Wednesday Round Up #32

This week I am introducing a new feature, Top of the List, which highlights some of my favorites for the week. After that, I’ve got a fun one, Sarah Palin and Language, followed by sports, anthropology, the brain, and medicine and health care.

Top of the List

Greg Downey, Turning a Blind Eye
Our own Greg gets his chance to shine in Seed Magazine! Here he covers the media reaction to a supposedly “undiscovered” tribe in Brazil that reached global proportions back in May. He writes, “In truth, our reactions to and perceptions of these people reveal far more about us than about them.”

Jonah Lehrer, The Future of Science… Is Art?
Art, the practical constraints of present science, and future creativity and inspiration

Zane Andrews and Tamas Horvath, Why Calories Taste Delicious: Eating and the Brain
Scientific American piece on our desire to eat beyond homeostatic regulation

Daniel Zwerdling, A Meal Fit For A Candidate: Barack Obama
Chef Rick Bayless talks real Mexican food as he cooks up grilled skirt steak tacos. The real surprise, Bayless was a PhD student in anthropology at Michigan before choosing food over academics. I say he’s reached more people that way!

Sarah Palin and Language

Maureen Dowd, Sarah’s Pompom Palaver
NY Times op-ed with delicious humor: from speaking in tongues in Wasilla to channeling Clueless

Language Log has featured a series of posts on the Governor from Alaska
Also Outside
Affective Demonstratives
Palin’s Accent

Daniel Libit, Palin’s Accent Takes Center Stage
Politico dissects the politics and sociolinguistics of the Palin accent

Mr. Verb, Palin’s Accent and Syntax
One big verbal trainwreck?

The Neurocritic, Maverick Maverick Maverick Maverick Maverick Maverick
A mavericky transcript… Includes a bonus, The Sarah Palin Show!

John Schwartz, Who You Callin’ A Maverick
Where the unbranded term actually comes from

Steven Pinker, Everything You Heard Is Wrong
Steven Pinker takes on the “myths,” including that the debate was the real test (an interview is harder). Language Log reacts to Pinker here.

Mr. Verb, Palin and Language
Trying to diagram a Palin sentence. That’s some syntax!

Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin
Just for fun, the links to all of Tina Fey’s impressions of Sarah Palin
Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Hillary Clinton Address the Nation
Gov. Palin and Katie Couric Get Real and Adorable
Gov. Palin and Sen. Biden Face Off in VP Debate


Dave Zirin, Calling Sports Sociology Off the Bench
“The job of the sports sociologist is to be a professional debunker of accepted truths.”

Deric Bownds, Brain Processing of Action Language Influenced by Sports Experience
“specialized (sports) motor experience enhances action-related language understanding by recruitment of left dorsal lateral premotor cortex, a region normally devoted to higher-level action selection and implementation—even when there is no intention to perform a real action” For more, see the open-access PNAS article by Sian Beilock et al., Sports Experience Changes the Neural Processing of Action Language

Sports Are 80% Mental, Putt with Your Brain – Part 2
Automaticity as the way to a perfect putt

Sports Are 80% Mental, Retirement Rebound – The Return of Torres, Favre and Armstrong
The mental side of performing around age 40

Gina Kolata, Before Hustling to Finish, Relaxed Is a Good Way to Start
Can you train yourself to relax? It helps you compete better


NPR, America Loses a Prized Rural Demographer
Calvin Beale, who explored rural lives for decades

Mark Buchanan, This Economy Does Not Compute
Moving beyond traditional economics for understanding markets – markets have “internal dynamics” all their own. An anthropologist might call those “dynamics” people, but here we get agent-based modeling.

David Brooks, The Testing Time
If you want the current economic crisis summed up in psycho-cultural terms, this is a pretty good take

NPR, Caring Makes Us Human
Troy Chapman, a convicted murdered, speaks of inmates caring for a cat in his prison in a This I Believe segment

Mark Dingemanse, The Sound of Rain Falling, In Your Ears
Art and ideophones meet

Anthropology.Net, Race as a Social Construct
A comprehensive account of race from the culture-as-construct point of view. Well worth the read.

Greg Laden, Review of SSM Exhibit on Race and Racism
The good and the critical of the Race: Are We So Different exhibition sponsored by the American Anthropological Association

Savage Minds, Anthropology Of/In Circulation
New discussion of open access anthropology at Savage Minds, building on the recent article and commentary over at the journal Cultural Anthropology

AAA Creates “Open Access” to Anthropological Research
Starting in 2009, you can get articles from 1888-1973 published in prominent anthropology journals through the online database AnthroSource. Savage Minds discussion here and here.

Simon Romero, Rain Forest Tribe’s Charge of Neglect Is Shrouded by Religion and Politics
The Yanomami of Venezuela subject to politics

Carlotta Gall, In Poverty and Strife, Women Test Limits
Women in Bamian, Afghanistan forge a quiet revolution

Benedict Carey, Citizen Enforcers Take Aim
Do we have an instinct to punish others? The evolutionary take

The Brain

NPR, Think You’re Multitasking? Think Again
Admit it, we’re bad at it. But we are really good at shifting our attention very quickly from activity to activity

Madam Fathom, Reading Makes You Stronger
Reading, our cognitive reserve, and Alzheimer’s

Neurophilosophy, Music Training Enhances Integration of the Senses
“2 weeks of cross-modal musical training enhances connectivity between the sensorimotor and auditory regions of the brain”

Kevin Maurer, Mind Training Helps Troops with Combat, then PTSD
The “Warrior Mind” program in the US Army

Chris Chatham, Training The Mind: Transfer Across Tasks Requiring Interference Resolution
Does training in one task improve our performance in other tasks? The results from a new study

Somatosphere, An fMRI Primer
Tempering the hype, including five ways that brain scans mislead us

Medicine & Health Care

David Gorski, Postmodernist Attacks on Science-Based Medicine
At least he’s refreshing in admiting he detests post-modernism! Is evidence-based medicine micro-fascist? A determined no (though it’s odd that he uses rhetoric to bolster his evidence… hmm, I hope constructionism isn’t creeping in).

Milt Freudenheim, Building Better Bodies
Small companies unite in a Michigan town to help keep their employees healthy, or preventive medicine as corporate strategy

Malcolm Ritter, Study Traces AIDS Virus Origin to 100 Years Ago
HIV under the radar for even longer than we thought

Dr. X, Psychodynamic Therapy
Amidst the photos and comments, this short piece contrasting a defense and rebuttal of psychodynamic therapy. Dr. X follows up here

Patricia Cohen, Explaining that Most Remarkable Structure
Review of David Macauley’s book The Way You Work, all about the human body

John Leland, In ‘Sweetie’ and ‘Dear,’ a Hurt for the Elderly
Words can hurt. Belitting language towards our senior citizen affects their health

Stephanie Saul, Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies
The epilepsy drug Neurontin sold through manipulating the data and the scientific publishing

Gardiner Harris, Top Psychiatrist Didn’t Report Drug Makers’ Pay
Charles Nemeroff lives the good life through drug companies and lies about it to Emory University. Conflict of interest, anyone?

Tara Parker-Pope, Are Bad Times Healthy?
Not working too much, not consuming too much, spending time with family – is an economic downturn good for us?

Robert Pear, Bailout Provides More Mental Health Coverage
Mental health gets a fair shake in the rescue package

Tara Parker-Pope, A Conversation About Height and Health
In this podcast, the NY Times writer talks with Dr. John Komlos about anthropometrics and why height can indicate the health of a nation

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