Welcome to the St Valentine’s Day/Darwin’s Birthday/Quirky Alone edition of Tangled Bank. It is about I hosted as I’ve been submitting posts for the last year. I have tried to divide the posts into St. Valentine’s Day, Darwin, and Quirky Alone. While I’m sure there are some other topics I should also be covering but three is enough for this post!
St Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers; which brings us to sex. Dammit Jim seems to have an fixation on this subject, looking at both the effect of sex on spiders (males can lose their penises during copulation) and rodents. Sex leads to pregnancy which directs us to labor. ShallowThoughts asks how we should give birth: C-section vs. Vaginal Birth?
Having got the X-rated stuff out of the way, the St Valentine’s Day theme continues with a brief discussion on birds, the feathered variety, as in England it is the tradition that birds mate on St Valentine’s day. 10000birds explains what is a kestrel. I’m glad to get that cleared up. I am very fond of European kestrels as I often saw them hunting along the Yorkshire coast. They would keep flying about 100 feet a head of me and hover. Finally, they would either dive-bomb some poor rodent/food item or give up and go 100 feet behind me to hover some more! Ducks were some of the few animals that Carel Brest vam Kempen saw in the depth of winter on Salt Lake, UT. Go and visit him at Rigor Vitae and enjoy his great paintings of ducks and other birds. Finally in the bird theme, visit Grrlscientist’s Darwin Birthday edition of Birds in the News.
Charles Darwin celebrated his 198th birthday on Monday. Which is like really, really old! Only Darwin did not live that long as he died when he was he was 73 which seems quite young to us today. Did he die of old age? Pimm asks what does it mean, if anything, to die of old age. Ouroboros helps with a definition of old age by discussing the tradeoff between cell growth and tumor repression. Finally Reason at Fighting Aging explains the role of mitochondrial biochemistry on the aging process. As aging is caused by oxidative and free radical damage, antioxidants can play a vital role in lengthening life span. PharmacoNutrition explains what is meant by total antioxidant capacity. Retinol and beta carotene are antioxidants as well as being forms of Vitamin A. How do they enter our cells? Balancing Life explains some recent research on the cellular uptake of retinol.
In advance of Darwin’s bicentenary, Greg has started celebrating by writing post after post about the great man and his scientific thoughts. Start here. Darwin was a natural historian, who was particularly keen on the ecology of the places he studied. Voltage Gate explains in a basic concept post exactly what is ecology. While discussing ecology, visit Invasive Species Weblog for their list of what makes an invasive species. Then pop over to Syaffolee to find out if species really means anything as a biological unit.
Darwin was very interested in earthworms, but I don’t think he went as far as eating them. Greensleeves shows how worms are valued for their high nutritional value in rural communities in northern Nambia in “Think I’ll Go Eat Worms”.
Quirky Alone posts are those that didn’t go under the previous topics. Since I choose to be proudly single it wouldn’t be true Valentine’s Day without celebrating Quirky Alone Day. I only found out about this organization a few years ago, but in my youth, when between boyfriends one Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun to go out a celebrate my spinsterhood loudly and raucously in the middle of all those romantic celebrations.
Questioning research, or lack thereof, is Orac’s wont. This time, at Respectful Insolence, he questions surgical research methods. This reminds me of my postdoc advisor who called the research done by industry as the “Cook and Look” method of research; as opposed to hypothesis driven research.
John Hawks reviews research showing that monkeys are more sophisticated than fish when signaling dominance by the fact that monkeys modulate their signals. He also has a post about the Rainbow DNA project which looks both useful and fun.
Zuska has a couple of interesting posts on Women in Science as part of the blog course, Joy of Science, she is leading. The discussions are very interesting even if you haven’t, like me, bothered to do the recommending reading.
Finally, I wrote a couple of basic concept posts on pH and on acids and bases. Not sure what I mean by basic concept posts? John Wilkins, Evolving Thoughts has a list of most of the posts on other basic science concepts. Additionally, visit the Just Science aggregator – it has all the posts collected from last week’s science blogging madness.
Background news: My computer refused to find the internet between 9 & 11 pm. It wasn’t going to happen to me, oh no. I was going to be ever so organized and ready and even have time to check some of my favorite bloggers who hadn’t submitted anything. Oh well, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that. This also means that many of the links were hand written in so if they are broken or missing email me at cgadavies[at]gmail[dot]com.