jjhunter: multiple watercolor butterflies flying (butterfly flock)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Forschungszentrum Jülich press release: New Theory of Synapse Formation in the Brain
Jülich, 10 October 2013 – The human brain keeps changing throughout a person’s lifetime. New connections are continually created while synapses that are no longer in use degenerate. To date, little is known about the mechanisms behind these processes. Jülich neuroinformatician Dr. Markus Butz has now been able to ascribe the formation of new neural networks in the visual cortex to a simple homeostatic rule that is also the basis of many other self-regulating processes in nature. With this explanation, he and his colleague Dr. Arjen van Ooyen from Amsterdam also provide a new theory on the plasticity of the brain – and a novel approach to understanding learning processes and treating brain injuries and diseases.


Associated PLOS Computational Biology article is freely available online: Markus Butz + Arjen van Ooyen's A Simple Rule for Dendritic Spine and Axonal Bouton Formation Can Account for Cortical Reorganization after Focal Retinal Lesions.

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Admins, can we have a 'Neuro' tag of some kind? (Neuroscience / Neurobiology / etc.)
jjhunter: Drawing of human J.J. in red and brown inks with steampunk goggle glasses (red J.J. inked)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Thought experiment I'm hosting over at my journal, [personal profile] jjhunter: Come All Ye Castles, Ancient and Neglected
So: castles. Let's do a version of [the 'Earth Without People'] thought experiment with a castle, say a château (-fort or otherwise) like the Château d'Ussé in France. If you take humans out of the picture for a hundred years, what happens to that building and the land immediately surrounding it? If we were to take snapshots of particular elements at 10, 20, 50, 100 years, what would that progression look like?
I'm particularly interested in what might happening chemically / structurally to the building itself and its contents if no one's doing preventative maintenance, and how the proportions of various animal and plant populations might shift over time if there's no selective breeding / weeding /etc. going on.

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A/N: admins, can we have a tag of some kind for 'thought experiment'?
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila
At 2 PM tomorrow, six ESA astronauts will be released from an eighteen-month simulated journey to 'Mars' and back. It actually took place in a test chamber in Moscow, but it's hoped that the results will help researchers to understand the physical and psychological effects of long manned space missions. The Guardian (UK) article is here.
nanila: (old-skool: science!)
[personal profile] nanila
The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition opened to the public yesterday in London! It's on at the Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton Terrace (just off The Mall) through Sunday 10 July. There are 22 exhibits from physics, chemistry, biology, maths, engineering and medicine. Loads of fun interactives, piles of free stuff and many eager energetic scientists to tell you about their work in memorable, bite-size chunks. Please do drop by if you have the time and are geographically compatible.

I'm on the Aurora Explorer stand tomorrow (Thursday 7 July) from 13:30 to 17:00, but will have to depart promptly to go to the Harry Potter premiere. I'm also there on Sunday 10 July from 14:30 to 18:00, when the exhibition closes. Tip: exhibitors will be looking to offload remaining freebies on Sunday, so if you want toys/magnets/keyrings/postcards/other swag, Sunday afternoon is the time to go.

The baby spacecraft I painted are currently having their 5 seconds of fame on the BBC web site here at 02:44, and you can explore the exhibits online on the RSSE web site here.
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
[personal profile] yvi
Awesome Eight-Year-Olds Publish Bee Study in Legit Scientific Journal

You can read the full paper online for free And it is fun! Where else will you get a Materials & Methods section with this in it:

(b) The bees

The bees had black and yellow stripes with white bottoms. The type of bee was Bombus terrestris. The beehive was delivered from Koppert (UK).
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)
[personal profile] foxfirefey
A paper has come out that photographs the mimivirus, which straddles the boundaries between bacteria and viruses. See the paper itself on PLoS here. A good read for people who like microbiology or scientific visualizations.
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
[personal profile] holyschist
The current issue of Palaeontologica Electronica published a paper on New Geochronologic and Stratigraphic Evidence Confirms the Paleocene Age of the Dinosaur-Bearing Ojo Alamo Sandstone and Animas Formation in the San Juan Basin, New Mexico and Colorado.

This isn't a new discovery, but the careful analysis of the magnetostratigraphy, palynology, and sedimentology is, and it strengthens the case for some dinosaurs (relatively) briefly surviving the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction in some areas.

I haven't read the paper in excruciating detail yet (end of the semester, ack!), but I will post some more thoughts on it later. For now, if there are any other paleo geeks here, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
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