The Primate Diaries

Archives for July, 2009

English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679) is widely held as the “father of political science.” His 1651 book Leviathan makes the case for why monarchy is the only political system that is consistent with human nature. He bases his argument on the following assumption about humans in “the state of nature” (what we…

The Bonding Brain

Primate sociality is linked to brain networks for pair bonds. Social conservatives are fond of linking morality with monogamy and will be quick to condemn the moral crimes of adulterous felatio while ignoring the moral crimes of cutting social programs for poor mothers. However, in a bizarre twist, research suggests that morality and monogamy are…

President Obama just stated the following at a press conference: Now, I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in…

Cambridge authorities are now dropping the disorderly conduct charge against the country’s leading African-American scholar, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (see right), after he was arrested in his own home when police confused him with a burglar. This was after Gates showed both his Harvard ID and Driver’s License that gave proof of address.…

Earlier this week a classified Scientology contract was leaked (full pdf document here), revealing the paranoid nature of the Church. The document is entitled Application, Declaration and General Release Declaration of Religious Commitment and Application for Membership in a Scientology Religious Order and for Active Participation on Church Staff. This contract must be signed by…

Newest Scibling – The Book of Trogool

Dorothea Salo, the Digital Repository Librarian at the University of Wisconsin (see her professional website here) has arrived to teach us a thing or two about information science. She’s already taught me something about loading powerpoints as website useful content (see below). It also serves as a great way to learn about her area of…

Mark Hemingway, the Conservative “tough-guy” for the National Review, has just posted a rant against health concerns for the endocrine disruptor Bisphenol A. I’ve seen some estimates that over a billion people have had exposure to BPA and there isn’t proof of anything. So why the big scare? I assume trial lawyers are involved in…

Gay “Kiss-In” at Mormon Temple

A gay couple kiss in front of the Salt Lake City Mormon Temple / David Daniels For the second time gay activists and allies held a kiss-in at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The action held this morning was to protest the arrest of two gay men two weeks ago who showed “inappropriate” public…

Nature vs. Science

Jorge Cham has just posted his latest PhD Comic, this one taking on the rivalry between Nature and Science. Look behind the scenes at how the science publishing industry REALLY works. It’s enough to make you want to publish only in PLoS ONE!

The Science of Monty Python

Monty Python: The scientists of silliness? I’m currently working on a book (scheduled for release sometime in the 2010s) that intends to be an extension of my research in evolutionary anthropology and the history/philosophy of science. In the coming months I may be tempted to write more about it — and could be persuaded to…