Wednesday Round Up #101

Back to the old categories approach, with thanks to my student Casey Dolezal for help. So top of the list, then anthropology and writing for a broader public, mind, a nature/culture mix of anthropology, health, and finally some good stuff on addiction at the end.

Top of the List

Sharon Begley, The Depressing News about Anti-Depressants
Prozac Nation needs to face the data – anti-depressants don’t work as well as we thought, especially for more mild cases of depression (no better than placebos in the meta-analysis)

Michael Greenwell, Howard Zinn – 1922 to 2010
The “radical historian” Howard Zinn is remembered.

Lorenz, Pecha Kucha – The Future of Presenting Papers?
Papers presented the Pecha Kucha way – a visual speed presentation – is becoming more popular. Papers are not read but instead shown on a screen in 20 images, displayed for twenty seconds each.

Natalie Angier, Abstract Thoughts? The Body Takes Them Literally
The NY Times gets embodied!

Rosa Golijan, A Virtual Jam Session
Very cool music video – a rap/jazz fusion – put together by people playing virtually together

Kirstin Butler, Reading the Red Book
Carl Jung’s lifework now published and reviewed

Eric Taub, The Web Way to Learn a Language
A useful overview of how to learn a language online

Writing and Anthropology’s Public Presence

Chris Kelty, Why Is There No Anthropology Journalism?
A call to report more queries, debates, and findings from anthropology

Joana Breidenbach and Pal Nyiri, How to Write an Anthropology Book that People Will Read?
The authors of the recent Seeing Culture discuss their recent efforts to present a better view of culture to the public than the sort advanced in the Clash of Civilizations or other like-minded simplistic takes

Joana Breidenbach and Pal Nyiri, Seeing Culture Everywhere
The authors deliver a modified version of their introduction to their new popular book Seeing Culture Everywhere in L’Espace. Jovan Moad over at Culture Matters has some useful reflections on Joana Breidenbach and Pal Nyiri’s efforts.

Laura Wagner, Haiti: A Survivor’s Story
A Ph.D. anthro candidate does some journalism/public anthropology over at on the most gripping and tragic story of the moment

Ryan Anderson, Get the Message to the People, or Something Like That
Over at Ethnographix, some very useful reflections: “Here’s the thing though. Nobody–or very few people–are going to read books that are ABOUT the discipline of anthropology itself… As an analogy, this is like the difference between publishing a book that is ABOUT photography versus publishing a book that is a photographic essay. Huge difference… To quote Henri Cartier-Bresson: ‘Photography is nothing – it’s life that interests me’.”


The Neurocritic, Mirror Neurons and Magical EFT Therapy Bears
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) work through mirror neurons. Makes sense, right? Nonsense. And the Neurocritic rounds up all the best of the site’s mirror neuron bashing

Tom Stafford, Better Thinking Through Chemistry
Cognitive enhancers, other than caffeine, are discussed, including their advantages and disadvantages.

Neuroskeptic, A “Severe” Warning for Psychiatry
Over-diagnosis of DSM-IV illnesses, and even more over-prescription and marketing

David Bownds, The Secret Life of Chaos
“The mathematics of chaos can explain how and why the universe creates exquisite order and pattern, transforming simplicity into complexity.”

Jonah Lehrer, Self-Control and Peer Groups
The ability to resist enticement is catching.

John Tierney, Monkeys, Candy and Cognitive Dissonance
Do humans and even monkeys tend to rationalize their choices?

Meghan O’Rourke, Good Grief
The New Yorker on grief, with the lead question, Is there a better way to be bereaved?


Jay Sosa, Concerned Anthropologists’ Letter to Washington
A letter opposing Congress’s potential plan to expand the Human Terrain System Program.

Lorenz, Mary Douglas Has Passed Away
It goes back to 2007, but I just came across Antropologi’s useful consideration of Mary Douglas, whose work I’ve always admired

Urbi et Orbi, Degrees in Counter Terrorism?
The actual curriculum for a terrorism and counterterrorism course. No anthropology here.

The Economist, The Apparatgeist Calls
“How you use your mobile phone has long reflected where you live. But the spirit of the machines may be wiping away cultural differences.”

Amy Pollard, Field of Screams: Difficulty and Ethnographic Fieldwork
Difficulties that PhD anthropologists face during their time in ethnographic fieldwork.

Tim Jones, Pego do Diabo (Loures, Portugal): Tracing the Final Days of Iberian Neanderthals has been posting up a lot of good stuff recently. I suggest you go check all their stuff out. But for the round up, I was taken with this reporting on Neanderthals in Portugal

Katherine Harmon, What the Small-brained Hobbit Reveals About Primate Evolution
A bigger brain size does not always mean more intelligent or better.

Stephen H. Montgomery, Reduced Brain Size of Homo floresiensis Hints at Her Likely Ancestors
Because of the reduced brain size of Homo floresiensis, it is unlikely that she descended from Homo erectus.


Andre Picard, Rich vs. Poor: The Lives We Can Expect from Our Income
Both long life and value of life are now measured by statisticians, but however you want to look at it, Canada’s poor have worse life expectancy than the well off.

Charles J. Wright, Too Much Health Care
Funding for the Canadian healthcare system is a major problem.

Kismet, WHEE: Barefootin’
We may be injuring ourselves by wearing big, cushioned shoes. The benefits to running barefoot over at the Daily Kos.

Brian Switek, Evolutionary Anthropology Study Suggests you Might be Running Wrong
More on running barefoot, from the recent Nature article to a video.

Bill Davenhall, Your Health Depends on Where You Live
Davenhall shows that where you live has a major impact on your health, even though we too often think of health in individual terms


Michelle Trudeau, Teen Drinking May Cause Irreversible Brain Damage
The title is too dramatic. But still, damaged nerve tissue is found in the brains of teenagers who drink, suggesting that the effects of a drunken night may hang on long after the hangover wears off.

Life Magazine, Famous Literary Drunks and Addicts
Includes a photo gallery with names of individuals, as well as their drink and/or drug of choice.

Hugh O’Shaughnessy, US Waves White Flag in Disastrous ‘War on Drugs’
“After 40 years, Washington is quietly giving up on a futile battle that has spread corruption and destroyed thousands of lives.”

Vaughan Bell, Chasing the Digital Dragon
Chinese treatment clinics for Internet addicts, between culture, societal regulation, and brutality.

Mark Derr, Scientists Find a Shared Gene in Dogs With Compulsive Behavior
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is observed in animals.

Razib Khan, Rice, Alcohol and Genes
Khan states, “Changes in human diet driven by cultural evolution seem to be at the root of many relatively recently emerged patterns of genetic variation.” Case in point, the emergence of rice agriculture, alcohol use, and alcohol metabolization loci

Matthew Power, The Vancouver Experiment
Supervised injection sites in Vancouver, and the politics and pragmatics of trying to address illegal drug use.

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s