Wednesday Round Up #55

I’m off to a conference, so you’re getting the Wednesday round up a day early. The typical stuff on brain and anthro, plus some happiness, eating and other stuff thrown in. Enjoy!

Top of the List

Mo Costandi, Experience Induces Global Reorganization of Brain Circuitry
Plasticity in action, now showing that small changes can produce bigger changes elsewhere

Hugh Gusterson, Empire of Bases
The global reach of the US military. It’s no longer the military-industry complex, it’s just the military complex. It’s hard to fathom, and all that money that might be spent differently…

Dave Munger, Training in Working Memory Can Improve Preschoolers’ Performance in a Variety of Tasks
The title says it all. Train visual working memory, get benefits elsewhere.

Brian McKenna, How Anthropology Disparages Journalism
A call for anthropology to engage what could be one of its closest allies, as well as to take on what journalism offers for getting our message beyond the Ivory Tower

Gary Sherman and Gerald Clore, Clean and Virtuous: When Physical Purity Becomes Moral Purity
Scientific American: “How “embodied” metaphors, rooted in our physical understanding of abstract concepts, shape our view of the world.”


Deric Bownds, The Myth of Language Universals
Deric is as intrigued by this new Behavioral and Brain Science target article as I am, The Myth of Language Universals: Language diversity and its importance for cognitive science

Jon Hamilton, To the Brain, God Is Just Another Guy
NPR covers the PNAS article by Jordan Grafman and colleagues that religion activates many of the same areas we use to understand emotions and interpret intentions in everyday people

Clare Wilson, Mind Over Body
“How people can think themselves sick” – or to sound awful, embodied somatization…

Ask MetaFilter, Brain Blog Breakdown
Community-generated list of brain blogs that readers like. Happy to see us on the list, as well as many of the usual suspects and others I am less familiar with.

Neurophilosophy, Where Do You Think You Are? A Brain Scan Tell
Spatial navigation and the imaging of encoding. The real story about recent news claims about “brain scans can read memories

Ed Yong, Different Neuron Networks Control Fear of Different Threats
As usual, a nice summary of some of the latest research – the implication, not all fear is the same.

Channel N, Communicating Free Yale Education
Lecture on: “How Do We Communicate? Language in the Brain, Mouth and the Hands”

Neuronarrative, Four Authors Respond to the Social Networking Controversy
Does social networking destroy our brains? Other people respond to the latest moral panic

Ari Schulman, Why Minds Are Not Like Computers
The New Atlantis gets on board in a lengthy and good article that is as much about artificial intelligence as it is about our brains

Ira Flatow, Altering Fearful Memories
Science Friday delivers its radio show on the latest research about taking the fear out of mice’s memory circuits. With guest Steven Kushner.

Science Codex, University of Pennsylvania Researchers Find that the Unexpected Is a Key to Human Learning
Unexpected rewards – what makes us pay attention. Before in rats, now seen in humans.


Michael Wesch, SmartPen as Digital Ethnography Tool
Very cool – a new pen that also works as a voice recorder. This sort of integration will happen more and more, whether in class or in fieldwork.

Eugene Raikhel, Public Access Books on Medical Anthropology
University of California’s Digital Library offers 2000 books online. Somatosphere rounds up the best of open-access medical anthropology monographs.

The Economist, The Kindness of Crowds
The collective choreography of violence and peace – “Crowds of people are often seen as bad for public order. But they have ways of policing themselves that the police might do well to understand.”

Wikipedia, The Wisdom of Crowds
The online encyclopedia covers the recent book by James Surowiecki – what it takes to be a wise crowd

Daniel Little, Inequality in France
Understanding Society covers the new social reality in France

Rachel Wagner, Dreaming Cyborg Dreams: Virtual Identity and Religious Experience
Immersive new media and religious identity

The Independent, Witch Hunt: Africa’s Hidden War on Women
The perils for women, and the possibilities of feminism

Mark Dingemanse, The Enduring Spoken Word
Mark gets a commentary published in Science! No monomodal views of language and the merits of speech recognition technology.

Keith Hart, Cambridge Lecture on International Development
See the man behind The Memory Bank in action – as well as a well-respected leader in this area


MP Dunleavey, Stress Less about This Recession
Tips on handling the emotional turmoil caught up in the financial crisis

Rebecca Ruiz, 10 Ways To Be Happier Now
A slide show on research-based clues for what we know about what helps people be happier

Other Stuff

Nicholas Wade, Map of Knowledge
Short summary and great graphic on what electronic data searchers by academics tell us about the relationships between different fields. Based on a new PLoS article, Clickstream Data Yields High-Resolution Maps of Science.

Anik Boileau, Pictures of the Week: Culture and Cognition in Cetaceans
A couple nice photos and a brief summary of some recent work

Michael Meadon, Books III
Ionian Enchantment provides a wide-ranging list of some great books, with a focus on science journalism and science essays

Channel N, Live Colloquium Webcast
Get your video of the BC Mental Health and Addictions Research Network 2009 Research Colloquium

Marcus Chown, Our World May Be a Giant Hologram
This New Scientist piece covers a proposal that we really live in a 2D world, and “space-time is a grainy hologram.” An alternative to string theory in physics.

Matthew Bernius, A Few Thoughts about Building Community Online
It comes down to this: “The sustainable community model is: Connecting people through content,” rather than with content (e.g., books on Amazon)

David Dobbs, The Lorax Was Wrong: Skyscrapers Are Green
Density of living matters to being green.


Dave Munger, How Do We Know We’re Hungry? (Take Two)
More from Cognitive Daily on the interactive determinants of hunger

Julie Steenhuysen, U.S. Program Aims to Help Babies Beat Obesity Odds
By targeting moms, pregnancy and epigenetics

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