alcoholic flies

Offer a male fruit fly a choice between food soaked in alcohol and its nonalcoholic equivalent, and his decision will depend on whether he’s mated recently or been rejected by a female. Flies that have been given the cold shoulder … Continue reading

Offer a male fruit fly a choice between food soaked in alcohol and its nonalcoholic equivalent, and his decision will depend on whether he’s mated recently or been rejected by a female. Flies that have been given the cold shoulder are more likely to go for the booze, researchers have found. It’s the first discovery, in fruit flies, of a social interaction that influences future behavior.

“This is an amazing link,” says neurogeneticist Troy Zars of the University of Missouri, Columbia, who was not involved in the study. Understanding the brain pathways responsible, he says, could help explain more broadly how rewarding behavior is reflected in the brain, and how the brain mediates complex behaviors.

Scientists already knew that when fruit flies drink alcohol, reward pathways in their brains are activated, making it a “pleasurable” experience. They also knew that social interactions are among the most rewarding experiences. So researchers led by neuroscientist Galit Shohat-Ophir, who conducted the work at the University of California, San Francisco, but who has now moved to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, wanted to see whether the two types of rewards were connected in the brain. “This was just a wild experiment to do,” she says. “We didn’t expect to see such dramatic results.”

The scientists put 24 male fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) in one of two situations. Half the males were placed in vials in groups of four, each group with 20 female flies that were ready to mate, allowing the males to mate with multiple females. The other half of the males were put alone in vials, each with one female that had already mated, making her reject any courtship advances. After 4 days of repeated mating or rejection, the male flies were moved to new containers, with capillaries containing food mash—some with alcohol and others without—that they could eat. Each fly could chose which capillary to drink from, and the researchers measured the amount that was consumed.

The researchers expected all of the flies to prefer alcohol, but that’s not what they found. “You see that the mated males actually have an aversion to the alcohol-containing food,” Shohat-Ophir says. “And the rejected males have a high preference to that food with alcohol.” On average, the rejected males drank four times more alcohol than the mated ones, her team reports online today in Science.

Shohat-Ophir and colleagues suspected that a chemical in the brain called neuropeptide F (NPF) might play a role in the link, as it’s been previously discovered to mediate alcohol preference. So they measured the levels of NPF in the flies’ brains after mating or after rejection by a female. The rejected males, they found, had half the amount of NPF in their brains. If the researchers lowered the levels of the NPF receptors in the brain, males that had mated acted like those that were rejected, drinking more ethanol-containing solution. And in the reverse experiment, if the team activated the NPF cells in the brain, rejected male flies no longer preferred the alcohol-laden food.

Shohat-Ophir says the take-home message is that experiences are translated into a molecular signature through levels of NPF. In turn, those NPF levels drive behavior—either drinking or not drinking—that will restore the reward system to normal levels.

“They showed that NPF is necessary to mediate this link between sex and alcohol, and also that NPF is sufficient for the association,” Zars says. “That’s two strong arguments that this is a real connection and not mediated in some other way.”

But there are still questions, Zars says, about how the connection works at a molecular level. How does the reward of a sexual experience control NPF levels? How do NPF levels control alcohol consumption?

In addition, there is a protein in mammals, including humans, that is similar to NPF, called neuropeptide Y (NPY). Studies have shown that people with depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome have lower levels of NPY. Moreover, lower NPY levels have been linked to alcohol and drug consumption in rats, and certain gene variants of NPY found to be more common in human alcoholics. But whether NPY can be mediated by social experiences has yet to be studied. “Our results certainly don’t translate directly from flies to humans,” Shohat-Ophir says, “but it does bring up questions and suggest future studies.”

How To Distinguish Real Science From Bureaucratic Science (BS)

It’s as plain as day that carbon crackpots KNOW THEY ARE LYING! 1 Jan 2009 It is to some extent forgivable when people adopt extreme positions out of misapprehension or delusion. It is quite another matter if they mislead others … Continue reading

It’s as plain as day that carbon crackpots KNOW THEY ARE LYING!

1 Jan 2009

It is to some extent forgivable when people adopt extreme positions out of
misapprehension or delusion.

It is quite another matter if they mislead others by deliberate falsehood.

Politicians, of course, treat the lie as part of their professional
equipment. Indeed, in some circumstances they are obliged to use it (when, for example,
telling the truth about the economy would cause a run on the currency).

In science, up to recent times, there is no circumstance in which a
deliberate falsehood is justifiable. It requires at a minimum being drummed
out of one’s learned society.

All that has changed with the rise of authoritarian government. In Britain
this took the form of nationalization of the universities, begun under
Thatcher and completed under Blair. In the USA it took the form of new
state-funded bureaucracies, such as the EPA, who maintained control by the
monopoly of funding. The global warming religion changed everything.

There is a contrast in the behavior of people who speak from conviction and
those who speak from convenience.

This enables us to uncover those who are lying deliberately and distinguish
them from the merely deluded.

As M. Maigret once remarked “It is always the clever ones who leave a clue.”


There is a long and respectable history of patronage in science as well as
art, literature, lexicography etc. The patrons (other than the church) used
their own money. The modern patrons, however, are bureaucrats who use the
money of others; to whit, taxpayers. Their science is not the science of
recent tradition, but a whole new ball game.

There are major differences between real science and bureaucratic science

Real science involves living with the prospect of failure. In BS, failure is
not allowed. The whole project is mapped out beforehand in forms such as
Gantt charts. There are deliverables that have to be delivered on the due
date. With the exception of really big physics, real science is carried out
by small groups. It is the same with BS, except that there are about five
managers for every researcher. Above all the expected result must be
delivered on time. Those who desire further patronage never report a
negative result or, indeed, a result at variance with the expectations of
the sponsors.

We can identify the “scientists” who habitually lie by the fact that they
produce, on time, results that are never unexpected and always conform to
the establishment-sponsored theory. Real science is never that predictable.

Powerful patronage makes people over-confident. They come to believe that
they are untouchable. Like the royal favorites of medieval times, they
soar in the air on a zephyr of preferment, only to get too close to the sun
and plunge to earth.

Which brings us to:


In the security of powerful patronage some of the new brigade began to think
that they were above the not only the procedures of science, but of all
other academic disciplines as well. In the case of the notorious Hockey
Stick, for example, they claimed that knowledge from history, art,
literature, archaeology etc. was all wrong and that their computer
manipulation of such tenuous data as tree rings established that the Little
Ice Age and the Mediaeval Warm Period never happened. The most powerful
patrons of all, the UN, seized on the results and made them the main feature
of one of their apocalyptic IPCC reports on the coming climate disaster. One
of the first tests of any scientific work is to pose the question “Can the
results be reproduced?” The Hockey team and the other computer nerds behind
the doom-laden predictions were outraged at the suggestion that they should
make public their computations and results, which had in fact been obtained
with generous public funding. This stance was supported by the political
establishment and, though it might work in a secretive society like the UK ,
this did not go down well in the more open USA . Anyway, to cut a long story
short, thanks largely to the untiring persistence of two Canadians, the
Hockey Stick was broken. The critics were subjected to a torrent of
vilification and derision, but eventually after a review by the highest
statistical authority in the USA , they were vindicated. The UN simply
dropped the Hockey Stick as though it had never happened and carried on with
other forms of propaganda.

British “researchers” into global warming refused to yield up their
calculations to scrutiny on the grounds that “You only want to criticise
it.” Contrast this with a real scientist, Albert Einstein, who passed all
his calculations onto Eddington, so that they latter could devise a critical
test, that might have damned the theory, but in the end spectacularly did

What have they got to hide?

Which brings us to:

Rewriting the past

Critics of the apocalyptic global warming theory began to be disturbed at
what was happening to experimental data under the cloak of secrecy
surrounding the claims. One signal was assertion that the US results were
based on a high quality sensor network. When that claim was made twice in
one paragraph, it began to sound more like the patter of a second-hand car
salesman than a statement by scientists. As a result, a small band of unpaid
volunteers began a systematic review of the weather stations on which the
claims were based. What they found was even more appalling than anyone had
anticipated. Ramshackle is barely adequate to describe the system they
found. The siting of many of the sensors broke all the rules. Many were on
black tarmac and others were even adjacent to the outlets of air
conditioning units. The High Quality Network was, to say the least, a
mirage. But it was worse than this. Astute observers began to notice that
the historical records of temperatures were changing and almost always in
such a way as to increase the illusion of global warming. NASA, of all
institutions, was involved in this dubious practice and it was all done
without explanation.

All of this was widely reported on the internet, but the general public had
no idea that it had happened.

Which brings us to:

Ratchet reporting

In the past the more respectable end of the media has been fairly assiduous
in presenting both sides of arguments, but that has now come to an end.
Since the spread of the global warming religion this has all changed. All
occurrences of unseasonably hot weather, for example, were extensively
reported, while cold weather was played down. They have now got over this
dilemma by changing the vocabulary. Pronouncements by warming activists
within the scientific community are given full coverage, while those from
the large and growing sceptical sector are totally ignored. Most ordinary
readers who do not inhabit the internet have no idea that such views exist:
yet, when talking to ordinary people in pubs, it is gratifying how much
spontaneous scepticism exists.

Why would anyone sure of their position be unwilling to let any alternative
be heard? What have they got to hide?

Which brings us to:


Ratchet reporting is a passive way of misleading the public by telling the
truth but not the whole truth. The active form is direct censorship, which
is now rife among once respectable scientific journals, as well as powerful
media institutions such as the BBC. The self-styled environmental editors
are the biggest threat to science since the arraignment of Galileo. The
editors of Nature, once the prime journal of science, jumped through hoops
to prevent the publication of a short article that challenged the orthodoxy,
offering one lame excuse after another. Right across the spectrum of
scientific publication it is the rule rather than the exception that any
challenge to global warming will be automatically declined. A study of the
situation by leading American statisticians (the Wegman report) included the
observation that cliques of believers had formed peer review circles
designed to prevent alternative views being published.

A skeptical climate web site was restricted from view at the Johnson Space Center on the grounds of being adult or sexually explicit. Absurd, but for
lover of human freedom rather frightening.

What have they got to hide?

Intermission – a short quiz

You have made some observations and calculations, which show that humanity
is doomed unless it changes its ways. You have total belief in the accuracy
of your predictions.

Do you:

(a) Announce your results, but keep your workings secret for fear that
someone will criticise them.

(b) Announce you results, but set up a group of companies to make yourself
mega-rich on the back of the scare you have created.

(c) Drop everything, including secrecy and profit, and devote yourself to
saving the human race.

The ancient remains of two human-like creatures found in South Africa could change the way we view our origins The 1.9-million-year-old fossils were first described in 2010, and given the species name Australopithecus sediba. But the team behind the discovery has now come back with a deeper analysis. It tells Science magazine that features seen in the brain, feet, hands and … Continue reading

The 1.9-million-year-old fossils were first described in 2010, and given the species name Australopithecus sediba.

But the team behind the discovery has now come back with a deeper analysis.

It tells Science magazine that features seen in the brain, feet, hands and pelvis of A. sediba all suggest this species was on the direct evolutionary line to us - Homo sapiens.

“We have examined the critical areas of anatomy that have been used consistently for identifying the uniqueness of human beings,” said Professor Lee Berger from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg

“Any one of these features could have evolved separately, but it is highly unlikely that all of them would have evolved together if A. sediba was not related to our lineage,” the team leader informed BBC News.

A. sediba hand (L.Berger/Uni of Witwatersrand)The female’s right hand is missing only a few bones

It is a big claim and, if correct, would sideline other candidates in the fossil record for which similar assertions have been made in the past.

Theory holds that modern humans can trace a line back to a creature known as Homo erectuswhich lived more than a million years ago. This animal, according to many palaeoanthropologists, may in turn have had its origins in more primitive hominins, as they are known, such as Homo habilis or Homo rudolfensis.

The contention now made for A. sediba is that, although older than its “rivals”, some of its anatomy and capabilities were more advanced than these younger forms. Put simply, it is a more credible ancestor for H. erectus, Berger’s team claims.

The sediba specimens were unearthed at Malapa in the famous Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, just to the northwest of Jo’burg.

They were pulled from a pit – a depression left in the ground by a cave complex that had lost its roof through erosion over time.

Identified as an adult female and a juvenile male, the two individuals were quite possibly mother and son. What seems certain is that they died together in some tragic accident that saw them either fall into the cave complex or become stuck in it. After death, their bodies were washed into a pool and cemented in time along with the remains of many other animals that got trapped in the same way.

In the months since their 2010 announcement, Professor Berger and colleagues have subjected the remains to further detailed assessment.

Age: The latest dating technologies were applied to the sediments encasing the fossils. Whereas original estimates had put the age of the remains at somewhere between 1.78 and 1.95 million years old, the new analysis has narrowed this window of uncertainty to just 3,000 years. The new age is now between 1.977 and 1.98 million years old. The refined dating is important, says the team, because it puts A. sediba deep enough in time to be a realistic ancestor to H. erectus.

Dr Robyn Pickering, from the University of Melbourne, Australia, who led the dating, told BBC News: “This is a very interesting time in human evolution because it is when we think we should be seeing the beginnings of our genus,Homo. Previously, we’ve had very few fossils from this time period, so thesediba fossils are remarkable in that they are so complete.”

Brain: A high-resolution X-ray scan of the male specimen’s skull has produced a virtual cast of its braincase. This was carried out at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble. From this, the researchers estimate an adult A. sediba‘s brain to have been about 440 cubic centimetres in volume, or about the size of a medium grapefruit. This is smaller than much older fossils in the record such as the famous “Lucy” specimen, Australopithecus afarensis (3.2 million years), but, intriguingly, the shape is more human-like, especially at the front. This may hint at the start of the re-organisation of the brain that would be necessary to make us what we are today.

Pelvis (L.Berger/Uni of Witwatersrand)It would appear from these fossils that hip evolution was not linked to an increase in brain size

Pelvis: The pelvis is short and broad like a human pelvis. A more ancient creature like Lucy has a flatter and more flaring pelvis. A popular idea has been that the modern human pelvis evolved in tandem with the gradual growth in brain volume – facilitating the birth of babies with bigger heads. A. sediba gives the lie to this theory, says the team, because it had a modern-looking pelvis while possessing a small brain.

Hand: The right-hand of the female is very nearly complete. It is looks far more like a modern human hand than an ape hand. Its fingers are shorter relative to the thumb than in a chimpanzee. And yet, it appears to have possessed powerful muscles for grasping, suggesting A. sediba spent a lot of time clambering through the branches of trees. The team also argues that the dexterity would have been there to make simple tools.

Foot: The ankle joint is mostly human-like in form and there is some evidence for a human-like arch and Achilles tendon. But A. sedibapossessed an ape-like heel and lower tibia, or shin bone. The scientists think this combination may have led to a distinctive type of walk when the creature was not climbing in trees.

Whatever the correctness of the analysis, the creature certainly has a fascinating mix of features – some archaic, some modern.

Independent scientists describe the fossils as exquisite and utterly fascinating.

Dr William Harcourt-Smith from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, commented: “One lineage of Australopithecusalmost certainly led into the first member of our own genus called Homo, and from then eventually emerged modern humans.

“But some of them are side branches, and we’re trying to work out which ones are and which ones aren’t – and that’s why this finding is so important. In many ways, these fossils are the ‘smoking gun’ just before the emergence of our own genus.”

And Professor Chris Stringer, from London’s Natural History Museum, told BBC News: “This isn’t the end of the story. What may be happening is that there were several australopithecine forms all evolving human-like features in parallel as they turned to meat-eating and tool-making and moving greater distances.

“The question now is to pull out of this mess which one is really the ancestor of the genus Homo. We know there are more remains to come from this incredible site. Let’s see if other individuals also show this mix of features.”

Faster-than-light results

On September 22nd, 2011, the OPERA Collaboration garnered international attention, even outside the physics community, when they released a claim that neutrinos had been clocked travelling from CERN in Geneva to the OPERA detector at faster-than-light speed. The particles were measured arriving … Continue reading

On September 22nd, 2011, the OPERA Collaboration garnered international attention, even outside the physics community, when they released a claim that neutrinos had been clocked travelling from CERN in Geneva to the OPERA detector at faster-than-light speed. The particles were measured arriving at the detector 60 nanoseconds prior to the time expected if they were travelling at lightspeed, with a margin of error of only 10 nanoseconds. OPERA collaboration scientist Antonio Ereditato explained that the OPERA team has “not found any instrumental effect that could explain the result of the measurement.”[3] James Gillies, a spokesman for CERN said on 22 September that the scientists are “inviting the broader physics community to look at what they’ve done and really scrutinize it in great detail, and ideally for someone elsewhere in the world to repeat the measurements.” Experimental physicists at Fermilab have already begun their attempt to repeat the results.[1] A more detailed announcement from CERN and OPERA is expected on 23 September.

American winter

THERE are two American archetypes that were sometimes played against each other in old Westerns. The egghead Eastern lawyer who lacks the skills or stomach for a gunfight is contrasted with the tough Western rancher and ace shot who has … Continue reading

THERE are two American archetypes that were sometimes played against each other in old Westerns.
The egghead Eastern lawyer who lacks the skills or stomach for a gunfight is contrasted with the tough Western rancher and ace shot who has no patience for book learnin’.
The duality of America’s creation story was vividly illustrated in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” the 1962 John Ford Western.
Jimmy Stewart is the young attorney who comes West to Shinbone and ends up as a U.S. senator after gaining fame for killing the sadistic outlaw Liberty Valance, played by Lee Marvin. John Wayne is the rancher, a fast-draw Cyrano who hides behind a building and actually shoots Marvin because he knows Stewart is hopeless in a duel. He does it even though they’re in love with the same waitress, who chooses the lawyer because he teaches her to read.
A lifetime later, on the verge of becoming a vice presidential candidate, Stewart confesses the truth to a Shinbone newspaperman, who refuses to print it. “When the legend becomes fact,” the editor says, “print the legend.”
At the cusp of the 2012 race, we have a classic cultural collision between a skinny Eastern egghead lawyer who’s inept in Washington gunfights and a pistol-totin’, lethal-injectin’, square-shouldered cowboy who has no patience for book learnin’.
Rick Perry, from the West Texas town of Paint Creek, is no John Wayne, even though he has a ton of executions notched on his belt. But he wears a pair of cowboy boots with the legend “Liberty” stitched on one. (As in freedom, not Valance.) He plays up the effete-versus-mesquite stereotypes in his second-grade textbook of a manifesto, “Fed Up!”
Trashing Massachusetts, he writes: “They passed state-run health care, they have sanctioned gay marriage, and they elected Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Barney Frank repeatedly — even after actually knowing about them and what they believe! Texans, on the other hand, elect folks like me. You know the type, the kind of guy who goes jogging in the morning, packing a Ruger .380 with laser sights and loaded with hollow-point bullets, and shoots a coyote that is threatening his daughter’s dog.”
At a recent campaign event in South Carolina, Perry grinned, “I’m actually for gun control — use both hands.”
Traveling to Lynchburg, Va., to speak to students at Liberty University (as in Falwell, not Valance), Perry made light of his bad grades at Texas A&M.
Studying to be a veterinarian, he stumbled on chemistry and made a D one semester and an F in another. “Four semesters of organic chemistry made a pilot out of me,” said Perry, who went on to join the Air Force.
“His other D’s,” Richard Oppel wrote in The Times, “included courses in the principles of economics, Shakespeare, ‘Feeds & Feeding,’ veterinary anatomy and what appears to be a course called ‘Meats.’ ”
He even got a C in gym.
Perry conceded that he “struggled” with college, and told the 13,000 young people in Lynchburg that in high school, he had graduated “in the top 10 of my graduating class — of 13.”
It’s enough to make you long for W.’s Gentleman’s C’s. At least he was a mediocre student at Yale. Even Newt Gingrich’s pseudo-intellectualism is a relief at this point.
Our education system is going to hell. Average SAT scores are falling, and America is slipping down the list of nations for college completion. And Rick Perry stands up with a smirk to talk to students about how you can get C’s, D’s and F’s and still run for president.
The Texas governor did help his former chief of staff who went to lobby for a pharmaceutical company that donated to Perry, so he at least knows the arithmetic of back scratching.
Perry told the students, “God uses broken people to reach a broken world.” What does that even mean?
The Republicans are now the “How great is it to be stupid?” party. In perpetrating the idea that there’s no intellectual requirement for the office of the presidency, the right wing of the party offers a Farrelly Brothers “Dumb and Dumber” primary in which evolution is avant-garde.
Having grown up with a crush on William F. Buckley Jr. for his sesquipedalian facility, it’s hard for me to watch the right wing of the G.O.P. revel in anti-intellectualism and anti-science cant.
Sarah Palin, who got outraged at a “gotcha” question about what newspapers and magazines she read, is the mother of stupid conservatism. Another “Don’t Know Much About History” Tea Party heroine, Michele Bachmann, seems rather proud of not knowing anything, simply repeating nutty, inflammatory medical claims that somebody in the crowd tells her.
So we’re choosing between the overintellectualized professor and blockheads boasting about their vacuity?
The occupational hazard of democracy is know-nothing voters. It shouldn’t be know-nothing candidates.

This might just be selective media. They probably had over 50 people that were nothing like this but just put the stupid ones in order to spread propaganda about americans. There is smart and stupid in every country this whole video is just a big generalization