Wednesday Round Up #66

Route 66
This week I’ve got two lists – the good blogging/online stuff from around the Web, and then a collection from the NY Times this past week, which had plenty of interesting and relevant stories. Enjoy!

The List

Open-Access to the journal Neuroethics
Neuroethics is now open-access for a temporary field, so feel free to download articles like this one, Neuroethics as a Brain-Based Philosophy of Life: The Case of Michael S. Gazzaniga – quite a neuroanthropological piece actually.

Claudine Beaumont, Is Microsoft’s Natal the Future of Gaming?
I stuck this in the students’ post yesterday on videogames, but also wanted to highlight it here. Natal looks very cool! Besides the video below, here’s the E3 Microsoft comprehensive presentation showing how Natal works live, another promo featuring some fascinating interactive painting, and Milo the interactive boy. Kotaku’s Brian Crecente gives us a hands-on review here.

Russell Poldrack, Neuroimaging: Separating the Promise from the Pipe Dreams
Dana Foundation on core issues for both science and application involving brain imaging

Tracy Alloway, 10% Students May Have Working Memory Problems: Why Does It Matter?
SharpBrains gives us the latest on this emerging area of research and education intervention

Ben Goldacre, Dodgy Academic PR
A study of academic press releases on research shows the limitations of journalism/press coverage even coming from leading institutions

Mark Liberman, Linguists Who Count
Nice reflection on the quantitative impulse and the rigors of research not just in linguistics but more broadly for human phenomena

The Last Psychiatrst, Ramachandran’s Mirror
Trying the mirror and phantom limb trick – and asking hard questions in thinking about expectations of care, knowledge and healing

Mary Eberstadt, Is Pornography the New Tobacco?
An interesting essay on moralizing – comparing pornography today to the situation with tobacco in the 1950s

Eugene Raikhel, PLoS Biology on the “Vaccine-Autism” Wars
Why do erroneous theories persist? A social examination

Maximilian Forte, “Useless Anthropology”: Strategies for Dealing with the Militarization of the Academy
Max’s most recent conference paper over at Open Anthropology

Ed Yong, The Peril of Positive Thinking – Why Positive Messages Hurt People with Low Self-esteem
It depends on belief and sense of control…

Deric Bownds, SenseCam – A Device for Restoring and Protecting Memory
I’m sure someone could do some interesting artistic and ethnographic work with this too – a small video camera carried around the neck

HealthCare Administration Blog, Build Your Own Brain Gym: 100 Tools, Exercises, and Games
Lots of ways to stay brain healthy

Ben Goldacre, Chilling Warning to Parents from Top Neuroscientist
And it’s bad science! More on Susan Greenfield’s techno-phobia

Kim Solenz, Yes, the Web Is Changing Your Brain
And it’s making us smarter, argues this doctor

Michelle Chen, Do No Harm
Looking at the ethical questions at the intersection of psychology and national security

Owen Good, New Study Delivers Old Figure: 8 Percent are Game-Addicted
One in twelve who play meet the criteria in this New Zealand study, which also fingers “deeper” issues as linked to compulsive playing

NPR, What Really Works for Weight Loss
Nice show with two guests who aim to keep it real

Al Fin, How to Understand Everything
Well, at least with a map of knowledge and hopes for consilience. Builds off Eric Drexler’s piece also entitled, How to Understand Everything (and Why), which provides some interesting insights into multidisciplinary research and the necessity for knowing broad outlines of fields as well as having meta-knowledge (for me, understanding core assumptions) in doing effective integrative work.

Peter Reiner, Meditation on Demand
Scientific American piece on how the practice of meditation can shape brain function, as seen through brain imaging and EEG

The New York Times

Just had a lot of good stuff this past week, so here’s that list:

Roni Rabin, Group Therapy Prevents Depression in Teens, Study Finds
The emergence of targeted social interventions, I think, is supported by this new research – not sure quite what to think of that, but mental and behavioral health are enormous problems in our modern world.
You can get the full-text of the JAMA article, Prevention of Depression in At-Risk Teens, and even a video report.

Steven Strogatz, Like Water for Money
An effective little essay – a water-based computer (?!) and how to study complexity rather than resort to reductionism

Allison Arieff, Rethinking the Mall
Complexity in thinking about new malls too! Or taking human behavior, local demands, and a wider set of social issues into account.

John Tierney, In That Tucked Tail, Real Pangs of Regret?
Not a great title for what this piece is really about – animals and counter-factuals (what might have been). What’s actually striking about this (say, versus some of the dopamine computational work) is that researchers are essentially working with an emotional model (e.g., experiencing regret) and not just cognition

Tara Parker-Pope, Better Running with Walking
Counter-intuitive, isn’t it? Well, at least for our cultural logic – it might actually work better with your body. Plenty of comments and discussion on this one!

Farhad Manjoo, Bringing Order to the Chaos of Notes
Note taking programs for the computer given a test run. For some things paper is best – things you are actively working on – but I would enjoy something to bring some more order to all those untitled documents. I still take notes on paper at conferences – and could perhaps do something more this way…

Katie Zezima, Cigarettes without Smoke, or Regulation
The new electronic cigarettes and the controversy surrounding them

Donald McNeil Jr., Where Art and Paleontology Intersect, Fossils Become Faces
Paleoartists in action! See a lot of images at

Nicholas Kristof, Cum Laude in Evading Bandits
Besides great practical advice for foreign travels, it’s also great for anthropology folks getting into remote or difficult areas

Deborah Solomon, Questions for Robert Wright: Evolutionary Theology
An interview with the author of The Moral Instinct and the new book, The Evolution of God, which covers the history of monotheism (with an eye towards materialism and evolution too). See also Andrew Sullivan’s encouraging review in the Times, including this line, “The Evolution of God is best understood as the evolution of human understanding of truth…”

Nicholas Wade, A Human Language Gene Changes the Sound of Mouse Squeaks
FOXP2 and more complex nerves and lower-pitch sounds. also covers this new research

Nicholas Krisof, Would You Slap Your Father? If So, You’re a Liberal
I hadn’t see Kristof take the brain justification route before, but here he draws on Jonathan Haidt to talk about brain-based moral values… The comments do take him to task, though the ones on his blog are more positive

Janet Maslin, Unraveling the Labyrinthine Life of a Magical Realist
An excellent new biography of the Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Erik Eckholm, Governments’ Drug-Abuse Costs Hit $468 Billion, Study Says
That’s “more than one-tenth of combined federal, state and local expenditures for all purposes, according to a new study.” Equally stunning, “just over 2 percent of the total went to prevention, treatment and addiction research.”

Tara Parker-Pope, Using Science to Keep Teens Sober at Prom
Five reasons for kids to not drink (well, at least too much) at their big party

One thought on “Wednesday Round Up #66

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s