The Thoughtful Animal

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Science
Someone had to ask it. Why do squirrels masturbate? Obviously, it’s a piece by Ed.

Sentiment-sensing software could aid in weeding hostile online comments. If this comes to pass, I imagine most of Physioprof‘s comments will be weeded out, sadly.

An important new study of mirror self-recognition in Japanese macaques, explained by Carl Zimmer. And BPS Research Digest weighs in on the validity of the mirror self-recognition test in the first place.

Lots of news this week about the discovery that the exoplanet Gliese 581g could be hospitable to life. Brian Romans explains the important difference between “habitable” and “habitable zone,” and Lee Billings has perhaps the best article on the discovery I’ve yet seen, at SEED Magazine.

Carnival of Evolution #28 is up!

Arikia wants her cyborg implants, and the sooner the better. It’s all a little too creepy for me.

Some people are all up in arms over eating genetically modified animals, like the salmon “frankenfish.” But what about genetically modified plants?

Scicurious explains, at The Guardian, why the serotonin model of depression may not be exactly right.

Jump behind the fold for more tasty links!


The NPR Cosmos and Culture blog has an interesting post on the evolvability of dogs. Interesting stuff!

Did the long necks of giraffes evolve for food, to reach higher leaves, or as a result of sexual selection? Brian Switek explores the question.

On the Psycasm blog: we should be music-testing athletes!

An important post by Emily Anthes of the Wonderland blog: Fear-mongering and the morning-after pill.

Want to increase your energy expenditure while at work? Peter Janiszewski of Obesity Panacea has the answers.

A great post by Razib Khan of Gene Expression about, well, gene expression. American family values: where even the dull can dream.

Munchausen by proxy: a fascinating disorder. A post by Shirah Vollmer, MD.

Even while living among us, coyotes remain a mystery. (via NY Times)

Humans didn’t conquer the south pole alone, they did it with the help of many animals. And now those animals are being recognized.

What is the relationship between an animal’s aesthetic appearance and its conservation status? A great post by Lucas Brouwers.

Science Communication
“Once upon a time, any internet user with a thirst for good neuroscience-related blogging could pop on over to an edition of this carnival and drink their fill. “Mike Lisieski of the Cephalove blog is bringing back the blog carnival Encephalon.

Anton, Bora, and Dave are seeking input on the redesign of ScienceBlogging.org. This is important, so if you have an opinion, chime in!

Bora explains The Open Laboratory: How, What, and Why.

I don’t think this post by Martin Robbins of The Lay Scientist needs an introduction. Just read it (and the comments).

A new blog: Sleeping with the Fishes by Hannah Waters, who will still continue to blog at Culturing Science.

Live in LA? Here’s a calendar of science events for the month of October, curated by Casey Rentz.

Academia / Careerism
Dorothy Bishop hilariously describes the taxonomy of journal editors.

Namnezia thrills and delights with his tale of the lowly grad and the magic beans.

Candid Engineer explores the struggle between pedagogy and politics.

An important note about scientific prejudice on the Games with Words blog.

Et Cetera
Apparently someone didn’t learn an important lesson. Forbes is selling blog space to advertisers.

California’s unresolved moral dilemma over executions (via LA Times)

Want to know what words Google Instant will *not* auto-complete? Here’s a complete list, including some surprises.

Lots of reactions to “The Social Network” movies. A fascinating article about Mark Zuckerberg in The New Yorker, and an article by the same writer in the Huffington Post.