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  • August 29, 2011
  • 12:08 PM

A spin glass model of cultural consensus

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Does your social network determine your rational rationality? When trying to co-ordinate with a number of other people on a cultural feature, the locally rational thing to do is to go with the majority. However, in certain situations it might make sense to choose the minority feature. This means that learning multiple features might be rational in some situations, even if there is a pressure against redundancy. ... Read more »

STAUFFER, D., CASTELLO, X., EGUILUZ, V., & SANMIGUEL, M. (2007) Microscopic Abrams–Strogatz model of language competition. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 374(2), 835-842. DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2006.07.036  

Castelló, X., Loureiro, L., Eguíluz , V. M., & San Miguel, M. (2007) The fate of bilingualism in a model of language competition. Advancing Social Simulation: The First World Congress, 83-94. info:/

  • August 29, 2011
  • 11:48 AM

When Arguing Damages, "Drop Anchor" Even in Murky Waters

by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator

This blog frequently covers recent psychological or communications research bearing on legal persuasion, and an important question is how well results hold up when leaving the laboratory and entering the courtroom. One example is the phenomenon of damage "anchoring," or the advantage gained when one side offers an ad damnum number as a starting point for jury deliberations. In a long line of studies in laboratory settings, researchers have demonstrated the process of "anchor and adjust," meani........ Read more »

Shari Seidman Diamond, Beth Murphy, Mary R. Rose, & John B. Meixner. (2011) Damage Anchors on Real Juries . Social Science Research Network. info:/

  • August 28, 2011
  • 06:20 PM

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses better

by Fiona Beukes in Ona76

How can you improve your career prospects whilst developing your own learning? Peter Drucker (1999) in his Harvard Business Review article Managing Oneself advocates a lengthy period of reflection on your actions and the resulting outcomes of it. Drucker suggests that through personal Feedback Analysis we can all understand where our strengths lie and work on improving [...]... Read more »

Drucker, F. P. (1999) Managing Oneself. Harvard Business Review. info:/

  • August 27, 2011
  • 03:34 PM

The Zoroastrian Ethic & Spirit of Modernity

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), Max Weber sought to correct or temper Karl Marx’s view that religion was always a reflection or epiphenomenon of the economic base. Although Marx’s understanding of religion was considerably more complicated and drew heavily on Ludwig Feuerbach’s idealist critique in The Essence of Christianity (1841), [...]... Read more »

Kennedy, Jr., R. (1962) The Protestant Ethic and the Parsis. American Journal of Sociology, 68(1), 11. DOI: 10.1086/223262  

  • August 26, 2011
  • 03:37 PM

Front yards, minus the grass

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

If you were on a quest to rid the world of excess turf grass, the front lawn would be a good place to start. No one does anything with their grassy front lawn except mow it. Back yards are far more amenable to relaxation and play—they’re sheltered from the noise of the street, protected by [...]... Read more »

Nassauer, Joan Iverson. (1993) Ecological function and the perception of suburban residential landscapes. Managing Urban and High Use Recreation Settings, General Technical Report, USDA Forest Service North Central Forest Exp. Sta., St. Paul, MN., 55-60. info:/

  • August 26, 2011
  • 08:50 AM

Penis Spines, Pearly Papules, and Pope Benedict’s Balls

by Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries

Author’s note: The following originally appeared as a guest post at A Primate of Modern Aspect and subsequently formed the basis for a technical comment published by Nature co-authored with John Hawks. This post is also notable in that it began my collaboration with artist Nathaniel Gold. There is very little known about the reign [...]

... Read more »

McLean, C., Reno, P., Pollen, A., Bassan, A., Capellini, T., Guenther, C., Indjeian, V., Lim, X., Menke, D., Schaar, B.... (2011) Human-specific loss of regulatory DNA and the evolution of human-specific traits. Nature, 471(7337), 216-219. DOI: 10.1038/nature09774  

  • August 26, 2011
  • 02:50 AM

Does internationalization change research content?

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Every linguistics undergraduate student is by now familiar with the fact of linguistic imperialism in academic publishing where the pressure to publish in international journals translates into the pressure to publish in English, leaving researchers from non-English-speaking backgrounds at a … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 26, 2011
  • 01:42 AM

A Whole New World: My Beginnings as a Student of Journalism

by Paige Brown in From The Lab Bench

This week, I started graduate classes for the first time as a student of Mass Communications at the LSU Manship School. Yahoo!
Thus begins my jump from a PhD in Biomedical Engineering to an advanced degree studying science journalism!
... Read more »

PH Longstaff. (2005) Security, resilience, and communication in unpredictable environments such as terrorism, natural disasters, and complex technology. Center for Information Policy Research. info:/

  • August 25, 2011
  • 02:40 PM

Visions of Ruth Benedict

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

When it comes to classic anthropology, Margaret Mead may garner the lionesses’ share of attention but Ruth Benedict remains the matriarch. Although Benedict today is dismissed by some as a quaint relic of the “culture and personality” school of anthropology, such demurrals  underestimate the theoretical sophistication and continuing relevance of Benedict’s work.
Those who understand Patterns [...]... Read more »

Benedict, R. (1922) The Vision in Plains Culture. American Anthropologist, 24(1), 1-23. DOI: 10.1525/aa.1922.24.1.02a00020  

  • August 25, 2011
  • 11:30 AM

Diagnose Your MedMal Case

by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator

For doctors, arguably the areas that require the greatest levels of skill and art lie not in treatment, but in diagnosis. The same goes for lawyers. Encyclopedic legal knowledge and impressive oratorical skills are critical, but probably less important in the long run than a clear-eyed ability to assess your case, and know the difference between the claim that should settle early and the case that should be fought to the end.

In the medical malpractice arena, for example, new research from th........ Read more »

Jena AB, Seabury S, Lakdawalla D, & Chandra A. (2011) Malpractice risk according to physician specialty. The New England journal of medicine, 365(7), 629-36. PMID: 21848463  

  • August 24, 2011
  • 10:03 PM

Workplace stress: Opposites attract

by Vivek Venkataraman in sciencebyte

Highly stressed people at the workplace are individually surrounded by less stressed people and vice-versa... Read more »

Watanabe, J., Akitomi, T., Ara, K., & Yano, K. (2011) Antiferromagnetic character of workplace stress. Physical Review E, 84(1). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.84.017101  

  • August 24, 2011
  • 05:44 PM

Banish your worries by surrendering to God

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

You may have seen, earlier this month, one of several news reports about how belief in God is great for reducing worries (e.g. here). Well no, that's not really what the study found - the study is actually a bit more precisely focussed than that and a bit more interesting for it.

The researchers, lead by David Rosmarin at Harvard Medical School, were interested in the idea that the  Middle-Eastern monotheisms place a great deal of focus on trusting God. Yet many believers don't trust their........ Read more »

Rosmarin, D., Pirutinsky, S., Auerbach, R., Björgvinsson, T., Bigda-Peyton, J., Andersson, G., Pargament, K., & Krumrei, E. (2011) Incorporating spiritual beliefs into a cognitive model of worry. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67(7), 691-700. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.20798  

  • August 24, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Want to be exploited, harassed and poor? Take your new husband’s last name!

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

I tried to convince my headstrong niece otherwise but she persisted. She didn’t think keeping her last name mattered. As a member of the generation that pioneered the acceptability for women to keep their own last name after marriage, I was sure it did. Now I know I was right. And now she will know [...]

Related posts:Hard to be a woman? The beat goes on….
Redux: Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman (with appreciation to Tammy Wynette, Linda Ronstadt and Anne Reed)
“I didn’t know truth ........ Read more »

Noordewier, M., Horen, F., Ruys, K., & Stapel, D. (2010) What's in a Name? 361.708 Euros: The Effects of Marital Name Change. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 32(1), 17-25. DOI: 10.1080/01973530903539812  

  • August 24, 2011
  • 04:56 AM

Language Evolves in R, not Python: An appology

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

One of the risks of blogging is that you can fire off ideas into the public domain while you’re still excited about them and haven’t really tested them all that well. Last month I blogged about a random walk model of linguistic complexity. This week, I found out that it was flawed...... Read more »

  • August 23, 2011
  • 07:35 PM

A Visayan reading of a Luzon artifact

by nath in Imprints of Philippine Science

It is quite difficult to write on something which everybody claims to be an expert at. As a matter of fact, this post has been in my dashboard for more than 4 months already.  It has never been touched since I prepared the image on the lower right. There is a resurgence of interest on [...]... Read more »

  • August 23, 2011
  • 02:20 PM

Chinese Religion Redux

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

As Cold War propaganda in the West would have it, communist states were to be despised because they were atheist and Godless. The reality, however, was quite different. In the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church never went away and popular belief was often at odds with official state doctrine. It is doubtful that the [...]... Read more »

  • August 23, 2011
  • 11:54 AM

The Dubious Science of Teacher Coaching: "An Interaction-Based Approach to Enhancing Secondary School Instruction and Student Achievement"

by Chad Orzel in Uncertain Principles

A while back, I Links Dumped Josh Rosenau's Post Firing Bad Teachers Doesn't Create good Teachers, arguing that rather than just firing teachers who need some improvement, schools should look at, well, helping them improve. This produced a bunch of scoffing in a place I can't link to, basically taking the view that people are either good at what they do, or they're not, and if they're not, you just fire them and hire somebody else. I was too busy to respond at the time, but marked that doen as s........ Read more »

  • August 22, 2011
  • 10:00 PM

How to understand risk

by Jan Husdal in

What is risk, and how can it be expressed? Should risk be defined through probabilities or should risk be defined through uncertainties? Different international standards, do not provide adequate guidance for risk assessments and lack the necessary precision. In the paper, they claim that different international standards, such as the AS/NZS 3460 Risk Management Standard, the COSO ERM framework and the ISO 31000 Risk Management Standard do not provide adequate guidance on these issues and lack ........ Read more »

Aven, E., & Aven, T. (2011) On how to understand and express enterprise risk. International Journal of Business Continuity and Risk Management, 2(1), 20. DOI: 10.1504/IJBCRM.2011.040012  

  • August 22, 2011
  • 05:53 PM

Risk of riots linked to food prices

by Benno Hansen in Ecowar

In 19th century Bavaria rye prices correlated to property crime rates (see Correlations from weather to sociology). When food prices spiked in 2008 commentators were smart enough to mention this might have something to do with the riots across the 3rd world (see World's poor are up in arms over food prices). The first half of 2011 has seen many riots in Africa and the Middle East and again it has... Read more »

  • August 22, 2011
  • 02:59 PM

In race against fire, only the fleetest trees survive

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

Density matters. That’s the premise of this blog, after all. The number of people per square mile influences the character of a place—a topic I’ve covered repeatedly—but human population density isn’t everything. Take savannas. They are ecosystems defined by density. Savannas are grasslands dotted with trees—not too many and not too few. They can have [...]... Read more »

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