Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Open Tree of Life allows experts and novices alike to explore “the” phylogeny

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “Synthesis of phylogeny and taxonomy into a comprehensive tree of life” Open Tree of Life tree browser Although I am far from being an expert in or huge enthusiast of taxonomy and phylogeny, this is a project worth exploring. By synthesizing thousands of published phylogenies, this project presents Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Phylogenetics, Taxonomic Groups, Web

Do creative people have “messy minds”?

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

Scientific American Beautiful Minds blog “Creative People Are…” This is an interesting little summary for someone like myself who teaches future creative professionals. Anecdotally, the “messy mind” idea makes a lot of sense: my students probably do worst when asked to regurgitate orthodox hierarchies of information. They do far better when asked to make connections Read More

A Minor Post, Art & Design, Intelligences, Neuroscience, Psychological Adaptation, Psychology, Social Diversity, Web

Does the ability to accumulate wealth make us value the future more?

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

PLoS ONE “Future Discounting in Congo Basin Hunter-Gatherers Declines with Socio-Economic Transitions” These findings are really fascinating, because they suggest that some degree of “building towards the future” is inspired by the ability to accumulate wealth. There’s a lot in these findings to explain why small-scale societies stay small and how larger-scale societies evolve from smaller-scale Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Economics, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Nature, Memetic Fitness, Phenotypic Plasticity, Psychological Adaptation, Social Norms

Are big corporate polluters trying to “artwash” their image?

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

The Guardian “Activists occupy British Museum over BP sponsorship” I really like that idea expressed by these activists that BP’s sponsorship of big art exhibits is not philanthropy. They are basically paying to mainstream their own presence, to obscure their true identity as a corporation that profits from threatening the future of our species. A Read More

A Minor Post, Activism, Anthropogenic Change, Art & Design, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Greenwashing, Habitat Destruction, Pollution, Sustainability, Web

Formation of the Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution has the potential to catalyze research into how culture evolves

Posted 29 Sep 2015 / 0

I was excited to recently discover that The Evolution Institute, a “think-tank that doesn’t just think” about how to apply evolutionary understanding to human problems, is working to foster a new professional society dedicated to the study of cultural evolution. Dubbed the Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution (SSCE), this emerging society endeavors to Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Archaeology, Behavior, Cooperation, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Environmental Justice, Evolutionary Modeling, Political Science, Professional Societies, Psychology, Public Outreach, Public Policy, Religion, Social Science, Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution, Sociology

Urban Wildlife Podcast on the ubiquitous critters we don’t notice

Posted 20 Sep 2015 / 0

Urban Wildlife Podcast “Episode 2: Right under our noses?” Another great episode about urban wildlife, this time the species we might not see even though they are fairly common in urban settings. That there are tons of insects in cities that we may not be aware of is not especially surprising to me. Insects are Read More

A Minor Post

When it comes to sex, we are consumately proximate

Posted 20 Sep 2015 / 0

The Guardian “Why the UK sperm bank is running short” Further evidence that while we are — on the one hand — one of the weirdest species in the world, at our core we remain not unlike the rest of our animal brethren. Think about it for a second: if humans were both rational and Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Belief, Breeders, Propagators, & Creators, Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Uniqueness, Psychology, Reproductive Fitness, Sex and Reproduction

Urban Wildlife Podcast on Cats and Coyotes

Posted 20 Sep 2015 / 0

Urban Wildlife Podcast “Episode 4: Cats and Coyotes” What I really enjoyed about this particular episode of the Urban Wildlife Podcast was the interaction between topics covered. The effects of both cats and coyotes are still largely unknown, even as both animals are fairly common in urban areas. Domesticated cats are pretty easy to track Read More

A Minor Post, Animal Domestication, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Birds, Canids, Coevolution, Conservation Biology, Data Limitation, Felids, Habitat Fragmentation, Methods, Predation, Radio & Podcasts, Temperate Forest, Tracking, Urban Ecology

Evolution 2016 meeting will feature evolution-themed art exhibit

Posted 14 Sep 2015 / 0

I just got an announcement that there will be an evolution-themed art exhibit at next year’s Evolution meeting in Austin, Texas. It is exciting to see this meeting make so many cultural connections (including the Evolution film festival), as we really need to bring our science to the general public in new ways if we Read More

A Minor Post, Art & Design, Evolution, Public Outreach, Science in Art & Design, Society for the Study of Evolution

A chance to learn how an understanding of empathy can inform design

Posted 10 Sep 2015 / 0

Pratt Brooklyn Evenings Timothy Gelling Talk I am always pitching to my students that their work needs to be “empathetic”, to be designed by anticipating the desires and needs of one’s user. This seems like a great talk on the topic!

A Minor Post, Art & Design, Empathy, Pratt Institute