This week we cover the Human Terrain System and a great new site for bloggers, plus the usual favorites, brain, and anthropology. Happy New Year to everyone!
Top of the List
Vaughan Bell, Voodoo Correlations in Social Brain Studies
Correlations too good to be true between brain activity and social behavior and perception. Mind Hacks calls this statistical debunking a “bombshell of a paper.”
Maximilian Forte, The Two Terrors of 2008: End of Year Post
Open Anthropology wraps up the year with a meditation on terror and trust, and brings us the Italian Nobel Laureate Dario Fo. He highlights many posts from the past month there, including this powerful one on “uncertainty” and governance as reflected through Christmas-time messages.
Once Upon a Time an Anthropologist Wrote, Banking on Education
Pedagogy of the Oppressed meets social networking, or why students are passive, waiting to receive the next deposit of knowledge
La Guayabita, “Capt. Nemo”: Ghettotech Designer of Colombian Homemade Drug Subs
Local ingenuity and a great photo. Resistance and profit undermine the drug war’s hoped-for panopticon.
Human Terrain System
David Price, The Leaky Ship of Human Terrain Systems
One of the main critics of HTS makes his argument
Mind Hacks, The Human Terrain System, 1867
The Russian army, social scientists, and the invasion of Turkestan 140 years ago
Nathan Hodge, A Closer Look at the Pentagon’s ‘Minerva Initiative’
Wired covers which projects the Pentagon funded in the first round of funding awards for social science on “key strategic issues”
Mapping the Internet’s content onto a global map, with a focus on people blogging in different places of the world. You can zoom in on areas that interest you, and add your own blog too.
Farhad Manjoo, How to Blog
Advice over at Slate. Pretty basic but some solid principles nonetheless.
Daniel Sorid, Writing the Web’s Future in Numerous Languages
Building the world wide web in languages other than English, and the technology, blogging and content therein
Jennifer Viegas, How Visiting Your Family Warps Your Brain
Differing neural processing of relatives and self versus strangers.
Neurochannels, Consciousness (3): Mr. B’s First Look at Consciousness
The third in an interesting series on how a biologist would approach the study of consciousness, and some of the problematic assumptions and methods therein
Lisa Leff, Study: Family Behavior Key to Health of Gay Youth
The meaning and violence of family reactions play themselves out long-term – negative feedback and depression, drug use, and suicide
Olivier Morin, Cartoon Faces
“popular cartoon faces seem popular to us not because they are particularly neotenic – many of them are not – but because they are transparent, which makes it easier to project our mental states on them.” Plus some good discussion in the comments.
Putting Stuff Together, Awareness Means Nothing
The 50 youth marketing trends 2009 – shock and awe rather than relevance
Adam Cohen, Four Decades After Milgram, We’re Still Willing to Inflict Pain
The latest research – blind obedience and hurting others. Milgram’s work replicated today. Includes this interesting passage, “Professor [Jerry] Burger was not surprised. He believes that the mindset of the individual participant — including cultural influences — is less important than the ‘situational features’ that Professor Milgram shrewdly built into his experiment. These include having the authority figure take responsibility for the decision to administer the shock, and having the participant increase the voltage gradually. It is hard to say no to administering a 195-volt shock when you have just given a 180-volt shock.”