Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

An eye is not an eye is not an eye

Posted 16 Jan 2016 / 0

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons National Geographic “Inside the Eye: Nature’s Most Exquisite Creation” This is another fantastic article by Ed Yong that very nicely captures the relativistic nature of the evolutionary process. We basically call any light-sensing organ an “eye”, but animals have eyes that perform radically different functions. How eyes work is a function Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Convergence, Divergence, Fossil Data, Interactions, Photography, Uncategorized

Food is personal, sometimes ethical, but rarely political

Posted 15 Jan 2016 / 0

Image courtesy of Nick Gray via Wikimedia Commons The Chronicle of Higher Education “The Vegetarian Lesson” This article by Chad Lavin neatly distills ideas and issues that I have been grappling with for more than half my life. As a current-day ecologist who was a vegetarian more than a decade before I took my first ecology course, Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Behavior, Belief, Cooperation, Food, Parasitism, Political Science, Predation, Public Policy, Resource Consumption, Uncategorized

How do we know when people are actually happy?

Posted 15 Jan 2016 / 0

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Science “Conservatives report, but liberals display, greater happiness” This paper was published back in March, but I just discovered it. I am somewhat fascinated by psychological studies of happiness, because happiness is so hard to pin down. What is happiness, and can we rely on people to accurately report how Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Belief, Data Limitation, Emotion, Happiness, Psychology, Uncategorized

Is New York City a “sustainable” metropolis?

Posted 14 Jan 2016 / 0

Brooklyn garbage bag photo courtesy of Tom W. Sulcer via Wikimedia Commons New York City has endured a pretty bad environmental reputation for decades. If you find yourself on a Manhattan street on the right warm summer night, it is hard not to feel that the place is an environmental nightmare. Those piles of garbage Read More

A Major Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Climate Change, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Pollution, Quantitative Analysis, Resource Consumption, Sustainability, Sustainable Transportation, Sustainable Urban Design, Web

Understanding [culture + multilevel selection] = potential for Sustainability

Posted 13 Jan 2016 / 0

People’s Climate Change March photo courtesy of South Bend Voice via Wikimedia Commons There’s a really important new paper out entitled “A multilevel evolutionary framework for sustainability analysis“, due to be published in the journal Ecology and Society. Although it is not yet published, you can check out a pre-print via Michelle Kline’s site. (UPDATE: Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Cultural Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Social Norms, Sustainability

Injury intuition confirmation bias? Farce article goes really viral

Posted 12 Jan 2016 / 0

Hurt Apple image by Nina Matthews courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Although of course I would never sanction such behavior, it appears that a farcical medical research article has gone virally awry. The article, Maternal kisses are not effective in alleviating minor childhood injuries (boo-boos): a randomized, controlled and blinded study, was published in late December. Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Belief, Ethics, Methods, Scientific Fraud

To be an effective critical theorist of science, it helps to understand science

Posted 23 Nov 2015 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “An Unevolved View of Gender Evolution” Although I am sympathetic to a number of the critiques of traditional sexual selection theory, I have to agree with the overall thrust of this book review: if you are going to shine a critical light on scientific understandings of sex differences in humans, Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Ethics, MSCI-362, The Evolution of Sex, Sex and Reproduction, Sexual Conflict, Sexual Selection

Are technological optimists too optimistic about technological sustainability?

Posted 23 Nov 2015 / 0

Image courtesy of Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons The Chronicle of Higher Education “Ecomodernists Spark Rhetorical Heat” In my Ecology for Architects course I have students work on an activity that asks them to advocate one of four “extreme” environmental positions: Population bombers; Neo-luddites; Deep ecologists; or Read More

A Minor Post, Activism, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Environmental Justice, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Public Policy, Resource Consumption, Risk & Uncertainty, Sustainability, Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Transportation, Sustainable Urban Design

Primates — but not their rodent relatives — can infer the effects of other individuals on resource availability

Posted 23 Nov 2015 / 0

Image courtesy of Frans de Waal via Wikimedia Commons Journal of Comparative Psychology “Inference in a social context: A comparative study of capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri), hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus), and rats (Rattus norvegicus)” This is not a surprising finding, but it reinforces the fact that the ability to understand the effects Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Empathy, Primates

Higher education teaching loads are about economics, not valuing teaching

Posted 23 Nov 2015 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Why We Should Teach Less, Not More” This is a great opinion piece that effectively captures my perspective on this issue. High-quality higher education requires really labor-intensive curriculum development and maintenance. In order for a professor to provide a course that is comprehensive and up-to-date, she must spend countless hours Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Higher Education, Teaching, Web