Wednesday Round Up #132

The literal trailer! Very funny take on the trailer for the game Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Here’s the YouTube link if you want to share it around, and the link to comic Toby Turner’s Facebook Fan Page. My kids really laughed with it. And thanks to my niece Kristina and nephew Johnny for pointing this out!

This week, very long top, very short gaming, then anthropology and mind. The technology section has some great selections, including advice on blogging and digital toolboxes. Finally obesity and eating.

Top of the List

Charlie Stross, Utopia
*A call for utopian thinking today, visions of the future rather than conservative looks to the past. Really sparked something on the net, as it’s got 186 comments as I write this

Peter Aldous, US Public Asked to Play Judge and Jury for Science Funding
*Welcome back to our present reality, and it’s not pretty. Public politics on science funding, rather than peer review.

The selection of NSF as the first target will send a chilling message to researchers… The suggested search terms – “success, culture, media, games, social norm, lawyers, museum, leisure, stimulus” – and the contrast drawn between “worthy research in the hard sciences” and “questionable projects” hint that researchers funded by the NSF’s Directorate of Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences have the most to fear.

Martin Mills, A Grand Unified Theory of Man
*A very insightful take on natural vs. social sciences, particularly needed in the wake of the AAA science controversy – here it is, a utopian call that also argues for synthetic approaches for building a “better, deeper understanding of what it is to be human”

T. DeLene Beeland, A Meeting of Biology and Anthropology
*And here, a concrete demonstration that synthesis is possible in this interview with biological anthropologist Kate Clancy

The Royal Society, Science Sees Further
*A great series of science articles on a variety of topics, including cultural evolution, global sustainability, and new vaccines.

Bambi Chapin, Mothering As Everyday Practice
*Anthropologists often find themselves the focus of attention when in the field, which forces us to examine our own cultural behaviors. Listen to an interesting talk by anthropologist, Bambi Chapin, on her experiences with different mothering techniques.

Andrea Bender, Edwin Hutchins, and Douglas Medin, Anthropology in Cognitive Science
*Excellent article examining the history of collaboration between these two fields and what it can teach us about strengthening the ties between anthropology and cognitive science. And it’s free!

Steven Heine and Matthew Ruby, Cultural Psychology
*Another good and free article that provides an overview of cultural psychology.

Claire Marris and Nikolas Rose, Open Engagement: Exploring Public Participation in the Biosciences
*Exploration of how scientists can engage the public and include their participation in projects.

Ed Yong, 15-Minute Writing Exercise Closes the Gender Gap in University-Level Physics
*The gender gap in the sciences is not going to vanish overnight with this exercise, but it does offer an unconventional method for combating “stereotype threat”.

Robin McKie, Neanderthals: How Needles and Skins Gave Us the Edge on Our Kissing Cousins
*Genetic studies of Neanderthals indicate that we interbred with them, but why did they become extinct, while we flourished?

John Hawks, Neandertal Stories on Parade
*Hawks agrees with most of the statements in McKie’s article, but he takes issue with some of the so-called advantages Homo sapiens had over Neanderthals.

The Neurocritic, The Neuroscience of Kitchen Cabinetry
*Critique of an interior designer who is attempting to use psychology and neuroscience in his work. Will his clients be more satisfied?


Dr. Shock, Gaming Used for Teaching Psychopharmacology
*Elder Quest! A novel approach to gaming and to teaching. Features “The Pharmlands of Jerissay”!

John Tierney, On a Hunt for What Makes Gamers Keep Gaming
*Fun, feedback, and encouragement


Vaughan Bell, Interview with Wade Davis: Part 1 – Altered States
*Mind Hacks interviews anthropologist and ethnobotanist Wade Davis. Find Part 2 on Culture Clashes here.

Chimamanda Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story
*Fascinating talk on how taking a simplistic approach to understanding events can lead to misunderstandings.

Maxmillian Forte, The Human Terrain System: Global Counterinsurgency, Global Espionage, Global Occupation
*An inside perspective of the Human Terrain System.

Dan Berrett, Social Science and Human Decency
*How do you balance respect for your participants’ wishes and ethnographic scholarship? This quandary is something the AAA recently discussed as they revise the code of ethics.

Wendy Plump, Humanitarianism Under Microscope
*Professor Fassin at Princeton University objects to benign perspectives of humanitarianism, arguing that a more nuanced approach is needed in examining some of the negative elements of aid.

Misha Angrist, Everything That I’m Made Of, I Put Online
*Read a first hand account of Angrist’s participation in Harvard’s Genome Project, which puts an individual’s DNA sequence on the internet.

Christian Purefoy, Nigeria’s 500-Year-Old Dye Tradition Under Threat
*The tradition of indigo blue dye may be gone soon, as dyers struggle with decreasing demand for their work and increasing fabric prices.

Stephen Moss, Joris Luyendijk: ‘The Old Model of Journalism is Broken’
*An enthralling account by a seasoned journalist on the pitfalls in journalism.

Monica Raymunt, Down on the Body Farm: Inside the Dirty World of Forensic Science
*If you’re looking for ways to participate in science projects, you might want to consider donating a portion of your backyard to studies examining the decomposition of human remains.


Martin Brune and Alfonso Troisi, Evolution and Mental Disorders
*A report from a recent workshop that examined how our environment influences mental disorders and some of the causes behind increasing rates of mental disorders.

Benedict Carey, Tracing the Spark of Creative Problem-Solving
*Solving problems – diffuse brain states, expanding attention, and reward

Robert Sylwester, The Top Brain Book Collection for Educators and Learners
*An excellent and comprehensive reading list for educators who want to incorporate cognitive sciences into their teaching methods.

Edouard Machery, Morality
*Many scientists widely hold the belief that morality evolved, but according to Machery there is a lack of empirical evident to support this assertion.

Emily Anthes, Inside the Bullied Brain
*Evidence suggesting that bullying can negatively affect the brains of adolescents.

Jon Hamilton, Tuning In To The Brain’s ‘Cocktail Party Effect’
*Scientists are closer to understanding how we’re able to pick out one voice in a crowded room.

Jack Malvern, Why Dogs Have More Brains Than Cats
*Socializing may increase cognitive abilities according to a recent study on dogs and cats.

Dorothy Bishop, Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Hidden Cost of Neglected Tropical Diseases
*Many treatable infectious diseases can impair brain function, yet little attention is paid to them, since they are more common in poor countries.

Ed Yong, The Dark Side of Oxytocin, Much More Than Just a “Love Hormone”
*The hormone oxytocin is not the magic pill some have been hoping for in terms of improving their relationships.

Susan Guibert, New Research Shows Sleep Helps Brain Sift Memories
*If you’re having trouble remembering things, getting more sleep might be a solution to your problem.

Charles Choi, Sleep Cherry-picks Memories, Boosts Cleverness
*More on this research showing how sleep improves cognitive abilities.

Neuroskeptic, How To Fool A Lie Detector Brain Scan
*Don’t worry, scientists still haven’t figured out to use brain imaging technology to determine if you’re lying or being truthful.


Scicurious, Eight Tips on Starting a Science Blog
*Great advice from one of the best in the business

Larry Cebula, A Digital Toolbox for Graduate Students in History
*A great guide to some of the main ways to advance your work in the digital age

Matthew Battles, The Fuse Is Lit: Gearfuse Rebooted
*The new head of Gearfuse comes from anthropology:

Because I started out studying anthropology, I tend to approach science and technology as a world of varied cultures and strange rituals. I’m happiest when my posts act as the transmissions of an anthropologist from Mars trying to cope with the tribes of technologists, scientists, makers, and gamers that are indigenous to the Internet.

Kevin Kelly, Evolving the Scientific Method
*Technology and the coming changes in how we do science

Meg Sullivan, Think Multitasking Is New? Our Prehistoric Ancestors Invented It, UCLA Book Argues
*Multitasking as what made us human!

Mark Suster, Social Networking (The Shorter Version): Past, Present, Future
* Insightful analysis of this rapidly changing part of the human ecosystem

Jenna Worthman, A Facebook Founder Begins a Social Network Focused on Charities
*An exciting new website that allows users to find and evaluate charities.

Jeffrey Rayport, Seven Social Transformations Unleashed by Mobile Devices
*A look at how smart phones are shaping our daily interactions.

PZ Myers, Data Visualization is Cool
*Statistics can be fun! Watch this BBC clip on health researcher Hans Rosling.

Michael Goodchild, From Community Mapping to Critical Spatial Thinking: The Changing Face of GIS
*A look at how social networks can help in getting out information during natural disasters.

Giorgio Bertini, A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Networks
*Great website of articles on online social networks by scholars from a variety of disciplines.

Thomas Murray, Synthetic Biology: What Is It? What Challenges Does It Pose for Ethics and Public Policy?
*A lecture on synthetic biology and its practical applications.

Eating & Obesity

Jon Hamilton, Overeating, Like Drug Use, Rewards and Alters Brain
*Having difficulty exercising self-control around food? Changes in your brain may explain why dieting isn’t easy and how foods can become addictive.

Travis Saunders, Animal Obesity: Canary in The Coal Mine?
*Our obesity epidemic may be affecting other animals.. Read about a recent study looking at weight gain among animals that live in proximity to humans.

Wray Herbert, Visions of Sugarplums: The Psychology of Holiday Temptation
*Many of us worry about gaining weight during the holiday season. A new psychological study shows that dieters may have less control of their eating habits than non-dieters.

Linda Cobiac, Theo Vos and J. Veerman, Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions to Promote Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
*We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for our health. The researchers of this study say that awareness campaigns help in increasing our knowledge, but that lowering food prices might actually have a higher impact on changing our consumption patterns.

Travis Saunders, Sedentary Physiology Part 1 – Not Just The Lack of Physical Activity
*Kick off to a great 5 part series on how being sedentary affects our health

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