Friday Recommended Reads #13


How many scientific arguments are philosophical disagreements rather than disputes over scientific theory? Jeremy Fox makes a great, and detailed, case for why scientists also need to be philosophers, over at Dynamic Ecology. I’ve heard some folks wonder why there are not more, and more active, blogs among ecologists. Maybe it’s because Dynamic Ecology has set the bar so high for everyone else. The quality and utility of comments on the site are spectacular, too.

How is it that new religions emerge, especially those that are not derived from established faith traditions? Scientology sprung out of the head of L. Ron Hubbard, and much of what happens in the church is held under tight secrecy. Is it a weakness to be curious about the secrets of Scientology? If you’re as weak as me, here’s a site that tells you quite a bit.

Before Thomas the Tank Engine was teaching the proletariat their role in a capitalist society, there was Richard Scarry’s Busytown, a multiracial multispecies community of people animals doing all kinds of work together. It seems rather progressive and egalitarian, but different kinds of animals have different kinds of jobs. What is to be learned about culture from Richard Scarry?  Martin, J.L. 2000. What do animals do all day?: The division of labor, class bodies and totemic thinking in the popular imagination. Poetics 27: 195-231. (pdf)  Keywords: Animals; Totemism; Class body; Busytown; Symbolic domination; Division of labor.

Myrmecologist extraordinaire Adrian Smith recently started an engaging podcast series entitled The Age of Discovery, featuring “interviews with biologists about being a biologists.” I’ve heard a few of them so far, and Adrian is an engaging interlocutor who asks great questions and is an even better listener. The great news is his latest interview is with Bert Hölldobler, perhaps my greatest academic hero. Each episode is about an hour, good for a little spell of labwork.

White House official photographer Pete Souza is mighty spectacular. This set of his behind-the-scene photos from the trip to the memorial service for Nelson Mandela is pretty interesting.

Did the Lobotomy Committee of the US Veteran’s Administration decide that your family member needed a lobotomy to address postwar behavioral problems? If so, here’s the handy six-page guide provided by the VA, to help you take care of your loved one after the lobotomy.

This superhero movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. Antboy.

Thanks to John Chapman for a link.

One thought on “Friday Recommended Reads #13

  1. Thanks for the very flattering compliments! Although I doubt that “Dynamic Ecology sets a high bar” is among the reasons why more ecologists don’t blog… :-)

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