Month: October 2018

Martin Jones talks citizen science ahead of SpotOn 18

One of Robert Hooke’s meticulous sketches of fleas Wikimedia Commons Observation is a key part of the scientific process. For many years significant effort was required to capture single scientific images, from meticulously hand-drawn views through a microscope (e.g. Robert Hooke’s sketches of fleas), through to photographic plates used in astronomy. These methods were all rather slow, allowing the scientists ample time to analyze and interpret each individual image. However, with the advent of modern imaging systems that incorporate fast digital cameras and detectors, precision motion control and access to vast storage banks, the speed at which image data...

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National Cat Day: Let’s celebrate personality and love

Inter-species companionship, such as keeping pets, is an ancient practice for humans indicating a significant value obtained from the relationship. Historically, humans demonstrated this value by sharing resources such as food and shelter with their animal companions. Today, value is reflected monetarily. One worldwide 2017 study estimate suggested that humans spent $109 billion on pet care goods and services. Although we can track the economic value of our animal companions, how people mentally conceptualize their animal companions remains ambiguous. To better understand how we conceptualize popular pets such as cats and dogs, Hoffman and colleagues’ recent article in BMC...

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2 for 1? Community treatment for onchocerciasis also reduces loaisis

Many diseases talked about in this blog rely on mass drug administration (MDA) to reduce transmission and morbidity in endemic communities. This is a public health policy that involves mapping where diseases are found and administering treatment to at-risk groups without testing for the specific disease (can be entire communities or particular groups, i.e. school-aged children). MDA is used to combat five neglected tropical diseases: onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, and soil-transmitted helminthiases. Recent research has investigated how MDA with ivermectin can affect multiple species of parasites where they co-circulate. Infection and transmission of the Loa loa parasite Figure...

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BMC Mechanical Engineering is now open for submissions!

© microolga / Getty Images / iStock BMC Mechanical Engineering officially opened for submissions in September 2018 and is the fourth journal in the BMC series family of journals that serves communities beyond biology and medicine. The ethos of BMC Mechanical Engineering is to be open and inclusive, submissions are rigorously peer reviewed to assess scientific validity and published articles become freely available immediately to all readers, irrespective of their affiliation or location. © kadmy / Getty Images / iStock 2018 has been named the “Year of Engineering” by the UK government, an initiative that has seen wide support by...

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The green soul of the concrete jungle

© phonprom / Getty Images / iStock This century will be remembered as the urban century, and our generation will be witness to the greatest migration in human history. By 2050, there will be 2.4 billion more people in cities, a rate of urban growth that is the equivalent of building a city the size of London every 7 weeks. But what, if anything, is the role for nature in this urban century? Does an urban Homo sapiens even need nature anymore? In a recent article in Sustainable Earth, my coauthors and I reviewed three different academic disciplines to...

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