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M4 Macros

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with m4 macros. For programming languages that don’t offer macros, or have only a limited form of macros (like C), m4 can be a godsend. Used to their fullest potential, m4 macros enable programmers to write programs that write programs, which can lead to extremely high productivity. And m4 […]

Heat waves more prominent in urban areas

The world's urban areas have experienced significant increases in heat waves over the past 40 years, according to new research published today. These prolonged periods of extreme hot days have significantly increased in over 200 urban areas across the globe between 1973 and 2012, and have been most prominent in the most recent years on record. read more

Secondary calcification and dissolution respond differently to future ocean conditions (update)

Climate change threatens both the accretion and erosion processes that sustain coral reefs. Secondary calcification, bioerosion, and reef dissolution are integral to the structural complexity and long-term persistence of coral reefs, yet these processes have received less research attention than reef accretion by corals. Show More Summary

Something is assortative in the state of Denmark

From a recently published research paper by Gustaf Bruze: Counterfactual analysis conducted with the model suggests that Danish men and women are earning on the order of half of their returns to schooling through improved marital outcomes. For the pointer I thank the excellent Kevin Lewis, and there are ungated versions here.

Renewables: One crop, for both animal feed and biofuel

The efficient production of both biofuel and animal feed from one crop is now possible, and can be done on a farm without the need for off-site processes. The research, published in the open access journal Biotechnology for Biofuels, demonstrates the practical potential of an alternative to fossil fuels that does not compete with food resources. read more

Omniscient sellers (an email from Alex Rosaen)

I’ve been puzzling through a thought experiment, and I hope it interests you enough that you will choose to address it on your blog… The logical endgame of all this consumer data mining, web tracking, ad targeting, and loyalty clubs is what I am calling “omniscient sellers.” Omniscient sellers know with 100% certainty how effective […]

The Sierra Beyond Yosemite: Wait! Is that...a Glacier?

People who visit Yosemite Valley often think about glaciers. Even those with no geologic background quickly become aware of the role of glaciers in forming the valley, but the thoughts are often of the past. It's been 11,000 or 12,000...Show More Summary

Laureate for Irish Fiction

They've announced that Anne Enright has been named the inaugural 'Laureate for Irish Fiction' -- selected from 34 nominees (including William Trevor, Edna O'Brien, and John Banville, among some other pretty big names). It's a three-year...Show More Summary

Mirror Gazing review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Warren Motte's study of Mirror Gazing in literature.

Tut, Tut update

Archaeologists Want Egyptian Officials Charged for Damage to Tutankhamen’s Burial Mask Outraged over what appears to be serious damage to one of Egypt’s ancient treasures — scratches and a layer of glue on the golden burial mask of Tutankhamen — a group of Egyptian archaeologists said on Friday that they planned to file charges against officials [...]

The hands have it

Early Human Ancestors Had Tool-Using Hands Matthew Skinner and Tracy Kivell of the University of Kent, and their colleagues from University College London, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and the Vienna University...Show More Summary

Blame men for political gridlock, study says

Men in survey and experimental data were more likely than women to avoid cross-party political discussion, to judge political arguments based solely on what party is advancing them, and to form strong political opinions about the opposite party's positions without actually listening to the other side's reasoning, researchers report.

Heavy drinking in middle-age may increase stroke risk more than traditional factors

Drinking more than two alcoholic beverages a day in middle-age raised stroke risks more than traditional factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Heavy drinking in mid-life was linked to having a stroke about five years earlier in life irrespective of genetic and early-life factors.

Complex environments push 'brain' evolution

Little animations trying to master a computer game are teaching neuroscience researchers how the brain evolves when faced with difficult tasks. Neuroscientists have programmed animated critters that they call 'animats.' The crittersShow More Summary

Where did the missing oil go? New study says some is sitting on the Gulf floor

Some 6 million to 10 million gallons of oil from the BP oil spill are buried in the sediment on the Gulf floor, about 62 miles southeast of the Mississippi Delta, researchers have discovered.

Scientists investigate link between skyrocketing sea slug populations, warming seas

A team of California scientists believes a far-flung Okenia rosacea bloom -- along with a slew of other marine species spotted north of their typical ranges -- may signal a much larger shift in ocean climate and a strong forthcoming El Niño.

Powerful tool promises to change the way scientists view proteins

Life scientists now have access to a publicly available web resource that streamlines and simplifies the process of gleaning insight from 3-D protein structures. Aquaria, as it's known, is fast, easy-to-use and contains twice as many models as all other similar resources combined.

Erectile dysfunction drugs could protect liver from sepsis-induced damage

Drugs that are on the market to treat erectile dysfunction could have another use: they might be able to protect the liver from damage caused by sepsis, a systemic inflammatory response to infection, say researchers.

In a role reversal, RNAs proofread themselves

Building a protein is a lot like a game of telephone: information is passed along from one messenger to another, creating the potential for errors. Enzymatic machines proofread at each step, and scientists have uncovered a new quality control mechanism along this path. Show More Summary

FDA approves first-of-kind device to treat obesity

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Maestro Rechargeable System for certain obese adults, the first weight loss treatment device that targets the nerve pathway between the brain and the stomach that controls feelings of hunger and fullness.

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