Wednesday Round Up #11

Being Smarter

Paul Brown, How To Be Smarter
A round-up of recent ideas and recommendations

New York Times, Well: A Guided Tour of Your Body
Get to know yourself: Great graphics and summary pieces

Christopher Null, Brain Game Can Boost IQ—Here’s 5 New Brain Games to Play Now
Univ of Michigan game that boosts IQ, and another five commercial ones that are actually fun

Vaughan Bell, The History of the Brain
Everything you ever wanted to know, wrapped up in one radio program

Roni Caryn Rabin, For A Sharp Brain, Stimulation
Neurogenesis and the aging brain

Children & Being Smarter

Michael Merzenich, Children Left Behind
No Child Left Behind’s reading program leaves children behind…

Michael Merzenich, Poky Young Brains Speed Up
Learning difficulties, temporal processing, and specialized interventions making a difference

Bruce Hood, How Brains Develop
A Nature book review of two recent ones on children’s brain development

Will Dunham, Study Shows Breast-Fed Children Are Smarter
Well-designed study shows strong support for breast feeding as making kids smarter

Stereotypes, Beliefs & Knowledge

Richard Fenyman, Cargo Cult Science
Belief over data… even in science

Rex, Protestant Stereotypes
Ethnic stereotypes say more about white US assumptions than they do about the people they caricaturize

Siri Carpenter, Buried Prejudice: The Bigot in Your Brain
Scientific American Mind article on unconscious stereotypes and how we act on them

JR Minkel, Scientists Know Better Than You—Even When They Are Wrong
Interview with the sociologist of science Harry Collins… he’s right even if he’s wrong (well, at least about me)

Vaughan Bell, Five Minutes with Robert Burton
Neurologist and novelist explains the neurobiology of belief: how do we have beliefs at all? “For me, the likelihood is high that belief will eventually assume the same philosophical status as ‘qualia,’ an endlessly fascinating but ultimately irreducible set of subjective mental states.”

Elissa Ely, In Delusions of Romance, Genuine Comfort
Schizophrenia, love, and psychosis


Talk of the Nation, Wright’s Remarks Spark Dialogue on Race in the US
Blog, podcasts and more from the NPR show—how we, and even do we, talk about race in the US?

Dawn Turner Rice, Exploring Race
Blog at the Chicago Tribune on this “moment in history to have a national discussion about race”

Drug War

Later On, Mark Kleinman of UCLA on Our Drug War
It’s failed, so what do we do?

Simon Romero, Ecuador Opposes Outpost in American War on Drugs
Is change coming? Is radar the answer?


LL Wynn, Erectile Dysfunction Drugs, Cross-Culturally
Gift giving and medical control, or, does it take a stack to get a stack?

Talk of the Nation/NPR, Countertraffickers Seek To Free Young Sex Slaves
Rescuing women ensnared in the global sex trade

The World

Peter Coy, The Slump: It’s a Guy Thing
Welcome to the new economy where women rule. I am seeing the same thing at Notre Dame—the female undergraduates outshine the male ones

Josef Joffe, The New New World
Review of Fareed Zakaria’s The Post-American World. “In the industrial age, hardware mattered; today it is software, a k a “culture.” This is a grab bag: skills, openness, innovation, opportunity, competition. ‘It’s brains, stupid,’ Bill Clinton might exclaim today. And youth.”

Michiko Kakutani, A Challenge for the U.S.: Sun Rising on the East
Another review of The Post-American World, arguing for a third “tectonic power shift” after the rise of Europe, the 20th century of the US, and now “the rise of the rest”

Juan Forero, Storied Paper Bets on a Daily Future in Colombia
A great newspaper makes a comeback in Bogotá—critical journalism, gave me much insight into Colombia during my years there


Gary Marcus, Does Your Brain Have a Mind of Its Own?
The author of Kludge takes on temptations and sticking to our goals

Anthropology.Net, The Sexiness of Facial Symmetry across Cultures and Species
Humans turned on by macaques? I’ll let you decide

Food Production (some previously mentioned)

Mayank Bhardwaj and Jonathan Leff, India’s Green Revolutionary Is Back in the Spotlight
Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan and the “Evergreen Revolution”: “conservation farming and green technology will bring about sustainable change that could allow India to become an even bigger supplier of food to the world”

Dan Barber, Change We Can All Stomach
Argument against the old assumption: “if we’re feeding more people more cheaply using less land, how terrible can our food system be?”

Michael Pollan, Why Bother?
Growing your food, changing our energy dependence; summarized previously here

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