The Two Americas of 2016. Nov.16, 2016.

domenica 20 novembre 2016

# n-soc: you can not explain the inequality without

<< “A lot of research has focused on the role of markets in rising inequality, but they are missing a major cause,” Jacobs [David Jacobs] said. “You can’t explain income inequality without looking at political factors.” >>

Jeff Grabmeier. New evidence that politics, not economics, drives inequality. Oct. 26, 2016

David Jacobs and Jonathan C. Dirlam. Politics and Economic Stratification: Power Resources and Income Inequality in the United States. American Journal of Sociology, 2016; Vol. 122, Number 2, Sept. 2016.

venerdì 18 novembre 2016

# s-gst-evol: tiny tweaks to modulate  hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)

<< Millions of years ago, some plants in the mustard family made the switch from simple leaves to complex leaves through two tiny tweaks to a single gene. One tweak to a small enhancer sequence gave the gene a new domain of expression in the leaf. Paradoxically, the other tweak sub-optimised its function in this new domain. But together, these changes gave rise to fit plants with complex leaves. >>

P. Huijser. A small piece of DNA with a large effect on leaf shape. Nov. 17, 2016

Francesco Vuolo, Remco A. Mentink et al. Coupled enhancer and coding sequence evolution of a homeobox gene shaped leaf diversity. Genes & Development (2016). Nov.16, 2016, doi: 10.1101/gad.290684.116

lunedì 14 novembre 2016

# n-soc: POTUS after the race: a sadic consideration, by Jonah and Stephen

<< It  has  become  a  reflexive  pledge,  often  half-joking,  after  an  election:  Worried  about the  next  president?  Move  to  another  country. After  the  news  of  Donald  J.  Trump’s  victory  in  the  presidential  election  was confirmed  early  Wednesday,  many  Americans  apparently  considered  doing  just that.  One  likely  destination  was  north.  Late  at  night, Canada’s  citizenship  and immigration  website  crashed as  it  was  flooded  with  interest. >>

<< Stephen  J.  Farnsworth,  a  co-author  of  the  2013  book  “The  Global  President: International  Media  and  the  U.S.  Government”  and  a  professor  of  political  science at  the  University  of  Mary  Washington,  said  that  escaping  to  Canada  would  not shield  you  from  the  influence  of  a  President  Trump. >>

Jonah Engel Bromwich. Want  to  Move  to  Canada?  Europe?  Somewhere? Trump’s  Impact  Will  Follow  You. NYT. Nov. 9,  2016

FonT: forse (e si sottolinea forse)  vista la trascorsa sorprendente esclusione e autoesclusione di importanti personaggi dalla "POTUS race" (ad es. Michael R. Bloomberg, ) nella sopravveniente, impellente necessita' di confinare (se cosi' si puo' dire) un ipotetico (e si sottolinea ipotetico) Donald "dalle singolari bizzarrie in.onda giallo- carota- s.fumante" sarebbe (sarebbe stato) utile, anzi, forse indispensabile, avvalersi (anche) delle preziose  consulenze di una ipotetica Entita' "El Morisco" simile, cioe' una sorta di El Morisco, gia' naturalizzato negli States, capace di districare, in senso preventivo ma anche successivo, nell'ordalia d'intrecci multi- dimensionali a corde vibranti stazionarie sensibili alle modalita' a pulsivita' quasistocastica (quantistico-) transizionali (vale a dire il normale reale nel quale siamo normalmente  immersi e normalmente operiamo). D'altronde, come si e' notato in contesti ecologici, coli' dove esiste una ipotetica tossina (l'antigene) e' probabile si possa individuare anche il suo specifico ipotetico antidoto (l'anticorpo). Percio' una Entita' "El Morisco" simile potrebbe essere adatta a trattare (anche) un caso Donald ipotetico. Ovviamente questa e'  solo una ipotesi di prima approx,  anzicheforse.

"El Morisco". in: Gianluigi Bonelli, Aurelio Galleppini. Il signore dell'abisso. Tex e El Morisco.



domenica 13 novembre 2016

# zen-brain: a low-cost approach (without genetics and/or pharmacology) to become (hypothetically) smarter

<< ‘Superbrain Yoga’ is a quick exercise that can help to enhance your brain’s sharpness and clarity. The method is scientifically validated, according to Queensland Academics, and the practice is based on the principles of subtle energy and ear acupuncture. >>

Kelsey Drain. What Is Superbrain Yoga? How To Improve Cognitive Function With This Yogi Practice.
Nov 7, 2016 01:31 PM

Jane Sleeman. SuperBrain Yoga – a simple exercise to maximize brain power. Oct. 30, 2014

Kelsey Drain. The Science Of Acupuncture: Treatment Activates Opioids, Lowers Hypertension.
Nov 2, 2016 10:48 AM

lunedì 7 novembre 2016

# e-ai-media: an inspired incipit: Hey it's Nick. The race took a swerve this weekend ...

<< The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, Yahoo News and the non-profit Pro Publica are among news organizations using automated technology or messaging bots for coverage in the runup to Tuesday's vote or on election night. >>

<< Those signing up for the bot receive periodic short messages such as, "Hey it's Nick. The race took a swerve this weekend." >>

<< Confessore [Nick Confessore] said it was challenging to find the right formula for "a really short form of storytelling," in a text message, but noted that the bot allowed readers to "drill down further" to get more details. >>

Rob Lever. 'Bots' step up for 2016 election news coverage.  Nov. 5, 2016.

venerdì 4 novembre 2016

# p-usa: POTUS race: immediatly, they introduced a placebo within: the "Melania Effect" ...

<< “As adults, many of us are able to handle mean words, even lies,” she [Melania Trump] said in a speech aimed at winning over more female voters. “They hurt when they are made fun of or made to feel less in looks or intelligence. We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other.” >>

Mary Jordan. Very different Trump speech: A call by Melania for no more ‘mean words’. POST. Nov. 3, 2016


# s-pnei: placebo: increase in placebo perceptions (only in the US). 17 dicembre 2015


Marla Paul. Placebo sweet spot for pain relief identified in brain. October  27,  2016

Pascal Tetreault, Ali Mansour, et al. Brain Connectivity Predicts Placebo Response across Chronic Pain Clinical Trials. PLOS Biology, 2016; 14 (10): e1002570 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002570

martedì 1 novembre 2016

# s-behav: the intricate performance (dancing and singing) of a jumping spider

AA << present behavioral and neurophysiological evidence that [Jumping spiders (Salticidae)]  perceive and respond to airborne acoustic stimuli, even when the distance between the animal and the sound source is relatively large (∼3 m) and with stimulus amplitudes at the position of the spider of ∼65 dB sound pressure level (SPL) >>

<< Behavioral experiments with the jumping spider Phidippus audax reveal that these animals respond to low-frequency sounds (80 Hz; 65 dB SPL) by freezing—a common anti-predatory behavior characteristic of an acoustic startle response >>

<< Neurophysiological recordings from auditory-sensitive neural units in the brains of these jumping spiders showed responses to low-frequency tones (80 Hz at ∼65 dB SPL)—recordings that also represent the first record of acoustically responsive neural units in the jumping spider brain.  Responses persisted even when the distances between spider and stimulus source exceeded 3 m and under anechoic conditions. >>

Paul S. Shamble, Gil Menda, et al.
Airborne Acoustic Perception by a Jumping Spider. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.08.041 Publ. Oct. 13, 2016

Jaymi Heimbuch. Jumping spider males dance and sing ... Oct. 4, 2016.

FonT: sarebbe interessante valutare se e quanto tempo prima la struttura neuroacustica del Phidippus audax sia in grado di percepire e discriminare le basse freq dei movimenti  tellurici profondi che successivamente manifesteranno  macro episodi di superficie (earthquake).


Richard A. Lovett. Scientists Seek Foolproof Signal to Predict Earthquakes. National Geographic News. Jan. 5, 2013

Vanessa Bates Ramirez. Earthquakes Will Be as Predictable as Hurricanes Thanks to AI. Sep 27, 2016