Interesting Stuff: Early July 2009

This is a few days late. I’ve been distracted by various things, including ficly.com, on which I have published a couple of items. You might consider joining me – the idea is to write very short stories and to add prequels and sequels to stories written by other people.

Some articles from the last few days will carry over into the next installment.

Astronomy:

Animal Studies:

  • An experiment in which pigeons were trained to discern “good” from “bad” art was widely reported. This is interesting, but Jessica Palmer brings us a more balanced account.
  • The monkey massage market: a study of how monkeys use grooming as a currency, with supply and demand, etc.

Archaeology and Linguistics:

Brains and Perception:

  • An interesting article on the human sense of hearing.
  • In the past, I’ve never managed to get blind spot experiments to work for me. But thanks to Richard Wiseman, now I have.
  • An article claiming that humans can navigate by unassisted echolocation made me wonder if I’d been timewarped to April 1st.
  • A study into the favourite colours of babies. To summarise: bright blues and purples.
  • Autistic children rely more on proprioception rather than vision.

Social:

  • A striking reaction to language death.
  • An article drawing attention to the problem of uninformed expectations of rape victims. Nothing really new, but society needs more information like this.
  • Greg Laden wrote a series on evil missionaries. See this episode and this one in particular. I know many good people in the churches who would be outraged by this sort of behaviour.

Whimsical:

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