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  • November 11, 2010
  • 09:04 PM

The grand challenges of Earth system science and sustainability

by Phil Camill in Global Change: Intersection of Nature and Culture

In the Policy Forum of today’s issue of Science, a research team that includes recent Nobel laureate, Elinor Ostrom, issued a call for innovative interdisciplinary approaches to confronting major environmental challenges:
Tremendous progress has been made in understanding the functioning of the
Earth system and, in particular, the impact of human actions. Although this
knowledge can inform management [...]... Read more »

Reid, W., Chen, D., Goldfarb, L., Hackmann, H., Lee, Y., Mokhele, K., Ostrom, E., Raivio, K., Rockstrom, J., Schellnhuber, H.... (2010) Earth System Science for Global Sustainability: Grand Challenges. Science, 330(6006), 916-917. DOI: 10.1126/science.1196263  

  • November 11, 2010
  • 07:35 PM

Animal Signalling Theory 101 – The Handicap Principle

by Anne in A Replicated Typo 2.0

One of the most important concepts in animal signalling theory, proposed by Amotz Zahavi in a seminal 1975 paper and in later works (Zahavi 1977; Zahavi & Zahavi 1997), is the handicap principle. A general definition is that females have evolved mating preferences for males who display exaggerated ornaments or behaviours that are costly to maintain and develop, and that this cost ensures an ‘honest’ signal of male genetic quality.

As a student I found it quite difficult to identify a work........ Read more »

ZAHAVI, A. (1975) Mate selection?A selection for a handicap. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 53(1), 205-214. DOI: 10.1016/0022-5193(75)90111-3  

  • November 11, 2010
  • 06:01 PM

Learning from toys – again

by Jan Husdal in

Is China really to blame for the 2007 recall crisis, or are the drivers and causes of this crisis originating from much closer to home? What can we learn from the toy industry? Much of the focus has been on China and its contractors, but China is not solely to blame, as many of the risk drivers come from the companies who outsourced the production, not the Chinese manufacturers. ... Read more »

Teagarden, M., & Hinrichs, M. (2009) Learning from toys: Reflections on the 2007 recall crisis. Thunderbird International Business Review, 51(1), 5-17. DOI: 10.1002/tie.20229  

  • November 11, 2010
  • 04:30 AM

Shyness negatively affects marital quality

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

Shyness and marriage: does shyness shape even established relationships? From Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin A key psychological question is to what extent a person’s personality determines the shape and quality of his or her social relationships. This research explores the specific impact of shyness on marital quality. It outlines how shy people reported more [...]... Read more »

  • November 10, 2010
  • 09:30 PM

Alcohol is most harmful but most other illegal drugs are misclassified too.

by Caspar Addyman in Your Brain on Drugs

David Nutt and his colleagues at the newly formed Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs assessment harm of 19 common drugs. Alcohol was the worst overall and in harm to others. Was 4th behind heroin, crack and crystal. Amazingly new harm numbers bare "essentially no relation" to penalties in UK law (0.04 correlation). We've redone calculation excluding legal drugs and correlation still only 0.37 ... Read more »

Nutt DJ, King LA, Phillips LD, & on behalf of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. (2010) Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis. Lancet, 376(9752), 1558-1565. PMID: 21036393  

  • November 10, 2010
  • 06:37 PM

Learning Science from the Movies – the Effects of Gender

by Colin Schultz in CMBR

When it comes to bad science in movies, there are two main camps; those who hate it, and those who hate it but will put up with it. Some say even horrid films can make the audience enthusiastic about science and make them want to learn. Then there are those who think bad science is [...]... Read more »

  • November 10, 2010
  • 04:36 AM

Does my brain look big in this?

by Alice Bell in Through the Looking Glass

According to an oft-cited paper by Marcel LaFollette, a 1926 magazine once introduced an eminent medical researcher as a woman whose mahogany furniture “gleams”. From the same study, but a 1950 magazine, a senior figure in the Atomic Energy Commission was praised for sewing her own clothes. Later, via Dorothy Nelkin, Maria Mayer (Nobel physics [...]... Read more »

  • November 10, 2010
  • 04:30 AM

Reconsidering culture and poverty

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

From ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Historically scholars have been cautious when discussing links between culture and poverty. The concept of a “culture of poverty” reemerged briefly in the 60’s, but it was a short-lived headline for most as the idea that attitudes and behavior patterns kept people poor was avoided. [...]... Read more »

Mario Luis Small, David J. Harding and Michèle Lamont. (2010) Reconsidering Culture and Poverty. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science , 629(6). info:/10.1177/0002716210362077

  • November 9, 2010
  • 03:25 AM

Genes To Brains To Minds To... Murder?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

A group of Italian psychiatrists claim to explain How Neuroscience and Behavioral Genetics Improve Psychiatric Assessment: Report on a Violent Murder Case.The paper presents the horrific case of a 24 year old woman from Switzerland who smothered her newborn son to death immediately after giving birth in her boyfriend's apartment. After her arrest, she claimed to have no memory of the event. She had a history of multiple drug abuse, including heroin, from the age of 13. Forensic psychiatrists wer........ Read more »

Rigoni D, Pellegrini S, Mariotti V, Cozza A, Mechelli A, Ferrara SD, Pietrini P, & Sartori G. (2010) How neuroscience and behavioral genetics improve psychiatric assessment: report on a violent murder case. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience, 160. PMID: 21031162  

  • November 8, 2010
  • 01:40 PM

Why bother with happiness? Broaden and build theory & Chronic pain

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

Readers may be wondering why I’ve come over all happy clappy and jolly joy germ – well, I realised I’d been writing a lot about experimental and theoretical factors found to influence vulnerability to chronic pain, but I had been writing less about ways to help people cope more effectively with chronic pain. I do … Read more... Read more »

  • November 8, 2010
  • 09:26 AM

Fan Identity and Team Choice

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

How does one become a fan? Choose an allegiance? Decide that you’re going to wear bright green, or purple and gold, or paint your face orange and black? In many cases, these allegiances are decided for us—handed down via familial loyalties or decided by geographic boundaries. I raised this question on Twitter a few weeks ago, and the results all indicated that team alliance is linked to one’s point-of-entry into fandom: if you begin watching Team A and learning about the sport via Team A,........ Read more »

Miller, Michael. (1997) American Football: The Rationalization of the Irrational. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 11(1), 101-127. info:/

Schmitt, R., & Leonard II , W. (1986) Immortalizing the Self Through Sport. American Journal of Sociology, 91(5), 1088. DOI: 10.1086/228387  

  • November 7, 2010
  • 01:37 PM

Happy happy! Joy joy! Increasing positive experiences to improve mood

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

I am sure there will be people who read today’s post who will feel like giving me a bit of a slapping. “How”, they will say, “Are you supposed to get happy when you’re feeling bad?” And I would have been one of these people a few years ago too, given my history of low … Read more... Read more »

  • November 7, 2010
  • 07:49 AM

Life in the dark

by gregdowney in Neuroanthropology

My wife, along with her many other jobs – paid and unpaid – is the local director of a campus exchange program that brings US students to Wollongong, New South Wales.  Because of her background in outdoor education and adventure therapy, she does a great job taking visiting Yanks on weekend activities that get the students to see a side of life in Australia that they might not otherwise see.  From Mystery Bay on the South Coast, to Mount Guluga with an Aboriginal guide, to abseiling (rapel........ Read more »

  • November 7, 2010
  • 01:53 AM

Boys Equal to Girls in Math Performance

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

A big meta-analysis by Lindberg et al. (2010) tells the truth yet again: given the right conditions, boys and girls perform equally well in math. What the authors (2010) wonder, and I do too, is how come such stridently sexist stereotypes persist about the capabilities of females to do math, when in fact there is no substance whatsoever to promulgate or sustain such stereotypes? Liberating news for women who like to count and for men, who like me, love poetry…... Read more »

Lindberg, S., Hyde, J., Petersen, J., & Linn, M. (2010) New trends in gender and mathematics performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 136(6), 1123-1135. DOI: 10.1037/a0021276  

  • November 6, 2010
  • 05:30 AM

Should prisoners have a right to vote?

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

The prisoner’s right to vote and civic responsibility: Reaffirming the social contract? From Probation Journal UK headlines this week have caused significant public debate regarding the issue of a prisoner’s right to vote. The current law in the UK is that convicted prisoners (with few exceptions) are denied the right to vote in national or [...]... Read more »

  • November 6, 2010
  • 02:44 AM

German is so funny. Not.

by Ingrid Piller in Language on the Move

Earlier this term I intercepted a note my 7-year-old had written to her teacher: “Ger Ger Ger; Don’t be so rude.” She was objecting to a reading comprehension exercise about sneezing, which included the following information: If someone nearby sneezes, … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • November 5, 2010
  • 06:38 AM

Victorian Psychology: Was It So Different From Modern Psychology?

by John Wayland in The Darwin Tribune

Psychology is sometimes only thought of as occuring in the 20th century. Indeed, most of Psychology has "happened" in the 20th Century. Freud, Skinner, Bowlby, the Cognitive Revolution, Neuropsychology are just a tiny fraction of who and what happened in the 20th century. Of course, students schooled in the history of psychology will know of it's early founding fathers, Wundt, James and possibly Darwin to name a few. But like many sciences, psychology owes its existence to the scientific en........ Read more »

Barton, R. (2002) Victorian psychology and British culture 1850-1880. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 38(4), 411-412. DOI: 10.1002/jhbs.10039  

Vrettos, A. (2005) Victorian Psychology. A Companion to the Victorian Novel. info:/10.1111/b.9781405132916.2005.00006.x

  • November 5, 2010
  • 05:30 AM

Violent video games cause an increase in aggression long after the game has been turned off

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

From Social Psychological and Personality Science In America this week the US Supreme Court has been hearing a case about the banning of violent video games. For many, this issue has been a concern for a long time in relation to children’s use and the impact of the exposure to their violence. Until now research [...]... Read more »

  • November 4, 2010
  • 07:00 PM

Supply Chain Risk, Vulnerability and Mitigation in Indonesia

by Jan Husdal in

Indonesia. A logistical challenge for any supply chain, if not a logistical nightmare, and thus prone to supply chain disruptions. One would think that supply chain risk management would find fertile soil here, but does it? » Read more » » »
... Read more »

  • November 4, 2010
  • 06:28 PM

Why religious Austrians have more children

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

On average, the more religious you are, the more kids you'll have. It's a widespread phenomenon, seen across pretty much all of the modern world.

The problem is, no-one really knows why this happens.

It could be something about religious beliefs. Maybe they make you more attractive to potential mates, or maybe they drive you to have more kids once you have found your mate.

Or maybe they encourage traditional, rather than modern, approaches to relationships. The traditional role for women is t........ Read more »

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