Wednesday Round Up #71

So this week, we’ve got a bunch of short things up front – faves, science & health journalism, brain health, book recommendations, and the environment. Then I go onto anthropology and neuroscience.

Top of the List

Bruno Latour, What Is the Style of Matters of Concern?
Latour’s Spinoza lectures – one on our understanding of nature, the other on aesthetics and active philosophy (or, stop committing violence to our common sense…)

Jason Mitchell, Contributions of Functional Neuroimaging to the Study of Social Cognition
Pdf of a 2008 paper from the Harvard psychologist – a nice overview that also addresses some of the critiques

Nicolas Baumard, In Praise of Neuroscience (for once)
Looking at how parts of the brain are specialized for culture, seen through the localization of the Visual Word Form area (part of how you read) across subjects and societies and in neuronal constraints on writing systems

Alex Golub, Golublog
Alex has been writing on his return to fieldwork in Papua New Guinea – great to read the series of posts sharing the trials and dilemmas of doing ethnographic work

Incubus, Are You In?
Just a song I enjoyed

Bob Herbert, Behind the Façade
The best thing I read this past week -the NY Times columnist discusses Michael Jackson and our culture of immaturity and irresponsibility.

Troublemaker’s Fringe – Problems in the Journalism of Science and Health

Petra Boyton, Reporting Back from Last Night’s Troublemaker’s Fringe
Petra, Vaughan Bell and Ben Goldacre get together to discuss bad journalism of science and health. What an event. Petra slants her comments towards the eight problems she sees in today’s journalism.

Vaughan Bell, Fringe Benefits
You can get Vaughan’s slides from his talk at Troublemaker’s Fringe over at Mind Hacks. Technology scares journalists… into writing crap, complete with some disturbing headlines. Vaughan places our present-day concerns in historical context, all the way back to Socrates.

Ben Goldacre, Steve Conner Is an Angry Man
A journalist takes critique badly, even before the pub event happens, and of course writes a snarky column about it

Brain Health

Christopher Hertzog et al., Fit Body, Fit Mind? Your Workout Makes You Smarter
Scientific American piece on how exercising helps protect against cognitive decline as we age

Alvaro Fernandez, Bird’s Eye View of Cognitive Health Innovation
Sharp Brains guru shares slides from his recent talk

Eric Kandel, A Biology of Mental Disorder
The Nobel Prize winner shares his thoughts on recent developments in a Newsweek feature. See also the Brain Boosters piece in the same issue.

Books & Reading

Newsweek, Fifty Books for Our Times: What to Read Now. And Why.
Quite a list – I really enjoyed looking it over

Nicholas Kristof, The Best Kids’ Books Ever
NY Times columnist shares his recommendations. See what his kids like over at his blog, where readers also weigh in with all their recommendations.

Joanne @ Tomorrow Museum, Why Teenagers Read Better Than You
That passion of early engagement


Si @ Immanence, Some Favorites
Book recommendations focusing on recent ecoculture titles that “make important contributions to the study of nature/culture in their many intersections and blurrings.”

Sanjida O’Connell, Farmers May Be Planting the Root of All Evil
Agriculture as the worst invention in human history – a new take with new data

Sydney Herald, US, Indonesia Sign Debt for Nature Agreement
One of the better ways to help protect environmentally important areas (unless you are into dependency theory, and see debt as creating these sorts of problems in the first place)

International Institute for Environment and Development, Video and Audio
Get a great wealth of video lectures by leaders in the field of environment and development

Barbara Rose Johnston, Water Culture Wars
An environmental anthropologist reflects on the 5th World Water Forum over at Counter Punch


Carl Lipo, Graduate Programs around the World
A map of places to study anthropology at the masters and doctoral levels

Ed Yong, Hidden Beliefs in Science Stereotypes Predict Size of Gender Gap across 34 Countries
Fascinating study. I wish more anthropologists did work like this to test some of our ideas.

Vanessa Woods, Bonobo Release – Benii!!!
A bonobo going back to the forest. And he understands gravity too!

Ryan Anderson, Destroying Baja
Surfing and anthro research, or a nice reflexion on tourism, development and the environment

Douglas Hume, Madagascar
A professor at Northern Kentucky shares resources about his favorite country (and site for fieldwork). Hume has also put together an extensive list of resources and readings related to the book and controversy, Darkness in El Dorado.

Herbert Lewis, Boas, Darwin, Science and Anthropology
Pdf of a 2001 Current Anthropology article on how Boas’ philosophy of science still matters to what we do today

Shafeen Charania, Epic Movements
Global peace, the importance of benchmarks, and ideas from gaming! Quite a synthesis.

Jonah Lehrer, Population Density
Lehrer discusses the recent Science article that points to social networks and demography as crucial in cultural evolution, not simply brain adaptations or technological advances

Anthony Funnell, The Technological Anthropologist
Genevieve Bell talks about adoption of technology from the perspective of her work in Intel’s User Experience group

Diane Levin, Mediation Channel Surfing: in a round-up of links, some tasty ideas to snack on
Meditate on these interdisciplinary links!

Sarah Arnquist, Testing Evolution’s Role in Finding a Mate
Speed dating seemed to be a good way to test the men as indiscriminate/women as choosy paradigm (well, a good way to get data – but did they have speed dating in the Pleistocene). Now new research shows that both genders are indiscriminate (it’s speed dating, after all!), and that social conditioning matters

Duncan Campbell, Marc Bekoff and Jane Goodall – The Ten Trusts
Podcast with the famed animal behaviorists and co-authors of the book, The Ten Trusts


Deric Bownds, Risky Behaviors: Genetic Predispositions Countered By Behavioral Intervention
Fascinating study – hopeful and disturbing all at once (if used right… sort of thing). The main point is that interventions do work, and genetics are not destiny

Stephen Casper, Book Review: Margaret A Boden, Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science
A comprehensive review of a comprehensive book over at Neuro Times, a great new blog

Benedict Carey, Why the Imp in Your Brain Gets Out
Our urges run wild

John Eberhard, Brain Landscape: The Coexistence of Neuroscience and Architecture
2008 edited volume from Oxford Press – looks fascinating

Mo Costandi, Mental Time Travel
Memory as reconstructive – so does it play a role when we think about the future?

Pete Mandik, Chomsky Has No Patience for Externalism Whatsoever
Video interview with Chomsky. Personally I’ve never gotten the contrast between his internalist science and his externalist politics…

Candida Peterson and Michael Siegal, Representing Inner Worlds: Theory of Mind in Autistic, Deaf and Normal Hearing Children
Pdf of a 1999 comparative study that comes to this conclusion, “These results point to an interplay among biology, conversation and culture in the development of a theory of mind.”

Annette Ruth, Conceptual Models of Neuronal Dysfunction in Autism: Biochemical Toxins, Neuroregulation, and Implications for Neurogenesis
A Notre Dame undergraduate’s prize-winning paper

Nicholas Wade, Hoopla, and Disappointment, in Schizophrenia Research
One gene does not cause it all – “schizophrenia is caused by a very large number of errant genes, not a manageable and meaningful handful.”

Alan Saunders, Is Philosophy Irrelevant to Science?
ABC radio program from The Philosopher’s Zone with guest James Franklin

Noah Gray, The General Public Knows Very Little about Neuroscience
But the pictures sure do look pretty

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