Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Greg Graffin on The Takeaway

Posted 15 Nov 2010 / 0

Back in the early 1990’s, I could be found skateboarding around the campus of Pomona College. As I rolled my way from the dining hall to those eight o’clock classes in Chemistry that served to weed out potential Biology majors who were not inclined to early rising or algebra, chances are that there was a Read More

Evolution, Music, Radio & Podcasts, Religion, Reviews

Scientific American “Controlling the Brain with Light”

Posted 09 Nov 2010 / 0

Neuroscience represents a sort of “last frontier” in biology: despite decades of research into the nervous systems of a diverse set of organisms, scientific understanding of how the web of neurons we call a brain creates complex emergent patterns of cognition and behavior remains limited. Part of the challenge faced by neuroscience has to do Read More

Adaptation, Ethics, Experiments (General), Genetic Engineering, Neuroscience

The Role of Technology in Human Evolution

Posted 04 Nov 2010 / 0

Today’s version of The Takeaway featured an interesting interview with Kevin Kelly, author of a new book called What Technology Wants. You can listen to the segment here: Although I have not read the book, I am familiar and interested in the subject matter that Kelly tackles: the role of technology in human evolution. There Read More

Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Human Evolution

National Geographic’s “Science of Dogs”

Posted 30 Oct 2010 / 0

I have a rather ambitious list of courses that I want to offer in the near future. As I have indicated before, one of the liberating features of my job as a professor at Pratt Institute is that pretty much any topic that makes my students more literate in the sciences of ecology and evolution Read More

Animal Domestication, Courses, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Evolution, Film, Television, & Video, Human Evolution, Mutualism, Reviews, Teaching

2010 Convention on Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Services (Sorta)

Posted 27 Oct 2010 / 0

There was an interesting piece today on Public Radio International‘s The World about the Convention on Biological Diversity (taking place in Japan) called “Environment Biodiversity as natural capital“. Guest Thomas Lovejoy talks about various examples of natural capital, including the oft-cited example of how New York City’s watershed was preserved through a valuation of ecosystem Read More

Anthropogenic Change, Biodiversity Loss, Conservation Biology, Ecology, Ecosystem Services, Environmental Justice, Radio & Podcasts

Robert Trivers and colleagues on Nowak, Tarnita, and Wilson’s “The evolution of eusociality”

Posted 13 Oct 2010 / 16

One of the most difficult things about being the only full-time biologist on the Pratt Institute campus is that I do not have the opportunity to discuss serious science in my field with colleagues or guest speakers. To help alleviate this problem, I have my friends who are at serious research institutions on the lookout Read More

Adaptation, Altruism, Articles, Behavioral Ecology, Cooperation, Data Limitation, Evolution, Game Theory, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Sociology, Superorganisms, Talks & Seminars

Firefighting and the Tragedy of the Commons

Posted 09 Oct 2010 / 0

A recent incident in Obion County, Tennessee has gotten national media attention from the likes of MSNBC, NPR, The Huffington Post, and The New York Times. A resident of this rural county called 911 when a fire broke out in his yard, but was told that he would not receive a response from the local Read More

Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, Film, Television, & Video, MSCI-463, The Evolution of Cooperation, Multilevel Selection, Public Policy, Punishment, Radio & Podcasts, Web

Asian Carp on NPR

Posted 07 Oct 2010 / 0

Today National Public Radio‘s All Things Considered featured a good piece on the Asian Carp problem entitled “White House ‘Asian Carp Czar’ Outlines His Strategy For Eradicating Species“. The story explains how two human actions — the importation of carp for aquaculture and the reversal of the Chicago River by a massive engineering project — Read More

Coevolution, Freshwater Ecosystems, Invasive Species, Predation, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Urban Ecology

The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution

Posted 03 Oct 2010 / 0

I am on the lookout for a new textbook for my non-majors Evolution course, so I was excited to check out Carl Zimmer’s new book “The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution”, published this year by Roberts and Company. For those of you who are not familiar with Carl Zimmer’s work, he is a prolific Read More

Adaptation, Animal Domestication, Books, Coevolution, DNA Barcoding, Evolution, Evolution Education, Evolutionary Modeling, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, MSCI-260, Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Phylogenetics

National Geographic “Wolf Wars”

Posted 28 Sep 2010 / 0

In the March 2010 issue of National Geographic there’s an excellent article on the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park entitled “Wolf Wars”. I was excited to discover it because I use the example of how wolves were brought back to Yellowstone as a way of discussing various issues in population and community ecology Read More

Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Conservation Biology, Ecology Education, Grasslands, MSCI-270, Ecology, Reviews, Temperate Forest