Anthropology

Gang slayings move in a systematic pattern over time, spreading from one vulnerable area to the next like a disease, according to a paper by Michigan State University criminologists and public health researchers. That means there is a threshold where herd immunity takes effect, just like vaccines, but letting too many people opt out risks the whole community.

There were 2,363 gang-related killings in the United States in 2012, the highest number in at least six years, according to the latest available estimates from the Department of Justice. Gang membership also increased, to 850,000 in 2012 from 788,000 in 2007.


Finally, Drummond had everything he’d ever dreamed of. He’d come a long way since he was a little boy, upset at his failure to get into the grammar school. That had been a great disappointment to his mother, and to his father, who was an engineer at a pharmaceutical company. His dad had never showed much interest in him as a child. He didn’t play with him and when he was naughty, he’d put him over the back of a chair and wallop him. That’s just the way men were in those days. Your father was feared and respected. Dads were dads.

The practice of "sexting" - the sending or receiving of sexually suggestive or explicit content via text message, primarily using a mobile device - may be more common than generally thought among adults. More than eight out of 10 people surveyed online admitted to sexting in the prior year, according to a paper at the American Psychological Association's 123rd Annual Convention.

"Given the possible implications, both positive and negative, for sexual health, it is important to continue investigating the role sexting plays in current romantic and sexual relationships," said Emily Stasko, MS, MPH, of Drexel University, who presented the research.


The non-medical use of prescription opioids (POs) has become an area of increasing public health concern in the United States and rates of use are particularly high among young adults. In the past decade, an emerging "epidemic" of non-medical PO use has been reported.

Among young adults, self-reported use is 11% and overdose deaths involving POs now exceed deaths involving heroin and cocaine combined. Sexual violence is also a serious problem in the United States receiving increased national attention, and the relationship between substance use and sexual violence is well supported in the literature.


There’s an idea circulating that humans are the only animal to experience sexual pleasure; that we approach sex in a way that is distinct from others. As with many questions about sex, this exposes some interesting facts about the way we discuss the subject.

On one level, the question of whether humans and non-humans experience sex in the same way is fairly simply dismissed: how would we know? We cannot know how a nonhuman experiences anything – they can’t be asked. Sex as an experiential phenomenon for non-humans is, quite simply, inaccessible. Science is obliged to propose questions that are answerable, and “how does a leopard slug experience sex?” is, at time of writing, about as unanswerable as they get.

It's naïve to pretend there are no profound genetic and epigenetic differences between the sexes. Elephant Gun Studios, CC BY-NC

Gender differences and sexual preferences are frequently a point of conversation. What produces the differences between men and women? Are they trivial or profound? Are they genetic or environmental, or both?

Wild chimpanzees in the forests of Uganda are increasingly eating clay to supplement the minerals in their diet, according to a long-term study published in PLOS ONE. The paper led by the University of Oxford describes how the researchers observed wild chimpanzees in the Budongo forest eating and drinking from clay pits and termite mounds.

The paper concludes that this change in diet may be partly due to the widespread destruction of raffia palm trees that chimps relied on for their minerals in the past. However, the main reason seems to be the chimps have recently started to boost the minerals in their diet by eating the clay which also helps them 'detox' and digest their food.


The Battle of Agincourt, a major English victory in the Hundred Years' War, will have its 600th anniversary on October 25th, 2015, but they had actually landed in August.

How big was the fleet that carried the army? Henry V’s naval fleet, used to transport troops, was much smaller than previously thought, according to a historian. 

Don't expect your social worker to ask you about your religious beliefs, even though licensed clinical social workers, who account for the largest number of clinically trained helping professionals, believe that discussions about clients' religion and spirituality can often lead to improved health and mental health, says Holly Oxhandler, Ph.D., assistant professor in Baylor University's Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.


Facebook traffic and news items tell us a lot of Americans of northern European extraction are anxious and even fearful about the prospect that White Americans will soon be a minority. A subset seems further offended by court decisions bestowing civil rights on gay people. Another subset is inflamed over removals of the Confederate battle flag from public spaces. Then there are environmental regulations that seem to snatch job opportunities from an already embattled middle class – and other kinds of federal regulation that have set some Whites on anti-government, secessionist, or survivalist paths.