Life Science

My zombie story

The zombie plague was a dud. When the first cases emerged, scattered around the globe, everyone knew exactly how to put them down: destroy the brain. The world had been so saturated with zombie comic books, zombie TV shows, zombie novels, and zombie movies in the greatest, if unplanned, public health information program ever, that…

It’s been cephalopod week, and on Science Friday, they featured our old friend, the vampire squid.

Chris Mooney is galloping around on his anti-science education hobby-horse again. That’s a harsh way to put it, but that’s what I see when he goes off on these crusades for changing everything by modifying the tone of the discussion. It’s all ideology and politics, don’t you know — if we could just frame our…

Stinky stuff! This fits perfectly with my biased preconceptions. So here are two examples of chemistry used to analyze things you’d normally run away from. The oldest traces of human poop have been dug out of a cave in Spain — and it’s Neandertal poop. It’s about 50,000 years old, and it’s been reduced to…

  It is not surprising that Biwa salmon (image above), a subspecies of Oncorhyncus masou, do not adapt to seawater very well after having been landlocked in Lake Biwa, Japan for the last 500,000 years or so.  Researchers from Hokkaido University and Shiga Prefecture Fishery Experiment Station in Japan wanted to know what caused the salmon to…

New research published in PLOS Genetics shows that starving C. elegans (Caenorhabditis elegans) during the late larval stage of development when the worms are undergoing tissue growth and formation halts cellular activity at previously unknown checkpoints in their development. These findings show that nutrition is an important cue to signal whether or not the worms should…

The bad science of World War Z

World War Z was on the Netflix last night, so I made the mistake of watching it. It was terrible. Spoilers abound, so stop here if you care.

1– Herpes viruses are old. They are ooooooold. Like, hundreds of millions of years old. Specifically, about 400 million years old. 2– Herpes viruses are everywhere. Fish, reptiles, birds, cows, humans, everywhere. And there are lots of different kinds that humans have to deal with– CMV, EBV, HHV-8, VZV, HSV… 3– And, though herpes viruses should…

This one isn’t about the picture; go listen to the singing of the bats.

No, not evolutionary biology, too!

We’ve heard so much about bad behavior at conferences, and how sexist attitudes can suppress the contributions of women. And it doesn’t seem to matter what the conference is about: tech, gaming, atheism, skepticism, philosophy, you name it. Now Prof-Like Substance describes the scene at evolutionary biology conferences, explaining how many women are hesitant to…