A Fortnight of Links – 29 April 2013

E. O. Wilson is Wrong Again —  About Collaboration – Jon Wilkins on E.O. Wilson’s WSJ op-ed I briefly mentioned a fortnight ago.

Why I Let My Students Cheat On Their Exam – This article has really been making the rounds! I have seen many positive responses. Negative responses have generally been fixated on all the free-riders. I think the main difference in attitude stems from whether one thinks the primary goal of undergraduate education is “separating the wheat from the chaff” or “maximizing student learning.”

Evolutionary psychology: You’re doing it wrong (but you could do it better!) – In my experience, evolutionary psychologists tend to think of themselves as the antidote to “standard” social scientists who deny or ignore the power of evolutionary thinking. Problematic for this self-conception is that evolutionary psychology research often rubs standard evolutionary biologists the wrong way as well.

James D. Fearon: Anarchy is a Choice – A video of political scientist James Fearon discussing “anarchy” in international relations.  This is roughly the observation/idea that altruistic cooperation between countries is difficult to achieve because there is no law-giving-and-enforcing body (leviathan) that is above and constrains the actions of countries.  The actions of countries must be constrained by other things.

The (sigh) Psychopath Brain – This post gets to one of my pet peeves of science reporting – assuming that because something shows up on a brain scan it is somehow “innate” or “genetic.” I plan a blog post on this soon (read: after dissertation.)

On Copycat Whales, Conformist Monkeys and Animal Cultures – A great discussion about culture in non-human animals. I would have liked something about cumulative vs simple cultural evolution – but that is really nit-picking.

Why are your friends more popular than you? – Spoiler Alert: Because people with more friends are, on average,  more likely to be friends with you

Replicated typo: Numerical vs. analytical modelling – A focus on linguistics, but a good discussion on the tractability/realism trade-off for different styles of modelling.

Cyberwar in the Underworld: Anonymous versus Los Zetas in Mexico – Cyberwarefare between non-state actors.

Are the Digits of Pi Random? – Well, what do you mean by random?

Numberphile: Why are there Infinite Primes?

Fun (most fun things are apparently space-related):

Kepler’s Tally of Planets – NYT visualization of all extrasolar planets discovered so far.

How Far Away is the Moon?

Wringing out Water on the International Space Station – for Science! 

Make XKCD-style Plots in Matlab

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