Wednesday Round Up #111

This week it’s a bit of war in between the top and anthropology & mind.

Top of the List

David Schneider, Your Internet Brain’s on Coleridge
“The questions that neurobiologists and cognitive psychologists are contending with today, Coleridge was wrestling with in the early 19th century via minute observations of his own mind in the process of thinking and perceiving. The similarities are sometimes startling.”

Paul Ehrlich, On Closing the Culture Gap
Human activity is destructive at a massive scale – climate change, nuclear conflict, biodiversity loss. We need to combine the humanities and the sciences to better understand and address our own actions. For more, see Seed’s Are We Beyond the Two Cultures?

Ed Yong, Dangerous DNA: The Truth About the ‘Warrior Gene’
The story of one gene epitomizes popular misconceptions about how our DNA shapes us. But it can also teach some crucial lessons, says Ed Yong.

Ryan Anderson, Model Behavior
Looking at experimental economics and ethnography, and considering the limitations of both

Dirk Hanson, Impulsivity and Addiction
The dangers of a hypersensitive dopamine structure.

Evgeny Morozov and Clay Shirky , Digital Power and Its Discontents
A debate with Evgeny Morozov and Clay Shirky on the subjects of dictators, democracy, Twitter revolutionaries, and the role of the Internet and social software in political lives of people living under authoritarian regimes.

War

John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart, Hardly Existential: Thinking Rationally About Terrorism
Many people hold that terrorism poses an existential threat to the United States. Yet actual statistics suggests that it presents an acceptable risk — one so low that spending to further decrease its likelihood or consequences is scarcely validated.

Benedict Carey, Psychologists Explain Iraq Airstrike Video
Many veterans have made the point that fighters cannot do their jobs without generating psychological distance from the enemy. It’s almost like they’re playing a video game. They have to do this so that the people don’t seem real.

Anthropology

Nadia Sussman, Bodies Altered in Pursuit of Beauty
“The worldwide pursuit of body improvement has become like a new religion,” Zed Nelson, a photographer, says. Pictures included.

Celia W. Dugger and John Noble Wilford, New Hominid Species Discovered in South Africa
A boy chases after his dog, trips over a log, and stumbles upon a fossil. The boy fell upon the remains of a new hominid species that lived almost two million years ago.

John Hawks, What, if Anything, is Australopithecus sediba?
John Hawks’ thoughts on the find by Berger and colleagues now named Australopithecus sediba, with the general story above in the NY Times article

Lorenz, Popular Anthropology Magazine = Fail
The first issue of the Popular Anthropology Magazine was meant to bridge the gap between academia and the public and between anthropologists and continents. But it was disappointing, according to Lorenz.

Nicolas Baumard, On the Use of Natural Experiments in Anthropology
The laboratory experiment vs. the natural experiment. Which one proves to be more fruitful.

Babel’s Dawn, Did Society Do It?
A thought – Human language and social cognition are closely linked. Are they?

Richard Howard, Duet for Two Pens
Why translation matters.

Dienekes, Hard Problems in Social Science Symposium: A Couple of My Propositions
Building on a panel of experts, Dienekes makes some of his own proposals on hard problems in the social sciences

Mark Liberman, Sarah Palin’s Distal Demonstratives
A look at Sarah Palin’s speech style.

Mind

Vaughan Bell, Psychosis Podcast and the Mind Hacks Recursion
Mind Hacks’ readers contribute to science!

Jonah Lehrer, Attention and Intelligence
An experiment demonstrates that general intelligence (at least in rodents) is mediated by enhancements in selective attention.

Natasha Mitchell, Science and Religion – Big Name Atheists on the Psychology of Belief
Two lectures from two shows from the Global Atheism Conference on psychology, biology, and belief.

The Neurocritic, Professor of Literary Neuroimaging
The potential use of neuroimaging to revive the gloomy state of university literature departments. Can literary and literal combine?

Tom Vanderbilt, San Diego Is East of Reno?
The most frequent navigational mistakes we all make.

Ed Yong, When Pain is Pleasant
Pain is ostensibly a negative thing but many people are often drawn to it. Why?

John Tierney, Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning In Again
Hallucinogens’ potential for treating mental problems and revealing the nature of consciousness.

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