Daily Archives: April 8, 2008

Dyslexia in Chinese Readers vs. English Readers

ResearchBlogging.orgDevelopmental dyslexia is a disorder affecting as many as 17% of school children. This neurological disorder involves an impairment in reading skills, and has been found to be “associated with weak reading-related activity in left temporoparietal and occipitotemporal regions” in English speakers. However, different abnormalities in the brain are associated with dyslexic readers in the non-alphabetic Chinese language, according to research just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.This is not terribly surprising. Earlier research had shown that individuals with linguistic abilities in both English and Chinese who later suffer brain damage (such as a stroke) may have aphaisa (inability to produce or comprehend language) in relation to one language but not the other. Furthermore, non-alphabetic languages seem to recruit different brain areas than alphabetic languages for processing of the written form. Continue reading Dyslexia in Chinese Readers vs. English Readers

Save the Great Cormorants of Lake Constance


Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU – BirdLife in Germany) is protesting vehemently against the planned destruction of Lake Constance’s only colony of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo.”It is hard to believe that Freiburg local authority intends to commit such a destructive act, not only in a National Nature Reserve but especially within a European Special Protected Area (SPA)”, said Dr Andre Baumann (chairman – NABU Baden-Württemberg). “This persecution of Great Cormorants not only contradicts common sense, it also contravenes European bird protection legislation and is morally unjustifiable”. NABU is protesting to the authorities in Freiburg against the planned operations and has started an online petition.

Read the rest here.

Agri-tourism could help save colorful prairie chicken

i-a633a371c0eecf8b2a8efba2b35b79af-p_chicken.jpgThis is a photo of a Tympanuchus cupido male drumming away on the lek to find a mate. The lek is the traditional breeding ground of the prairie chicken (and many other animals uses lek’s) on which the males display, and to which the females travel to pick a male with whom to mate.This bird, the greater prairie chicken, is threatened, and there is now a move to employ ecotourism to save it. Continue reading Agri-tourism could help save colorful prairie chicken

The Pros and Cons of Linux, Windows, and OSX.

A must read for those in the midsts of a decision about their operating system.

All your choices have their technical merits but, you really shouldn’t select an operating system based solely on it technical merits. You should instead select one that best suits your usage case. To that end I have done my best to summarize the pros and cons of each operating system from the point of view of the average end user.


Let’s Make a Deal!

Do you know what the Monty Hall effect is? Let me explain.i-330e35bb744d99a597c417fdc3a09ce7-montyhead.jpgOK, I’m Monty Hall and you are a hapless game show guest. I show you three doors and tell you that behind one door is a nice brand new car, and behind each of the other two doors is a goat.You get to pick one of the door. Say you pick Door Number 1.Now, I have my lovely assistant Gwenda (assume her name is Gwenda) open Door Number 3 to show you that there is a goat behind Door # 3. I give you the option: Are you going to stick with Door Number 1, or are you going to switch to the only remaining unopened door?Statistically, scientifically, what is the correct answer to this question? Obviously, the probability that the car was behind the door you chose has not changed, so you should not change your mind without any other information, right? Continue reading Let’s Make a Deal!

Avast ye pirates! Blasted by Public Access be yer land lubbin arses!

Whence public access policy, and why?Flashback. The year is some time in the 1980s. The place, southern Indiana. The setting: A meeting of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists.We are being given a presentation, in the business meeting, by a publisher. The publisher points out that the maintenance of a journal (as we had been doing) is expensive and difficult, and the most efficient way to carry out this onerous task was to have the professional publishers do it. The society was promised that members would have inexpensive subscription rates to the journal, perhaps even free for the first couple of years, and the publishing company would take on the task of managing the production of the journal. The journal would, of course, become one of the titles held by the publishing company, with all the rights and privileges and unnecessary boring fine print etc. etc. nevermindthedetails… Continue reading Avast ye pirates! Blasted by Public Access be yer land lubbin arses!

Florida Screws Up

In a move that now sends the deceptively named “academic freedom” bill to the Florida Senate floor, the Senate judiciary committee voted 6-3 to approve it. It looks like some Democrats can see the potential (almost guaranteed) lawsuit pitfalls to come, but the bill marches on nonetheless. I’ll have more later …

What’s wrong with you people? Do we not ridicule you enough? Do you not feel stoopid enough? Are your jaws not slack enough and your chromosomes not homogeneous enough?Get out there and De-Elect these Senators!Florida Citizens for Science may have more soon. Here.


I’ve not been good about posting current carnivals over the last week or so … thus, some catching up:Scientiae Carnival: Fools and Foolishness at Women in ScienceThe Second Carnival Of Mathematics: The Math Geeks are Coming to Town! at Good Math Bad MathTangled Bank #102 at Further ThoughtsCarnival of the Green at Conserve Plastic BagsCircus of the Spineless at from Archaea to ZeaxontholEncephalon Goes to Paris (Hilton) at Of Two MindsMedBlogs Grand Rounds 4:28 at GruntDoc

Minnesota Governor Pawlenty Smashes Hopes for Better Bell

Tim Pawlenty has demonstrated, in many ways and on many occasions, that he is the worst governor the State of Minnesota has ever had. The most recent proof was his line item veto of funding for the Bell Museum of Natural History, and his line item veto of the funding necessary to further develop public transit in the Twin Cities. Neither surprises me. This is the governor who gave us a creationist education director, and this is the governor who let the bridge fall down. Education and transportation are not his bailiwicks. But one has to ask, if he can’t understand these two important issues (which habitually top various lists of what is important to the citizenry), when what is he good at? (See below for one possible suggestion.)i-0458ced870d6b46dedb3d19abd566c74-bridge_photo_3.jpg Continue reading Minnesota Governor Pawlenty Smashes Hopes for Better Bell

Florida Citizens for Sanity: Take Note!

Florida Senate Bill S2692 is up for discussion and a decision to pass to the floor by the Senate Judiciary Committee.BELOW YOU WILL FIND LINKS TO EMAIL EACH MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE (except one, for whom I provide a phone number).I’d say you don’t need to be a Florida resident to let them know what you think. In fact, let them know that the whole world is watching!I’ve got to say that this is one of the scariest bills I’ve seen in a while. Have a look: Continue reading Florida Citizens for Sanity: Take Note!

Planets In the Making

Planets are formed when a disk of dust orbiting a newly minted star condenses into blobs. The beginning and end of this process has been observed, but the intermediate steps have only been modeled. However, a team of astronomers now reports observations of this process in the intermediate stages. The conditions under which this observation is made are unusual, which is apparently the reason that the observation was possible.i-98b4bdca8ce8589e1fab183d44b17b43-planets-1-enlarged.jpg Continue reading Planets In the Making