The Thoughtful Animal

Extra, Extra

Here’s your weekly round-up of fun and fascinating:

To start with, I did a 6-part series on numerical cognition and the development of math skills, here and at Child’s Play:

1. The Developmental Origins of Numerical Cognition
2. What is Dyscalculia? How Does It Develop?
3. Developmental Dyscalculia Explained: Strategy, Memory, Attention
4. Numbers on the Brain: Neurobiology of Mathematics

For an evolutionary perspective, there were the two companion pieces this week here:

5. What Are The Origins of Large Number Representation?
6. The Origins of Small Number Representation

Science
From Lucas Brouwers, a good explanation of why the term “living fossil” just doesn’t make sense.

Why did humans evolve the capacity to imagine alternatives to reality? From the NY Times Opinionator blog.

An awesome time-lapse video of plants. I promise, it’s really cool. (via Colin Schultz)

And another time-lapse video, this time of the Perseid meteor shower. Except, there aren’t many meteors. But it’s really neat to see the stars rotate across the sky, and the planes

Does the status of the pet dog without the family structure depend on where you live? Interesting, but not sure I totally agree.

More behind the fold!


PZ Myers says that Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain. Kurzweil responds.

Lots of people think this is a silly article, because a bunch of neuroscientists got together and went camping to learn something about the brain. I agree that there’s not much to be learned about the brain by camping. But I still think it’s an interesting read. Meanwhile, a piece from The Guardian about how kids need to get out into nature. And a piece by Ferris Jabr: can a stroll in the park replace a psychiatrists couch? (Maybe not, but if you ignore the headline, its a great article.)

Apparently, dark restaurants changes your appetite and eating habits.

Why doesn’t it get warm when it gets windy? From Chad at Uncertain Principles.

From Razib at Gene Expression: some good background on genetics and Mendelism.

What can moose (mooses? meese?) tell us about arthritis?

Does fatherhood change the brains of fathers? Fantastic article in SciAm by Brian Mossop.

Eric M. Johnson brings his exiled blog tour to Carin Bondar’s place, where he discusses the grandmother hypothesis.

The grandmother of the great barrier reef has been located, which I suppose makes it a great grand barrier reef.

What does P vs. NP mean for the rest of us? (And why should we care?)

Rob Knop at Galactic Interactions wonders what to do about the overproduction of PhDs.

An entire physiology textbook online. Nice!

An Open Letter to New Grad Students, in the Chronicle.

“How can you conserve a large carnivore when you don’t know how many exist?” DeLene Beeland muses on the issue.

Science Writing
Are we still writing about Pepsi? At Ars Technica they are.

Some thoughts from John Pavlus after a meet-up with Virginia Heffernan.

Not science, but interesting
Some California history via the LA Times: “Nathan Mendelsohn, a professor turned developer, believed California City would become the state’s next metropolis. Instead it’s a sleepy outpost that exists largely in the imagination.”

“How Food Works” from TLC Cooking. Seems like some good culinary science.

How online dating really works, according to a former Match.com researcher.

From the New York Times: What Is It About 20-Somethings? Is “emerging adulthood” a new developmental stage? And a response in Slate.

10 Reasons why LA is the Coolest City on the Planet.

What happens if you put a glass jar over a hole on a bee hive? And then take pictures?

Want to see some hungover owls? You’re welcome.

Finally, you *have* noticed scienceblogging.org – right? And the Carnal Carnival?