The Net’s Brightest Glitter, from Bonobos to Nabokov

Best of the Week:

Developmental Plasticity and the “Hard-Wired” Problem. by Patrick Clarkin. We’ve built a wall between genes and environment. Clarkin tears it down. And in Does Nature Need to be Nurtured?, Eric Johnson shows why such questions are important.

The Racism Beat, by Jefferson Cord. Important and heartbreaking.

Lean Out: The Dangers for Women Who Negotiate, by Maria Konnikova.

Deca, a new co-op launched by some splendid writers this week, is the most intriguing new publishing venture I’ve seen since The Atavist. I’m now reading and greatly enjoying their first publication, Mara Hvistendahl’s “And the City Swallowed Them,” a true story about the murder in Shanghai of a model from small-town British Columbia. Hvistendahl knows what she’s doing.

Sketchy science

Harvard’s Damning Report on Marc Hauser’s Fraud Charges, a quick round-up from me. Carolyn Johnson, who has owned this story, has a deeper story at Internal Harvard report shines light on misconduct by star psychology researcher, Marc Hauser – Metro – The Boston Globe

A lab in Wisconsin creates a really nasty flu virus. Mike the Mad Biologist tells why this is really not a good idea.

Obokata agrees to retract both STAP stem cell papers, from Retraction Watch A stunning story about big claim on stem cells retracted. Also covered very well in this unfortunately paywalled story by Dennis Normille and Gretchen Vogel at Science: STAP cells succumb to pressure from which:

Many are wondering how the papers got through the peer-reivew process to begin with.

Another huge fail came in overblown claims about gut bacteria and the microbiome. Microbiome pioneer Jonathan Eisen calls foul.

Mind, Brain, Behavior

Brian the Mentally Ill Bonobo, and How He Healed – Atlantic Mobile

Intelligent Crows Flunk Causality Test (But Babies Pass) Babies smarter than crows. This is saying a lot. From Ed Yong , who had an incredible week at NERS.

How Does a Chicken Tell Time? : The New Yorker From Ferris Jabr. Apparently it’s bird week.

The Throw | Joe Blogs A vid replay of an absurdly good throw, and a remembrance of another with almost no replay. Which is better?

The Connection Between Mental Illness and Gun Violence – Pacific Standard: The Science of Society Take-home: We need better mental health care, but it’ll do very little to curb mass shootings. We should just do it because it’s the civilized thing to do. As is gun control.

Antipsychotics Reduce Frontal Brain Volume | Mad In America Troubling if true.

Let’s not leave out the anxious crawdad. Nothing a bit of Valium can’t cure.


In Extremists’ Iraq Rise, America’s Legacy : The New Yorker If you read only one thing about Iraq this week, make it this. Dexter Filkins with a concise rundown on what’s driving the meltdown.

Vet Alex Horton on leaving the war behind

Reactions to the Turmoil in Iraq From Those Who Served –

War Gear Flows to Police Departments Small-town tanks. Seriously.

Battlefield Earth – the Geological Legacy of War The earth remembers WWI.

And the sea calls up some WWII memories. BBC News – Climate change helps seas disturb Japanese war dead

Reading, Writing, & Other High Pleasures

The secret of Nabokov’s sexual style | Books | The Guardian from David Lodge. Can’t go wrong.

To close, more birds, from GrrlScientist delivers. Beautiful vid of birds in the wild. Slow and quiet. Go with it.

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