Wednesday Round Up #121

All right, categories are back in – people didn’t explore quite as much last week…

This week we’ve got the faves, then digital activism, anthropology, health, mind, and video games.

The image is from over at Kotaku and comes from the trailer for the recently announced video game Bioshock Infinite. I’m thinking day one purchase. Click on it to go to the Wikipedia site for the game. Or see the trailer here.

Top of the List

John Timmer, Skeptics Discount Science by Casting Doubts on Scientist Expertise
-The cultural cognition of risk, and why science doesn’t reach the broader public even when scientists agree on the research

Maurice Block, Can Antropologists and other Cognitive Scientist Live Together?
-Bloch is an anthropologist I admire, and this post shows why:

How can we go beyond the rhetorical dichotomy between nature and culture and avoid misunderstandings that repeatedly occur when social/cultural anthropologists and natural scientists try to co-operate? It shouldn’t be all that difficult if we think, as I believe we should, of human cognition not as a state but as a single process where history and individual cognitive development interact.

Jenny Rohn, Mind the Gap
-Here Jenny Rohn calls attention to the predominance of male science bloggers in the recent batch of new science blogging networks (this one included). Some good discussion in the comments, they are definitely worth the read.
And if you are looking for a list of female science bloggers, Martin Robbins put together a crowd-sourced list here.

VidiVodo, First Cyborg of the World
-Almost worth it for the haunting but hokey music that accompanies this video of a rat-controlled robot. For those wanting to know more about the actual research, head over to Wired and Seed.

Marshal Zeringue, Daniel Hruschka’s “Friendship”
-Here is a great new book on friendship, which covers the “development, ecology and evolution of a relationship.” And don’t miss on finding out what is on page 99!

Lori, Fat/Slut Shaming and the Meritocracy Myth
-From the ways in which “women’s bodies have historically been slut- and fat-shamed for capitalist gain” to the ideologies that help keep that shaming going

Digital Activism

Tricia Wang, The Great Internet Freedom Bluff of Digital Imperialism: Thoughts on Cyber Diplomacy, Cargo Cult Digital Activism… and Haystack
A good discussion on what it really takes to ensure freedom on the Internet – fancy that, for a human concept, it takes human work, not just a technological solution

John Postill, Resource Guides for Digital #Activism
media/anthropology provides a great list of resources for doing digital activism

Jacob Appelbaum, After Haystack: Speech and Privacy Online
Jacob Appelbaum discusses the rise and quick downfall of Haystack, which aimed to provide encryption and circumvention for Iranian activists. He also covers new circumvention and anonymity software, TOR, which was designed with digital activism in mind. Here is the Tor Project’s website.

Maximilian Forte, Encircling Empire: Report #2, 11-18 September 2010
Here is digital activism in practice over at Zero Anthropology

Martin Fenner, Data Is the New Soil
The internet is awash in information. How can we make sense of it? A crucial problem for change and for reporting

Adam Fish, The Pioneer Age of Internet Video (2005-2009)
Internet video is going corporate – a homage to the early creativity and questions about how to maintain that today


Kate Barrett, Field Notes from American Life: Tell Me a Story
Stories on American life, from imagination to fart cars…

Krystal D’Costa, Happy Blogiversary, AiP!
Anthropology in Practice celebrates one year on the net with a great retrospective

John Hawks, The Shrinking Youth
Another informed discussion of the latest research, in this case a paper arguing that one of our most iconic human fossils, Turkana Boy, was not the tall, strapping and still growing youth that has been the standard view for a couple decades

Arnold Zwiky, Proofiness
Language Log looks at the title word in depth for Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception, while also linking to two reviews on how easily we get deceived with numbers in today’s world

Selina at Anthropologists in the Attic, First Clear Evidence of Organized Feasting by Early Humans
Community feasting at 12,000 years ago, before the advent of agriculture

John McCreery, Anomie, Association and Community
Join the OpenAnthro discussion

Rachel Herrick, The Museum for Obeast Conservation Studies
Get a full-scale mockup of an endangered species conservation movement!


Kalman Appelbaum, The Big Shilling: Ethics in the Age of Corporate Medicine
A review of Carl Elliott’s new book White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine.

Is there really a need for yet another exposé or academic analysis of the subject? Those of you who said ‘no’ are, with my apologies, missing the point. New books, articles and blogposts keep being written because the commercial takeover of medicine is not slowing down, but the opposite; it is accelerating and globalizing.

John Rennie, Too Gloomy on Drugs for Developing World?
An open discussion of how to enhance product development for the poorest market segments in the developing world, even as factories there gear up to supply the rich world’s biotech

Carl Dyke, Eschewing the Fat
Nothing like deep-fried squash to sabotage the data…

Peter Janiszewski, Obese, but Metabolically Healthy: Is Weight Loss Beneficial? (Series Pt 5/5)
A summary of what was learned over the series of posts, with some final research to sink your teeth into

Melinda Wenner Moyer, Misleading Food Labels—Are You Eating What You Think You Are?
The gimmicks of food marketing

Emily Anthes, The Doctor Death Wish: Why Are So Many Health Workers Victims of Violent Attacks?
Stay away from borderline patients who are extremely dissatisfied and involved in litigation

Jen Laloup, Predicting Epidemics via Social Networks: An Author Spotlight on James H. Fowler and Nicholas A. Christakis
An interview with Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, the social networks gurus, covering their new PLoS paper on meshing network analysis with actually tracking the spread of flu among friends
Jonah Lehrer also has an interview with the pair of researchers over at Wired.

David Kroll, Bleachgate: More Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) Madness
Industrial beach sold as a miracle cure. Not much worse than that.

Emily – Anthro Doula, The Nestle Boycott
Marketing baby formula to the poor – a thing of the past? Think again – Nestle does it rampantly around the world.
See also Doula Ambition’s nice piece on A Medical Anthropologist Discusses Home Birth

Debra Umberson, Robert Crosnoe, and Corinne Reczek, Social Relationships and Health Behavior Across the Life Course

We synthesize disparate bodies of research on social ties and health behavior throughout the life course, with attention to explaining how various social ties influence health behaviors at different life stages and how these processes accumulate and reverberate throughout the life course.

BA Pescosolido et al., “A Disease Like Any Other”? A Decade of Change in Public Reactions to Schizophrenia, Depression, and Alcohol Dependence.
Stigma still rules the day, even as the disease model gains acceptance


Andrew Solomon, To an Aesthete Dying Young
A moving tribute to a college friend who recently took his life after a long and recurring battle with depression

Neurocritic, Mania and Artistic ‘Surprise’ Induced by Deep Brain Stimulation
Excellent case study of how deep brain stimulation is actually prescribed and done, in this case for intractable OCD

Neuroskeptic, Shotgun Psychiatry
If there are really discrete diseases in the brain, why do drug treatments affect so many different mental illness? A great discussion

Carl Zimmer, Sizing Up Consciousness by Its Bits
The information theory approach to consciousness

Vaughan Bell, Rare Footage of Physical Treatments in Psychiatry, 1957
Find out about ECT, leucotomy, insulin coma therapy and abreaction in British psychiatry in the 50s

Katherine Harmon, Do You Know When You’re Wrong? Gray Matter Shows Introspective Ability Is Not Black and White
“Test subjects’ accuracy in assessing their own performance ‘was significantly correlated with gray-matter volume’ in the right anterior prefrontal cortex.”

Nick Bilton, Is the Internet Making us Smarter?
Nick Bilton, lead author of the NYT Bits Blog, is Mr. Connected, and he turned out fine. He discusses his new book where he mixes his own experiences and scientific research to answer the “Making us smarter?” question in the affirmative

David Thaler, Improving Introspection to Inform Free will Regarding the Choice by Healthy Individuals to Use or Not Use Cognitive Enhancing Drugs
If we are going to use cognitive enhancing drugs, we should recognize the need for a learning program based in cognitive neuroscience

David Dobbs, Depression’s Wiring Diagram
Area 25 – the switchboard for depression?

Michael Price, Hidden Pleasure
An interview with psychologist Paul Bloom, where he discusses his studies of pleasure

Susan Guibert, Research Shows Child Rearing Practices of Distant Ancestors Foster Morality, Compassion in Kids
And there’s modern video to prove it!

Beyond the Bench, Brain Port: Seeing With Your Tongue
Getting the blind to see through translating a video feed into tactile stimulation of the tongue – a testament to both technology and the brain’s plasticity

Video Games

Sarah Corbett, Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom
NY Times Magazine feature article – the debates about gaming and learning are over, since games are already in the classroom… So what is actually happening there, and what could be done better.

That entire issue of the NYT Magazine revolves around technology and education. Other interesting pieces include Does the Digital Classroom Enfeeble the Mind? and Studying in Disguise

Misha Angrist, The Shape of Things
Crowd-sourcing a video game that leads to collective science?! Very cool coverage of Foldit, the downloadable protein folding game

Chris Suellentrop, War Games
The turn to reality in war video games, and its connection to actual wars and the public

Daisuke Wakabayashi, Only in Japan, Real Men Go to a Hotel With Virtual Girlfriends

Deric Bownds, Children, Wired: For Better and for Worse
Two recent papers on what being wired means for kids’ development

Game Goo, Kids Games
Go try some educational games for yourself

Seth Schiesel, New Worlds to Conquer, Even for Casual Rulers
Civilization V gets the NY Times review. Sounds good to me, as I haven’t played the game…

Stephen Totilo, Who Argues Violent Video Games Are Like Porn, And Who Disagrees
See who is in favor of California’s 2005 law that made selling violent games to minors a crime, and who is against that law – the line-up for the Supreme Court Review coming up. It’s the first time the Supreme Court will consider video games.

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