Wednesday Round Up #102

Top of the List

ScienceDaily, Ancient Human Teeth Show That Stress Early in Development Can Shorten Life Span
George Armelagos, a professor of mine at Emory, is featured in Science Daily with some excellent work showing how stressful events occurring early in life, as indicated by tooth enamel, can mean a shorter life span.

Susan Carey, The Origin of Concepts
The Harvard professor has a video lecture over at Cognition & Culture, where she discusses her new book The Origin of Concepts

Jane Brody, Rules Worth Following, for Everyone’s Sake
Michael Pollan’s new book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, is reviewed very favorably over at the NY Times. I also liked his earlier interview with Tara Parker-Pope, where he presented this book as the practical version of Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. Anthropologists could pay great heed to what he says:

I’ve spent 10 years looking at agriculture, food and health. I’ve done it mostly as a reporter with a lot of research and adventures and explorations. At the end of the day people want to know what to do with this information. What’s the practical import of what you’ve learned? It’s the question I always get when I’m speaking to readers… I kept hearing the word pamphlet, and I wanted to write a book that would reach as many people as possible. It’s a real radical distillation of everything I’ve been working on. It’s really just to help people to act. It’s about daily practice more than theory.

Frans B. M. de Waal, The Evolution of Empathy
How empathy is essential to who we are, in the context of apes and other animals also exhibiting this trait.

Vaughan Bell, Death of a Gladiator
A gladiator graveyard is discovered in Turkey. Really cool research on how scientists determine the gladiators’ cause of death, with a focus on traumatic brain injuries.

Owen Slot, A Great Sporting Achievement
“Why the key to becoming a successful athlete is using less, not more, of your brain.”


Daniel Carlat, Lilly: “Execute the *%#&*! out of them!”
How drug companies manipulate science and doctors in order to sell their drugs.

Benedict Carey, Revising Book on Disorders of the Mind
An overview of the changes proposed this week for the DWM-V

Jonah Lehrer, Borges was a Neuroscientist
What led Borges to write his classic short story Funes the Memorious, about a man who cannot forget. A good summary of the story is included.

Deric Bownds, A Chemical Test for Disturbed Relationship?
Elevated oxytocin in women and vasopressin in men going through rough patches in relationships

Murad Ahmed, I Can Move Things with my Mind
How technology is making mind control a reality.

Stephanie West Allen and Jeffrey Schwartz, Neurososcience “Evolved from an Interdisciplinary Specialty to a Full Fledged Scholarly Discipline”
From a niche field to mainstream – the development of neuroscience, and the good and bad of its rapid growth

Anne Trafton, Mapping the Brain
MIT scientists are making computers smart enough to see the connections between the brain’s neurons. Nice graphic by Christine Daniloff.

Mo Costandi, The Cutaneous Rabbit Illusion Hops out of the Body
How perceptual illusions are created. Discusses sensory inputs and conscious awareness.

Deric Bownds, Our Brain Activity as Desire Collides with Reason
“How do we resist impulsive desires?” We use our reason, i.e., our prefontral cortices…


Karen Nakamura, Bethel: Community and Schizophrenia
Over at Photoethnography, Karen’s new film on schizophrenia in Japan can now be purchased from Amazon!

Lisa, Diversity in Beauty Apparently Measured in Inches (NSFW)
Eight women, considered the “most beautiful women” in the world, pose for Love Magazine. The purpose of the photo shoot was to determine how much they differ physically from one another. Judge for yourself the minute variations…

Psi, Carnival of Evolution #20!
The latest evolution carnival over at Skeptic Wonder, including a phylogenetic analysis of the submitted posts, with the URLs converted into amino acid sequences, and then made into phylogenetic trees.

Hugo Mercier, Experimental Epidemiology: The Work of Chip Heath
Heath examines “why certain ideas – ranging from urban legends to folk medical cures, from Chicken Soup for the Soul stories to business strategy myths – survive and prosper in the social marketplace of ideas.”

Susan Greenfield and Vaughan Bell, Fight Club: Is Screen Culture Damaging our Children’s Brains?
It’s bare-knuckled as these two are asked, “Are video games and social networking websites hurting the next generation?”

Sarah Kershaw, A Viagra Alternative to Serve by Candlelight
The science and culture of aphrodisiacs

Eugene Raikhel, University of Wisconsin’s “What Is Human?” Initiative
Somatosphere details this new initiative “exploring the transformations which ideas of the human are undergoing as a result of recent advances in the biological sciences and technologies”

Erkan Saka, “Details of Honor Killing Shock Turkey”
A horrific case of the death of a 16 year old girl killed by her relatives

Helen Fisher, The Science of Love and Whom We Choose
The biological anthropologist talks about the biology of mate choice (a bit deterministic for my taste…) and how that informs her work with the online dating site

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