A Blog Around The Clock

Archives for April, 2008

My picks from ScienceDaily

Birds Can Detect Predators Using Smell: Many animal species detect and avoid predators by smell, but this ability has largely been ignored in the study of birds, since it was traditionally thought that they did not make use of this sense. However, it has now been discovered that birds are not only capable of discerning…

Today’s carnivals

Encephalon #44 is up on Cognitive Daily Carnival of the Green #125 is up on The Conservation Report

Welcome the newest SciBling!

Go say Hello to ERV (endogenous retro-virus)!

Why We Sleep: The Temporal Organization of Recovery: “If sleep does not serve an absolutely vital function, then it is the biggest mistake the evolutionary process has ever made,” Allan Rechtschaffen said. Studies of sleep and sleep deprivation suggest that the functions of sleep include recovery at the cellular, network, and endocrine system levels, energy…

A Pacemaker is a Network

This is going to be a challenging post to write for several reasons. How do I explain that a paper that does not show too much new stuff is actually a seminal paper? How do I condense a 12-page Cell paper describing a gazillion experiments without spending too much time on details of each experiment…


The human body represents to me the same universal innocence, timelessness and purity of all seed pods, suggesting the mother as well as the child, the parental as well as the descendant, conceived according to nature’s longings. – Ruth Bernhard

Hot Peppers – Why Are They Hot?

(First posted on July 21, 2006) Some plants do not want to get eaten. They may grow in places difficult to approach, they may look unappetizing, or they may evolve vile smells. Some have a fuzzy, hairy or sticky surface, others evolve thorns. Animals need to eat those plants to survive and plants need not…

The Clock Metaphor

Chad wrote a neat history of (or should we say ‘evolution of’) clocks, as in “timekeeping instruments”. He points out the biological clocks are “…sort of messy application, from the standpoint of physics…” and he is right – for us biologists, messier the better. We wallow in mess, cherish ambiguity and relish in complexity. Anyway,…


Words mean what they’re generally believed to mean. When Charles II saw Christopher Wren’s St. Paul’s Cathedral for the first time, he called it “awful, pompous, and artificial.” Meaning roughly: Awesome, majestic, and ingenious. – S. M. Stirling

UNESCO booklet on Open Access

UNESCO recently published and informative book: Open access to knowledge and information: scholarly literature and digital library initiatives; the South Asian scenario, which, from what I can see, can be easily modified for all other geographic areas as well. Perhaps it can be used as a template for publishing similar booklets for Africa, Eastern Europe,…