Wednesday, March 9th 2011
This semester I have decided not to do weekly roundups of links useful to the courses I teach, because last semester it was exhausting to me, and as it turns out only minimally read by my students. However, I continue to bookmark stuff I find interesting, and I have reached such a critical mass that I’ve decided to share it. Some of what I want to share is focused on the ladybusiness, but I also want to share some links on brainz, and for students.
Let’s talk about sex
A few posts have come out recently on sex: who wants it, who gets it, and the sexual health of adolescents. Mark Regnerus writes “Sex is Cheap: Why young men have the upper hand, even when they’re failing at life,” which I thought was reductive and pretty disparaging to both young men and women. I was surprised at how the author talked only about heterosexual sex (why is this ok? why is this interesting?), and how he shared a single quote for each woman he interviewed, and magically it fit nicely into his own narrative. It seems like the story here is in the choices young women and men are making… so it would make sense to share the more nuanced results of the interviews Regnerus says he conducted. That said, I did learn a few things, the most disheartening related to unwanted sex:
“Finally, as my colleagues and I discovered in our interviews, striking numbers of young women are participating in unwanted sex—either particular acts they dislike or more frequent intercourse than they’d prefer or mimicking porn (being in a dating relationship is correlated to greater acceptance of and use of porn among women).”
Next, Scicurious of tag-team blogging fame and general awesomeness, has a real winner. Today, she reviewed cool research on sex roles from the seventies. She shows how our perception of the gender of a baby impacts how we treat it (and how dolls might make better toys than footballs for babies, no matter what).
You might have seen the recent buzz about PKMZeta, a protein that may aid in strengthening old memories. Ed Yong of Not Exactly Rocket Science (check out the spiffy new banner!) has a three-part series on it. I also loved David Dobbs’s piece exploring problems in cognitive science: Is Cognitive Science Full of Crap? (Yes. Well, sometimes. Maybe. Except sometimes not and then it’s really very cool.) John Hawks also has an interesting piece called Numbers as Cognitive Technology: this post explores how we understand numbers, at a population variation (regarding language), developmental (regarding John’s twins, who I imagine to be very cute, with thought bubbles of fingers and toes above their heads) and even comparative (Alex the Parrot!) level.
Then, a more devastating piece that, to me, highlights some of the problems with the medical metaphor of humans as machines: Daniel Lende at Neuroanthropology writes about a New York Times piece about how the field of psychiatry has changed with time.
But on to the links you actually expected under this heading. Dan Simons, fellow prof here at the University of Illinois and co-author of The Invisible Gorilla, wrote a great piece on study habits and what students think they know versus what they actually know. Read it, then study the way he tells you to! Hint: re-reading the text is not how you learn the material.
Then there is this perspective over at Observations, a Scientific American blog, that posits we should teach kids more about the process of science. How can this translate into better science ed in higher ed as well? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Most of what I do centers on having students do actual studies, or assist in research in my lab, or sometimes propose avenues of research as part of a project. But maybe there are more fun things we can be doing in a classroom setting that would lead to more students understanding the scientific method and the process of science.
I also want to share this great tutorial on how to choose a research project. This is useful for students at all levels… and post-docs and faculty, too.
Your dose of random
Steve Silberman interviews Seth Mnookin regarding his new book The Panic Virus. I’ve been avidly reading all of Mnookin’s press materials and look forward to reading the book, but as always Silberman does an exceptional job so I particularly recommend his post.
This article made the rounds in the twittersphere on how to improve comment sections. I just liked it a lot and found it a great tutorial on fostering online communities.
Then, for my anthropology peeps, an important article on problematizing the thrifty gene, particularly around race and racism. Something to share with your students.
People have been rocking out in the SciAm Guest Blog. Check out this book review of Tabloid Medicine: How the Internet is Being Used to Hijack Medical Science for Fear and Profit by Valerie Jones.
If you haven’t had enough counter-evidence to the idea of science blogs as an echo chamber, check out Colin Schultz’s treatment of a recent paper on linking patterns in science blogs versus traditional journalism.
Finally, check out this interactive map on well-being in the US in the New York Times. I found a lot of the patterns really interesting, in terms of what portions of the US lit up when.
[11:26am CST: Edited to add two links for Scicurious, because the links were on my list but then I forgot.]