* Shifty Talk: Probing the process of word evolution (Science News). The researchers smartly use statistical data to analyze and predict language evolution.
* Song Sung Blue: In brain, music and language overlap (Science News). Heard of linguistic priming? Well, there's also auditory priming of words using classical music. It's interesting to think about / test which pieces prime which words. (Note: this article was published in 2004. I only now found the note that I wanted to post it.)
Biology & Health:
* Good Buzz: Tiny vibrations may limit fat-cell formation (Science News). I always wondered when scientists would find something that has the effect of exercising yet doesn't actually require exercising. The source article, Adipogenesis is inhibited by brief, daily exposure to high-frequency, extremely low-magnitude mechanical signals (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), is freely available online.
* They fertilized with what? (Science News). The abstract (or, indeed, the title) of the source article says it all: Use of human urine fertilizer in cultivation of cabbage (Brassica oleracea)—Impacts on chemical, microbial, and flavor quality (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry). Would such a cabbage be certified organic? ;) (Incidentally, some researchers did a similar study with cucumbers, with similar results.)
* The Price of a Four-Star Rating (The Wall Street Journal). An interesting though not surprising assessment of review web sites such as yelp and chowhound. If you're too lazy to read the article, or want more depth, there's an interview with the journalist in the sidebar. Also, there's another interview with the journalist in Site Proves Everyone's a Critic (NPR's The Bryant Park Project); this interview is a bit more casual and is more colorful/fun.
Posted by mark at Monday, April 07, 2008