Wednesday Round Up #119

Another one that is too long. Change might be in the air… Working on this means not writing something else. Gotta figure something out. If you have any ideas, leave a comment or send an email at daniel . lende at gmail . com

Also, if you want to send suggestions for the round up, you can also do that.

So this week it’s the faves, then mind, anthropology, Glenn Beck (!), behavior, drugs and alcohol, human terrain, and language.

No interlude, no last word. So if that was something you loved…

But still a photo. Tad McIlwraith, an anthropologist working in British Columbia, takes some magnificent photos (see his Flickr stream) along with his blog Fieldnotes: For the Anthropology of British Columbia. This is one that really struck me.

Top of the List

ABC – Secrets of Your Mind
Last week was fascinating, with documentary video on neurosurgeons and their patients. See the Aneurysm Caught on Tape and watch it burst! Or watch Undergoing Brain Surgery for Seizures, and a woman’s struggles with the potential to loss her memories, sense of self, and role as a mother, as well as surgery on a baby with skull abnormalities

JR Minkel, Forget Science vs. Postmodernism; Give Me Pushback Against the Status Quo
A fistful of critique for scientists who still whine about post-modernism. Science has the power, but doesn’t push for a more inclusive society. So, rather than business as usual, how about business as unusual!

Gari Bass, Endless War
Review of the new book Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War. “Bacevich forcefully denounces the militarization that he says has already become a routine, unremarked-upon part of our daily lives.”

Michael Kimmel, Properties of Cultural Embodiment: Lessons from the Anthropology of Body
Really intriguing chapter that aims to mesh cognitive linguistics, embodiment, and cultural phenomenology. If you like psych anthro, this should really be interesting for you.

YouTube, Flashmob en el Aeropuerto Jorge Chávez con motivo de Fiestas HQ
Spontaneous fiesta! One of my former students dances her heart out, along with a while ensemble, in the middle of Lima’s international airport

Christopher Shea, The End of Tenure?
NY Times reviews two books that call for university reforms, including popular outrage over supposedly fatcat tenured professors. For a powerful defense of universities, see David Bell’s critical take on one of the books reviewed, Crisis on Campus.

Lizzie Buchen, Neuroscience: In Their Nurture
Major review of research on epigenetics and how early experience can affect the brain over at NatureNews


Steve Bradt, General-Purpose Brain Circuits Used To Solve Major Moral Decisions
Money, Food, Morals – it’s all just decisions…

Science Daily, Brain Exercises May Slow Cognitive Decline Initially, But Speed Up Dementia Later
Brain training – costs and benefits according to a new study

Sharp Brains/Dana Foundation, The Brain in Science Education: What Should Everyone Learn?
The great Dana guide to the basics that people should learn about the brain

Mark Changizi, Neuroscientist’s Embarrassment: Artificial Intelligence’s Opportunity
PDF of a 2010 Brain, Behavior and Evolution essay – bigger brains, or smaller bodies?

Carl Zimmer, The Worm in Your Brain
Mushroom bodies in invertebrates, cerebral cortex in mammals – some tantalizing similarities

Mohed Costandi, Teasing Out the Effects of Environment on the Brain
Epigenetics to the rescue


Lars Carlsson, Third Generation Map of Human Genetic Variation Published
“The third-generation HapMap, reported in the Sept. 2 issue of the journal Nature, is the largest survey of human genetic variation performed thus far.”

Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Staff Video Interviews: Behind-the-Scenes Look at Anthropologists at Work
Six anthropologists give video interviews, with great coverage of the breadth of the discipline, Open Access Anthropology Journals
Get the list of anthropology journals that are open access

Jo Marchant, Scalpels and Skulls Point to Bronze Age Brain Surgery
Were our ancestors neurosurgeons?

Victoria Gill, Oldest Evidence of Arrows Found
64,000 years ago!

Sarah Gruen, Ape House
The Amazon site for the new book Ape House. What’s interesting is the author recounting her time among apes at the Great Ape Trust: “You cannot have a two-way conversation with a great ape, or even just look one straight in the eye, close up, without coming away changed.”

Heather Pringle, Google Earth and A New Generation of Archaeologists
Google Earth opens up the world for archaeologists to do so much more

Golnaz Esfandiari, The Important Role Of Weeping In Iran’s Domestic, Foreign Policy
Weeping, and more weeping – an interesting little piece that looks like a translation from another post

Glenn Beck

I never thought I’d have a category just on him, but the man has become a cultural phenomenon here in the United States. Three very different reactions to him here.

Linda Raftree, On Glenn Beck and ‘Rooting Out’ Liberation Theology
Why liberation theology matters, seen through the history of El Salvador

Taylor Branch, Dr. King’s Newest Marcher
In this NY Times opinion piece, Beck is cast as someone who might represent a new middle ground, drawing on values inherent in what King did

Kathleen Parker, My Name Is Glenn Beck, and I Need Help
Beck as foisting a 12-step recovery program on the whole country – how addiction and recovery have helped shape Beck’s message


Daniel R Hawes, The Emotional Timeline of 9/11
Graph of interplay between anger, sadness and anxiety in the aftermath of 9/11 – it comes from the recent study that applied content analysis to the text messages sent on that terrible day

Neuroskeptic, Normal? You’re Weird – Psychiatrists
Half of us have personality problems?! Screw that! Insightful commentary by Neuroskeptic on a recent British Journal of Psychiatry paper

Jason Goldman, Silver Spoon Hyenas?
Maternal doting in matriarchal society hyenas.

Mark Harris, MRI Lie Detectors: Can Magnetic-Resonance Imaging Show Whether People are Telling the Truth?
A comprehensive review of lie detection. Important quote – “[Glover] doesn’t deny that MRI technology might improve, but he thinks that variations in human physiology will fundamentally limit an interrogator’s ability to detect changing cognitive states.”

Emily Anthes, Mom and Pop Parenting: Determinism Strikes Again
Will the wonders of determinism never cease? Oxytocin as making us different, and different, and different

John Hamilton, Our Storied Lives: The Quest For ‘Something More’
Stories meet Antonio Damasio, Mr. Descartes’ Error

Jess McNally, Clustered Networks Spread Behavior Change Faster
I guess they must be wired… For commentary, see Brian Mossop.

Drugs and Alcohol

Richard Friedman, Lasting Pleasures, Robbed by Drug Abuse
“In short, recreational drugs like cocaine don’t just usurp the brain’s reward circuit; they have powerful effects on learning and memory.”

Christian Jarrett, How Good Are We at Estimating Other People’s Drunkenness?
The real beer goggles

John Cloud, Why Do Heavy Drinkers Out Live Non-drinkers?
Big new study makes abstinence look less healthy

Carolyn Butler, Painkillers Such as Percocet Can Push Everyday People into Risky Addiction
Popping prescription pills poor prognosis

AbcHungryBeast, The Beast File: MDMA (HUNGRY BEAST)
Awesome animation of the history of MDMA (or ecstasy), with a particular highlight of the struggle between government and science.

The Guardian, Colombia Must Stop Coca Fumigations
Burning coca plants – the source of cocaine – disrupts ecosystems. It also creates government friendly statistics, but doesn’t seem to do much to stop overall flow of drugs.

Johann Hari, The Only Thing the Drug Gangs and Cartels Fear Is Legalization
The basic one-sided argument – cut the economics out through legalization

The Christian Science Monitor, Guns, Drugs, and La Barbie: Why America Is Responsible for Mexican Drug Cartels
A more complicated and realistic consideration of how the drug trade has flourished in Mexico

Human Terrain

The Security Crank, Petraeus Quietly Disses ‘Human Terrain’
“We’ve never had the granular understanding of local circumstances…”

John Stanton, Montgomery McFate: Gone from the Human Terrain System
The anthropologist is gone!


Kerim Friedman, Whorf
What’s with all the Whorf bashing? Here is a more realistic appreciation of the scholarship of Whorf, rather than the straw man he often gets turned into today

Mark Liberman, Edward Sapir and the “Formal Completeness of Language”
And what about Sapir? He too played a major role in pushing the ideas behind language shaping thought.

Kathryn Woolard, Linguistic Relativity, Whorf, Linguistic Anthropology
A stupendous round-up of literature that shows the depth of linguistic anthropology and how language does relate to thought.

Derek Bickerton, Words Cannot Express
A review of the new Guy Deutscher book that is more favorable than a lot of anthropologists have been

The Lousy Linguist, The Largest Whorfian Study EVER! (and why it matters)
Being able to actually show that language does shape thought

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4 Responses to Wednesday Round Up #119

  1. Thanks for the link!

    Interesting also is the Glenn Beck section. His very own category!

  2. thanks for the link! I recently discovered (and love the topics in) your site, so was honored and surprised to see my post there. keep up the great work. One thought on link sharing – are you on Twitter? Couldn’t find you or neuroanthropology.

  3. JR Minkel says:

    Hey, thanks for the link! I love your new digs.

  4. Pingback: Friday December 30, 2011 « SouthwestDesertLover