Anthropology

I’ve often wondered about the Scopes trial, and wanted to read a good account of it.  I was recommended the account by Edward J. Larson in When Science and Christianity Meet, edited by DC Lindberg and RL Numbers (ISBN 0226482162).  .  It’s a very informative book, and wide-ranging too: out of 12 chapters, only one on Galileo and one on Darwin.

A new survey analysis finds that in just about about any field where there are academics and field work, there is going to be sexual harassment and even assault.

Yes, surveys, the bane of the scientific method. The authors analyzed survey results of 666 people (142 men, 516 women) with field experience in anthropology, archeology and more, and found that many respondents claimed to have suffered or witnessed sexual harassment or even sexual assault while at work in the field.


A recent article by Nury Vittachi, Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke, received rather a lot of comments.  Among these were a few about the place of women in the world: however these tended to be lost among the welter of other comments.  Indeed, the article seemed to attract a large number of orcs.  Now in some ways I am a highly discriminatory sort of person, and here I am discriminating between trolls

Social animals often develop relationships with other group members to reduce aggression and gain access to scarce resources. In wild chacma baboons the strategy for grooming activities shows a certain pattern across the day - they have ulterior motives. 


Sociology is too uncontrolled to be meaningful science but controlled scenarios don't lead to realistic behavior. 

The Virtual Environment Navigation lab at Brown University thinks they can bridge the gap between them.

They have developed a wireless virtual reality system to study a phenomenon that scientists don't yet understand: how pedestrians interact with each other and how those individual behaviors, in turn, generate patterns of crowd movement. It's an everyday experience for all kinds of animals everything from people to ants. 


When did teen dating get so violent? It used to be the kind of thing that was a plot linchpin for movies but now estimates are that 1 in 6 young people report acts like punching, pulling hair, shoving, and throwing things. 


If you call yourself a paleo diet aficionado, you probably eat a lot of bugs. As many as you can. Because finding enough food was the kind of struggle only dinosaurs can sympathize with - an ant diet is a struggle.


Chimpanzees are copycats but sometimes it is more than copying, it becomes new traditions particular to only one specific group of these primates, according to a paper in Animal Cognition

In 2010,
Edwin van Leeuwen of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in The Netherlands
 noticed how a female chimp named Julie repeatedly put a stiff, strawlike blade of grass for no apparent reason in one or both of her ears. She left it there even when she was grooming, playing or resting in Zambia's Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust sanctuary. On subsequent visits, van Leeuwen saw that other chimpanzees in her group had started to do the same.


In business, the saying goes there are good decisions, bad decisions and no decisions, and they are in that order of being problematic. This lacks common sense to some; how can doing the wrong thing be better than doing no thing? Companies who don't try and fail are not trying enough, that's why.

Most people would rather do something than nothing. Disney theme parks know this. You may may be in line for an hour but you are always moving. And then psychologists say we're just not comfortable in our own heads. Most people will do something, even the wrong thing, they write in Science.


How bad is western music? Chimps in a study published by the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition preferred silence - yet they liked music from Africa.

And music from India. What is the reason for that?

Music in the east is structured differently, notation is everything from Swara Kalana to Chôngganbo, but African music is not all that different. Why would chimps like it more? It may be tempo. The current findings say this may be the first to show that they display a preference for particular rhythmic patterns. If the authors aren't sure, none of the rest of the world can be.