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Interesting Stuff

First Look At The First Flower, Ancestral To All Others

The first flower, revealed today by researchers in Nature Communications, is more than 140 million years old. (Credit Hervé Sauquet and Jürg Schönenberger) About 90 percent of all terrestrial plants today are angiosperms, or flowering plants. Yet finding the flower ancestral to them all has been a, ahem, fruitless search. …

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Under The Surf Turf War: Watch Male Lionfish Duke It Out

There’s nothing romantic about this cheek to cheek dance between two large male lionfish. Photo Credit: Alex Fogg Understanding animal behavior can be tough, as observing individuals for hours can be incredibly boring and our mere presence can affect how they act. Things get even harder when those animals happen to live in the ocean; …

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Can PhD Students Write Review Papers?

In a post earlier this month, I discussed a new Journal of Neuroscience paper on statistical power in neuroscience. That paper was a response to and reanalysis of a previous article, and in my post I noted my surprise that the new paper hadn’t appeared in Nature Reviews: Neuroscience (NRN), …

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XPRIZE Enlists Science Fiction Advisors to Dream Bigger

A view of the website featuring some members of the XPRIZE Foundation’s Science Fiction Advisory Council. Credit: XPRIZE The world of 20 years ago would probably seem unrecognizable to many who have grown with Internet and mobile services enabling an always-connected, everything-on-demand lifestyle. Now imagine hitting fast forward and teleporting 20 years …

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Are Underpowered Studies Ever Justified?

Is a small scientific study better than none at all? A provocative piece in Frontiers in Psychology raises the question of whether we should ever do under-powered studies. The authors are Dutch researchers Rik Crutzen and Gjalt-Jorn Y. Peters. Crutzen and Peters begin by questioning the idea that even a …

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Three Kinds of Human Smiles

There are three basic types of human smile: “reward”, “affiliative” and “dominance” smiles. That’s according to a new paper by psychologists Magdalena Rychlowska and colleagues. Here’s the authors’ illustration of the types, as posed by actors: Reward smiles, the authors say, are used to signal enjoyment: Reward smiles are displayed …

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