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  • August 17, 2010
  • 08:41 PM
  • 634 views

The Dental Evidence for Agriculture

by teofilo in Gambler's House

I’ve recently been discussing stable isotope analysis as a way to directly determine dietary practices from skeletal evidence, and that is certainly a powerful tool in learning about past societies, but there are some drawbacks to it.  Like all complicated laboratory procedures, it’s expensive, and it has the additional problem of being destructive.  If it’s [...]... Read more »

  • August 17, 2010
  • 05:30 PM
  • 664 views

What The Internet Thinks About Antidepressants

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Toronto team Rizo et al offer a novel approach to psychopharmacology: trawling the internet for people's opinions. It's a rapid, web-based method for obtaining patient views on effects and side-effects of antidepressants.They designed a script to Google the names of several antidepressants in the context of someone who's taking them, and checks to see if they describe any side-effects.A large number of URLs were rapidly screened through Google Search™, using one server situated in Ohio, USA. The search strategy used language strings to denote active antidepressant drug usage, such as “I'm on [name of antidepressant]…” or “Ihave been on [antidepressant] for ….”, or “I've started [antidepressant]…”, or “the [antidepressant] is giving me or causing me…”They then used a thing called OpenCalais™ to read the search hits and decide whether they were mentioning particular diseases or symptoms. OpenCalais is a natural language processor which is meant to be able to automatically extract the meaning from text. However, to make sure it wasn't doing anything silly (natural language processing is quite tricky), they manually checked the results.What happened? They found about 5,000 hits in total from people taking antidepressants, ranging from 210 for mirtazapine (Remeron) up to 835 for duloxetine (Cymbalta). That doesn't seem like all that many considering they searched on the entire internet, although they only searched English language websites.Anyway, drowsiness, sleepiness or tiredness was mentioned in from 6.4% (duloxetine) down to 2.9% (fluoxetine) of the hits. Insomnia was noted in 4% (desvenlafaxine) down to 2.2% fluoxetine. And so on.These results are a lot lower than anything previously reported from clinical trials, where the prevalence of drowsiness, for example, is often around 25% (vs. 10% on placebo); with some drugs, it's higher. So there's a big discrepancy, and it's hard to interpret these results. Maybe lots of people are having side effects and just not bothering to write about them. Or they're too embarrassed. Etc.Still, it's a very clever idea it would probably be better used trying to discover which drugs work best. Neuroskeptic readers will know that clinical trials of antidepressants are flawed in several ways. I'd say they're actually better at telling us about side effects (which are probably roughly the same in clinical trials and in real life) than they are at telling us about efficacy (where this assumption doesn't hold)...Links: There are many websites where people describe their experiences of medical treatments ranging from the fancy to the crude (but much more informative)...Rizo C, Deshpande A, Ing A, & Seeman N (2010). A rapid, Web-based method for obtaining patient views on effects and side-effects of antidepressants. Journal of affective disorders PMID: 20705344... Read more »

  • August 17, 2010
  • 04:24 PM
  • 565 views

So What Did the Turkeys Eat?

by teofilo in Gambler's House

As if on cue, given that I’ve been talking about turkey husbandry and stable isotope testing of human remains, a paper in the latest issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science combines the two, using similar stable isotope techniques on turkey remains from sites in southwestern Colorado to determine what the turkeys were eating.  The [...]... Read more »

  • August 16, 2010
  • 11:13 PM
  • 1,906 views

An Anthropological Genetic View of Berkeley’s Personalized Medicine Project

by Kris in Ge·knit·ics

Recently, UC Berkeley announced their “Bring Your Genes to Cal” Project, offering personalized genetic testing for all incoming freshmen. The program allowed incoming students, on a voluntary and anonymous basis, to submit DNA samples, with the promise that they would receive their personal results of tests for three common genetic variants. The program had IRB [...]... Read more »

  • August 16, 2010
  • 08:05 PM
  • 548 views

Basketmaker Subsistence

by teofilo in Gambler's House

One of the important questions in understanding the spread of agriculture into the Southwest from Mexico is when Southwestern peoples became dependent on it for their subsistence.  It is generally accepted that this dependence was in place by the Pueblo I period, which is defined as starting around AD 750 in most areas, but there [...]... Read more »

  • August 16, 2010
  • 05:32 PM
  • 1,345 views

Ape-man the hunter?

by Julien Riel-Salvatore in A Very Remote Period Indeed

Well, at least the butcher, if not the tool-maker... McPherron et al. (2010) report the discovery of four bone fragments bearing marks left by stone tools from the the Dikika-55 locality in Ethiopia (dating to between 3.24-3.42 million years BP), a stone's throw from where the juvenile Australopithecus afarensis dubbed Selam was found. This is a pretty monumental discovery, in that it pushes back the evidence for the use of stone tool technology by about 800,000 years, and associates it fairly convincingly with A. afarensis (or, at least, as convincingly as can be done for those time frames). John Hawks and Greg Laden have interesting posts on some of the more salient aspects of the paper, which you should read if you're interested in this.In a nutshell, McPherron and colleagues analyzed the bones using secondary electron imaging (SEI) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) to establish that the marks were, in fact, made in deep time before the bones fossilized. Having determined this, they then examined the morphology of the marks on the bone using ESEM (environmental scanning electron microscopy) and optical microscopes to establish that it was most similar to those of experimentally replicated marks made with stone tools used to cut flesh off a bone and crack bones open. I've looked at my share of cut marks over the years, and like Greg, I also agree with the authors that the DIK-55 cut marks look like marks made by stone tools. You'd have to never have looked at cut marks to argue with a straight face that the marks on the DIK-55 specimens look more like croc tooth marks than cut marks.Given that the marks really seem to be genuine stone tool cut and percussion marks, the question then becomes one of establishing the age of the mark-bearing bones. As Hawks underlines, we're dealing with only four bones here, out of an unspecified total sample. So, we don't really know how common they were at DIK-55, since they do not meet the criteria usually used for collection - basically, they were collected because field observations suggested they might bear cut marks. And as Laden mentions, it'd be better if the bones in question had been collected in primary context, as opposed to from the surface next to their associated depositional context. This is important because there's always the possibility that they might have washed in or been somehow transported from another, potentially younger locality. That said, based on the absence of adhering sediment and the location of the specimens, their most likely provenience is from a sandy formation with a minimum age of 3.24 million years and a maximum age of 3.42 million years. The sample size issue is an interesting one to consider, but really, in this case the noteworthy feature of these bones is that they bear unambiguous traces of modification with stone tools, so their proportional importance is somewhat secondary.OK, so, we have bones bearing marks made by stone tools that are older by some 800ky than the earliest known stone tool assemblages, which date to about 2.6-2.5mya (Semaw et al. 1997). What does it mean? Well, the most obvious conclusion is that the use of stone tools must be quite a bit older than has generally been assumed, and since A. afarensis is the only hominin associated with deposits that age in the region, they are the best candidates for having used them.Here's the rub, though: there are no stone tools at DIK-55. Furthermore, the closest source of rocks that could have been used as stone tools is about 6km away. What does that mean? It means that, if A. afarensis really did use stone implements to process these remains, they must have brought them from a little ways away. That, in and of itself, is not earth shattering an observation. Sea otters, for instance, are known to carry rocks in skin folds next to their forepaws to use them in area where clams, crabs and abalones are present but rocks aren't. In that sense, the DIK-55 provide evidence for some basic planing depth, though not much more than in some other tool-using animals.The big question relating to the stone tools here is whether A. afarensis made some or opportunistically used naturally occurring sharp pieces of stone. McPherron et al. (2010) remain agnostic on that one, as well they should given that they've already rocked the boat enough with this discovery and speculating would undermine their case. I also remain undecided on the issue, though I will say that there could be a case for the evidence presented in the paper to indicate that A. afarensis manufactured stone tools. This is based on two lines of observation: 1) there are no large rocks at DIK-55, the largest rocks found there being about 8mm in maximum size; and 2) the bones described in the paper bear both cut marks and percussion marks. Now, cut marks need to be made with a sharp stone edge, something like a flake, or a cobble with at least one flake knocked off. In contrast, percussion marks are made by blunt objects, usually a hammerstone similar to those used to knock flakes off of cobbles or cores. This distinction is usually not given much thought in discussion of human agency on bones because, by and large, if humans have flakes, they have a hammerstone to knap them off with. In fact, even at Gona, the earliest known stone tool assemblage, hammerstones, cores and flakes co-occur (Semaw et al. 1997; Stout et al. 2005).In this case, however, the distinction is noteworthy because it implies that at least two different implements were brought in to DIK-55 to process the tools. Remember that there are no stones larges than 8mm at this locality, and try as it might, not even a Floresian hobbit would be able to use such small pebbles as tools with much success. It also means that there could be no 'crime of opportunity' in which an australopith just picked up a large rock that was just lying there to smash open a bone. In short, it means that both a blunt stone object (i.e., a hammerstone) and a sharp one must have been transported to DIK-55. Granted, it might simply be that hominins were carrying both unmodified cobbles and naturally occurring sharp pieces of stone with them. But if you understand that whacking a bone with a hammerstone will break it open (and create sharp edges on the bone as a result) and that sharp objects can be helpful in slicing meat off a bone, a parsimonious explanation might be that your lithic technological behavior includes the use of hammerstone to produce stone flakes. This would also make sense from the perspective of lithic technology where percussors and flakes are part of even the simplest toolkits.Granted, this last bit is speculative, but what is certain is that people will be looking at 3.4-2.6mya deposits with renewed interest and attention in the coming years. What comes out of these investigation should allow us to flesh out the range of possible scenarios brought up by this new discovery from Dikika, which is proving to be an immensely rewarding area from a paleoanthropological standpoint.References:McPherron, S., Alemseged, Z., Marean, C., Wynn, J., Reed, D., Geraads, D., Bobe, R., & Béarat, H. (2010). Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia Nature, 466 (7308), 857-860 DOI: 10.1038/nature09248 Semaw S, Renne P, Harris JW, Feibel CS, Bernor RL, Fesseha N, & Mowbray K (1997). 2.5-million-year-old stone tools from Gona, Ethiopia. Nature, 385 (6614), 333-6 PMID: ... Read more »

Semaw S, Renne P, Harris JW, Feibel CS, Bernor RL, Fesseha N, & Mowbray K. (1997) 2.5-million-year-old stone tools from Gona, Ethiopia. Nature, 385(6614), 333-6. PMID: 9002516  

Stout D, Quade J, Semaw S, Rogers MJ, & Levin NE. (2005) Raw material selectivity of the earliest stone toolmakers at Gona, Afar, Ethiopia. Journal of human evolution, 48(4), 365-80. PMID: 15788183  

  • August 16, 2010
  • 08:04 AM
  • 1,265 views

Did Dogs Gain Their Social Intelligence By Accident?

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

I will be reposting some dog-related posts from the archives in the coming few weeks as I prepare for the course I'm teaching this semester on dog cognition. Please let me know if you find something inaccurate or unclear.

Domesticated dogs seem to have an uncanny ability to understand human communicative gestures (see here). If you point to something the dog zeroes in on the object or location you're pointing to (whether it's a toy, or food, or to get his in-need-of-a-bath butt off your damn bed and back onto his damn bed). Put another way, if your attention is on something, or if your attention is directed to somewhere, dogs seem to be able to turn their attention onto that thing or location as well.

Amazingly, dogs may be better at this than primates (including our nearest cousins, the chimpanzees) and better than their nearest cousins, wild wolves.

And so it was that biological anthropologist Brian Hare, director of the of Duke University Canine Cognition Center wondered: did dogs get so smart because of direct selection for this ability during the domestication of dogs, or did this apparent social intelligence evolve, in a sense, by accident, because of selection against fear and aggression?

Remember the Russian foxes? In that experiment, by selecting for tameness and against fear and aggression, a number of other seemingly unrelated traits began to express themselves in the domesticated foxes. They appeared to enjoy hanging out with humans. They sniffed and licked their caretakers. They wagged their tails when excited (remember this video?). Their tails got curlier and shorter. Their ears got floppier. Their skull-size (relative to body-size) increased. Their fur coloration patterns changed. They also showed evidence of physiological changes, such as in the pituitary-adrenal pathway.

Figure 1: Time for a picture of a dog. Some dogs are clearly smarter than others.


Hare and his colleagues pitted these two hypotheses against eachother. The "Selection for Communication" Hypothesis suggests that predicting and manipulating human behavior by reading human communicative signals (such as eye gaze or arm pointing) was explicitly selected in the domestication of dogs. Those dogs who were most skilled at comprehending such gestures were more likely to survive and reproduce. The "Correlated By-Product" Hypothesis predicts that the ability to read human communicative gestures was not directly selected for during the domestication of dogs. Instead, fear and aggression were selected against (which is the same as saying that tameness was selected), and as a result, those individuals with less stress, who had positive interactions with humans had the highest evolutionary fitness. Moreover, those same dogs, because of the "changes responsible for [their] high levels of tameness... were no longer constrained [by fear or disinterest, for example] in applying previously existing social problem-solving skills to humans" in interactions between the two species. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 06:38 PM
  • 808 views

A Curious Look At The 3.39 Million Year Old “Stone Tool Markings” From Dikika, Ethiopia

by Anthropology.net in Anthropology.net

I don’t know who this is worse for, the editors & reviewers over at Nature or the authors of the article who can’t tell the difference between crocodile teeth markings and stone tool modification, nor raise the possibility. The paper, “Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia,” very [...]... Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 02:56 PM
  • 431 views

More Turkey Stuff

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In looking into recent research on Southwestern turkeys, I found an interesting paper from 2007 by E. Bradley Beacham and Stephen R. Durand about turkey eggshell.  Specifically, they came up with a new technique for analyzing archaeological eggshell to determine whether or not the egg had hatched.  The idea behind it, confirmed by an experiment [...]... Read more »

  • August 13, 2010
  • 12:14 PM
  • 1,011 views

New Studies: Music Makes People Nicer

by David Berreby in Mind Matters


Birds do it. Bees do it. But primate species don't sing and dance, except for Homo sapiens. Why is music-making part of human nature, then? Why do we enjoy singing in three-part harmony or clapping together in church, which wouldn't appeal for a single second to our chimp or orangutan cousins? This paper proposes an explanation: Music, it says, makes little kids nicer. Maybe it evolved because it made our ancestors more cooperative, and hence more successful.
Sebastian Kirschner and Michael Tomasello recruited 96 four-year-olds from German day care centers and set them to playing games in pairs. Some played musical instruments and sang with the experimenter, while others played the same game, but without music. A later game was set up so that one child needed help from the other, who had to choose whether to aid the partner or keep playing.
Kids who had played music together were considerably more likely to help, the authors report (a pdf of the entire paper, which details their ingenious experimental methods, is here). Perhaps, Kirschner and Tomasello write, music evolved because it focuses attention on collective goals, and so satisfies an innate human desire to be "in sync."
That's in line with this finding, from an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Hospitality Management, which reports that when restaurants offer background music —at least, nice background music in the form of songs with "prosocial lyrics"—customers leave bigger tips. (Credit to Tom Jacobs for reporting on it.)
Kirschner, S., & Tomasello, M. (2010). Joint music making promotes prosocial behavior in 4-year-old children☆☆☆ Evolution and Human Behavior DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.04.004
Jacob, C., Guéguen, N., & Boulbry, G. (2010). Effects of songs with prosocial lyrics on tipping behavior in a restaurant International Journal of Hospitality Management, 29 (4), 761-763 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhm.2010.02.004
... Read more »

  • August 12, 2010
  • 10:24 AM
  • 622 views

Smells From the Past: The Fulton Fish Market

by Krystal D'Costa in The Urban Ethnographer

It’s been a very hot summer here in New York City. And the city smells. It’s more than the smell of baking asphalt, exhaust fumes, and lack of deodorant—these smells are around all year. The heat has awakened older smells. Around midday, if you happen to stroll down by the South Street Seaport you can [...]... Read more »

Cann A, & Ross DA. (1989) Olfactory stimuli as context cues in human memory. The American journal of psychology, 102(1), 91-102. PMID: 2929788  

Djordjevic J, Zatorre RJ, Petrides M, & Jones-Gotman M. (2004) The mind's nose: Effects of odor and visual imagery on odor detection. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS, 15(3), 143-8. PMID: 15016284  

  • August 11, 2010
  • 04:56 PM
  • 1,388 views

The Earliest Known Use of Flaked Stone Tools by Hominids?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

It is possible that a much earlier than previously known date for the use of flaked stone tools has been established in Ethiopia, dating to prior to 3.39 million years ago.

Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

  • August 11, 2010
  • 01:25 PM
  • 1,380 views

New Primate Fossil Informs Us of the Ape-Monkey Split During the Oligocene

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

The newly reported Saadanius hijazensis may or may not be a "missing link" but in order for this monkey to climb onto the primate family tree, a new branch had to be sprouted. So, not only is Saadanius hijazensis a new species, but it is a member of a new taxonomic Family, Saadaniidae, which in turn is a member of a new Superfamily, Saadanioidea. Why is this important? It's complicated. But not too complicated.

The fossil was found while University of Michigan paleontologist Iyad Zalmout was busy looking for dinosaur fossils in western Saudi Arabia. He found the monkey, from a much later time period, instead. Ooops. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Zalmout, I., Sanders, W., MacLatchy, L., Gunnell, G., Al-Mufarreh, Y., Ali, M., Nasser, A., Al-Masari, A., Al-Sobhi, S., Nadhra, A.... (2010) New Oligocene primate from Saudi Arabia and the divergence of apes and Old World monkeys. Nature, 466(7304), 360-364. DOI: 10.1038/nature09094  

  • August 10, 2010
  • 11:30 PM
  • 559 views

The Turkey Connection

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In a comment to the previous post, Alan Reed Bishop brings up an issue closely related to the recent evidence for early maize cultivation in Chaco Canyon: the introduction of domesticated turkeys to the Southwest.  A recent study of archaeological turkey remains found that the majority of the turkeys found in Southwestern archaeological sites are [...]... Read more »

  • August 10, 2010
  • 02:02 PM
  • 645 views

Hauser Of Cards

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

A major scandal looks to be in progress involving Harvard Professor Marc Hauser, a psychologist and popular author whose research on the minds of chimpanzees and other primates is well-known and highly respected. The Boston Globe has the scoop and it's well worth a read (though you should avoid reading the comments if you react badly to stupid.)Hauser's built his career on detailed studies of the cognitive abilities of non-human primates. He's generally argued that our closest relatives are smarter than people had previously believed, with major implications for evolutionary psychology. Now one of his papers has been retracted, another has been "corrected" and a third is under scrutiny. Hauser has also announced that he's taking a year off from his position at Harvard.It's not clear what exactly is going on, but the problems seem to centre around videotapes of the monkeys that took part in Hauser's experiments. The story begins with a 2007 paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. That paper has just been amended in a statement that appeared in the same journal last month:In the original study by Hauser et al., we reported videotaped experiments on action perception with free ranging rhesus macaques living on the island of Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico. It has been discovered that the video records and field notes collected by the researcher who performed the experiments (D. Glynn) are incomplete for two of the conditions.The authors of the original paper were Hauser, David Glynn and Justin Wood. In the amendment, which is authored by Hauser and Wood i.e. not Glynn, they say that upon discovering the issues with Glynn's data, they went back to Puerto Rico, did the studies again, and confirmed that the original results were valid. Glynn left academia in 2007, to work for a Boston company, Innerscope Research, according to this online resume.If that was the whole of the scandal it wouldn't be such a big deal, but according to the Boston Globe, that was just the start. David Glynn was also an author on a second paper which is now under scrutiny. It was published in Science 2007, with the authors listed as Wood, Glynn, Brenda Phillips and Hauser.However, crucially, Glynn was not an author on the only paper which has actually been retracted, "Rule learning by cotton-top tamarins". This article appeared in the journal Cognition in 2002. The three authors were Hauser, Daniel Weiss and Gary Marcus. David Glynn wasn't mentioned in the acknowledgements section either, and according to his resume, he didn't arrive in Hauser's lab until 2005.So the problem, whatever it is, is not limited to Glynn.Not was Glynn an author on the final paper mentioned in the Boston Globe, a 1995 article by Hauser, Kralik, Botto-Mahan, Garrett, and Oser. Note that the Globe doesn't say that this paper is formally under investigation, but rather, that it was mentioned in an interview by researcher Gordon G. Gallup who says that when he viewed the videotapes of the monkeys from that study, he didn't observe the behaviours which Hauser et al. said were present. Gallup is famous for his paper "Does Semen Have Antidepressant Properties?" in which he examined the question of whether semen... oh, guess. The crucial issue for scientists is whether the problems are limited to the three papers that have so far been officially investigated or whether it goes further: that's an entirely open question at the moment.In Summary: We don't know what is going on here and it would be premature to jump to conclusions. However, it is notable that the only author who appears on all of the papers known to be under scrutiny, is Marc Hauser himself.Hauser MD, Weiss D, & Marcus G (2002). Rule learning by cotton-top tamarins. Cognition, 86 (1) PMID: 12208654Hauser MD, Glynn D, & Wood J (2007). Rhesus monkeys correctly read the goal-relevant gestures of a human agent. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 274 (1620), 1913-8 PMID: 17540661Wood JN, Glynn DD, Phillips BC, & Hauser MD (2007). The perception of rational, goal-directed action in nonhuman primates. Science (New York, N.Y.), 317 (5843), 1402-5 PMID: 17823353Hauser MD, Kralik J, Botto-Mahan C, Garrett M, & Oser J (1995). Self-recognition in primates: phylogeny and the salience of species-typical features. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 92 (23), 10811-14 PMID: 7479889... Read more »

Hauser MD, Weiss D, & Marcus G. (2002) Rule learning by cotton-top tamarins. Cognition, 86(1). PMID: 12208654  

Hauser MD, Glynn D, & Wood J. (2007) Rhesus monkeys correctly read the goal-relevant gestures of a human agent. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 274(1620), 1913-8. PMID: 17540661  

Wood JN, Glynn DD, Phillips BC, & Hauser MD. (2007) The perception of rational, goal-directed action in nonhuman primates. Science (New York, N.Y.), 317(5843), 1402-5. PMID: 17823353  

Hauser MD, Kralik J, Botto-Mahan C, Garrett M, & Oser J. (1995) Self-recognition in primates: phylogeny and the salience of species-typical features. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 92(23), 10811-14. PMID: 7479889  

  • August 8, 2010
  • 07:15 PM
  • 1,298 views

Why did the Tasmanians Stop Eating Fish?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

Georges Bank is a very large shallow area in the North Atlantic, roughly the size of a New England state, that serves as a fishing ground and whaling area (these days for watching the whales, not harpooning them) for ports in New England, New York and Eastern Canada. Eighteen thousand years ago, sea levels were globally at a very low point (with vast quantities of the Earth's water busy being ice), and at that time George's Bank would have been a highland region on the very edge of the North American continent, extending via a lower ridge to eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and separated by a low plain (covered in part by glaciers) to the rest of New England.1

As sea levels began rising around twelve thousand years ago, George's bank became a narrower peninsula and eventually an island visible from the mainland. We know that people lived on this island because artifacts of early Native American groups have been dredged up here, along with the teeth of Pleistocene elephants and other items. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Davidson, Iain, & Roberts, David Andrew. (2009) On Being Alone: The Isolation of the Tasmanians. Book: Turning Points in Australian Prehistory. info:other/

  • August 5, 2010
  • 03:51 PM
  • 568 views

The Context for Early Maize at Chaco

by teofilo in Gambler's House

In my earlier post about Stephen Hall‘s recent paper reporting on maize pollen at Chaco Canyon dating as early as 2500 BC, I said briefly that this really shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s been following this kind of research closely, and also that I would discuss the context for it later.  Basically, the context [...]... Read more »

Merrill, W., Hard, R., Mabry, J., Fritz, G., Adams, K., Roney, J., & MacWilliams, A. (2009) The diffusion of maize to the southwestern United States and its impact. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(50), 21019-21026. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0906075106  

  • August 5, 2010
  • 11:21 AM
  • 905 views

Inevitability and oil, Pt. 2: the “end of oil” and human empathy

by Hannah Waters in Culturing Science – biology as relevant to us earthly beings

Never thought I’d actually get around to a Pt. 2, eh?  Well, I’ve shown you!  Here’s the first part: Inevitability and Oil, Pt. 1: the inherent risk for accidents in complex technology For decades now economists and scientists have predicted the “end of oil:” the day when we use up our oil reserves, potentially resulting [...]... Read more »

  • August 5, 2010
  • 12:16 AM
  • 1,404 views

Language and inflation

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Some Language-on-the-Movers based here in Sydney had the opportunity to attend Professor Masaki Oda’s lecture about the current state of the English language in Japan yesterday. With major Japanese companies announcing a switch to English as their official company language … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 4, 2010
  • 12:59 PM
  • 1,495 views

Persistent ethnic differences in test performance may be entirely an artifact of the method used to 'adjust' the test

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

It is well established among those who carry out, analyze, and report pre-employment performance testing that slope-based bias in those tests is rare. Why is this important? Look at the following three graphs from a recent study by Aguinis, Culpepper and Pierce (2010):
Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

Aguinis, H., Culpepper, S., & Pierce, C. (2010) Revival of test bias research in preemployment testing. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(4), 648-680. DOI: 10.1037/a0018714  

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