While everyone else has been focused on politics this week, several science bloggers posted some amazing posts about, gasp, science! Check these out - amazing weekend reading (and potential anthology entries!):
Neurophilosophy: Wilder Penfield, Neural Cartographer:
The patient lies on the operating table, with the right side of his body raised slightly. The anaesthetist sterilizes his scalp and injects it with Nupercaine to produce analgesia - the patient will remain fully conscious throughout the procedure. Behind the surgical drapes, three large incisions are made in his scalp. A large flap of bone is then cut from his skull, and turned downward to expose the surface of his brain. The ultraviolet lights which illuminate the operating theater and keep the air sterile are positioned in such a way that they do not shine directly upon the cortex.....
SciCurious: The Child as a Projectile:
I had to cover this review, just because I saw the title. If I ever have a child (pity that poor child) they will be guinea pigs for experiments on "children as projectiles". I can't help it, every time I read the phrase, I think of someone putting a baby with a little helmet into a big slingshot. "Guess what, hon? We're going to do science today!"
SciCurious: Cane Toads:
I have a weird fascination with toads (and frogs). They're cute! They have cute feet. Slime is cool. And all the ones I've ever held never bit me (you can never say the same thing with mammals). I did try to keep some once, but buying crickets on a weekly basis is no fun, and raising your own is difficult.
Then I flipped to another chapter, which utilized some interesting language. See, spermatogonia exist in an environment dominated by testosterone. Estrogen, on the other hand, nurtures maturing germ cells and maintains suitable conditions for fertilization until The One True Sperm penetrates a woman's egg. Really, guys? Really? Testosterone molecules run around in assless chaps rounding up them swimmers while Mommy Estrogen tends to the Follicle Nursery? I'm surprised because I don't really encounter this kind of language in other areas of endocrinology/physiology. A hormone facilitates something. Or triggers a reaction, or exhibits a negative-feedback control on some function.
Abel PharmBoy: Century-old rule of chemistry overturned? Meh, not so fast:
The press release from the University of Warwick describes what appear to be really cool electrochemical experiments with ultramicroelectrodes and confocal microscopy that are to be published in the 26 August 2008 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research team apparently provides direct evidence that increasing carbon chain length of carboxylic acids (acetic, butanoic, valeric, and hexanoic) cause them to pass through membranes progressively more slowly.
But instead of being at odds with the Meyer-Overton correlation, this is exactly what one would expect from the Meyer-Overton experiments.
Conservationists often object to wind farms because of the possibility that they could kill birds. But birds aren't the only flying animals to be taken out by turbines - it turns out that bats often lose their lives too, and not in quite the way you might imagine.
There's a science blog out there which needs more attention. Elio Schaecter's Small Things Considered features concise and well-written scientific essays on microbiology and fungi. It's just Good Stuff but sometimes I'm the only commenter! Check it out:
Oh yes, I love Elio's blog!
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