Wednesday Round Up #4


Dr. Ginger Campell and her Brain Science Store
Ginger provides a handy Amazon collection of the books covered in her podcasts

Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin, Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time
Building schools amid the Taliban, Americans and more…  Recently covered in the Diane Rehm show.  800+ reviews on Amazon, averaging in at the max 5 stars

Brian Fagan, The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations
Drought is our great historical enemy, especially in dense populations… Recently reviewed in the NY Times

Sandra Blakeslee & Matthew Blakeslee, The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better
One reviewer: “The brain and the body are not separate entities, but are intertwined, interdependent, and interfunctional. Understanding this fact is essential to understanding how and why body maps work. This book explains that lucidly.”

Stephen Kern, A Cultural History of Causality: Science, Murder Novels, and Systems of Thought
Literary murder and social history—how we view the causes of ourselves

Melody Petersen, Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs
Pharmaceuticals killing people, and companies marketing them more.  See an illuminating review here


Cognitive Daily, Fun With Point-Light Displays—And What That Says About The Visual System
Creating order out of dots… includes some good QuickTime videos

Mixing Memory, Language, Neuroscientific Evidence for the Influence of Language on Color Perception
Critique of imaging, importance of evidence, and our visual system


Cordelia Fine, Will Working Mothers’ Brains Explode? The Popular New Genre of Neurosexism
Critique of the at times popular view that gender differences are “hard wired”

Brandon Keim, Brain Scanner Can Tell You What You’re Looking At
Functional imaging and a good computational program can “decode” the different photographs people see, reconstructing the content.   Worth a look!

Associated Press, ‘Virtual Massage’ for Phantom Limb Pain
Mirror neurons, mirror images, and the importance of touch, imagined or not

John Gray, The Atheist Delusion
Interesting argument for how the atheist prostylizers imitate clergy in fervor, in seeing history as progressive, and in pushing their “faith.”  “The attempt to eradicate religion, however, only leads to it reappearing in grotesque and degraded forms. A credulous belief in world revolution, universal democracy or the occult powers of mobile phones is more offensive to reason than the mysteries of religion, and less likely to survive in years to come.”

Associated Press, Good Marriage Equals Good Blood Pressure
And a bad marriage is worse than being single, at least pressure-wise

Randolph Schmid, Science, Bible Agree: Giving Is Better
How you spend your money truly does matter

Carol Kaesuk Yoon, For Scientists, a Beer Test Shows Results as a Litmus TestMore beer = 
Less cited work, unless you’re the author who “said he would on occasion enjoy more than 12 beers in a night [and] is not on a campaign to decrease beer drinking among scientists. Why not? His answer: ‘I like it’.”  Also see Our Daily Diary’s relieved rebuttal—exclude those outliers!

Thomas Goetz, Practicing Patients
“Is an Internet start-up that creates communities for the chronically ill a step forward in medical science — or just a MySpace for the afflicted?”


Deborah Rogers and Paul Ehrlich, Natural Selection and Cultural Rates of Change
PNAS article arguing for cultural traits, such as Polynesian canoe styles, as undergoing selective pressure through social learning

Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog, Divergence of Modern Humans and Neanderthals
Skull morphology-based study, confirming the start of a split 300,000-500,000 and, interestingly, that random genetic change appears to account for cranial differences

John Noble Wilford, New Analysis Suggests Earlier Start for Upright Walking
Further examination of Orrorin fossils points to bipedalism at almost six million years ago

Sandra Blakeslee, What a Rodent Can Do With a Rake in Its Paw
Rodents use tools—a first!

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