Wednesday Round Up #103

I really like this round up – one of my better efforts of late, I think. Some great stuff up top, and then lots of good material on new media, social networking, gaming, etc. Then a neuroanth mash-up, followed by drugs, genetics, mental health, and of course chickens.

Top of the List

Emily Polis Gibson, Children’s Hospital Rotation
A powerful poem about attending to an anencephalic newborn, a baby without a brain. Written by a doctor in Washington State

Science Friday – Ira Flatow, Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall on studying chimpanzees, preserving habitats, and what lies ahead for the field of evolutionary science. I particularly liked her answers to people’s questions, including an adorable 13 year old girl, in the second half as she powerfully described how she moved from working on chimps to working for conservation and human development.

Research Digest Blog, Evidence-based Tips for Valentine’s
Miss out on Valentine’s Day? Well, better dig into the research on how to enhance your irresistibility

Desde el Manicomio, Adrian
Some beautiful and award-winning photos of an autistic child in his daily life

Reader Comments – NY Times, Comments on Bob Herbert’s Watching China Run
These reader recommended comments are some of the best critiques of US society and culture that I have read in a long time

Daniel Elkan, The Comedy Circuit: When your Brain Gets the Joke
Neuroimaging humor, with a look at why a joke is funny to some and not funny to others.

David Sloan Wilson, Economics and Evolution as Different Paradigms IV: The Limiting Factor of Cultural Evolution Is Not Origin But Spread
I had an illuminating conversation with David when I visited Binghamton University last week. He has really pushed evolutionary thinking into applied arenas, and here examines the intersection of cultural evolution and economics, with childhood education and risky adolescent behavior both discussed.

Tara Parker-Pope, As Girls Become Women, Sports Pay Dividends
Showing that sports participation has direct benefits for development with “ lifelong improvements to educational, work and health prospects”

New Media

Vaughan Bell, Don’t Touch That Dial!
I thought Facebook rotted my brain… right? Not so fast, says the master behind Mind Hacks, in this “history of media scares, from the printing press to Facebook”

Abbas Raza, Evolution – Evidence and “Gaps”
YouTube in action! Outstanding video that goes over the proof for evolution while debunking creationist objections

Jonah Lehrer, Facebook Friends
Mr. Lehrer doesn’t buy into Facebook and the claims of why it is supposedly revolutionizing human communication – we are a stubbornly social species, which works both for and against social networking sites

John Postill, Personal Media vs. Communal Media in Jenkins’ Convergence Culture
“Jenkins argues against a technology-driven account of media convergence. Instead he regards convergence as a ‘cultural shift’ in which consumers ’seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content”

Aalok Mehta, Video Games Stay on the Brain?
Over at Dana Press, examining the evidence that the video games we play may have long-lasting effects on how we learn and work.

Michael Wesch, Students Helping Students (Video)
Over at Digital Ethnography, Kansas State Students use this new medium to help each other out and also make their university Proud. Includes the Flash Mob of Kindness.

Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Next Generation Connectivity
“A review of broadband Internet transitions and policy from around the world” over at Harvard. A massive report. You can get the executive summary here.

New Media Consortium/Educause, The Horizon Report 2010 Edition
Pdf of this groundbreaking education report, looking at trends in new media, technology adoption, and education in time frames of one year, two to three years, and four to five years

Adam Fish, “Mutual Friends” as Culture
Is Facebook sowing the seeds of its own destruction? Ethnographic reflections over at Savage Minds

Colleen Morgan, The Hunt – Archaeological Machinima
See the Second Life video that resulted from the class “Serious Games and Virtual Worlds for Archaeology and Imagining the Past.”

Siva Vaidhyanathan, Our Digitally Undying Memories
The costs of collective memory at the Chronicle for Higher Education.

Cathy Davidson, Twenty-First Century Literacies
A very good list of crucial skills, abilities and problematic over at the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory

Mash Up

John Noble Wilford, On Crete, New Evidence of Very Ancient Mariners
Our ancestors sailing 130,000 years ago?! That ought to shake things up.

Adam Hadhazy, Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being
How the enteric nervous system in our stomachs goes far beyond just dispensing the food we eat.

Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce, The Ethical Dog
“Looking for the roots of human morality in the animal kingdom? Focus on canines, who know how to play fair.”

Nicholas Kristof, Our Politics May Be All in Our Head
The NY Times op-ed writer explores whether our political orientations may lie in basic personality types and even in the hard-wiring of our brains. He’s intrigued, but also brings a more critical eye than most

Ramona Koval, Jared Diamond’s Natural Experiments of History
Jared Diamond on The Book Show podcast – “Some societies set themselves up for comparison. How do the parts of Europe invaded by Napoleon compare to those that were not? And why are the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which share the same island, such vastly different countries?”

Pamelia Brown, 50 Fascinating Lectures All About Your Brain
Available lectures that help you learn about the human brain. How the brain develops and reacts and the science behind it.

Nicolas Baumard, Better Live in Sweden Than in the US: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better
The benefits of living in an equal society. Evidence that there is a strong correlation between inequality and health and social problems.

Martin R., The Future of Archaeology
Using the example of Sweden, directions for the future of archaeology

Greg Laden, Chimpanzee Food Sharing
Food sharing among species. Are chimpanzees trading food for sex?

Lisa Belkin, Does Pregnancy Affect Memory?
Helen Christensen, a researcher from Australian National University, examines how pregnancy does not make you forgetful but instead makes you think you are more forgetful because you are by now worried about memory loss.

Katie Moisse, What Happens in the Amygdala… Damage to Brain’s Decision-Making Area May Encourage Dicey Gambles
Individuals with amygdala damage are more likely to take risks. For more, see Jonah Lehrer on Loss Aversion


Ari Samisky, Population, Sovereignty, Drugs
Samisky shares his research on onchocerciasis, or river blindness, and the donation of ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medication that combats river blindness. The larger paper, “Medical Humanitarianism Without Humans: How international drug donation programs reshape health, disease, and local law,” won the 2009 Rudolph Virchow Graduate Paper Award.

Dr. Shock, The Misuse of Quetiapine
Sucking on antihistamines and singing the blues…

Ray Fisman, We’re Blowing It
A new paper: U.S. military aid does nothing to trim down drug manufacture in Colombia.

Neuroskeptic, Dope, Dope, Dopamine
Get the dope on dope – the subjective effects of marijuana use explored

Scicurious from Neurotopia, Immunization for Addiction: The Cocaine Vaccine
Important warnings pertaining to the cocaine vaccine.


Ruth Padawer, Who Knew I Was Not The Father?
A father learns that the daughter he raised is not “his”. He seeks to end his obligations as father in court, yet he still loves his daughter. A powerful NYT Magazine feature exploring when genetic testing and fatherhood collide.

Ed Yong, Meet Inuk – full genome of ancient human tells us about his hair, eyes, skin, teeth, ancestry and earwax
An amazing Greenlander from 4,000 years ago!

Jon Mooallem, Do-It-Yourself Genetic Engineering
Synthetic biology – wow, this is amazing and scary all at once!

John Hawks, Robot Genetics
A description of “evolutionary robotics”. Combining genetic algorithms and robots.

Nicholas Wade, Genome Study Provides a Census of Early Humans
There weren’t really that many of us in the past

Mental Health

Eugene Raikhel, Culture and Mental Health in Haiti
Some background information for non-Haitians “working on mental health and psychosocial support after the earthquake”.

Brandon Kohrt and Carol Worthman, Gender and Anxiety in Nepal: The Role of Social Support, Stressful Life Events, and Structural Violence
Pdf of a great study that evaluated the role of gender as a go-between of demanding life events and social support on the peril of unease in Nepal.

Emily Ng, A Report on the FPR-UCLA Conference on Cultural and Biological Contexts of Psychiatric Disorder
A good summary of a conference I really wanted to attend! A hit-by-hit recounting, with some interesting points on what came up at the end.

John Gever, DSM-V Draft Promises Big Changes in Some Psychiatric Diagnoses
More comments on the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual over at Med Page Today

The New York Times, Global Warming and Weather Psychology
How does weather ups and downs influence the public’s understanding or misunderstanding of global climate change? A series of experts explores how we understand global warming in this Room for Debate feature

Maria Cone, Chemical Exposure Linked to Attention Deficit Disorder in Children
A study of New York City students discovered that phthalate contact was connected to behavioral troubles.


ScienceDaily, Mathematical Model of Simple Circuit in Chicken Brain Raises Fundamental Questions About Neural Circuitry
Our new “Complete the quote” feature gets mentioned at Science Daily! Plus mathematically modelling a three-cell microcircuit in a chicken’s brain, and human consciousness too!

Peter Lennox, Pecking Order
I raised chickens when I was young. Maybe I should have waited until I was an adult. This professor examines what keeping chickens has taught him about “behaviour, ethics, evolution and the psychopathic nature of modern ‘efficiency’.”

4 thoughts on “Wednesday Round Up #103

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s