Wednesday Round Up #122

The image is for Bacon Baby Infant Formula, part of J&D’s Everything Should Taste Like Bacon site. I was all ready to rip into the product, but AnthroDoula, a student of mine, said no one was quite sure if it’s a real product. Right now it’s listed as “Waiting List Only.”

And why rip into it? Oh this:

“The most rapid brain growth occurs during the first year of life, with the infant’s brain tripling in size by the first birthday… So, it makes sense that getting enough fat and the right kinds of fat can greatly affect brain development and performance.” This got our brains spinning. What about using bacon (which is 65% fat) to deliver these proteins and fats? we thought.

Anyway, it’s faves, mind, anthro, and then another three faves – addiction, video games, and health. And I even have a Last Word today, a charming haiku.

Top of the List

David Dobbs, Publishing Your Science Paper Is Only Half the Job
Nice exploration of the SOLO theme of “the scientific establishment has come to wildly overvalue and overemphasise the scientific paper,” and Dobbs’ call for more public engagement by scientists.

Ed Yong, Should Science Journalists Take Sides?
On the other side, Ed Yong has a thoughtful piece where he argues that science journalists do have to take sides: “reality doesn’t work like that and a commitment to the view from nowhere has many problems.”

NPR, A Refuge for Powerful Lawmakers
On Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviews Jeff Sharlet, author of C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, which shows “how Christian fundamentalists have tried to reshape American politics and the military.”

Lionel Beehner, On the Colombian Coast, Natural Beauty, Gritty Charm
Go to Santa Marta, a great city on a beautiful part of Colombia’s Caribbean coast

Erin Geisler, Difference or Disorder?
Very good story on research to “develop tools to identify bilingual children with true language disorders”

Gabriella Coleman, The Anthropology of Hackers
NYU anthropologist takes us into the world of hackers

Kevin Mitchell, Ancient Origins of the Cerebral Cortex
Gene expression, homologous brain areas, and the annelid worm – where your cortex comes from

Michael Short, The Mind Reader
Using neuroscience to inform public policy, especially health policy – an interview with Olivier Oullier

Nicolas Kristof, Boast, Build, and Sell
Boosting the humanitarian profile, a really nice op-ed from Kristof on branding and on actual success in fighting poverty and improving health worldwide.

Malcolm Gladwell, Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted
This New Yorker piece criticizing the potential of online platforms like Twitter to generate social change ignited a firestorm on Twitter and the blogosphere.
This post, What Gladwell Gets Wrong: The Real Problem Is Scale Mismatch, was one of the more interesting rebuttals.
You can also see Alexis Madrigal and David Dobbs.


David Dobbs, The Tight Collar: The New Science of Choking Under Pressure
A feature-length magazine article in a blog post! This one focuses on the work of University of Chicago psychology professor Sian Beilock, and her book, Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Tell You about Getting It Right When You Have To

Christian Jarrett, Power Leads Us to Dehumanize Others
I can only imagine the result with absolute power…

Scicurious, If Low Serotonin Levels Aren’t Responsible for Depression, What Is?
An effective overview by Scicurious over at the Guardian that focuses on how anti-depressants actually work

Ferris Jabre, Me, Myself and My Stranger: Understanding the Neuroscience of Selfhood
Rare and illusory body perceptions help reveal answers to how we maintain a sense of “self”. For more, see Divided Minds, Specious Souls over at Seed

Gretchen Reynolds, Phys Ed: Looking at How Concussions When Young Influence Later Life
The effects, particularly on attention-mediating areas of the brain, look like they can linger for years. This post also links to the NY Times’ good coverage of concussions in sports over the past months

John Lehrer, How Much Should We Practice?
Practice 50% less by “combining periods of task performance with periods of additional stimulus exposure.”

Melody Dye, The Question Is, Are You Dumber Than a Rat?
And the linguists are the ones asking it!

Greg Hickok, More Problems for Mirror Neurons
It’s not all mirrors in the mind

Ed Yong, Every Time You Reach for Something, There Is a Squabbling Match in Your Brain
“A new study suggests that these competitive processes affect even simple decisions, like which hand we use to pick up an object.”


Jukka Jouhki, What is Culture? A Fascinating Ten-minute Definition
Culture – a societal understanding of our lives, the “societal subconscious”. A ten minute lecture accompanied by beautiful images and video from globalized pop culture

Abbas Raza , Edward W. Said

“No one has emerged since Edward’s death with even a remote chance of occupying his colossal role as a public intellectual, as an academic engaged with the world, as the most eloquent voice of his people.”

Justin Smith, More on Non-Western Philosophy (the Very Idea)

I believe that the best way to level the field is not to come up with different rules for different continents as to what is to count as philosophy, nor yet to exaggerate the systematicity or Europeanoid ‘rigor’ of scattered non-European authors, but rather to drop the vain illusion that in the European case philosophy is not also a culture-bound activity.

A Modern Primate, The Sexuality Wars, Featuring Apes

For some reason, the only time primate sexuality gets any attention is when we turn it into a debate about how humans should be having sex.

Marcel Cornelissen, Alpine Archaeology-Blog, E-learning and Archaeological Methods and Techniques
A good overview of how this professor is thinking about and integrating e-learning into coursework.

The application of modern media and blogs in teaching should have some added value, by making the teaching more interactive and thus intensifying and diversifying the engagement of student and teacher with the material through new activities and visualisation and communication of the scientific material.

Kathryn Clancy, Around the Web: Evolution!
Get a whole host of fun and informative evolution links!

Belinda Cooper, New Birth of Freedom
Human rights – just a 1970s phenomenon?

Julien Riel-Salvatore, Independent Neanderthal Innovation – Some Additional Considerations
Neanderthals had the “accoutrements of behavioral modernity independent of any contact with modern humans”!

Diego Comin & Marti Mestieri, The Intensive Margin of Technology Adoption
A 2010 Harvard working paper, where data from 15 technologies and 166 countries show that “the cross-country variation in the intensive margin of adoption accounts for more than 40% of the variation in income per capita.”
As someone who has seen how fast the world is globalizing and knows it’s not all good, these are data that tell the other side of the story


Dirk Hanson, NIH Turf Wars
Addiction Inbox on the proposals, problems, and politics of integrated two NIH agencies – one focused on alcohol, the other on drugs

Abby Goodnough, A Wave of Addiction and Crime, with the Medicine Cabinet to Blame
Prescription drugs – how to deal with those powerful pharmaceuticals that are now omni-present

Martin Robbins, Cocaine Detectors for Parents are a Terrible Idea
The pill-packing 21-year old Martin Robbins almost gets arrested in Bermuda – and the problem of false positives and new technology for parents to test for cocaine with their children

Dooglas Carl, NAFTA and Drug War Violence in Mexico
Did NAFTA cause the shift in drug trafficking away from Colombia and to Mexico?

Maia Szalavitz, Addiction Files: Recovering From Drug Addiction, Without Abstinence
An interview with Howard Josepher, President and Exponents, Inc. which provides substance abuse care. Josepher “does not require abstinence for participation in the program, nor does he consider abstinence a necessary part of recovery in every case.”

Christian Jarrett, My Drunkenness Means You Did It Deliberately
Ambiguous actions get over-interpreted

Video Games

Christopher Furgeson, Attempt to Revive Video Game Law a Waste of Money

“Claiming that the research consistently links video games with violence is simply dishonest. My own research, published in peer-reviewed journals in pediatrics, psychology and criminal justice, has found no links between violent video game playing and violent behavior.”

Michael Fahey, How Video Games Reorganize Your Brain
Gamer brains are special, particularly with hand-eye coordination.


Romeo Vittelli, Mental Illness in the Developing World
A powerful piece on the Mental Health Gap Action program

Medical Anthropology Films
Somatosphere gives us the linkfest to med anthro video online

Time Video, Clinical Trials: Professional Guinea Pigs
Anthropologist Roberto Abadie and his research subjects are featured in this Time Magazine video, where they serve as professional guinea pigs. Abadie has a new book from Duke University Press, The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects.

Roberto Abadie, Exotic Guinea Pigs at Home: An Ethnography of Professional Research Subjects in the US
After the Time video, Roberto then contributed this post to Somatosphere, which provides an in-depth overview of this work

Clara Menendez et al., Women and Malaria Research in the 21st Century
Low numbers of women, as researchers and policy makers, is having a big impact on how malaria is studied and dealt with as a problem

Elizabeth Gudrais, The Social Epidemic: Battling HIV in sub-Saharan Africa
Harvard researchers and students take on HIV in Africa

Patrick Clarkin, Killer Ghosts & Broken Hearts: The Mystery of Sudden Unexplained Death in Sleep in Asian Men
Great biocultural overview of SUDS

BioLogged, Social Ill
Women who live in neighborhoods lacking in close ties are more likely to have coronary artery calcification, a key marker for underlying heart disease, than those who live in more socially cohesive neighborhoods

e! Science News, Stress Can Control Our Genes
Environmental stressors can activate genes:

“We found that stress-activating factors can control our genes by turning on certain genes that were supposed to be silenced. It is very important that some genes are on and others are off in order to ensure normal foetal development and correct function of our cells later in life”

Last Word

This is a haiku from my new colleague Nancy White, which was a winner in the Left Coast Press haiku competition.

Hurricane season;
Left coast for inland shelter-
Fine with books, food, beer.

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4 Responses to Wednesday Round Up #122

  1. Thanks for the mention. It’s been interesting to see how you are using your blog in teaching as well. And I will definitely keep an eye on your blog, not just for contributions on teaching. Just to say, I am not a professor, just a phd-candidate doing a bit of teaching on the side;)

  2. Pingback: Four Stone Hearth Tea-Party and a weekly anthro round-up |

  3. daniel.lende says:

    Marcel, thanks for the comment! I bet the students think of you as a professor!

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