Wednesday Round Up #22


Open Anthropology, Anthropologist Mahmood Mamdani, among Top 10 of World’s Public Intellectuals
A true public intellectual, as considered by the journal Foreign Policy

John Hawks, How to Blog, Get Tenure, and Prosper: Starting the Blog
A leader in anthropology blogging brings us his advice in the start of his series on blogging as a university professor

Open Anthropology, Doing Calypso the Right Way in the USA
Nice consideration of cross-cultural influences, complete with You Tube videos

LL Wynn, Cuisines of the Axis of Evil
A culturally informed and funny discussion of the same-titled book.

Mind Hacks, The Implicit Association Test: the basics and on suicide
Any use for this approach to examine culture beyond the cultural consensus/sharing model?

Ed Yong, Language Evolution Witnessed in Lab Experiments
Tracking people’s progress in artificial languages, and the structuring of language


David Brooks, The Biggest Issue
Technology and education race each other in the US’ economy—education progress has slowed, and technology has not. Decline and inequality appear as the result.

Ben Stein, Lessons in Love, by Way of Economics
Strategies for long-term success

Cornelia Dean, If You Have a Problem, Ask Everyone
InnoCentive and getting problems solved through the magic of the Internet

Dr. X, The Narcissim Epidemic
The doctor takes us through the recent NY Times piece on modern narcissism run wild

Sabine Hossenfelder, We Have Only Ourselves to Judge on Each Other
Science and the marketplace of ideas—long- versus short-term success? John Hawks follows up with his own considerations on science, the market place, and human evolution here.

Tara Parker-Pope, The Poetry of Cancer
Getting poetry into medicine

Notes on Behavior, Summer Reading List
A selection around behavior, biology, mind and evolution taken from Edge’s summer recommendations

Difference Blog, More Support for Hyde
Brief summary of recent research of seven million students showing no difference between girls’ and boys’ math skills

Shankar Vedantam, When Play Becomes Work
Internal drives and external motivations—threats and rewards reduce inner motivation


Nancy Shute, Where Is Human Evolution Heading?
US News and World Report gives us the latest summary

Nicholas Wade, Taking a Cue From Ants on Evolution of Humans
E.O. Wilson, his ants, and his turn to multi-level selection

Thinking as a Profession, PZ Myers’ GECCO Talk
Summary of PZ’s lecture on evo-devo and epigenetics

Language Log, The Inner Fish Speaks
Vocal basis for speech in fish, built from evolutionary developmental biology? For the general background on the research, see Ed Yong’s piece on “singing fish

The Brain

Vaughan Bell, Juggling Can Change Brain Structure in Seven Days
Now that’s neuroplasticity!

Michael Merzenich, Gory Neuroscience
Reason, marketing and the neuroscience of persuasion—or, how TV is making us dumb

Paul Grobstein, Getting It Less Wrong, The Brain’s Way: Science, Pragmatism, and Multiplism
The brain does pragmatism, not rationality, and what that means for science and for ourselves

Jerry Fodor, Let Your Brain Alone
The philosopher goes on and on about why people go on and on about the brain (and, of course, really should not)

Jake Young, I Want it Now! — Temporal Discounting in the Primate Brain
A hyperbolic function in the brain? Primate research as providing strong evidence. But contrast that with Developing Intelligence’s time skewing

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall:
Natalie Angier had a NY Times article Mirrors Don’t Lie. Mislead? Oh, Yes. that examined how our brains process our images in mirrors in some surprising ways. Mind Hacks gives his summary and reaction in Through the Looking Glass.
PsyBlog then provides some great background on the “mirror test” and self-awareness with When the Self Emerges: Is That Me in the Mirror?
But the best piece I read was a reaction to Angier by Laurie Fendrich, a painter, who gives a more nuanced consideration of what it means to see ourselves in the mirror.


Ben Goldacre, You Are Hereby Sentenced Eternally to Wander the Newspapers, Fruitlessly Mocking Nutriwoo
Newspapers overrun with the pseudoscience of food

Tara Parker-Pope, More Evidence that Diets Don’t Work
Low carb? Low fat? How about just low calories, and then if you’re lucky

Tara Parker-Pope, Healthy Diets Shown to Have Benefit Despite Modest Weight Losses
Improvements in health markers, even if the weight loss was not dramatic

Tara Parker-Pope, As Children Grow, Activity Quickly Slows
“By the age of 15, daily physical activity is down to just 49 minutes on weekdays”

Stuart Wolpert, Scientists Learn How Food Affects the Brain
Food that protects the brain

3 thoughts on “Wednesday Round Up #22

  1. Great stuff! I like the commentary, too.

    The neuroplastic impact of juggling caught my eye.

    One academic study has proven that specific training can increase general intelligence. Susanne Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl’s study on Improving Fluid Intelligence by Training Working Memory (PNAS April 2008 ) recorded increases in mental agility (fluid intelligence) of more than 40% with less than 20 days of focused brain training.

    I was so impressed that I contacted the research team and developed a software program using the same method. I’ve been using the training myself, of course, and the results are far from subtle. I can now tackle, and complete!, the Saturday crossword puzzle, for instance, when before I used to get stuck on Thursday.

    IQ Training Program

    Martin Walker
    mind evolve, llc

  2. Good articles, with one exception: why is Ben Stein on there? He is most certainly not a scientist, or even a good advice columnist…

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