walking in the sunnset
Don’t kill them.
International Dog Day, 2014.
(…besides humans, that is)
Biologists estimate that this animal has killed half of all humans that have ever lived, and today is responsible for more than 45 million years of lost human life annually. Chances are, you’ve been attacked by one.
Meet mankind’s most pesky foe in this week’s It’s Okay To Be Smart, and find out why they prefer some prey over others, what makes them so deadly, and how today’s bioengineers are trying to stop them… if such a thing is even possible.
Welcome to the Big Red family! #Cornell
Surveillance companies are marketing systems to governments worldwide that are capable of pulling location data out of global cellular networks, even if you are traveling in another country. These systems are designed so that neither cellphone users nor their carriers detect the tracking. That could allow government officials to potentially sidestep court review or other systems designed to protect the rights of people targeted for surveillance.
Can someone from the science side of Tumblr explain this?
Basically this argument uses a flawed understanding of (i) the process of evolution and (ii) the evolution of humans and other apes.
What you have to understand is that evolution does not mean that every individual of species A turns into species B over time, without any individuals of species A persisting - this is transmutation and, while it does occasionally happen, it is not the main mechanism of evolution. Rather, evolution works by gradual mutation and selection acting over time, such that species A at time 0 can give rise to species B at time N. It is possible for species B to arise from species A without species A having ever gone extinct - when this happens without any gene flow between the two populations, usually in some kind of geographic isolation, we call this ‘allopatric speciation’. It is equally possible for species A to give rise to species B and species C, while at the same time going extinct itself.
This means that if you trace lineages backward through time, they converge. Each convergence is the point where the two lineages have a common ancestor. The most recent common ancestor (mrca) of a set of lineages is the most recent point at which all lineages were the same species.
Chimps, Gorillas, and other apes, are not our ancestors. Rather, they are other lineages that diverged from a common ancestor of our group. That common ancestor was an ape, but it was not an ape that is still around today.
I hope that helped. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
On behalf of the Science Side of Tumblr.
Have you asked your local Science Side neighbor a question yet today?
Tea & Water.
Make these your basis of liquid consumption and watch as your life and energy level rises by the day.
Free books: 100 legal sites to download literature
Browse works by Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad and other famous authors here.
- Classic Bookshelf: This site has put classic novels online, from Charles Dickens to Charlotte Bronte.
- The Online Books Page: The University of Pennsylvania hosts this book search and database.
- Project Gutenberg: This famous site has over 27,000 free books online.
- Page by Page Books: Find books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells, as well as speeches from George W. Bush on this site.
- Classic Book Library: Genres here include historical fiction, history, science fiction, mystery, romance and children’s literature, but they’re all classics.
- Classic Reader: Here you can read Shakespeare, young adult fiction and more.
- Read Print: From George Orwell to Alexandre Dumas to George Eliot to Charles Darwin, this online library is stocked with the best classics.
- Planet eBook: Download free classic literature titles here, from Dostoevsky to D.H. Lawrence to Joseph Conrad.
- The Spectator Project: Montclair State University’s project features full-text, online versions of The Spectator and The Tatler.
- Bibliomania: This site has more than 2,000 classic texts, plus study guides and reference books.
- Online Library of Literature: Find full and unabridged texts of classic literature, including the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain and more.
- Bartleby: Bartleby has much more than just the classics, but its collection of anthologies and other important novels made it famous.
- Fiction.us: Fiction.us has a huge selection of novels, including works by Lewis Carroll, Willa Cather, Sherwood Anderson, Flaubert, George Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others.
- Free Classic Literature: Find British authors like Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, plus other authors like Jules Verne, Mark Twain, and more.
If you don’t absolutely need to pay for your textbooks, save yourself a few hundred dollars by reviewing these sites.
- Textbook Revolution: Find biology, business, engineering, mathematics and world history textbooks here.
- Wikibooks: From cookbooks to the computing department, find instructional and educational materials here.
- KnowThis Free Online Textbooks: Get directed to stats textbooks and more.
- Online Medical Textbooks: Find books about plastic surgery, anatomy and more here.
- Online Science and Math Textbooks: Access biochemistry, chemistry, aeronautics, medical manuals and other textbooks here.
- MIT Open Courseware Supplemental Resources: Find free videos, textbooks and more on the subjects of mechanical engineering, mathematics, chemistry and more.
- Flat World Knowledge: This innovative site has created an open college textbooks platform that will launch in January 2009.
- Free Business Textbooks: Find free books to go along with accounting, economics and other business classes.
- Light and Matter: Here you can access open source physics textbooks.
- eMedicine: This project from WebMD is continuously updated and has articles and references on surgery, pediatrics and more.
Math and Science
Turn to this list to find books about math, science, engineering and technology.
- FullBooks.com: This site has “thousands of full-text free books,” including a large amount of scientific essays and books.
- Free online textbooks, lecture notes, tutorials and videos on mathematics: NYU links to several free resources for math students.
- Online Mathematics Texts: Here you can find online textbooks likeElementary Linear Algebra and Complex Variables.
- Science and Engineering Books for free download: These books range in topics from nanotechnology to compressible flow.
- FreeScience.info: Find over 1800 math, engineering and science books here.
- Free Tech Books: Computer programmers and computer science enthusiasts can find helpful books here.
Even children’s books are now available online. Find illustrated books, chapter books and more.
- byGosh: Find free illustrated children’s books and stories here.
- Munseys: Munseys has nearly 2,000 children’s titles, plus books about religion, biographies and more.
- International Children’s Digital Library: Find award-winning books and search by categories like age group, make believe books, true books or picture books.
- Lookybook: Access children’s picture books here.
Philosophy and Religion
For books about philosophy and religion, check out these websites.
- Bored.com: Bored.com has music ebooks, cooking ebooks, and over 150 philosophy titles and over 1,000 religion titles.
- Ideology.us: Here you’ll find works by Rene Descartes, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, David Hume and others.
- Free Books on Yoga, Religion and Philosophy: Recent uploads to this site include Practical Lessons in Yoga and Philosophy of Dreams.
- The Sociology of Religion: Read this book by Max Weber, here.
- Religion eBooks: Read books about the Bible, Christian books, and more.
From Shakespeare to George Bernard Shaw to more contemporary playwrights, visit these sites.
- ReadBookOnline.net: Here you can read plays by Chekhov, Thomas Hardy, Ben Jonson, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe and others.
- Plays: Read Pygmalion, Uncle Vanya or The Playboy of the Western World here.
- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: MIT has made available all of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, and histories.
- Plays Online: This site catalogs “all the plays [they] know about that are available in full text versions online for free.”
- ProPlay: This site has children’s plays, comedies, dramas and musicals.
Modern Fiction, Fantasy and Romance
These websites boast collections of graphic novels, romance novels, fantasy books and more.
- Public Bookshelf: Find romance novels, mysteries and more.
- The Internet Book Database of Fiction: This forum features fantasy and graphic novels, anime, J.K. Rowling and more.
- Free Online Novels: Here you can find Christian novels, fantasy and graphic novels, adventure books, horror books and more.
- Foxglove: This British site has free novels, satire and short stories.
- Baen Free Library: Find books by Scott Gier, Keith Laumer and others.
- The Road to Romance: This website has books by Patricia Cornwell and other romance novelists.
- Get Free Ebooks: This site’s largest collection includes fiction books.
- John T. Cullen: Read short stories from John T. Cullen here.
- SF and Fantasy Books Online: Books here include Arabian Nights,Aesop’s Fables and more.
- Free Novels Online and Free Online Cyber-Books: This list contains mostly fantasy books.
For books in a foreign language like French, Spanish and even Romanian, look here.
- Project Laurens Jz Coster: Find Dutch literature here.
- ATHENA Textes Francais: Search by author’s name, French books, or books written by other authors but translated into French.
- Liber Liber: Download Italian books here. Browse by author, title, or subject.
- Biblioteca romaneasca: Find Romanian books on this site.
- Bibliolteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes: Look up authors to find a catalog of their available works on this Spanish site.
- KEIMENA: This page is entirely in Greek, but if you’re looking for modern Greek literature, this is the place to access books online.
- Proyecto Cervantes: Texas A&M’s Proyecto Cervantes has cataloged Cervantes’ work online.
- Corpus Scriptorum Latinorum: Access many Latin texts here.
- Project Runeberg: Find Scandinavian literature online here.
- Italian Women Writers: This site provides information about Italian women authors and features full-text titles too.
- Biblioteca Valenciana: Register to use this database of Catalan and Valencian books.
- Ketab Farsi: Access literature and publications in Farsi from this site.
- Afghanistan Digital Library: Powered by NYU, the Afghanistan Digital Library has works published between 1870 and 1930.
- CELT: CELT stands for “the Corpus of Electronic Texts” features important historical literature and documents.
- Projekt Gutenberg-DE: This easy-to-use database of German language texts lets you search by genres and author.
History and Culture
Refresh your memory of world history, the classics and U.S. history here.
- LibriVox: LibriVox has a good selection of historical fiction.
- The Perseus Project: Tufts’ Perseus Digital Library features titles from Ancient Rome and Greece, published in English and original languages.
- Access Genealogy: Find literature about Native American history, the Scotch-Irish immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries, and more.
- Free History Books: This collection features U.S. history books, including works by Paul Jennings, Sarah Morgan Dawson, Josiah Quincy and others.
- Most Popular History Books: Free titles include Seven Days and Seven Nights by Alexander Szegedy and Autobiography of a Female Slave by Martha G. Browne.
Look for rare books online here.
- Questia: Questia has 5,000 books available for free, including rare books and classics.
- JR’s Rare Books and Commentary: Check this site for PDF versions of some rare books.
Arts and Entertainment
This list features books about celebrities, movies, fashion and more.
- Books-On-Line: This large collection includes movie scripts, newer works, cookbooks and more.
- Chest of Books: This site has a wide range of free books, including gardening and cooking books, home improvement books, craft and hobby books, art books and more.
- Free e-Books: Find titles related to beauty and fashion, games, health, drama and more.
- 2020ok: Categories here include art, graphic design, performing arts, ethnic and national, careers, business and a lot more.
- Free Art Books: Find artist books and art books in PDF format here.
- Free Web design books: OnlineComputerBooks.com directs you to free web design books.
- Free Music Books: Find sheet music, lyrics and books about music here.
- Free Fashion Books: Costume and fashion books are linked to the Google Books page.
Here you can find mystery books from Sherlock Holmes to more contemporary authors.
- MysteryNet: Read free short mystery stories on this site.
- TopMystery.com: Read books by Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, GK Chesterton and other mystery writers here.
- Mystery Books: Read books by Sue Grafton and others.
These poetry sites have works by Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe and others.
- The Literature Network: This site features forums, a copy of The King James Bible, and over 3,000 short stories and poems.
- Poetry: This list includes “The Raven,” “O Captain! My Captain!” and “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde.”
- Poem Hunter: Find free poems, lyrics and quotations on this site.
- Famous Poetry Online: Read limericks, love poetry, and poems by Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson, John Donne, Lord Byron and others.
- Google Poetry: Google Books has a large selection of poetry, fromThe Canterbury Tales to Beowulf to Walt Whitman.
- QuotesandPoem.com: Read poems by Maya Angelou, William Blake, Sylvia Plath and more.
- CompleteClassics.com: Rudyard Kipling, Allen Ginsberg and Alfred Lord Tennyson are all featured here.
- PinkPoem.com: On this site, you can download free poetry ebooks.
For even more free book sites, check out this list.
- Banned Books: Here you can follow links of banned books to their full text online.
- World eBook Library: This monstrous collection includes classics, encyclopedias, children’s books and a lot more.
- DailyLit: DailyLit has everything from Moby Dick to the more recent phenomenon, Skinny Bitch.
- A Celebration of Women Writers: The University of Pennsylvania’s page for women writers includes Newbery winners.
- Free Online Novels: These novels are fully online and range from romance to religious fiction to historical fiction.
- ManyBooks.net: Download mysteries and other books for your iPhone or eBook reader here.
- Authorama: Books here are pulled from Google Books and more. You’ll find history books, novels and more.
- Prize-winning books online: Use this directory to connect to full-text copies of Newbery winners, Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer winners.
Amazon’s Biggest Fish Faces Threat of Extinction
by Elizabeth Palermo
Measuring 10 ft (3 m) long and weighing in at more than 400 lbs (180 kg), it’s hard to imagine that the arapaima, the largest fish in the Amazon River basin, could ever go missing. But these huge fish are quickly disappearing from Brazilian waterways, according to a new study.
A recent survey of fishing communities in the state of Amazonas, Brazil, found that the arapaima is already extinct in some parts of the Amazon basin. In other parts of the Amazon, its numbers are rapidly dwindling…
(read more: Live Science)
photo by Sergio Ricardo de Oliveira
What’s the short version?
There are tens of trillions of microbes in our guts, which are important for our digestion and our health. The antibiotics that we take to kill off disease-causing bacteria also indiscriminately nuke these beneficial bugs. Now, a new set of experiments in mice have shown that low, regular doses of antibiotics at an early age can disrupt these microbe communities, leading to weight gain later in life. The increase in body weight was small, but compounded by a high-fat diet. If the results apply to humans, they would add to the large body of evidence suggesting that antibiotics should be used more carefully in infants and children.
“I’m not saying people should never take antibiotics,” says Martin Blaserfrom the NYU Langone Medical Centre, who led the study. “But we need to be more judicious. Antibiotics can have long-term consequences. I hope that knowledge will enter the examining room, so that parents don’t demand antibiotics and doctors are more cautious about using them.”
This sounds familiar…
Two years ago, Blaser’s team showed that antibiotics can change the gut microbes of young mice, which then grow up fatter. This new study confirms and builds upon those earlier results. More generally, farmers have been fattening livestock for decades by giving them low doses of antibiotics in their food—it’s the microbe connection that’s new. And Blaser himself has been discussing these ideas a lot, in the wake of his recent book, Missing Microbes.
What did the new experiments show?
The new studies represent a huge amount of work, largely done by graduate student Laurie Cox. First, she exposed mice to low doses of penicillin at two points in time: either when they were being weaned at four weeks old, or right from the start of their lives (by dosing their mothers). By 20 weeks of age, the mice that experienced penicillin from birth were heavier and fatter, especially the males. They also had very different gut microbes.
A high-fat diet exacerbated this effect, especially in females. If female mice were raised on fatty chow and penicillin, they put on twice as much fat as those that ate the fatty chow alone. (It’s not clear why there’s a gender difference.)
In these experiments, the mice were on antibiotics for their entire lives. Next, Cox showed that much shorter bursts are enough. Four weeks of early exposure can change the rodents’ gut microbes. These communities returned to normal after eight weeks, but the mice still got fatter, and their immune systems were still weaker. This suggests that there’s a critical window where microbial upheavals have long-lasting consequences. This makes sense: our gut microbes are an active part of our development. As we grow up, they help to set our metabolism and train our immune systems. Just as schooling and education can have lasting effects on our lives, microbial education might permanently affect a mammal’s health.
Finally, Cox transplanted the microbes from the antibiotic-treated mice into germ-free ones that had no microbes of their own. These recipients alsobecame heavier and fatter. “The fact that you can transfer the [effects] by transferring the microbes is pretty solid evidence of causality,” says Jack Gilbert from the University of Chicago. “It is excellent confirmation of what [Blaser] has been expounding for a while.”
Which microbes were affected?
The penicillin depleted four particular groups, and they’re a slightly weird quartet. One of them, Lactobacillus, is very well known—common in our guts and in probiotics. But the others—two species called Allobaculum andArthromitus, and a wider group called the Rikenellaceae—are more obscure.Allobaculum was only discovered ten years ago. Arthromitus seems to only live in mice and not humans. These microbes might help to prevent their hosts from putting on too much weight, but it’s too early to say.
How does antibiotic treatment lead to weight gain?
It’s clear that the penicillin did at least four things: it changed the gut microbes; it changed the rodents’ metabolism; it increased inflammation in the gut; and it increased the risk of obesity. But, as Les Dethlefsen from Stanford University told me, it’s hard to know how these effects are connected. The microbes could be responsible for everything else. Alternatively, the drugs themselves could cause some of the effects, and the microbes others. We’re probably looking at a tangled web of causality rather than a linear chain.
read more through NatGeo
This is important information.
How clever is that?
Too often the neocortex is the servant of the r-complex. If we are to survive, the neocortex must rule.
Museum in Germany balks at repatriating scalps to tribes in US
The Karl May Museum in Germany is holding onto 17 scalps despite requests from tribes to repatriate them for reburial.
Some of the scalps were put on display in public, drawing an angry reaction from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan and other tribes. The museum eventually decided to place them in storage but won’t return them unless a clear link can be shown to a particular tribe.
Dazzling New Sea Urchin Species Described
Simon Coppard, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and an Encyclopedia of Life Rubenstein Fellow specializing in echinoids often uncovers new species during his research. In 2006, he and a fellow scientist discovered and described Coelopleurus exquisitus, a previously unknown sea urchin species from New Caledonia in the South Pacific.
(via: Smithsonian Ocean Portal) (image: EOL)