Wednesday Round Up #60

Besides the normal, neuro (enhancing!) and anthro, there’s a round-up on stuff related to addictions – drug war controversy, video games, sex, social learning, and even some contingent incentives for treatment.


The Neurocritic, The Neurology of Twitter
Oh you critic you! See, I did it in 140 characters. Well, less!

Christine Rosen, It’s Not Theft, It’s Pastiche
The Wall Street Journal reviews the new book, My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture, by my great colleague Susan Blum, on routine plagiarism by students and the college culture that helps make sense of that

Strange Maps, US States Renamed for Countries with Similar GDPs
Thanks to Paul Mason and his dad for this one. The US is 50 countries in one – and now there is a map that shows off the economics of it.

Eugene Raikhel, Ian Hacking on Commercial Genome-Reading
Somatosphere provides a good overview on an on-going Net discussion from some heavy hitters. And the NY Times just reported that Genes Show Limited Value in Predicting Diseases

American Anthropological Association, April AN Addresses Visual Ethics and Multisensory/Multimedia Anthro
The latest Anthropology News, and for once you can just get the pdfs online.


Margaret Talbot, Brain Gain: The Underground World of “Neuroenhancing” Drugs
The New Yorker on this emerging synergy of demand, competition, self and neuro-medicine. For some good commentary, see Mind Hacks.

Stanford Magazine, Brain Boosters: How Should We Deal with Cognitive-Enhancing Drugs?
An interview with Henry Greely, who has stirred up controversy with his avid support for enhancing ourselves

Sherry Baker, Are Smart Drugs the Answer to Bad Moods – and a Bad Economy?
Ah, the power of profit – it enhances us already. Besides that, Discover covers what future developments we might see through enhancement drugs

Nassir Ghaemi, Bipolar Disorder: The Mythology of Biomythology
A psychiatrist fights back! Bipolar disorder is more than a myth wrapped up in determinist ideology

The Neurocritic, Childhood Poverty and Neurocognitive Development
A good review of work by Martha Farah from a couple years ago – a good complement to all the poverty poisons the brain stuff of late.

Martha Farah and colleagues, Poverty, Privilege and Brain Development: Empirical Findings and Ethical Considerations
A chapter (pdf) by Farah that covers the brain development-poverty links and speaks to policy, responsibility and more

Talking Brains, Broca’s Area: It’s a Dessert Topping! No It’s a Floor Wax! No It’s a Cognitive Control Mechanism!
Just what does it do, really? Coverage of a new theory


Oona & Sharon, Tanaka in AEQ: U.S. Anthropologists Should Address “The End of Culture”
The AAAs show off their new-look blog! This post covers an action research project on student’s ancestry and questions about teaching. For more, see this piece, Sinking the Past, Drowning the Present on climate change and its impact on small islands and their peoples.

Tara Parker-Pope, What Are Friends For? A Longer Life
The NY Times jumps up the social networks/social relationships bandwagon as making a difference in how and what ways we live.

Claudia Dreifus, From Studying Chimps, A Theory of Cooking
Richard Wrangham, the noted primatologist, talks about his new book, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

Jennifer Senior, The End of the Trench Coat Mafia
A very good review of an in-depth book on what really happened at the Columbine student massacre

Deric Bownds, Social Motives for Syntax
A brief clip from a review of Michael Tomasello’s new book – this piece focusing on gestures

Jonny @ Ecographica, New Study Merges Genetics, Demography and Paleoanthropology
Neanderthals get their mtDNA studied to look at population patterns from when they strutted around Europe on their own

Ed Yong, Simple Writing Exercise Helps Break Vicious Cycle that Holds Back Black Students
An interesting intervention and study. I wish it were that simple. Still, why doesn’t some enterprising anthropologist do a study of what a simple interview does for students and other informants?

Drugs, The Drug War and Other Addictions

Ben Wallace Wells, How America Lost the War on Drugs
Rolling Stone on how the Drug War has failed.

NPR, Mexican Drugs, US Markets
NPR interviews an articulate spokesman from the US Drug Enforcement Agency. One of the more effective summaries from the prohibition viewpoint that I’ve heard.

Neda Ulaby, The Krayolas: “Twelve Heads in a Bag,” A Mexican Murder Ballad
A powerful corrido, and counter-point to the previous NPR story on the same show. Definitely a great listen.

Norm Stamper, Thoughts on Pot vs. Alcohol from a Former Police Chief
From police on-the-ground, alcohol causes more problems and damages

Jesse McKinley, Marijuana Advocates Point to Signs of Change
Is legalization coming to the US?

Bill Moyers Journal, David Simon
The executive producer of the tv program The Wire, and former Baltimore journalist, talks about his award-winning show and why the Drug War is not just a failure but a lie as well

Karen Pallarito, Almost 1 in 10 Young Video Game Users ‘Addicted’
One of the most popular articles on Yahoo News this past week. Just wait until they apply the same criteria to youth sports.

Dave Mugner, A “Video Game” to Reduce Aggression
Wait, I thought all games were bad for us…

Owen Good, Game to Soldiers: Don’t Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em
All the things that suck about smoking, made into a video game by the Department of Defense.

Jed Murcurio, JFK, Russell Brand and the Myth of Sex Addiction
It’s not a disease, it’s an excuse, argues this piece from the London Times

Jesse Bering, Intoxicating Studies: The Effects of Alcohol on Social Behavior
Nice Sci Amer piece on social psychology and the impact of alcohol on dating, philosophizing, vandalizing and more

Social Issues Research Centre, Social and Cultural Aspects of Drinking
An overview of sociocultural factors that help shape drinking cross-culturally

Idiolect, The Psychology of Coffee
Warning, do not read while inhaling your third cup like me

Gang Lee et al., Social Learning and Structural Factors in Adolescent Substance Use
Pdf of a 2004 article that examines social learning theory in relation to drinking and other substance use in US youth

Dave Haans, Learning to Inhale: A Look at Adolescent Marijuana Use and Social Learning Theory
An overview of the research, from Howard Becker’s foundational work up to the early 90s

Stephen Higgins and Nancy Petry, Contingency Managament: Incentives for Sobriety
A good pdf from Alcohol Research and Health – reinforcing the good while ignoring the bad. For more, here’s the Wikipedia contingency management entry

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