Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Crucial climate talks in Paris take place in a socially repressive environment

Posted 30 Nov 2015 / 0

At Paris, two equally-nihilistic cultures clash, but where do the people get a seat at the table? Today crucial climate talks are under way in Paris, France amid massive police presence and an atmosphere of social repression. The message is to “stay off the streets” as the leaders of world (and a few monarchs and businesspeople) meet Read More

A Major Post, Activism, Anthropogenic Change, Belief, Climate Change, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Environmental Justice, History, Memetic Fitness, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy, Sustainability, Sustainable Energy

Darwin in social context? Ric Brown’s fascinating survey of some important contemporaries

Posted 09 Sep 2015 / 1

Until Darwin “Syllabus: Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud (Pratt Institute, Fall 2015)” Ric has been teaching this course for years and at some point I need to sit in. It presents a fascinating look at four very important thinkers that greatly influenced the trajectory of the twentieth century. I think that it is particularly interesting to Read More

A Minor Post, Critical and Visual Studies program, Ethics, History, Political Science, Pratt Institute

Have we outgrown the scale of cooperation supported by the Big Gods of Big Religion?

Posted 08 Sep 2015 / 0

Cliodynamica “From Big Gods to the Big Brother” There are a bunch of really interesting ideas in this post, particularly related to the challenges associated with scaling up cooperation. As Turchin nicely points out, once you get past the tribal scale reputation alone — even fueled by the power of gossip — is not going Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Behavior, Belief, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Group Selection, History, Human Uniqueness, Multilevel Selection, Punishment, Religion, Reputation, Social Norms, Web

Evolution 2014: Darwin’s “Backyard Beagle”

Posted 20 Jun 2014 / 0

Jim Costa of the Highlands Biological Station points out that Darwin’s scientific explorations in his own backyard were as profoundly important to his theories as his voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle.

A Minor Post, Conferences, Evolution Education, History, Society for the Study of Evolution

What happens when a landscape ecologist takes on urban ecology

Posted 29 Jan 2014 / 0

What’s so cool about the work that Eric Sanderson is describing is that it really amounts to doing historical research using an ecological forensics approach. The idea of mapping out “probable areas” of different populations — including humans — using mapped data is pretty smart. It is amazing how humans have transformed Manhattan. Thanks to Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Architecture, Community Ecology, Ecological Modeling, Ecology, Ecosystem Ecology, Ecosystem Services, Geography, Geology, Habitat Destruction, History, Hydrology, Ponds & Lakes, Rivers & Streams, Sustainable Urban Design, Talks & Seminars, Temperate Forest, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Urban Ecology

Sweet Fern Productions puts Alfred Russel Wallace to paper

Posted 26 Jan 2014 / 0

Sweet Fern Productions “The Animated Life of A.R. Wallace” I loved the Sweet Fern video on whale fall, but this is even more valuable as a historical account of Wallace’s life. I really like the way that this video depicts natural selection! Great way of showing differential survival as Wallace might have seen it!

A Minor Post, Biography, Evolution, Evolution Education, Film, Television, & Video, Geography, History, Natural Selection, Science as a career, Science in Art & Design, Speciation, Teaching Tools, The WmD Project, Tropical Forest

Martin Nowak and Roger Highfield’s “SuperCooperators”

Posted 03 Nov 2011 / 0

Martin Nowak has accomplished a lot for a mid-career scientist. His theoretical work exploring how cooperation evolves has illuminated the importance of a great number of evolutionary mechanisms. He has also been unafraid to tackle real-life problems of cooperation, including questions like “why do we get cancer?” and “how did language evolve?”. Nowak likes to Read More

Altruism, Books, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Group Selection, History, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Kin Selection, Language Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Mutualism, Punishment, Reciprocity, Religion, Superorganisms, Sustainability

“A Paradise Built in Hell” by Rebecca Solnit

Posted 23 Mar 2011 / 0

Rebecca Solnit’s 2009 book A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster is a book about recent human history. But for those interested in human evolution, this history is essential reading. The primary idea of the book is that our dramatic portrayals of how people react to disaster are wrong: rather Read More

Altruism, Books, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Evolutionary Psychology, History, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Mismatch theory, Reciprocity

E.O. Wilson’s “The Four Great Books of Darwin”

Posted 02 Jan 2011 / 0

In preparation for my attendance at the In the Light of Evolution V: Cooperation conference, I have been checking out past National Academy of Sciences colloquia in this series. In 2009, there was an In the Light of Evolution of III: Two Centuries of Darwin conference. There are podcast MP4’s for each of the talks Read More

Conferences, Evolution, History, Homo species, Human Evolution, Phylogenetics