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What we're talking about Craniate Kith and Kin Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Craniate Kith and Kin

Good news, everyone! The US Fish and Wildlife Service has decided that captive chimpanzees deserve the same protection as wild chimpanzees. We’ve been living for years with a peculiar split decision that says it is illegal to experiment on some chimps, the ones still living in the wild, but other chimps, those that live in…

We hear this all the time. Pig physiology is like people physiology. Pigs and humans have the same immune system, same digestive system, get the same diseases. Pigs are smart like people are smart. Pigs are smarter than dogs. And so on. Ask a faunal expert in archaeology or a human paleoanatomist: Pig teeth are…

  Another reason to marvel at dolphins. As a follow up to the previous blog on dolphins calling each other by name, new research from Dr. Jason Bruck at the Institute for Mind and Biology (University of Chicago) shows that dolphins have the longest memory known in animals. In addition to Kai, shown above, a…

As researchers continue to document the intelligence and emotional acuity of animals, beasts begin to look more like brethren, and food more like friend. On Pharyngula, PZ Myers shares a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that accords chimpanzees used in research the same endangered status as their wild counterparts. According to Science, "organizations that want to continue working with chimpanzees will have to document that the work enhances the survival of the species and benefits chimps in the wild." PZ writes, "I want to see more studies done on our closest relatives — but it has to be done in a way that respects their right to live." Meanwhile, Greg Laden considers commonalities humans share with one of our preferred sources of animal protein—pigs. A new review of past swine research emphasizes that pigs have excellent long-term memories, comprehend simple symbols, demonstrate empathy, and are very social: they play with, help, and even deceive each other. Greg stresses that pig-human similarity is qualitatively different from chimp-human similarity, resulting not from close ancestry, but from parallel evolutionary histories—including an affinity for eating roots.

Channel Surfing

Life Science

Sadly, the second herpes virus-related death occurred after this story was released at the Albuquerque BioPark. The victim was a five-year old Asian elephant named Daizy. Source: The Scientist

Is it Shark Week again? I wouldn’t know, because their destructive and dishonest portrayals of these amazing animals was a major factor leading me to turn off the Discovery Channel and never watch it again. Read David Shiffman’s essay on the abuses of sharks, and join the rest of us in contributing to Discovery’s declining…

A new study conducted by researchers Eric Vaillancourt and Jean-Michel Weber at the University of Ottawa examined blood sugar regulation in a bird that specialize in long distance migration, the Canada goose (Branta canadensis, image above). As referenced in the study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, Canadian geese migrate approximately 7,000…

Physical Science

There’s something puzzling about black holes, if you stop to consider it. On the one hand, they’re objects so massive and dense — compacted into such a small region of space — that nothing can escape from it, not even light. That’s the definition of a black hole, and why “black” is in the name.…

“Now, Venus is an extremely hostile environment, and as such presents a lot of challenges for a science fiction author who wants to create life there. However, as I began to research it more thoroughly, I found myself intrigued by the possibilities the world offers.” –Sarah Zettel Of all the worlds in our Solar System,…

I’ve been doing a bunch of conferencing recently, what with DAMOP a few weeks ago and then Convergence last week. This prompted me to write up a couple of posts about conference-related things, which I posted over at Forbes. These were apparently a pretty bad fit for the folks reading over there, as they’ve gotten…

Environment

Sadly, the second herpes virus-related death occurred after this story was released at the Albuquerque BioPark. The victim was a five-year old Asian elephant named Daizy. Source: The Scientist

A new study conducted by researchers Eric Vaillancourt and Jean-Michel Weber at the University of Ottawa examined blood sugar regulation in a bird that specialize in long distance migration, the Canada goose (Branta canadensis, image above). As referenced in the study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, Canadian geese migrate approximately 7,000…

Workers and safety advocates delivered petitions with 25,000 signatures to Hyundai’s headquarters demanding better working conditions at companies in the automaker’s supply chain. Exposure to isocyanates in the manufacturing of automobile seats is a particular concern.

Humanities

Sadly, the second herpes virus-related death occurred after this story was released at the Albuquerque BioPark. The victim was a five-year old Asian elephant named Daizy. Source: The Scientist

New investigative series examines the toll of occupational illness and the lack of federal protections; OSHA steps up its efforts to protect nurses; women janitors face sexual assault and rape risks on the night shift; and IKEA reports that raising wages worked so well, the company is set to raise them again.

A new study conducted by researchers Eric Vaillancourt and Jean-Michel Weber at the University of Ottawa examined blood sugar regulation in a bird that specialize in long distance migration, the Canada goose (Branta canadensis, image above). As referenced in the study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, Canadian geese migrate approximately 7,000…

Education

Sadly, the second herpes virus-related death occurred after this story was released at the Albuquerque BioPark. The victim was a five-year old Asian elephant named Daizy. Source: The Scientist

A new study conducted by researchers Eric Vaillancourt and Jean-Michel Weber at the University of Ottawa examined blood sugar regulation in a bird that specialize in long distance migration, the Canada goose (Branta canadensis, image above). As referenced in the study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, Canadian geese migrate approximately 7,000…

I’ve been doing a bunch of conferencing recently, what with DAMOP a few weeks ago and then Convergence last week. This prompted me to write up a couple of posts about conference-related things, which I posted over at Forbes. These were apparently a pretty bad fit for the folks reading over there, as they’ve gotten…

Politics

New investigative series examines the toll of occupational illness and the lack of federal protections; OSHA steps up its efforts to protect nurses; women janitors face sexual assault and rape risks on the night shift; and IKEA reports that raising wages worked so well, the company is set to raise them again.

A new take on TPP, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, gives me another reason to give the TPP a thumbs down.

The US Treasury Department has announced that the $10 bill will have a depiction of a woman, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which allowed women to vote. And now, apparently, everyone can vote on who that woman will be. Or, at least, make a suggestion. The bill…

Medicine

Sadly, the second herpes virus-related death occurred after this story was released at the Albuquerque BioPark. The victim was a five-year old Asian elephant named Daizy. Source: The Scientist

Late last week, something happened that I never would have predicted, and it’s all due to how the politics of the issue changed in the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak earlier this year. The state that contains some of the most famous pockets of low vaccine uptake and some of the most famous antivaccine…

A new study conducted by researchers Eric Vaillancourt and Jean-Michel Weber at the University of Ottawa examined blood sugar regulation in a bird that specialize in long distance migration, the Canada goose (Branta canadensis, image above). As referenced in the study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, Canadian geese migrate approximately 7,000…

Brain & Behavior

A new study conducted by researchers Eric Vaillancourt and Jean-Michel Weber at the University of Ottawa examined blood sugar regulation in a bird that specialize in long distance migration, the Canada goose (Branta canadensis, image above). As referenced in the study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, Canadian geese migrate approximately 7,000…

Analyzing online searches and social media activity has often been suggested as a way to track and maybe even predict the spread of diseases. And it’s a great idea — if it’s done right, it could offer public health workers real-time surveillance and a jumpstart at containing dangerous outbreaks. But there’s a hitch. How can we attempt to decipher between online activity triggered by the possibility of actual disease symptoms and online activity triggered by simple curiosity?

Could you imagine artificial skin capable of quickly changing colors to communicate or hide? Scientists have been testing ways to mimic the skin of cephalopods like squid, octopuses and cuttlefish, which have a remarkable ability to change skin color and sometimes even texture to mimic their surroundings. Cephalopods have networks of chromatophores, which are cells within…

Technology

Analyzing online searches and social media activity has often been suggested as a way to track and maybe even predict the spread of diseases. And it’s a great idea — if it’s done right, it could offer public health workers real-time surveillance and a jumpstart at containing dangerous outbreaks. But there’s a hitch. How can we attempt to decipher between online activity triggered by the possibility of actual disease symptoms and online activity triggered by simple curiosity?

Gemini is what got me into space, science, all of it. Amy Shira Teitel can bring you up to speed. Gemini worked out almost everything that had to be worked out to go to the moon. Not the part with the big fire cracker under the tin can to take off from the moon, but…

If you have not already had a chance to see it, the T. Rex Autopsy airing on the National Geographic channel is a must-see! They literally created a model of T. Rex based on available evidence about T. Rex and other dinosaurs as well as evidence from modern birds and then performed an “autopsy”. The conclusion: T.…

Information Science

A common hurdle in the field of occupational health and safety is delivering what can sometimes be life-saving information to the people who need it most. After all, not all employers are amenable to workplace health and safety education. But what if safety advocates could find and connect with the most at-risk workers out in the community? Perhaps even reach vulnerable workers with safety education before they experience an injury at work?

There’s lots of discussion out there right now in the twitter and blog world concerning Bjorn Brembs’ call to librarians to jumpstart the mass migration to Open Access by essentially unilaterally cancelling all the journals they subscribe to. This act would force the hands of all the various players in the ecosystem to immediately figure…

A bit of a change of pace for me and my reviewing habits — a book written in French! Of course, books about science or scientists are pretty typical review fodder for me. And even more typically, graphic novels about science or scientists are incredibly common for me to review. But books in French? This…

Jobs

New investigative series examines the toll of occupational illness and the lack of federal protections; OSHA steps up its efforts to protect nurses; women janitors face sexual assault and rape risks on the night shift; and IKEA reports that raising wages worked so well, the company is set to raise them again.

Workers and safety advocates delivered petitions with 25,000 signatures to Hyundai’s headquarters demanding better working conditions at companies in the automaker’s supply chain. Exposure to isocyanates in the manufacturing of automobile seats is a particular concern.

A common hurdle in the field of occupational health and safety is delivering what can sometimes be life-saving information to the people who need it most. After all, not all employers are amenable to workplace health and safety education. But what if safety advocates could find and connect with the most at-risk workers out in the community? Perhaps even reach vulnerable workers with safety education before they experience an injury at work?