Wednesday Round Up #162

I open with some social media/e-pub material, and then turn to the usual mix. Enjoy.

And the image comes from the post, Social Media Neuromarketing Revisited 2011. I think it does summarize well the state-of-the-art… Slogans rule!

David Wescott, My Surprisingly Conflicted Take on #scio12
*Read this piece if you care about science and science communication. We need to recognize that the playing field is not one defined by science, academia, or an interested public. Science needs to fight back.

I for one am tired of analyzing the contour and measuring the force of the fist punching “science” in the face. The other side has a strategy, and they are committed to action more than analysis. They’re always on offense. It’s time to develop an overarching strategy that positions science and scientists as the good guys and critics as the bad guys. It’s time to move the needle of public opinion, and it starts by increasing the number of people who actually know a living scientist. It’s time to coordinate efforts, develop a real commitment to outreach, and then just go out and git’er done.

Kate Clancy, Blogging While Female, and Why We Need a Posse
*Great piece by Kate – the antagonism felt by women blogging online over the past year, and what can be done about it. Go register, go comment, and give Kate – and lots of other women – the support they deserve to keep speaking about themselves, about truth, about our lives

Antonio Casilli, By Leveraging Social Media for Impact, Academics can Create Broader Support for Our Intellectual Work and Profession
*Using sociology, Casilli talks about the role of social media in academia – its role, its detractors, its potential

Nick DeSantis, Tenured Professor Departs Stanford U., Hoping to Teach 500,000 Students at Online Start-Up
*After reaching over a hundred thousand students through his online classes, Sebastian Thrun decides to become an entrepreneur and founds Udacity

Scio12, Podcast: David Dobbs Shares His Experience in e-Publishing
*Author and blogger Dobbs tells us about his great success with e-pubs

Rachel Nuwer, So, You Want to Publish an eBook? Tips From the #scio12 Pros
*Some good advice on this rapidly emerging form


Valerie Knopnik, Grand Challenge in Behavioral and Psychiatric Genetics: Quantitative Challenges to Keeping up with Molecular Advances
*Beyond the fascinating discussion of the division between heritability and candidate gene research, this article highlights important issues & research needs relevant to neuroanthropology, including:

-effective integration of the increasing amounts of biological information available to researchers, with a move away from the contrasting genotypes (or sub-types) generally used in research now
-prioritizing genes that we know are implicated in biological systems relevant to our research (i.e., focus on the system of interest)
-the difficulties involved in understanding what goes on in the brain, and the often indirect measures that we still have
-the necessity of measuring the environment
-the important need for “careful phenotypic characterization,” which is an area that I believe neuroanthropology in particular can contribute to

Tom McFadden, “Gaming” the System: Study Looks at Standards for Small-Arms Waivers for Patients on Antidepressants
*Using gaming systems to see if soldiers on anti-depressants can bear arms… Disturbing, yes, but also interesting in that trying to use gaming to develop better ways to assess individuals in more real-life conditions

Agustin Fuentes, Get Over It: Men and Women Are from the Same Planet
*Guest editorial on Scientific American, contradicting recent research pointing to personality differences between men and women

Raymod Tallis, What Consciousness Is Not
*Tallis does a thorough review of David Chalmers’ new book on consciousness and philosophy of the mind

Daryn Green, Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Humanity by Raymond Tallis
*A largely glowing review of Tallis’ take-down of overly rigid neural and evolutionary approaches to understanding ourselves

Andy Clark, Do Thrifty Brains Make Better Minds?
*Frugal use of our neural capacity, including using the free processing provided by body and environment, as one key to understand our minds
-For some great commentary, see John Hawks’ The Thrifty Brainotype

A brain that follows a strategy of greatest information efficiency might in some respects be more energetically expensive. More important, an evolutionary process that results in a brain with high information efficiency might follow a very different pathway than a process that would give rise to high energy efficiency.

Carl Bankston, Claude Lévi-Strauss: The Poet in the Laboratory
*A good intellectual biography of this giant in anthropology and beyond

Patrick Clarkin, Biology: The Science of Exceptions
*A round up of the wonderful ways animal behavior goes beyond our expectations

Michael Allison Chandler, In Schools, Self-esteem Boosting is Losing Favor to Rigor, Finer-tuned Praise
*Neural metaphors in the classroom – challenge those plastic brains! I do find it fascinating that rather than self and emotion and perception, that the new metaphors for people and development and interaction are drawing on “the brain” in interesting and not always accurate ways. Reference to the brain has become the way we justify our social actions.

Children praised for trying hard or taking risks tend to enjoy challenges and find greater success. Children also perform better in the long term when they believe that their intellect is not a birthright but something that grows and develops as they learn new things.

Brain imaging shows how this is true, how connections between nerve cells in the cortex multiply and grow stronger as people learn and practice new skills. This bit of science has proved to be motivating to struggling students because it gives them a sense of control over their success.

Liese Pruitt, Claire Wendland’s A Heart for the Work
*Somatosphere review of how biomedicine has gotten remade in Malawi

Maia Szalavitz, New Research on the Antidepressant-vs.-Placebo Debate
*Great piece over at Time Healthland – new statistics models shows antidepressants both work and don’t work, and that often depends on the patient

Derek Brown, Confessions of a Binge Drinker
*Is this binge drinking? Pitfalls in how the CDC labels problem drinking, and how drinking really happens in social contexts

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