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Crude Matter

Crude Matter

Human physiology, weird animal biology, and the interface of science and culture.

Links: Halloween Physiology

The curse of the Halloween baby: women avoid giving birth on 'evil day' and Are Pregnant Women Subconsciously Avoiding Giving Birth on Halloween? A recent study comparing birth rates on Halloween vs...

October 31, 2011 — Michelle Clement

Did you know that hard candy is actually a glass?

As Halloween is right around the corner, here's a video from ByteSizeScience on how hard candy is made: things of note:(1) Hard candy is technically a glass made of sugar!(2) There are three stages of sugar boiling, and the maximum temperature that it reaches determines the physical properties of the resulting candy (I think this is primarily a function of how much water is remaining in the sugar mixture).(3) If you watch the video, you'll figure out why hard candy always has a ring around the edge...

October 27, 2011 — Michelle Clement

Cave of prehistoric art to be re-opened after microbial infestation.

Although this is a bit out of my area of expertise, I highly recommend that you check out Carmen Drahl's article on the re-opening of Spain's Altamira Cave, known for its prehistoric wall paintings, after being closed in 2002 because visitors were introducing bacteria to the cave walls that damaged the paintings...

October 26, 2011 — Michelle Clement

Girlybits 101, now with fewer scary parts!

Edit 11am 10/16: Updated to fix some errors pointed out in the comments. Sorry, guys, blogging at 11pm isn't ideal for my brain! I was deeply considering a blog hiatus, dear readers, but sometimes you get hit with sledgehammers, and the only thing you can do to make sense of it all is to blog about it...

October 15, 2011 — Michelle Clement

Video: Bees at the Wilds Check out this very cool video about Karen Goodell's research on plant/pollinator interactons, specifically the bee population in an Ohio conservation center on reclaimed strip-mine land...

September 29, 2011 — Michelle Clement

Good news for people with specific phobias: Cortisol may increase efficacy of exposure therapy.

Originally posted at Field of Science on April 21, 2011, where it was a Research Blogging Editor's Selection. Earlier this week I shared the story of my specific phobia of vomiting, and today I'm going to blog about an article recently published in PNAS (open access!) about the efficacy of cortisol supplementation during exposure therapy for specific phobias...

September 28, 2011 — Michelle Clement

My experience with emetophobia, and some questions for the blogosphere.

Originally posted at Field of Science on April 18, 2011. I have a specific phobia of vomiting. I don't like to talk about it in my online life because it is a major source of stress in my offline life (it is the root of my agoraphobia), but I bring it up today because I have some unanswered questions that I'd like to put out into the blogosphere...

September 26, 2011 — Michelle Clement

Book review: Get Me Out

Please accept my apologies for letting this blog go so long without an update. I promise I have a very exciting post in the works about Wooly Mammoth physiology , which I will post later this week...

September 19, 2011 — Michelle Clement

Housekeeping: Growing pains!

Being as how it is a brand new network, #SciAmBlogs is still figuring out its identity and its place in the science blogging community. As such, my blog is also developing, and I am currently trying to figure out what I want from it and what its role is supposed to be.I dearly appreciate the increased readership and the massive amounts of support from Scientific American, but I also appreciate the concerns that my few regular readers have about the commenting situation over here...

August 29, 2011 — Michelle Clement

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