Wednesday Round Up #13


David Freedberg, Empathy, Motion & Emotion and Composition & Emotion
Two pdfs on art and the neurosciences by the Columbia art history professor

Sam Harris et al., Functional Neuroimaging of Belief, Disbelief and Uncertainty
Pdf of 2008 article from Annals of Neurology: “truth may be beauty, and beauty truth, in more than a metaphorical sense”

John Horgan, Brain Chips and Other Dreams of the Cyber-Evangelists
Yearning for brain chips, and the problems therein

Literary Trends

Kenneth Goldsmith, In Barry Bonds I See The Future of Poetry
Welcome to our post-human future

Anne Harrington, The Inner Lives of Disordered Brains
The Harvard historian of science’s excellent take on the recent rise in neuro-lit

Jonathan Gottschall, Measure for Measure
Literary criticism needs to embrace science

Henry Bowles, It’s in the Genes: Criticism Devolved
How about criticism of the literary embrace of dubious science?!

Bob Meagher, Socrates on the Campaign Trail
Hope or fear this fall? Socrates will help guide you

Elinore Longobardi, Think Globally, Read Locally
Journalism needs to embrace anthropology

Three-Toed Sloth, Books To Read While Algae Grow In Your Fur
Books recommendations; eclectic from liberalism and math brains to comic books…

Lorenz at Antropologi, Anthropology Blogs More Interesting Than Journals?
For some of us at least… a summary from a quick-and-dirty ethnography of blogging


Liz Danzico, Telling Stories Using Data: An Interview with Jonathan Harris
“Stories should have feeling, to the extent that they want to be human.”

Michael Price, Outside Language Looking In
Children who learn signing at home: language helps organize the mind’s underlying architecture

Kambiz Kamrani, David Harrison Speaks About “When Languages Die”
Great video on language loss, language ownership, and human genius

William Safire, Emoticons: The Seamy Side of Semiotics
Non-verbal shortcuts in language ;-).

Lise Abrams, Tip-of-the-Tongue States Yield Language Instincts
Understanding language evolution from its faltering fates

BioScience, Case for Biological Origins of Language Grows Stronger
Genetics, brains, and bones, plus some symbolic culture too—necessary parts of the puzzle

Vaughan Bell, Linguistic Feathers Ruffled by High Tech New School
Computational linguists vs. historical linguists: Do numbers trump meaning?

Edmund Blair Bolles, Semantics Returns from the Grave
The evolution of language: meaning alongside grammar

Edmund Blair Bolles, Speech Includes Gesture
“it looks possible (maybe even likely) that the first pilot of attention toward a neutral topic was gestural pointing rather than a spoken word”

Shared Symbolic Storage, Another Theory on the Evolution of Language
Covers Robert MacNeilage’s work on speech production and embodiment—again, not just grammar


Rockfeller University Conference: “From RNA to Humans: A Symposium on Evolution
Videos of the entire conference, covering the earliest fossils, cellular evolution, eukaryotes and multicellularity, and human evolution

Wray Herbert, Primed for Ripeness
For women, flowers, but not cars… Or the effects of sexual priming on Josephine the Plumber

Terrence Deacon, Circling Back to an Organism-Centered Biology
Reintroducing “purpose without spirit” into behavioral biology

Ethan Remmel, The Benefits of a Long Childhood
Review of recent Bjorklund book on the evolution of childhood

Susan Gilbert, An Evolutionary Approach
Profile of Alan Mann, paleoanthropologist and human fossil hunter. Why the fossil record tells us so much about today

The Situationist, The Endowment Effect in Chimpanzees
“chimpanzees do exhibit an endowment effect, favoring items they just received more than items they prefer that could be acquired through exchange”

Richard Conniff, Blame the Rich
Does natural selection or cultural transmission explain the Industrial Revolution? Or, to be generous, demography, disease, and values made the difference

Jerry Adler, Thinking Like A Monkey
Laurie Santos, primate researcher, and the evolution of mind

John Hawks, Thirteen Hours and Change
High school biology teachers, evolutionary theory, and creationism—with thirteen hours of exposure, is the popularity of intelligent design hard to understand?

David Barash, How Did Honor Evolve?
I almost wrote the title wrong—Did Honor Evolve? Might have been the honorable thing to do with this evolutionary psych piece in The Chronicle for Higher Education

Mixing Memory, Darwin’s Mistake
Short take on a recent Brain and Behavioral Science article, “Darwin’s mistake: Explaining the discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds,” which argues for more discontinuity than continuity. See also Evolving Thoughts’ more comprehensive and critical review of the article.

David Sloan Wilson & EO Wilson, Survival of the Selfless
Pdf of the New Scientist article by two esteemed evolutionary biologists re-thinking group selection and human evolution through multi-level selection models, altruism, and more


Jessica Palmer, God Is More Than A Flying Brain
Renaissance artists imitating the brain? Not quite… but beauty in its many forms

Mary Brophy Marcus, Danica Patrick’s ‘Need for Speed’ May Be DNA-Driven
I couldn’t resist this USA Today pop sci bit on dopamine, genes, and gender. Oh well, nobody’s perfect. (On the other hand, her one win came from good fuel management…)

Leslie Kaufman, A Superhighway to Bliss
Covers the story of Jill Bolte Taylor, neuroscientist who had a stroke, found nirvana and wrote about it in the recent book My Stroke of Insight. Also see the TED video—gotta love her bringing a full human brain and spinal cord as a speaking prop.

Vaughan Bell, Free Choice and the Female Science Divide
Is women’s choice driving the gender gap in science? How economic and social support might make the difference

Cognitive Daily, Parents’ Influence on Kids’ Behavior: Not Much
Parental strategies and kids reactions… Does parental style matter?

Patient Voices: ADHD
New York Times podcasts of four people with ADHD discussing challenges that are “daunting and deeply personal”

The Sunday Times, Inside the Home for Angry Infants
Trying to overcome abuse and neglect… a haunting story

Snurb, Social Networks on Ning: A Sensible Alternative to Facebook
Facebook: “driven by deeply entrenched neo-con views… a libertarian vision of sociality centred around highly independent individuals rather than around strong communities bound by consensually developed, ever-evolving social protocols”

Benedict Carey, Lotus Therapy
Mindfulness meditation and psychiatric practice: Melding of the minds?

Marc Lacey, Treasures of a Nation, Not Fodder for an Ad
Mexican soap opera star, racy ads, and Mexico’s National Institute for Anthropology: a volatile mix

6 thoughts on “Wednesday Round Up #13

  1. I read “My Stroke of Insight” in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down. I laughed. I cried. It was a fantastic book (I heard it’s a NYTimes Bestseller and I can see why!), but I also think it will be the start of a new, transformative Movement! No one wants to have a stroke as Jill Bolte Taylor did, but her experience can teach us all how to live better lives. Her speech was one of the most incredibly moving, stimulating, wonderful videos I’ve ever seen. Her Oprah Soul Series interviews were fascinating. They should make a movie of her life so everyone sees it. This is the Real Deal and gives me hope for humanity.

  2. I loved the beautifully written “My Stroke of Insight – a Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey” by Jill Bolte Taylor and her incredible talk on TED dot com. Dr. Taylor’s unique perspective as a Harvard neuroanatomist having a stroke, combined with her sensitivity and awareness, produced something as powerful as I’ve ever witnessed. I want to share Dr Taylor’s story far and wide because it’s a wonderful story and a great book to read, but more importantly, this is the message we desperately need if we are to survive as a species.

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