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Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Scientific American down on memorization

Posted 28 Aug 2014 / 0

If you have read my posts on Open Information Environments, you know that I think that we should no longer be teaching (or expecting) our students to memorize things. With all of us carrying around smartphones or tablets that allow us to look up anything anytime pretty much anywhere, our brains are free to be Read More

A Minor Post, Cultural Evolution, Education, Higher Education, Information Literacy, Teaching

Review of What We Made by Tom Finkelpearl

Posted 13 Aug 2014 / 0

I study cooperation. I can say this honestly only with some caveats. I am very interested in what allows cooperation to evolve in biological systems, as cooperation seems to defy the Darwinian imperative to serve the needs of self-replication and yet is unexpectedly prevalent in nature. In particular I am interested in human cooperation, which Read More

A Major Post, Activism, Art & Design, Books, Collaborative Art, Communication, Cooperation, Emotion, Empathy, Environmental Justice, Play, Public Art, Social Diversity, Social Networks

Water, Alfalfa, China, and a modern Tragedy of the Commons

Posted 12 Aug 2014 / 0

NPR Morning Edition “In Time Of Drought, Arizona’s Alfalfa Exports Are Criticized” There are so many interesting aspects to this story. First and foremost, it illustrates that “tragedies of the common” are entirely, well — common — in modern economies. The rules of resource use dictate whether that resource will be over-exploited: if there are Read More

A Minor Post, Climate Change, Cooperation, Deserts, Ecosystem Services, Environmental Justice, Ethics, Radio & Podcasts, Resource Consumption, Sustainability, Sustainable Agriculture, Water Supply

When Facebook performs a manipulative experiment on its users, the results are interesting, the methods disturbing

Posted 03 Aug 2014 / 0

Did you know that Facebook performs scientific research? If I told you that Facebook is constantly analyzing the activity of its users, that would probably not surprise you. But does Facebook go the next step by performing manipulative experiments on its users? A recent publication in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA Read More

A Major Post, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Communication, Consciousness, Emotion, Empathy, Ethics, Experiments (General), Happiness, Law, Methods, Psychological Adaptation, Sociology, Web

A nice synopsis of some reasons for laughter

Posted 03 Aug 2014 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “What’s So Funny?” I appreciate the different theories of laughter presented here and the way that they are connected to adaptive behavior and ultimately to evolution. Like a lot of other behaviors that I am interested in — most prominently music production and play — laughter is one of those Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Communication, Emotion, Human Uniqueness, Play, Web

Do humans form genetically similar social groups independent of kinship?

Posted 26 Jul 2014 / 1

Proponents of kin selection as the most parsimonious explanation of how cooperation evolves face a problem when it comes to humans: counter to the predictions of kin selection theory, humans aim a fair amount of altruism at non-kin. While we do not aim our helping behaviors solely at our relatives, we also do not randomly Read More

A Major Post, Altruism, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Genetics, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Kin Selection, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Reciprocity, Social Networks, Sociology

Do cancer cells play cooperate in the Prisoner’s Dilemma?

Posted 26 Jul 2014 / 0

PLoS One “Prisoner’s Dilemma in Cancer Metabolism” What is interesting here is that cancer cells must cooperate with each other in order to out-compete somatic cells against a staggering cost-to-benefit ratio. Generated by the extreme inefficiency of anaerobic metabolism, this ratio presents a supreme challenge to a developing tumor, which might be one factor explaining Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Game Theory, Health & Medicine, Quantifying Costs and Benefits

My Evolution 2014 talk is on YouTube

Posted 17 Jul 2014 / 0

One nice thing that organizers of the Evolution 2014 conference did was to offer the opportunity for presenters to have their talk recorded and archived. These recorded talks now have their own Evolution 2014 YouTube Channel, and my talk is included in this collection: This was an experiment for this conference, and I think that it came Read More

A Major Post, Conferences, Cooperation, Easy Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma, Evolution Education, Evolutionary Games Infographics, Game Theory, Information Design, My publications, Science in Art & Design, Society for the Study of Evolution, Talks & Seminars, Teaching Tools

Evolution 2014: Day 2

Posted 22 Jun 2014 / 0

About five years ago I developed my Evolution course, which is aimed at my non-majors art and design students. I have not taught this course in more than two years, and as it has sat on the shelf I have been able to get that critical distance necessary to make the course better. So coming Read More

A Major Post, Assessment Methods, Competition, Conferences, Cooperation, Cooperative Breeding, EvoDevo, Evolution Education, Higher Education, Mutualism, Niche Partitioning, Parasitism, Society for the Study of Evolution