Wednesday Round Up #125

Top, education, mind, anthropology, and evolution this week.

The image is Benoit Mandelbroit’s Monkeys’ Tree Curve, and came from Wikimedia.

Top of the List

Ben Goldacre, A Genetic Cause for ADHD Won’t Necessarily Reduce the Stigma Attached
*The disease model doesn’t do what most professionals think it can do – help to reduce stigma against mental and behavioral health problems.

People who believed more in a biological or genetic cause were more likely to believe that people with mental health problems were unpredictable and dangerous, more likely to fear them and more likely to avoid interacting with them.

Bob Abernethy, Arthur Kleinman on Caregiving
*Touching interview with Arthur Kleinman about caring for his wife, Joan, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2003.

David Freedman, Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science
*”Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong.”

David Dobbs, How to Set the Bullshit Filter When the Bullshit is Thick
*Upgrade your BS detector with this short, but insightful posting on flaws in scientific studies.

Alex Golub, The Trashing of Margaret Mead
*It’s not nice to criticize the dead. Book review of Trashing of Margaret Mead: Anatomy of an anthropological controversy by Paul Shankman, an account of Freeman’s attack on Mead’s research after her death.

Deborah Blum, The Trouble with Scientists
*Scientists need to get into speak-easy mode and communicate with the public.

Daniel Simons, Science or Sciencey
*Sadly, playing Mario Kart will not improve your driving abilities. Part 1 of a series looking at the mash-up and crash-up of brain science and marketing.

Stephen Harris, MIT Develops Low-Cost Cameras for Measuring Heart Rate
*This could be a great research tool for anthropologists in the field!

Tina Fetner, Emile and Gloria
*Durkheim humor! About Twitter!

Bob O’Hara, Genes are Political Agnostics
*Do human genetic studies have a political agenda? Good piece on what genetics really tells us.

Baba Brinkman, Adaptive Medicine
*Stimulate your mind and chill out to this rap on the recent healthcare reform bill.

Super Scholar, 20 Most Influential Scientists of Today
*Crème de la crème…

80 Beats, Cockroaches Have Super Antibiotics in Their Brains; We Must Steal Them
*The plus side of having roaches.

Karen Kreeger, 1 Shot of Gene Therapy and Children with Congenital Blindness Can Now See
*Injection of genes to produce sight… pretty amazing.


Derek Buff, The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
*Great overview of SoTL, which is a way to understand and research teaching as a form of scholarship, including how to think seriously about evidence for student learning

Do Colleges Need French Departments?
*A high-profile panel of professors debate the issue over at the NY Times, prompted by cutbacks in language and humanities at SUNY-Albany (including the elimination of the entire French department)

New Scientist, Time for Teachers to Take Another Look at Neuroscience
*Interesting article on how advances in neuroscience can help with education reform.

Diane, For the Love of Teaching
*Stumped about how to teach metacognition to your students? Read this teacher’s fun and creative lesson plan for her second graders.

Ms. Baker, Extreme Biology
*High school biology class online – learning to the extreme!

Jose, What the Presence of Attractive Young Women Can Do to Men
*Quick overview of James Roney’s study examining how men change their responses in the presence of attractive young women.

Marcelo Gleiser, Why Science Matters: A Scientist’s Apology
*A strong defense of the sciences against those who argue it is destructive and a futile endeavor.


Martin Wainwright, Walking Could Protect Brain Against Shrinking, US Researcher Says
*If the cooling weather wasn’t enough for you to get outside more often, check out this article on the health benefits of moderate exercise.

Cory Doctorow, Fiction: Ghosts in My Head
*Fiction, ghosts and neuroimaging

Jank Z, Serotonin Dysfunctions in the Background of the Seven Deadly Sins
*And how could I resist?

Tom Chivers, Neuroscience, Free Will and Determinism: ‘I’m Just a Machine’
*We might not actually have free will. Oh no, what do we do now?

Norman Farb et al., Attending to the Present: Mindfulness Meditation Reveals Distinct Neural Modes of Self-Reference
*Good research article on self-reference across time and in the present.

David Linden, After the NIH is Dismantled
*Delicious contingency plan, if NIH loses its funding.

James Surowiecki, Later: What Does Procrastination Tell Us About Ourselves?
*Fascinating article on procrastination and how it affects everyone, including Nobel prize winners and Generals.

Tom Mitchell, Brains, Meaning and Corpus Statistics
*Video: Learn how fMRI brain imaging is helping scientists study how the brain processes words and pictures.

Neil O’Connell, Now Then, Pay Attention!
*Summary of a study on brain networks involved in attention.

Maia Szalavitz, Why Spoiled Babies Grow Up to Be Smarter, Kinder Kids
*Showering babies with love and affection may make them more altruistic as adults.

William Lu, Cross-Cultural Personality Change Throughout the Lifespan: A Result of Brain Development
*Neurological evidence for why teenage angst and the wisdom of the elderly are found across cultures.

Peter Reiner, Regulatory Environment Tightens for Cognitive Enhancers
*Why new weight loss drugs won’t be available at your local pharmacy anytime soon.

The Economist, Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis
*How advancements in technology are changing the way in which psychiatric disorders are diagnosed.

Mo Costandi, Science’s Memory Man
*A profile of the famous patient HM, who revolutionized our understanding of memory

Craig Lambert, The Psyche on Automatic
*Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy looks at snap judgments, feeling warm and fuzzy, and being the alpha dog


Rachel Chaikof, Question for Taylor Glen: A Photographer Behind a Factory
*Interview with Taylor Glen about his recent exhibition on clean factories and happy workers.

Joe @ Racism Review, Anti-Immigrant Nativism Growing in Germany
*Germany – we ain’t multicultural any more…

Frans de Waal, Morals without God
*And with Hieronymous Bosch thrown in!

Perhaps it is just me, but I am wary of anyone whose belief system is the only thing standing between them and repulsive behavior.

Grant McCracken, How Do We Make Culture?
*Book review of The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris about the origins of culture.

Laura Fulton, Reading Ethnography
*Guide on how you should approach ethnographic readings.

Paul Cox, Will Tribal Knowledge Survive the Millennium?
*Is there hope for the survival of indigenous knowledge?

Kent Anderson, Is the Medium Still the Message When the Medium is Pervasive?
*Nice piece on how ubiquitous technology changes MacLuhan’s message

Brad Inwood and Willard McCarty, Biosocial Becomings: News
*Diversity of the human mind – get hooked into the Biosocial Network

Kira Hudson Banks, No Throwing Babies!
*Analysis of recent news stories centered on race and racism.

National Geographic, The Jane Goodall Archives
*Great collection of articles and photos of Jane Goodall’s work from 1963-2010.

Steven Johnson, How Café Culture Helped Make Good Ideas Happen
*Good ideas are a collaborative effort.

Mary Knudson, My Journey with Heart Failure
*A powerful first-person account of heart failure, medical arrogance, patient care, and determined health seeking

Selina, Anthropology: “Excitment Brings Them in, and Jobs Keep Them”
*There are non-academic jobs out there for anthropologists!


Kathryn Clancy, Around the Web: The Dark Side of Behavioral Biology
*Teaching infanticide and sexual coercion in the classroom.

Kristen Kimo, Revolutionary Thoughts on Evolutionary Growth
*Article on how human evolution may actually be increasing due to modernization and population growth.

Jonathan Pritchard, How We Are Evolving
*But here is a broader story than the one played up previously – migration matters a lot, and specific adaptations (and accompanying genetic changes) not so much. It’s behind the Sci Amer paywall, but I really recommend it.
-You can access all of Pritchard’s article at his website

Joseph Milton, Variety Sparks Sexual Evolution
*Sexual vs. asexual reproduction – which one is more advantageous?

Brandon Keim, Culture Evolves Slowly, Falls Apart Quickly
*Evolutionary biologists get involved in anthropological debates regarding the collapse of cultures.

Mark Changizi, Why Humans Are So Smart…and Groovy

How, then, is it that we are doing so many strange non-ape-ish things? We carry out all sorts of behaviors you shouldn’t see apes doing not because we apes have been reshaped, but because culture has gone out of its way to shape itself to fit our groovy human self. In particular, culture has shaped itself to be “like nature,” thereby best harnessing our ancient inflexible brains for doing something they weren’t designed for, like successfully ordering coffee.

The Daily Motion, Richard Dawkins Demonstrates Laryngeal Nerve of the Giraffe
*Evolution the not-so-perfect engineer

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