Archive | April 2013

Ligers… yin, yang, and enigma.

In yesterday’s TedX Talk, we witnessed a man state that ligers were occasionally found in the wild. We also watched and listened as he demonstrated shaky knowledge about bioengineering.

What I have for you here is a short “fact sheet” about ligers. This part of the webpage is both informative and interesting. However, if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you will find a video that redefines what it means to be melodramatic.

Personally, I’d pick a good old tiger over a liger any day, but we’ll save those discussions for Napoleon Dynamite.

The obscene profits of commercial scholarly publishers

A snip-it of Elsevier’s crazy profits…

Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

In an article that many of you will now have seen, Heather Morrison demonstrated the enormous profits of STM (Scientific, Technical and Medical) scholarly publishers.  The figures are taken from her in-progress dissertation which in turn cites an article in The Economist.  It all checks out.  I emphasise this because I found the figures so hard to believe.  Here they are again: profits as a percentage of revenue for commercial STM publishers in 2010 or early 2011:

  • Elsevier: £724m on revenue of £2b — 36%
  • Springer‘s Science+Business Media: £294m on revenue of £866m — 33.9%
  • John Wiley & Sons: $106m on revenue of $253m — 42%
  • Academic division of Informa plc: £47m on revenue of £145m — 32.4%

So it’s evident that profits on the order of 35% are pretty typical for commercial STM publishers, and that Elsevier’s figures are not an aberration.  Not only…

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Commuter Dogs

Many of you (probably all of you) know about my obsession with dogs and my attempts to essentially treat mine like children. Yes, I know, I am a bit odd. But today I checked out the FB blog “I Fucking Love Science” and discovered that some dogs in Moscow have learned to ride the metro. Apart from seeming ridiculous, amazing, and a bit fictional at first, this also poses some interesting scientific questions.

For instance, how might these dogs’ brains function and/or physically differ from other feral dogs? Can we observe these dogs as a means to understand the original feral to tame transition of canines? Finally, what social behaviors allow these dogs to function in these highly urbanized packs?



I’m not a pattern-oriented person, but I figured I’d give this a try. Time to join in on discovering the RNA world.

Breast Cancer Migration

This time lapse shows breast cancer migration from the primary site of the tumor. Watch as cells detach from the cluster and begin to migrate. For those interested in metastasis, the PI of the lab that filmed this event, Andrew Ewald, does some incredible work!