Monthly Archives: November 2011

A foundation in (mainly human) behavioral biology

Behavioral Biology is not Evolutionary Psychology, but many people, even smart people who should know better, get that confused. One could think of Evolutionary Psychology as a subset of behavioral biology. Or, one could think of Evolutionary Psychology as the deformed misguided freakish evil sibling of behavioral biology that should have been smothered at birth. Not that I have strong feelings about it or anything ….

Anyway, I like to talk about Behavioral Biology but I find too often that the people I’m conversing with think we are discussing Evolutionary Psychology. This is a little like being an astronomer and everyone wants to speak with you about astrology. But worse.

So, I’ve created an annotated bibliography of mainly classic (but some more recent) foundational readings in (mainly human) behavioral biology. It is here: A Tutorial in Human Behavioral Biology

And in related matters, do check out the podcast of the recent conversation with Eric Michale Johnson, Marie-Claire Shanahan, Desiree Schell and Moi: Culture and Tradition

soda. pop. snap.

The other day, and I kid you not, I saw someone say to someone else “would you like a soda” and the person stared back and said “why would I want a soda” and a third party repeated the question, only saying “would you like a pop” and the person said “yes, very much, thank you.”

I grew up in Soda Country, where 80 to 90 percent of the time people used the word soda. Now, I live in Pop Country where 80 – 100 percent of the time people call soda pop. For a while, I lived in the Soda Enclave along the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, where soda is commonly used but there is enough nearby pop that people are cautious.

There is a website that deals with the Great Pop vs. Soda Controversy. Here. I love the rollover interactive map, but this graphic here is the cold hard reality.

I’d love to see one for frying pan vs. skillet.

The Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street

Based on Richard A. Epstein’s new Broadside, this video outlines the differences between the classical liberalism of the Tea Parties and the progressive agenda advanced by the OWS movement, and reveals that the painful performance of the American economy in the past decade is not a function of bad luck, but the product of flawed institutional design….

Continue reading The Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street

100 Amazing Experiments: Book

New York Academy of Sciences Children’s Science Book Award Winner Vicki Cobb has a new volume called “See for Yourself: More Than 100 Amazing Experiments for Science Fairs and Projects (Second Edition)

Actually, it isn’t entirely new. It’s a second edition, but updated.

This is for 10 year olds and up, and it does in fact have 100 ways to make glue, fake old documents, extract DNA, do interesting anatomical experiments like finding your blind spot, produce your own ink, hypnotize your friends, make crystal flowers, etc. etc. all with common household ingredients.

It is paperback, richly illustrated with fun pictures, inexpensive and the stuff looks mostly like it woudl work. The perfect gift for the 10 – 12 year old (though I’d go as young as 8, franky) who has everything, especially those who might be far away because a book is easy to ship.

Kudos to the Brave Five of Egypt

Five people, now known as the brave five, refused to do their jobs at an Egyptian port facility; They refused to sign for an incoming shipment … from the US .. of tons and tons of CS Gas, the tear gas used to disperse and injure protesters. An investigation into the behavior of these five port workers was initiated. Then cancelled.

I’m not sure what the current status of the tear gas is. Story here.

So, when did the Wall Street Journal become a disreputable rag?

Bret Stephens does not mind looking like an idiot. Today, he published a column in the Wall Street Journal that is full of snark and devoid of thought, ill considered, misleading, moronic and in the end, embarrassing. It is a classic case of irresponsible journalism. Someone sent me the link and I swear, I checked twice while reading the piece to see if I had landing on I can’t believe the Wall Street Journal published this.

I think it would have been impossible for a paper like the WSJ to publish a piece like this had main stream media not gotten rid of most of their science editors and writers. Even if the WSJ would put this sloppy thinking, moronic opinion and bad science in a column, other newspapers, or should I say, the science staff at those newspapers, would have their way with it.

Stephens drek is not worth quoting here; I’ll just tell you that it is the worst piece of Climate Change Denialism that I’ve seen in a long time other than the crap that kooks send to my email inbox on a daily basis. The astonishing thing is that Stephens is the Wall Street Journal’s deputy editorial page editor for Asian and European editions. Really. How embarrassing.

It is here. I recommend Dramamine first, becuase it will make you sick. Do people who work for the Wall Street Journal still get press credentials?