Evolution

Neuron Culture

Category archives for Evolution

The day’s gleanings

Jerry Coyne relates that Birds are getting smaller. Most students use Wikipedia, avoid telling profs about it When I talk to writing classes, someone will usually ask if I use Wikipedia. I tell them, “It’s often my first stop — never my last.” Carl Zimmer has mashed up the data from his clever online survey…

Gold in the tweetstream

I’ll try doing this now and then, maybe regularly, to gather the more notable tweets I get in my twitter feed. Darwin2009: Population-level traits that affect, and do not affect, invasion success http://ow.ly/1mMUp jayrosen_nyu: “The New York Times is now as much a technology company as a journalism company.” <— Bill Keller http://jr.ly/2pfz dhayton: “H-Madness”…

We’ll start with the science, cruise through J school, and end with healthcare reform or bust. Genetic material Willful ignorance is not an effective argument against personal genomics : Genetic Future Mr. McDonald spanks the frightened. The American Scientist, meanwhile, takes a shot at Putting Genes in Perspective Culture and the human genome From the…

Jonah Lehrer’s story on “Depression’s Upside” has created quite a kerfuffle. The idea he explores — that depression creates an analytic, ruminative focus that generates useful insight — sits badly with quite a few people. It’s not a brand-new idea, by any means; as Jonah notes, it goes back at least to Aristotle. But Jonah…

In my “Atlantic article on the genetic roots of stable-versus-reactive temperaments, I noted that the key gene variants linked to these traits appeared to have developed over only the last 50,000-100,000 years — a short time in evolutionary time. That same idea is developed in Cochran and Harpending’s “The 10,000-year Explosion.” Here Razib at Gene…

Tomorrow I fly to North Carolina for the ScienceOnline 2010 conference, or unconference, where on Saturday I will sit down with Ed Yong, Carl Zimmer, John Timmer, and anyone else who squeezes into the room, to talk about rebooting science journalism. The obvious assumption behind the topic (if I can return to the titular metaphor)…

Over at the Times Magazine Motherlode blog, Lisa Belkin ran a short post about my Atlantic “Orchid Children” piece a couple days ago, and some of the responses she got strike to an issue that has come up quite a few other places. I posted a note on this at Motherlode, and wanted to expand…

I’m happy to announce that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, publisher of many a fine book over the decades, will be publishing “The Orchid and the Dandelion” (working title), in which I’ll explore further the emerging “orchid-dandelion hypothesis” I wrote about in my recent Atlantic story. (In brief, that hypothesis — a simple but deeply transformative amendment…

On the reading table lately

Been a while, so these cover a span of reading. I’m in the midst of my friend Adrienne Mayor’s The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy, and can report that Mr. M is quite a poisonous but complicated handful — a dark and deadly echo of his hero and model,…

At Gene Expression, Razib casts a skeptical eye on a study of the neuroanatomical variability of religiosity. The brain areas identified in this and the parallel fMRI studies are not unique to processing religion [the study states], but play major roles in social cognition. This implies that religious beliefs and behavior emerged not as sui…