06 June 2010

Weekend Roundup, 5-6 June 2010

I've been preoccupied with a couple of long original posts this weekend, as well as with various behind-the-scenes tweaks and clean up.  So today's Weekend Roundup will be thinner than usual. But even so, we have:

Weird Cambrian critters! Illusions! Urine! Recording Industry vs The People! Corruption! Ancient Estonian meteorite cult!

Ediacaran reproduces photos of many of the really cool fossils of weird Cambrian critters from the Burgess shale and elsewhere discussed in an article published in Nature on 27 May: Martin R Smith and Jean-Bernard Caron, "Primitive soft-bodied-cephalopods from the Cambrian." The article itself is behind a paywall, and costs $32.00. Also see Ed Yong's post on this paper at Not Exactly Rocket Science, also with cool pictures.

BrainBlogger has an entertaining and interesting (if slightly superficial) article on illusions, visual and otherwise. The article cites Mark Changizi, whose book The Vision Revolution I happen to be reading right now.  Changizi's website includes a link to a blog on his next book, Harnessed: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man. I may follow this blog for a while in order to see what he's up to. What I've read so far of The Vision Revolution is quite interesting, but frustratingly the book contains no references or bibliography, and one has a general feeling of self-promotion, which generally erodes confidence. But not enough to stop reading the book. At least not yet. And after all, who am I to criticize someone for self-promotion via a blog?

A press release yesterday published at Science Daily reports a just-published study suggesting that autistic children may have a characteristic chemical "fingerprint" in their urine. The authors further suggest that this may eventually allow the development of a simple early test for the condition.

The article is Ivan K. S. Yap, et al., "Urinary Metabolic Phenotyping Differentiates Children with Autism from Their Unaffected Siblings and Age-Matched Controls," in the Journal of Proteome Research. The article is behind a paywall, and costs $30.00 for 48 hours of access, which I'm sure makes sense to someone working for the publisher, if not to anyone else.

I just became aware of the site Recording Industry vs The People, which closely follows court cases involving the RIAA, including the one I recently mentioned regarding predatory copyright claims (a case in which, marbile dictu, the RIAA and the EFF seem to be on the same side). I think I'll try out a subscription. Dr. Mike tells me that he followed this blog for a while, but it got too depressing, what with the RIAA continually going after grannies and dead people and what not.

Which is exactly why we should all follow it.

Elisabeth Best at Miller-McCune has a good article on the persistence of corruption in democracies.

io9 reports on "The ancient meteorite cult of Estonia."  I'll ask my Latvian friend whether they had a competing meteorite cult.  I don't know any Lithuanians to ask.
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