Wednesday Round Up #68

Besides what you expect, I’ve included a selection on health care reform at the end.

Top of the List

Lera Boroditsky, How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think?
Testing how different languages literally shape the way people think. Great essay at Edge.

Adam Kirsh, Vistas of Perfection
A biography of James Agee. I was really struck by the description of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, which seems like it could teach a lot to modern-day ethnographers

Peter Stromberg, Why You Can’t Help But Care about Brad and Angelina, Part III
Ah, the desire for fame. A good kick-off to Peter’s Sex, Drugs and Boredom series over at Psychology Today – an anthropologist invades some popular turf!

Jim Schnabel, Media Research: The Black Box
Assessing the effects of television on young children. Cartoons don’t help, but edutainment doesn’t seem to hurt. Vaughan Bell and David Dobbs provide reaction.

Julia Douthwaite, Trompe-l’œil: A Metaphysics of Observing
The Mysterious Urn in Paris and our developed ways of seeing. Revolution in Fiction also has a great student piece, Shards of History

Nature – Killers in Eden
Fascinating documentary on killer whales and whale hunters’ interactions, including long-term cooperative behavior, in Eden, Australia – a “remarkable and mysterious partnership” between orcas and humans


Linda Nordling, Africa Calls on World’s Richest to Curb Brain Drain
One third of all African scientists live and work in developed countries

David DiSalvo, Can You Outsmart Your Genes? An Interview with Author Richard Nisbett
Taking on the “genes determine intelligence” argument – an intelligence optimist speaks

Pete Shanks, Brain Drugs
Tagline: ‘Controversy over “cognitive-enhancement” drugs is heating up’ over at Psychology Today – and it’s no place for our fantasies

Mo Costandi, How We Feel Affects What We See
Rose tinted glasses – but in your visual cortex!

Benedict Carey, Report on Gene for Depression Is Now Faulted
“The celebrated finding that a single gene helps determine one’s risk of depression has not held up to scrutiny.”

John Lorinc, Driven to Distraction
The Walrus says it’s harder for us to think in this modern age of ours

Roni Caryn Rabin, Study Offers Clues to Why People Overeat
They salivate more! Really – they don’t habituate and continue to have an urge to eat even as their stomach fills

Sandra Kiume, Young Brains
Adolescent brain development and more (yes, addiction, neuroethics…). Note that Channel N has now moved!


Graham Saint John, Dionysus Now
A trip to the Greek island of Limnos for the Island of Fire Festival – the carnivalization of everyday life

Barbara Ehrenreich, Too Poor to Make the News
In the US, but might as well be around the world – the economic downturn among the truly poor

Belinda Luscombe, This Porn’s for You: Budweiser’s Racy Web Ad
Porn creep – is it really that normal? Or should porn be considered the new tobacco, as one essay proposed in last week’s round up?

Closer, Radicalization Series – Part I: The Slippery Slope of Ethnic Profiling
Ethnic stereotypes and law enforcement in Europe

Scott Malcomson, Shakira’s Children
The Colombian singer promotes education in her original home, Barranquilla

Cultural Survival, Emergency Action: Stop Police Violence Against Amazon Defenders / Peru
Extractive industries promoted by free trade – guess who foots the local environmental disaster and displacement bill? Local indigenous people. And the Peruvian government isn’t happy that this fact is being protested.

HowardRheingold, Vernacular Video In Culture and Education
Everyday video changing our world

PeaceCorps, Culture Matters: The Peace Corps Cross-Cultural Workbook
Scribd gives you the whole document

LiveScience, Half of All Friends Replaced Every Seven Years
Social networks stay about the same size, your friends don’t – at least in the Netherlands

Vaughan Bell, The English and the Magical Properties of Tea
Yes, it is their magical drug that fixes everything! Mind Hacks covers the work of anthropologist Kate Fox

Health Care Reform

Luke Mitchell, Sick in the Head: Why America Won’t Get the Health-care System It Needs
Harper’s essay on the backroom politics, medical economics and cultural dynamics around health care reform – excellent reporting that pushes ideas and provides overviews

Atul Gawande, The Cost Conundrum
In-depth essay and analysis in the New Yorker by the doctor/journalist on “what a Texas town can teach us about health care”

Reed Abelson, Following the Money in the Health Care Debate
What’s really at stake in health care reform

Kate Pickert, Will the Public Plan Make or Break Health Reform?
An article from Time discussing what a public health insurance option might do

New York Times Editorial, Doctors and the Cost of Care
Argument that the key to reining in costs rests with doctors’ decision making about care

Robin Hanson, Something’s Got to Give: The Evolution of Health Care Altruism
Ancient habits of care – and behavior as key to understanding health care

Tyler Cowen, Something’s Got to Give in Medicare Spending
The need to make actual cuts, as well as significantly changing how we approach our health: “The reality is that our daily environment, our social status and our behavior — including diet and exercise — have more to do with good health than does health care more narrowly defined.”

David Dobbs, Healthcare and Science Policy Series
David has been putting up a lot of good stuff about health care reform over at Neuron Culture

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