Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

I will participate in a roundtable discussion on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Posted 30 Oct 2013 / 0

My Dean, Andy Barnes, recently published an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the role of smaller institutions like Pratt in the age of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). He is sponsoring a roundtable discussion on the topic, and I will be one of the participants… A roundtable discussion on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and their Read More

A Minor Post, Higher Education, Learning Management Systems, Pratt Institute, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Teaching, Teaching Tools

Taking risks for the data

Posted 25 Oct 2013 / 0

The cover story of November’s National Geographic is about the death of storm chaser Tim Samaras, who was killed along with two of his collaborators (including one of his sons) during a monster tornado outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Samaras is one of many “explorers” supported by National Geographic, an organization that seems to be the Read More

A Major Post, Articles, Genetics, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Play, Risk & Uncertainty

New fossil finds provide unique insight into the variation found in “Man the Hunted”

Posted 25 Oct 2013 / 0

The New York Times “Skull Fossil Suggests Simpler Human Lineage” It is interesting how terrible fossils are: generally, they represent only a part of one individual who was part of one population in one place at one point in time. Not the best data ever! So when some predator(s) on hominids dumps five carcasses in the Read More

A Minor Post, Data Limitation, Homo species, Human Evolution

Writing and record-keeping as important tools in the evolution of large-scale human cooperation

Posted 25 Oct 2013 / 0

This View of Life “The Role Of Writing And Recordkeeping In The Cultural Evolution Of Human Cooperation” What is also so interesting about written language is that it is another means of defining a group: only those who are literate and can read the particular recorded language can fully benefit from the cooperation fostered by Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Empathy, Group Selection, Multilevel Selection

“Brainchildren” — another way to conceptualize our devotion to cultural fitness

Posted 25 Oct 2013 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Bringing up brainchildren” This is such a fun and insightful essay on the relationship between our pursuits that yield — alternatively — genetic and memetic fitness. It effectively captures the wish of the intellectual producer to leave behind a legacy of ideas, to affect the cultural idea pool in some Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cultural Evolution, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Memetic Fitness

Are MOOCs and the arts incompatible?

Posted 25 Oct 2013 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “MOOCs and the Arts: A Plea for Slow Education” This article makes some great points about what kinds of teaching are and are not compatible with massive, anonymous, separated forms of education: in some fields learning can come from a well-crafted exercise that involves no other interaction than learner with Read More

A Minor Post, Art & Design, Articles, Higher Education, Teaching, Teaching Tools

Barash the gene accountant on that little economic driver called “reproduction”

Posted 25 Oct 2013 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Sex on the Mind” Ugh. How do I decompose this enough? I have always had a fear that David Barash is more pundit than academic, but this column is really scary. There is complete agreement among evolutionary biologists that all we need to understand the evolutionary process is a consideration of Read More

A Major Post, Articles, Evolutionary Psychology, Genetics, Human Evolution, Mating systems, Reproductive Fitness, Sex and Reproduction

Does self organization of social networks foster cooperation in the face of cheating?

Posted 11 Oct 2013 / 0

Web Information Systems Engineering – WISE 2013 “A Study on the Evolution of Cooperation in Networks“

A Minor Post, Articles, Game Theory, Social Networks, System Stability

New research suggests that chimpanzees understand that cooperation produces benefits

Posted 11 Oct 2013 / 0

WMAC Northeast Public Radio “Academic Minute: Dr. Alicia Melis, University of Warwick – Cooperation and Chimpanzees” Chimps’ ability to take the perspective of others has been questioned, but this set of experiments seems to show that chimps can mentally put themselves in the place of a comrade, imagining what that comrade should do and then Read More

A Minor Post, Behavioral Ecology, Cooperation, Human Uniqueness, Primates, Radio & Podcasts, Reciprocity, Web

Microbes may surf their way to successful cooperation

Posted 10 Oct 2013 / 0

Wired “On the Microbial Frontier, Cheaters Rarely Prosper” This is fascinating, particularly because it attempts to connect the ability of bacteria to sustain cooperation through range expansion with the unique range expansion undertaken by humans in the last 30,000 years. I am not sure this will be a fruitful comparison, but you have to give it Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolutionary Modeling, Microbial Ecology, Web