Wednesday Round Up #15


Clifford Geertz, Very Bad News
The late great American anthropologist takes on Jared Diamond’s book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Erik Davis, BBC Documentary: Tales from the Jungle: Malinowski
YouTube videos of the BBC documentary on one of the founders of modern anthropology, Bronislaw Malinowski

Integral Praxis, Investigating Global Health
Nice video and links on Paul Farmer’s work

John Hawks, Numbers, Amazon-Style
Numbers: universal phenomenon or cultural invention? Looks like Western linearity is acquired. Nice summary of a Science article by Stanislas Dehaene et al. that goes from the Mundurucu in Brazil to neural mapping

Ian Kuijt, The Regeneration of Life: Neolithic Structures of Symbolic Remembering and Forgetting
The abstract for a new Current Anthropology paper on archaeology and the “social construction of identity and memory… expressed through public ritual”

Terry Eagleton, Culture Conundrum
Civilization vs. barbarism? Why civilization needs (popular) culture

Keith Axline, Inside the Architecture of Authority
Photographer Richard Ross shows institutions in their concrete power

Social Fiction, On Ethnographic Surrealism
Gives us a pdf link to James Clifford’s classic paper, plus a cool image and plenty of playfulness

Mark Dingemanse, Under the Spell of Ideophones
Ghanian newspapers, vivid sensory language, and the uses of persuasion

Liam Stack, In Egypt, “Dramatic” Push For Women’s Voices
Anthropology and drama combine: An Egyptian women’s troupe takes on stereotypes Muslim and Western

Elitism in the US

En Tequila Es Verdad, Carnival of the Elitist Bastards #1
Just what it says! A blog carnival celebrating experts, smart people, and other bad-ass riff-raff

John Pieret, Be All The Bastard You Can Be
“Our elitisim is not exclusionary. We welcome everyone to join.”

Elisabeth Blumiller, Class of ‘08: The Snare of Privilege
American ambivalence about elites and politicians’ trying to connect to voters

Susan Jacoby, Best Is the New Worst
Author of The Age of American Unreason takes on the elite vs elitism chasm in public discourse

Andrew Revkin, “The Tragic Lag between What We Know and What We Do”
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the disconnect between science and society

Decision Making

Alan G. Sanfey and Luke J. Chang, Of Two Minds When Making a Decision
Hot and cold rationality, or a multiple systems model of decision making

John Cassidy, Economics: Which Way for Obama?
Obama embraces behavioral economics, and a review of Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

PsyBlog, 13 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Decision Making
Recommendations based on Gary Marcus’ Kluge book—combating the evolutionary “flaws” in our decision making (so why’d they pick such an unlucky number?)

PsyBlog, 4 Belief Biases that Can Reduce Pleasure
We over-generalize and get it wrong. But will correcting that help?

George Johnson, Playing the Odds
Review of the book The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, or our math-disinclined mind meets probability statistics

Gender in the US: Two Different Takes

Judith Warner, Woman in Charge, Women Who Charge
Hillary Clinton, Sex in the City, and sexism of the ugliest kind

Tim Brookes, Teen Drawn to Fashion Mags Just Admiring Artwork
Or, why his teenage age daughter loves Tyra Banks and America’s Top Model, and why that’s all right

Everyday Life

Glamour Magazine, 3 Tips on How to Live to 100
Glamour Magazine?! Well, those rags know how to get to the punchline! One of the more effective summaries I’ve seen of all the recent research

Laura Blue, How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?
Not quite the cultural norm of 8; interview with Daniel Kripke, sleep expert, covering the links between sleep and health

NPR, Combating Gangs in the City of Angels
A series on innovative tactics, not just discipline and punish (though there’s that too), to deal with gangs and gang violence

John Schwartz, Cellphone Tracking Study Shows We’re Creatures of Habit
Measuring movement—“Individuals display significant regularity, because they return to a few highly frequented locations”

Vaughan Bell, You Are What You Buy, And Definitely What You Don’t
Brands and social meaning—the anthropology of consumerism

David Brooks, The Great Seduction
The failure and attempted reworking of the Protestant Ethic in the United States, or in today’s parlance, “For A New Thrift: Confronting the Debt Culture”

Fred Hapgood, When Robots Live Among Us
Making robots touchy-feely in this Discover article

Mark Thompson, America’s Medicated Army
Proactive use of anti-depressants in Iraq—short-term solution with long-term costs

John Markoff, Nature Gave Him A Blueprint, But Not Overnight Success
The story of Jay Harman, who builds his engineering from nature—or how physics and biology in the natural world can improve design


Coturnix, My Picks from Science Daily
The on-line manager of PLOS covers blog carnivals and round-ups of science news, plus PLOS and open-access material. This particular post combines those last three! I particularly liked the one about honey bees breaking down the cultural barrier

Martin Porter, The Orgasmic Mind: The Neurological Roots of Sexual Pleasure
And her brain went silent…

Kensy, Human Hands Are Sentient Starfish
A recent post from the blog Embodied Talk, which I just ran across—looks promising!

Anne Eisenberg, Moving Mountains with the Brain, Not a Joystick
Emotiv system for brain-reading video game playing gets the NY Times treatment

N Pepperdell, The Practice of Theory
Trying to turn social theory into a meme…

Nanopolitan, How To Become An Expert
Beyond ten years—the importance of deliberate practice

Carl Zimmer, Science Tattoo Emporium
Scientists show off the equivalent of their jailhouse tats!

Scott Norris, Inca Skull Surgeons Were “Highly Skilled,” Study Finds
National Geographic report on the Inca neurosurgeons—provides greater background on the surgery and Inca medicine than most reports I have seen

Frank Cunningham, Our Time on the Great Road
A Notre Dame professor walks and meditates on the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain–an excellent travelogue

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