Education

The hummingbird micropump

A new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences provides evidence that hummingbird tongues act like micropumps when drinking nectar. This finding is in contrast to the long-held belief that their tongues use capillary action to pull in fluids. A team of researchers from the University of Connecticut used high-speed film to…

Back to School!

Classes started on Monday. I’m actually pretty happy about that. This summer was rather hectic and stressful in many ways. Also productive, but still. It was basically a good counterexample to the clueless types who insist that teachers only work nine months out of the year. For me, the summer tends to be harder work…

On Advising Students to Fail

Slate’s been doing a series about college classes everyone should take, and one of the most heavily promoted of these has been a piece by Dan Check urging students to take something they’re terrible at. This is built around an amusing anecdote about an acting class he took back in the day, but as much…

Answer: pregnancy. Unlike most animals, it is the male seahorses that give birth to live young. A new study conducted at the University of Sydney and published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, found that the male seahorses not only carry out the pregnancy, they also supply nutrients to the developing embryos, including fats and calcium. The researchers suspect…

A couple of articles came across my feeds in the last day or two that highlight the truly important cultural divide in academia. Not the gap between sciences and “humanities,” but the much greater divide between faculty and administration. This morning, we have an Inside Higher Ed essay from Kellie Bean on the experience of…

Another new study published in Nature Communications shows follows along with the prior post and shows that ancestral dogs were ambush hunters that evolved from forest dwelling animals similar to a mongoose (or a cat).  An international team of researchers studied archived samples of elbows and teeth of multiple species of dogs that lived between 40 – 2…

Proof cats outcompete dogs?

New research suggests that cats may have played a role in the extinction of about 40 species of wild dogs by simply out-hunting them and therefore consuming more food. The study noted that dogs first appeared in North America around 40 million years ago and by 22 million years ago there were over 30 species of wild dogs. Cats arrived…

Malnutrition during pregnancy is a major global health issue that leads to restricted growth of developing fetuses making them more prone to death and disease. In fact, babies born from poorly nourished mothers are more likely to develop obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease as adults. Researchers from the University of Colorado and University of Texas Health…

“I Spy Physiology”

I came across the “I Spy Physiology” blog today from the American Physiological Society. The blog focuses on physiological topics relevant to daily life. There are also a couple of comparative physiology gems in the blog that you can view using the links below: How birds my help us understand diabetes How research on walking stick…

Comedy on College Campuses

It used to be a major American art form for white actors to cover themselves in make-up and pretend to be black. This persisted for roughly a hundred years, from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. What a golden age for comedy that must have been! As recently as the 1970s we had shows like…