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Anthropology in Practice

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Editor’s Selections: Effects of Quality of Life, Google and Memory, Language, and Bears

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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One of my other homes online is at ResearchBlogging.org where I serve as the Social Sciences Editor. Every Thursday, I select notable research posts in anthropology, philosophy, social science, and research/scholarship, and in addition to the RB News page, I share my selections here on AiP. Here are the picks for this week:

  • Is there a connection between quality of life and atheism? At Evolving Economics, Jason Collins discusses a paper that examines superstition and uncertainty in some interesting examples (e.g., “men and women become more religious when they view pictures of attractive same-sex mating competitors, another possible case of uncertain outcomes”), leading to the conclusion that rates of atheism will rise as developing countries establish themselves and uncertainty about daily life decreases.
  • While we seem to be sure that our relationship with technology will have resounding effects, we’re still trying to determine what those effects will be and how they will unfold. To this end, the Neurocritic expertly dissects a study on memory in a Google-centric world. While it ultimately seems to offer commentary on our attention spans more so than memory, it illustrates just how complicated our relationship with technology is.
  • At Language on the Move, Ingrid Pillar takes issue with a campaign to encourage migrants to learn German. The campaign takes a derogatory tone and implies that “laziness” is the reason why migrants in particular have a hard time with German. Ingrid shares with readers some of the reasons why language can be difficult to acquire in a migration setting and emphasizes the need for bilingual tolerance.
  • Do bears need paternity tests? Kevin Zelnio of EvoEcoLab uses this question to generate a discussion about making research relevant to everyone. As concerns about funding for research grows, it’s more important than ever to encourage a more general understanding of and interest in science.

    I’ll be back next week with more from the social sciences.

    Krystal D'Costa About the Author: Krystal D'Costa is an anthropologist working in digital media in New York City. You can follow AiP on Facebook. Follow on Twitter @krystaldcosta.

    The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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    1. 1. kclancy 10:06 pm 07/27/2011

      Some great choices, Krystal. I always read your Editor’s Selections because I find I’ve missed at least one great post without them.

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    2. 2. Krystal D'Costa in reply to Krystal D'Costa 9:45 am 07/28/2011

      Thanks, Kate! It’s always an interesting process for me and gives me a chance to catch up on what’s been going on elsewhere.

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