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  • July 21, 2011
  • 01:01 PM

Coaxing more food from less land

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

It’s easy to forget amidst the concern over sprawl that agriculture is still the dominant human impact on the land. Perhaps that’s because it’s easy to rationalize the consequences of agriculture’s land use—it feeds us, after all. But that shouldn’t dissuade us from finding ways to improve farm efficiency. Global population growth shows no signs of [...]... Read more »

Clay, J. (2011) Freeze the footprint of food. Nature, 475(7356), 287-289. DOI: 10.1038/475287a  

Foley, J. et al. (2005) Global Consequences of Land Use. Science, 309(5734), 570-574. DOI: 10.1126/science.1111772  

  • July 21, 2011
  • 10:17 AM

Linguistic diversity and traffic accidents

by Sean Roberts in A Replicated Typo 2.0

Daniel Nettle's model of linguistic diversity which showed that linguistic variation tends to decline even with a small amount of migration between communities. I wondered if statistics about population movement would correlate with linguistic diversity. I found that number of traffic fatalities are a pretty good predictor. What's going on?... Read more »

  • July 21, 2011
  • 03:00 AM

Obama cracks a joke to the Atlantis Shuttle Crew – So why wasn’t it funny?

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

In space, no one can hear the tumble-weed. Obama: “I was just dialing out for pizza, and I didn’t expect to end up in space…” Recently, the US President took some time out from his busy schedule to make a surprise phone call to the Space Shuttle Atlantis crew. Clearly in need of some light-hearted … Continue reading »... Read more »

  • July 20, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Does desire trump beliefs based on facts when evaluating scientific evidence?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

You probably know the answer to this question is yes. But the real answer is much more nuanced, which makes it so much more interesting. As it happens, if you are conflicted about the facts, you are more likely to be swayed by your desires than the facts themselves.  When I was in graduate school, [...]

Related posts:Generation Y (aka the Millennials): Just the facts
Why facts don’t matter
Faulty Logic: Cannabis, psychosis and fish oil
... Read more »

  • July 20, 2011
  • 12:51 AM

The cult of personal responsibility

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Ads for a campaign to speak German are currently all over Germany. The campaign is called “Ich spreche Deutsch” (I speak German) and aims to convince migrant youths to learn more German or learn German faster. The campaign’s clever slogan … Continue reading →... Read more »

VIRGINIA P. COLLIER. (1989) How Long? A Synthesis of Research on Academic Achievement in a Second Language. TESOL Quarterly, 509-531. info:/

  • July 18, 2011
  • 10:00 AM

Better Know An Epidemiologist: Alexander Langmuir

by Mr Epidemiology in Mr Epidemiology

Better Know An Epidemiologist is an ongoing feature where Mr Epidemiology pays tribute to those who have set the stage for his generation of epidemiologists. All of the articles are listed here. Epidemiology is a relatively new field. While John Snow made his breakthrough in the 1850s, even as recently as World War 2, there [...]... Read more »

No authors listed. (1996) A tribute to Alexander D. Langmuir. American journal of epidemiology, 144(8 Suppl). PMID: 8928703  

Brachman PS. (1996) Alexander Duncan Langmuir. American journal of epidemiology, 144(8 Suppl). PMID: 8857846  

  • July 18, 2011
  • 09:30 AM

Communicating Meaning Online: A Digital Expression of Theory of Mind

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

The growth of email, instant messaging, texting, and various other digitally-mediated communicative tools (DMC) has been rapid and pervasive. The majority of people today are comfortable enough to use these communicative tools on a daily basis, particularly among younger generations. DMC appears to be a preferred means of communication. But the popularity of DMC forces [...]

... Read more »

Jack RE, Blais C, Scheepers C, Schyns PG, & Caldara R. (2009) Cultural confusions show that facial expressions are not universal. Current biology : CB, 19(18), 1543-8. PMID: 19682907  

Kindred J, Roper S. (2004) Making connections via instant messenger (IM): student use of IM to maintain personal relationships. Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 48-54. info:/

Wellman HM, & Liu D. (2004) Scaling of theory-of-mind tasks. Child development, 75(2), 523-41. PMID: 15056204  

  • July 18, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

The Danger of Stereotyping: Does Gay Black = Likable?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

It’s an interesting question. We know from recent research that black criminal defendants who wear glasses may be viewed as less threatening (and therefore more likable). And we’re guessing that gay black men may also seem less threatening than heterosexual black men. By now you likely know we wouldn’t muse on this sort of question [...]

Related posts:The ‘artful dodge’: The danger of a smooth talker
You’re on trial: Is it better to be an atheist or a black radical Muslim lesbian?
........ Read more »

Remedios, JD,, Chasteen, AL,, Rule, NO,, & Plaks, JE. (2011) Impressions at the intersection of ambiguous and obvious social categories: Does gay Black . Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. info:/

  • July 17, 2011
  • 04:30 PM

Risk averse Taiwanese are also more religious

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

The infamous 'Pascal's Wager' is still often trotted out as a supposedly rational basis for believing in god. While the flaws in that one are well known, it is still commonly believed that risk-averse people are more likely to be religious. Better to go to Church than run the risk of being fried in the hereafter, the supposition goes.

Actually, evidence that risk-averse people are more religious is  weaker than you might suppose. What's more, there's no reason to think that it applies in t........ Read more »

  • July 17, 2011
  • 11:27 AM

The Google Stroop Effect?

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

The Google logo.Notice the logo is multi-colored (as pointed out by Neurobonkers). Seeing "Google" printed in a solid color (or in any other font, for that matter) would likely result in a Stroop effect, or a slower response time in identifying the color of the font, relative to that of a neutral word.Is Google making us stupid?That question, and its original exposition in The Atlantic, has been furthering the career of Nicholas G. Carr. His subsequent book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Do........ Read more »

  • July 16, 2011
  • 01:25 PM

Human Head Soup in Upper Paleolithic

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

Head cheese may not be for everyone but it has an intensely devoted following. Most head cheese recipes call for the removal of brain, eyes, and ears before preparation, but purists scoff at this and include everything except bones. It is doubtful that Upper Paleolithic humans made head cheese; it is too time consuming. It [...]... Read more »

Prat S, Péan SC, Crépin L, Drucker DG, Puaud SJ, Valladas H, Lázničková-Galetová M, van der Plicht J, & Yanevich A. (2011) The oldest anatomically modern humans from far southeast europe: direct dating, culture and behavior. PloS one, 6(6). PMID: 21698105  

  • July 16, 2011
  • 01:39 AM

The growth of atheism

by Jason Collins in Evolving Economics

Nigel Barber of The Daily Beast (Psychology Today) has posted on a forthcoming article in which he shows that the level of atheism increases with the quality of life. Barber explains the trend as follows: The reasons that churches lose ground in developed countries can be summarized in market terms. First, with better science, and [...]... Read more »

  • July 16, 2011
  • 01:30 AM

When a child's death is not accidental

by Eva Alisic in Trauma Recovery

Every year 3500 children under the age of fifteen die in industrialized nations as a result of abuse. In a CAPRA seminar, John Devaney talked about the characteristics of these deaths, about best practices in child death reviews, and about lessons learned to improve child protection. ... Read more »

Devaney, J., Lazenbatt, A., & Bunting, L. (2011) Inquiring into Non-Accidental Child Deaths: Reviewing the Review Process. British Journal of Social Work, 41(2), 242-260. DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcq069  

  • July 15, 2011
  • 03:57 PM

Parental Perception of Child Weight Status

by Mr Epidemiology in Mr Epidemiology

There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it. - Chinese proverb Childhood obesity is a growing problem for our society. However, we are still trying to find effective methods of dealing with this public health concern. Some researchers have suggested that family based interventions could be the most effective way to [...]... Read more »

Jones AR, Parkinson KN, Drewett RF, Hyland RM, Pearce MS, & Adamson AJ. (2011) Parental perceptions of weight status in children: the Gateshead Millennium Study. International journal of obesity, 35(7), 953-962. PMID: 21673651  

  • July 15, 2011
  • 01:52 PM

An ecology of gardens and yards

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

Tucked amidst acres of asphalt jungle are cities’ unsung environmental heroes. Yards, lawns, gardens—call them whatever you please—these bits of unpaved earth play a real role in supporting thriving urban ecosystems. And they could play the part even more eloquently if we thought of them as parts of a larger whole. Anyone who has spent [...]... Read more »

  • July 15, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Simple Jury Persuasion: Does Using an Interpreter Help or Hinder the Plaintiff?

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

You’ve seen non-native English speakers struggle to be understood on the witness stand. Even native English speakers can be tough to understand due to speech dialects or thick styles of pronunciation. We know accents make us all work harder to comprehend and that most of us don’t like to work that hard. So what happens [...]

Related posts:Simple Jury Persuasion: Alpha and Omega Persuasion Strategies
Simple Jury Persuasion: Liking + Identification = Impact
Simple Jury Persuasion: “How........ Read more »

  • July 15, 2011
  • 04:04 AM

Violent Brains In The Supreme Court

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Back in June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Californian law banning the sale of violent videogames to children was unconstitutional because it violated the right to free speech.However, the ruling wasn't unanimous. Justice Stephen Breyer filed a dissenting opinion. Unfortunately, it contains a whopping piece of bad neuroscience. The ruling is here. Thanks to the Law & Neuroscience Blog for noticing this.Breyer says (on page 13 of his bit)Cutting-edge neuroscience has shown that “vir........ Read more »

  • July 13, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

When graphic images backfire as persuasive tools

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

There has been a lot of reaction to the new graphic images the FDA will put on cigarette packs. From concerns about the government attempting to ‘regulate cool’ to derision and to concerns about the ‘shock value’ of the images, writers have been expressing their reactions. And so have researchers. There is a long history of research in [...]

Related posts:Images and ads create false memories
Three letter words that make a huge difference
Apology redux: Doing it right (and doing it w........ Read more »

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2011) What makes an image memorable?. Science Daily. info:/

  • July 12, 2011
  • 12:42 PM

Drive a lot? Housing density may not be to blame

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

Pushing high density living may seem like a good way to get people out of their cars—saving them money, curbing emissions, and reducing oil dependence—but densification may not be a silver bullet, according to one recent study. The authors dug into the National Household Transportation Survey to examine per household vehicle ownership rates, vehicle miles [...]... Read more »

  • July 11, 2011
  • 07:02 AM

Size does matter—when you are lying

by Doug Keene in The Jury Room

We’ve written a number of times about deception and the detection thereof. Our goal continues to be to keep you up to date on what we actually know about the art of detecting deception and what is simply unreliable ‘common wisdom’. There is some really intriguing and interesting research out there including a new study we [...]

Related posts:Deception Detection: The latest on what we know
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
Detecting Deception Using the Law of Sufficient Motivation
... Read more »

Eisenkopf, G., Gurtoviy, R., & Utikal, V. (2011) Size matters –when it comes to lies. University of Konstanz, Department of Economics. info:/

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