A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘science

[CAT] “Cats’ memories may be as good as dogs”

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Seriously Science linked to a paper, “Use of incidentally encoded memory from a single experience in cats”, which suggests cats actually have very good memory compared to dogs.

“We examined whether cats could retrieve and utilize incidentally encoded information from a single past event in a simple food-exploration task previously used for dogs (Fujita et al., 2012). In Experiment 1, cats were led to four open, baited containers and allowed to eat from two of them (Exposure phase). After a 15-min delay during which the cats were absent and all containers were replaced with empty ones, the cats were unexpectedly returned to the room and allowed to explore the containers (Test phase). Although the cats’ first choice of container to visit was random, they explored containers from which they had not previously eaten for longer than those from which they did previously eat. In the Exposure phase of Experiment 2, two containers held food, one held a nonedible object, and the fourth was empty. Cats were allowed to eat from one of them. In the post-delay Test phase, the cats first visited the remaining baited-uneaten container significantly more often than chance and they spent more time exploring this container. Because the cats’ behavior in the Test phase cannot be explained by association of the container with a pleasant experience (eating), the results suggest that cats retrieved and utilized “what” and “where” information from an incidentally encoded memory from a single experience.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 4, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Posted in Science

Tagged with , , ,

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • Beyond the Beyond shares Yves Behar’s thoughts on design in an age of artificial intelligence.
  • blogTO makes the case for the east end of Toronto.
  • The Big Picture shares photos of a family of Congolese refugees resettled in New England.
  • Centauri Dreams hosts an essay looking at the prospects for off-world agriculture.
  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of the beauty created by graffiti removal.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks for signs of possible cryovolcanism on Europa.
  • Joe. My. God. shares audio of the new Blondie track “Fun.”
  • Language Hat remembers the life and career of linguist Leon Dostert.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues protest is needed in blue states, too.
  • The LRB Blog warns people not to forget about Pence.
  • Marginal Revolution considersa trends in the British economy.
  • Neuroskeptic shares disturbing findings about the prevalence of plagiarism in science.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia does not expect Trump to take all the sanctions down at once.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • At Apostrophen, ‘Nathan Smith writes about the status of his various writing projects.
  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling links to an article examining pieces of software that have shaped modern music.
  • blogTO notes the expansion of the Drake Hotel to a new Junction site. Clearly the Drake is becoming a brand.
  • Citizen Science Salon looks at how Internet users can help fight illegal fishing in the Pacific.
  • Crooked Timber asks readers for new Doctor Who candidates.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper finding that the presence of Proxima Centauri would not have inhibited planetary formation around Alpha Centauri A and B.
  • The LRB Blog notes the growing fear among Muslims in the diaspora.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a reimagined map of the Paris metro.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy and Towleroad have very different opinions on the nomination of Neil Gorusch to the US Supreme Court.
  • Transit Toronto reports on the reopening of the TTC parking lot at Yorkdale.
  • Whatever’s John Sclazi responds to the past two weeks of Trump-related chaos, and is not impressed.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the Russian Orthodox Church carries itself as an embattled minority because it is one, and looks at the future of Russian federalism in regards to Tatarstan.

[LINK] “Massive drop in London HIV rates may be due to internet drugs”

The New Scientist‘s Clare Wilson reports on a massive drop in new HIV infections in London that is more easily explained by growing use of PrEP, the prophylactic use of new HIV drugs to prevent infections.

Gay men who defied medical advice seem to have changed the course of the HIV epidemic in the UK – for the better.

Four London sexual health clinics saw dramatic falls in new HIV infections among gay men of around 40 per cent last year, compared with 2015, new figures show.

This decline may be mostly due to thousands of people buying medicines called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which cut the chance of catching the virus, online.

“We need to be very cautious at this stage, but I can’t see what else it can be,” says Will Nutland at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who has set up a website that gives people information on how to give themselves PrEP. “Something extraordinary has happened in the last 12 months because of a bunch of DIY activists working off our kitchen tables.”

The medicine has been approved in the UK as a drug for preventing HIV infection in both men and women, but it isn’t yet available on the National Health Service.

“People say, ‘Why don’t gay men just use condoms?’,” says Mags Portman of the Mortimer Market Centre in London, one of the clinics that has seen large declines in diagnoses. “They do, but not all the time. Straight people don’t use condoms all the time either.”

Written by Randy McDonald

January 9, 2017 at 9:15 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Bad Astronomy shares a photo of the Earth and Moon taken by a Mars probe.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money responds to a baffling claim by a New York City policeman that stranger rape is more of a concern than acquaintance rape.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw, returned from Denmark, wonders
    about the extent to which social happiness is maximized by stability and security.
  • Progressive Download’s John Farrell argues that scientists should approach the theory of evolution in a less mechanistic light.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on the transformation of United Russia into a parallel structure of government akin to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and engages with the possibility of a pro-Russian Ukrainian government-in-exile.
  • Alex Harrowell of Yorkshire Ranter looks at the problems of an independent central bank, finding that failings attributed to these are actually faults of government.
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at the highly evolved fashion sense of faggots, in the context of Italy’s divides and celebrities.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Anthropology.net looks at archeological findings revealing what people ate in the area of the Levant 780 thousand years ago.
  • D-Brief notes Amazon’s patenting of mothership and drone technology.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper looking at how quickly hot Jupiters lose their atmospheres.
  • Far Outliers notes the numerology of 1979.
  • Language Hat links to an essay by a writer of Chinese origin talking about what it means to abandon writing in one’s native language.
  • Language Log looks at European Union English’s latest definitions.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues in favour of holding corporations responsible for their supply chains, worldwide.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a San Francisco restaurant that serves food on Ipads.
  • Steve Munro calculates the effect of uneven headways on TTC bus routes.
  • Neuroskeptic notes that creationists who claim Charles Darwin contributed to the extinction of Tasmanian Aborigines appear to be lying.
  • The NYRB Daily reports on an exhibition of the abstract art of Carmen Herrera.
  • Towleroad notes an effort to recreate the sounds of 18th century Paris.
  • Transit Toronto notes higher TTC prices.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Putin’s regime is increasingly totalitarian, argues the lessons some Russians take from stardom is that reforms lead to revolution, and notes Tatarstan’s being hauled back into line.
  • Arnold Zwicky pays tribute to departed soc.motsser Harold Arthur Faye.

[LINK] “Star-Gazing Women Made Trail-Blazing Discoveries”

National Geographic‘s Simon Worrell interviews Dava Sobel, an author whose new book The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars takes a look at the late 19th century women whose observations basically created the framework for our understanding of stars and the universe.

Tell us about the glass universe—is this the ultimate glass ceiling or something else altogether?

[Laughs] It’s both. It’s about women and astronomy and also about a unique collection of half a million photographs on glass plates that are stored in the Harvard College Observatory. Women are traditionally underrepresented in science, so it’s interesting to look back to the 1870s to 1890s and find that as many as 20 women at a time were working at the Harvard Observatory.

You don’t think of Harvard as a place that’s particularly friendly to women, especially then. The observatory was a wholly disowned subsidiary and made their own rules and went their own way. The director, Edward Pickering, was very much in favor of higher education for women and for giving women a chance if they were interested in doing astronomical work. There had been a tradition of women working in the observatory, but the earliest were family members of the astronomers, the resident observers. By Pickering’s time, women he hired were reporting for seven hours a day, six days a week, and had no family connection to the place. They were just capable and interested.

Were they the ones that took the pictures?

No. At the beginning, there was a real separation of duties. The men would operate the telescopes partly because of propriety. You couldn’t have the women in there with the men, up all night. [Laughs] But by 1896, that changed with women coming in from college-level programs in astronomy, who had learned to observe. The first woman to use the telescopes was Annie Jump Cannon in 1896.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 28, 2016 at 4:15 pm