Tag Archives: Fun-+-nothing-else

Falling asleep

A new study in Science now finds that facts and experiences were better recalled from memory when subjects were cued with a scent during the memorization process and again during slow wave sleep.

Re-exposure to the odor during slow-wave sleep (SWS) improved the retention of hippocampus-dependent declarative memories but not of hippocampus-independent procedural memories. Odor re-exposure was ineffective during rapid eye movement sleep or wakefulness or when the odor had been omitted during prior learning. Concurring with these findings, functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed significant hippocampal activation in response to odor re-exposure during SWS.

I wonder how this could be used for preparing presentations, situations where a persons typically fall asleep during or after the session ;-)

Face recognition, face value

With a new child, people are always asking if the baby looks like the father or the mother – probably a prehistoric social reflex to confirm that this is your offspring that you are caring about.
Face recognition clearly is a science of its own – a lot of heuristics and Bayesian computing – more at face-rec.org – and even a big business if you think of automatic passport control or age determination for goods that are only allowed for adults.
Face recognition works quite robust as I found in the advanced online demo at betaface.com. A new browser plugin from polar rose will even allows to annotate web pictures – Orwell meets Flickr.


What is DANN sequencing?

Did you ever came across DANN sequencing or plasmid DANN?

Here is my explanation: Native German MS WORD always corrects DNA to DANN (“then”). So if you don’t check your text, and your editor doesn’t check your text, and your reviewer doesn’t check your text – you will get an immortal entry in PUBMED like the guys below:


You may even earn money with typos

Computer names, sequencer names, freezer names

Creativity in science – look how computer are being named (seemed there are many da Vinicis and Picassos in bioinformatics). The MDC microsatellite center in Berlin named their sequencers by volcanos (even before pyrosequencing became in vogue), we use European cities for our freezers. Famous chess players would be another idea or use car brands …

Something in the air

New studies further question the hygiene hypothesis of allergy induction. One study shows that a household bacterial elimination strategy does not lead to more — it even leads to less asthma.

Children living in a house regularly cleaned with bleach were less likely to have asthma (OR, 0.10; CI, 0.02-0.51), eczema (OR, 0.22; CI, 0.06-0.79) and of being sensitized to indoor aeroallergens (OR, 0.53; CI, 0.27-1.02)

Another study, by designing a 16S rRNA chip, examined a snapshot of urban air in San Antonio — the aerosol harbored at least 1,800 diverse bacterial types

a richness approaching that of some soil bacterial communities

You probably know the joke that before taking a deep breath think where the air has been before…


The ecology of human skin has now been also reported – highly diverse, well conserved but low-level interpersonal consensus: scienceblog:doi:10.1073/pnas.0607077104

Random news, oxymorons and paper generator

–Day 6 of Just Science Week–

No idea, what to write in your next scientific paper? Use the random medical news for some ideas. Here are also some expressions ready for cut & paste. Or you may want to go directly to SCIGEN (thanks to Christine for that link).


This page took 0.134 seconds of computer labor to produce. No computers were harmed in the making of this page. Some browsers whose name starts with Internet may be though (from Matt s blog).

Laptop stolen – phoning home

Scientists are frequent travellers – hopefully you have always your harddisk encrypted. There are many companies that offer to trace your computer like Computrace(R), zTrace(R), LapTrak(R), BoomerangIt(R), LoJack(R) and PC-Guardian(R). Save your $/€ for your next experiment, here is the trick: During the next boot your laptop will send out a http request to any server you like. You simply need to watch the server logfile if your stolen laptop is phoning home…
For installation please download LaptopService.cmd, LaptopService.reg and two small binaries from the windows ressource kit. Adjust path and server name before running LaptopService.cmd. Voilà, that’s it – for a good joke look at Slashdot.

@echo off
if "%1" == "stop" goto stop

echo installing...
"c:\programme\poweroff\instsrv.exe" LaptopService "c:\programme\poweroff\srvany.exe"
echo editing registry...
regedit LaptopService.reg
echo start service...
net start LaptopService
goto end

echo Stop...
net stop LaptopService
echo deinstalling...
"c:\ntreskit\instsrv.exe" LaptopService remove


Science of course and effective too

Most people in the field search Pubmed but there is another site that I frequently visit – the European patent database that often have more concise information. Look at current allergy patents – the last one will definitely work you may also use a big plastic bag ;-)


Be aware that being cynical is probably bad for your heart.


ZEIT online has an interesting article about ddéjà-vu – a rare syndrome. Some psychiatrists believe that déjà-vu episodes are the result of a faulty memory that brings up a similar episode. Others believe that there is nothing at all – just electric loops of a petite mals that can also be triggered by electric stimulation of the gyrus parahippocampus. ZEIT online also cites a study of Alan Brown that adds evidence for some kind of implantable memory.
I have frequently déjà-vus when reading the scientific literature (sometimes I even believe in groundhog days). One of my teachers in Marburg always said that “study of the scientific literature prevents from new discoveries”. Yea, yea.

Playing with your browser

Some blog authors are nuts about protecting their web site from copying files. There are many ways to protect your site – but only one really good (publish nothing). I often see small javascripts that disable the ability to right-click where javascript.about.com has a much simpler solution:

<body oncontextmenu=”return false;”>

Please try a right click now…
If you are fooled by a web author in such a way, what could you do? tech-recipes has the answer: Of course, we can use javascript to turn it back on.

When visiting the offending website, type the following into the URL bar of your browser:

Happy browsing, yea, yea.