Wednesday Round Up #77

Favorites, addiction, anthropology, memes, and mind this week. Enjoy.

Top of the List

Greg Laden, The Falsehoods
Greg lays out common mistakes and bad assumptions about biology, culture and evolution – a fantastic summary

ScienceDaily, Facial Expressions Show Language Barriers, Too
The title doesn’t quite get it; the point is that Ekman’s universal expressions of emotion has just taken a serious data-driven critique: “FACS-coded [Facial Action Coding System] facial expressions are not universal signals of human emotion.”

Melvin Konner, Obesity 2
“Obesity is an evolutionary legacy, which is why it’s so hard to control.” The esteemed anthropologist reflects on our modern obesity epidemic.

Robert Wright, Jerry Coyne and The Evolution of God
The author of The Evolution of God responds vigorously to Coyne’s critique in The New Republic, which I featured a couple round-ups ago.

Dan Myers, Get a Theory – Part II
Some great reflections on what makes for a good conference paper

Christophe Heintz, How Cultural Is Cultural Epidemiology? The Case of Enculturation
An argument for a more robust cultural epidemiology through generative entrenchment and the cultural determination of cognitive tracks


Robin Young, Homeless Heroin Addicts
Here and Now NPR interview with Phillippe Bourgois about his new book Righteous Dopefiend. Also has a nice selection of Schonberg’s photos.

Douglas McIntyre, Cocaine Traces on Dollar Bills
It’s definitely a drug economy when 90% of bills have been in close contact

Lawrence Downes, In Los Angeles, Songs Without Borders
Looking for a good narcocorrido

Steven Fedorowicz, No! Drug
A new campaign in Japan takes just say no and combines it with a celebrity campaign – some interesting reflections on drug policy in Japan

Vaughan Bell, Internet Addiction Storm Breaks in China
Update on internet addiction alarm in China – brutal techniques and parental anxieties have fed the storm

Drake Bennett, The Nature of Temptation
“why is it that people who set themselves up as moral paragons seem to have the hardest time living up to their own standards?”

Barton Goldsmith, 10 Reasons to Kick Addictions
Things to remember when struggling during recovery

Robyn Williams, Debate over Net Addiction
Susan Greenfield and Ben Goldacre debate on the ABC program The Science Show

Dr. Shock, Motives for Online Gaming
Communication and developing relationships? But I thought those games were just like drugs…

Dirk Hanson, A (Belated) Review of “The Los Angeles Diaries”
The man behind Addiction Inbox declares, “I’ve never read a better true story about addiction.”


Brian Estes, RACE Project Hits YouTube
Get the clip over at the AAA blog – a great introduction to the topic

Orlando Patterson, Race and Diversity in the Age of Obama
Very impressive summary of demographics and scholarship in a short space

Timothy Egan, After the Deluge
A review of the powerful new book “Zeitoun” by Dave Eggers, the nonfiction story of one immigrant’s struggles after Hurricane Katrina. The NPR interview with Eggers was also excellent.

Jonah Lehrer, Do Parents Matter?
A Scientific American interview with Judith Harris, who says peers matter more than parents in children’s development

Fran Barone, Anthropology Blogs
Top 25 anthro blogs by metrics (well, if you get included), plus additional recommendations from Fran on what to read (thanks for the mention!)

Anthropophagus, My Favorite Anthropology-Related Websites
Another quality list of sites. The description of us is quite apt, and made me smile: “A collection of people writing about a collection of things, usually at least some what related to the anthropology of mind/brain.” Thanks for the mention!

John Ward, Primitive Capitalism
Critical reflections on the recent proposal that we have an instinct for private property

Michael Watts, Nigeria on the Brink
The country is not doing well – oil industry collapsing, armed resistance, and a repressive and dysfunctional government

Eli Thorkelson, Anthropology in the American Disciplinary Landscape
WebCASPAR put to use – and no, it’s not a friendly ghost on the web, it’s a data-driven approach to understanding higher ed.

Aaron Filler, Diagonal Postures & The Descent from Human to Ape
Interesting discussion of an idea that I think is worthy considering – aspects of bipedality evolved in the trees – in the context of recent reports of humans not descending from knuckle-walkers. For more on that research, see Science Daily

Lance Gravlee, Twitter in the Classroom?
Will he take the plunge with a big class? Initial considerations and a request for help

Adam Horowitz, Invincible: ‘You can’t disconnect a people from the importance of place’
Fascinating “docu-musi-video”, a rap about the situation in Palestine. Hat-tip to LD.


John Postill, Book Review of Aunger R (2002) The Electric Meme: A New Theory of How We Think
John mentioned his review in a recent comment. But this insightful review deserves even more readers.

Larval Subjects, Immunology: Update
Why talking about memes using the metaphor of the immune system doesn’t make sense – it’s anti-realist!

Carl Dyke, You’ve Got a Nasty Case of the Memes There, I’m Afraid
Musing on memes, with a riff off the Larval Subjects piece

Susan Blackmore, Evolution’s Third Replicator: Genes, Memes, and Now What?
Of course technology, and it’s evil! Francis Sedgemore does a good job taking this article apart as “the replication of bad ideas”


Natalie Angier, Brain Is a Co-Conspirator in a Vicious Stress Loop
“Behaviors become habitual faster in stressed animals than in the controls, and worse, the stressed animals can’t shift back to goal-directed behaviors when that would be the better approach.”

Benedict Carey, Mental Stress Training Is Planned for U.S. Soldiers
From middle schools to the Army – a new attempt at toning down the effects of negativity. For another attempt, one that soldiers actually want and respond to, see Mind Hacks, Standing together against combat trauma

Alison Gopnik, Your Baby Is Smarter Than You Think
They like red balls too

Tara Parker-Pope, Fatty Foods Affect Memory and Exercise
Can I get some high-fat rat chow (comprised of 55 percent fat) too?

Stephanie Nano, No Karaoke for You! Bad Wiring Spells Tone-deaf
Finally, an excuse for my wondrous singing talents

Vaughan Bell, Sulci Against Head Bangers
A very clever idea, and one that makes evolutionary sense, on why our brains are all wrinkled at the surface

Dave Munger, How the Brain Divides the Task of Recognizing Sounds
General and specific – just like the visual system. Plus a beautiful photo from a Maine vacation.

The Situationist, Robert Cialdini Explains Social Psychology
In video!

William Lu, The Negative Health Effects of Perceived Discrimination
Results of a meta-analysis: “They discovered that an increased level of perceived discrimination is associated with more negative mental and physical health. In addition, they found that perceived discrimination was associated with heightened psychological and physical stress responses as well as increased participation in unhealthy behaviors.”

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