Sunday, August 8, 2010

Links post

I’m catching up on science blogs reading after a few days off. I was awfully busy recovering from defending my thesis! I am now almost done with the MS part of my dual-degree program, though there will be some thesis edits to do. Then I settle in for the final two years of the DVM program.

Anyways, links!

  • The PepsiGate linkfest (A Blog Around the Clock): so comprehensive, he even linked to me.
  • Mesozoic Blogosphere (Chasmosaurus): David Orr considers the usefulness of topic-based networks. The comments suggest aggregators to achieve this goal.
  • “Dominance” mythologies, Suzanne Hetts (The Other End of the Leash): More on dominance theory in dog training from Patricia McConnell
  • Tick news? It ain’t good, Dr. Flea tells AVMA audience (Pet Connection)
  • Environmental enrichment is key to happy, healthy animals (Pet Connection): This seemed like a relevant link after The Thoughtful Animal’s recent post about behavioral differences in pigs in enriched environments.
  • On detecting stress endocrines in hamster poop (C6-H12-O6): need I say more?
  • Learning to speak dog (Dog Star Daily): the usefulness of understanding canine body language, and some good pointers
  • You are what you eat – how your diet defines you in trillions of ways (Not Exactly Rocket Science): Nice post about how populations of gut bacteria are influenced by diet in different life stages and in different cultures. “As we learn more about our bacterial partners, we might eventually find ways of influencing them to improve our health, just as breast milk appears to selectively nourish helpful species.” He suggests inoculating people with appropriate gut bacteria, which makes me a little sad. I’d rather see people change their eating habits. Anyone for some research on the effects of fresh whole foods on populations of gut bacteria?
  • Under Pressure: The Search for a Stress Vaccine (Wired): What is it today with links to articles about fixing problems with injections? Actually, this is a really good article about Robert Sapolsky, who did ground-breaking work on the effects of chronic stress on health. Apparently Sapolsky is now working on a vaccine to counter the neural effects of chronic stress. I have to admit that I find that a little scary. It sounds like a great answer to the problem of a society full of highly-stressed people, but the stress response is so complex and affects so many parts of our metabolism that it just can’t work without horrible side effects, can it? (The article addresses some of the issues.)
  • Virginia Heffernan Is Our Target Audience (Uncertain Principles): For those who don’t know the background, Heffernan wrote a piece in the New York Times in which she criticized for having some snarky people on it, and said as a result of its tone, she didn’t find it to be a good place to go to learn about science. Various science bloggers have opined that she’s dumb and no one should change what they are doing. Here, Uncertain Principles suggests perhaps science bloggers should be trying harder to speak to this particular audience. I’m not going to write a whole blog post about it, but I vote with UP and the others who’ve voiced this particular opinion. Who cares who’s right? The important thing is getting your message across, and it’s pretty clear that some members of the audience find a less snarky message to be easier to absorb.

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