Some of my favs from the last week or so.
The photo above sums the dilemma explored in Seeing the Monkey in the Mirror: It’s not just the monkey in the mirror: It’s people looking at monkeys looking at themselves in a mirror that the person holds. A nice meta-level look at this self-recognition paradigm by @SrsMonkeyBiz, guest-posting at Jason Goldman’s The Thoughtful Animal.
In a fine Guardian review, Peter D. Smith looks at the human-designed natural enchantment that was Vauxhall Gardens. I consider much of London to be such a place.
“Guys, why wouldn’t you do this for people you claim to value and respect…. It’s time to step up and start acting like brothers.” Jennifer Ouellette examines the chilly atmosphere facing women in math, physics, engineering, and the skeptic community. This is the week’s must-read on this issue, full of smart thinking, cheer amid ugliness, and good advice.
Poisoner’s Handbook author Deborah Blum reviews Howard Markel’s Anatomy of Addiction. “No wonder doctors and patients sought ever more of this amazing chemistry to improve their lives.” As Eric M. Johnson noted, a “truly fascinating” review of a richly engaging book, which I’m now in the midst of myself. Review and book both highly recommended.
Speaking of Deborah Blum: Her superb Love at Goon Park, a riveting and wonderfully nuanced history of Harry Harlow’s research on maternal and social deprivation in rhesus monkeys, and one of the best science books I’ve ever read, has been republished in a new edition. You will NOT be disappointed.
The German parliament is considering harsh laws on pre-natal genetic testing, including a complete ban. Quite an interesting development, and a stark reflection of how cultural and historical values strongly color our views on genetics and heritability. Genetic research in Germany still labors mightily under the shadow of eugenics and the Holocaust. Via Dan MacArthur.
John Hawks, ever a good read, ponders (separately) chimpanzee gunplay and, in Adapting Evolutionary Psychology, a PLOS Biology paper on evolutionary psychology that got a lot of press. He doesn’t think much of it:
So, at the end, what do I think? To be honest, I really don’t understand the point of an article like this.
Ed Yong has a rather mind-blowing post on how subtle changes in get-out-the-vote messages make a big difference: The power of nouns – tiny word change increases voter turnout
Whales Throng New York City Area, Surprising Scientists They were amazed when the stripers came back too. The water is clear, but the sea, it is opaque.
The Me My Child Mustn’t Know. Having just written about family, I can relate to this discomforting post by Dani Shapiro.
The fiery descent of Atlantis… in 3D! Amazing pic of shuttle’s descent.Epigenetics and stress: Baby blues | The Economist
MIRACLE: Virginia teen survives after being impaled through neck with bamboo stick (GRAPHIC PHOTO)Space Shuttle: The complete missions Touching short film by Adam Rutherford
Jay Rosen on Journalism in the Internet Age | FiveBooks | The Browser
News: Killing Peer Review – Inside Higher Ed
Visual Cortexes: Brain-Art Competition Shows Off Neuroscience’s Aesthetic Side: Scientific American Slideshows