Saturday links

  • Jonah Lehrer has a great piece about classroom creativity. “The traits mostly closely aligned with creative thinking were also closely associated with their “least favorite” students.” Great comments too.
  • At Neuron Culture, David Dobbs has his own take on the news that Williams syndrome children show no racial bias; it’s interesting and ties in nicely with a comment on my own post, written by the father of a child with Williams syndrome
  • ScienceBlogs has scored multiple home runs with their latest recruits – Alex Wild of Myrmecos, whose blog contains some of the most stunning photos of insect life you’ll ever see, and Jason Goldman of The Thoughtful Animal, author of some great posts on peer-reviewed research.
  • Alex immediately knocks it out of the park with these photos of the turtle ant, a species that plugs the entrances to its burrows using the incredible head-shields that some workers have.
  • “The bit where the doctors test the gorilla’s eye-tracking by waving a date around in front of it is pure joy.” Vaughan Bell talks about efforts of a couple of psychiatrists to diagnose a strangely behaving gorilla
  • According to Chris Mooney, a new book suggests that nearly half of scientists are religious
  • Wired has the story of a project that’s trying to map every one of the 100,000 neurons in the fly brain. If you squint really hard, you can see a sailboat.
  • Wired also has a piece about scrubbing out irrelevant personal info from medical records when they’re used for genetics studies, a rare case of people actually wanting less personal data…
  • Ars Technica discusses the use of non-obvious organisms to study human genetic diseases
  • SciCurious discusses the curious “photic sneeze reflex” or the “sunny sneeze” – the strange phenomenon where people sneeze when they see bright light.
  • In a major victory for science, free speech and critical thinking, The British Chiropractic Association has (happily?) dropped its (bogus?) lawsuit against Simon Singh. I’m sorry, BCA, is that our collective foot in your face? What’s that you say? “MMMMFMFGMGMGFFH”? You’re going to have to speak up…
  • Vaughan at Mind Hacks says you’re more likely to die from a heart attack when having sex while having an affair, than during sex with your regular partner. This is screaming out for an RCT 😉
  • “Researchers… fed two captive leopards eight complete baboon carcasses each in order catalog the most useful ways to identify the victim of a big cat kill.” Tell us more, Brian Switek
  • Brian again, with an absolutely beautiful fossil that preserves an ancient tug of war
  • Heidi Ledford at Nature has more on the tantalising link between prion proteins and Alzheimer’s disease, which I’ve covered before
  • The sandcastle worm uses bio-glue to create its own shelter; scientists are using it as the inspiration for man-made adhesives, says Henry Fountain at the NYT
  • Dr Petra is rightly outraged that sex education in the UK is unlikely to be statutory.
  • Australian conservationists have taught quolls (a local cat-sized predator) to avoid toxic cane toads (an invasive super-pest). I’m sure Australians would be happier if they were taught to hit cane toads with golf clubs or run them over in a 4WD.
  • Putting up a sign next to lifts encouraging physical activity and pointing to the nearest stairs significantly increases physical activity in a workplace. Easiest intervention ever, say the Obesity Panacea lads.
  • The FakeAPStylebook produced one of my favourite tweets ever about Twitter’s place in the newsroom
  • And finally, I have started a Posterous account for the purpose of taking the piss out of things in a way that would (a) dilute the quality of this blog and (b) be too long for Twitter. Note my coverage of the vitally important bowls versus ice-cream debate

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