Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

When it comes to considering sex and gender, don’t forget sex determination

Posted 22 Oct 2018 / 0

Scientific American “Beyond XX and XY: The Extraordinary Complexity of Sex Determination” I teach about sex and gender in a lot of my courses. For some courses, such as Evolution or The Evolution of Sex, these are basic concepts that need to be established in order to study reproductive behaviors. For other courses, such as Breeders, Propagators, & Read More

A Minor Post, Information Design, MSCI-362, The Evolution of Sex, Sex and Reproduction

Humans arrive, other mammals shrink

Posted 27 Sep 2018 / 0

Scientific American “Mammals Shrink When Humans Migrate In” Another really cool infographic from Scientific American. What I really find interesting here is the difference between the recent arrival of humans (Australia, the Americas) and places where humans just innovated culturally (Africa, Eurasia). Those large mammals species that coevolved with our emergence as a highly-cultural species seem Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Conservation Biology, Evolution, Extinction, Human Evolution, Mammals, Natural Selection

Scientific American drops special issue on “Science of Being Human”

Posted 20 Sep 2018 / 0

Scientific American just released a great special issue on The Science of Being Human. It’s one of those nicely-integrated issues that Scientific American has become really good at creaating: from the graphics to the flow of the article topics, everything fits together into a nice three-part structure that explores a diversity of issues surround human evolution and our resulting Read More

A Minor Post, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Periodicals

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

Is selective rejection of science really a problem?

Posted 18 Jan 2013 / 1

In a recent short opinion piece (Scientific American “Creation, Evolution and Indisputable Facts“), Jacob Tanenbaum argues that selectively rejecting evolutionary biology is dangerous to the scientific culture of America. He rightly points out that our populace does not reject science as a whole, but instead picks and chooses what science to doubt and what science Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Altruism, Articles, Belief, Cooperation, Evolution, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Religion, System Stability

Being Clean Might Make You Allergic

Posted 10 Apr 2011 / 0

Recently, Scientific American‘s “Science Talk” podcast featured a valuable interview with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researcher Kathleen Barnes called “Can It Be Bad to Be Too Clean?: The Hygiene Hypothesis“. In the interview, Dr. Barnes explained the state of contemporary research into the “Hygiene Hypothesis”, which suggests that the reason we are seeing an Read More

Coevolution, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Mismatch theory, Radio & Podcasts

Man or astrobiology man?

Posted 12 Dec 2010 / 0

This month’s Scientific American had two interesting news stories concerning our scientific obsession with space. The first article, entitled “Defying Politics”, discussed the schizophrenic and wavering manner in which the last two presidential administrations have worked to forge our future explorations of space by reforming NASA. Increasingly, it is clear that our manned space program Read More

Astrobiology, Space Travel

Mirsky on Poop in Space

Posted 29 Nov 2010 / 0

As an ecologist one of my biggest pet peeves is the way that manned space travel is treated in the mainstream media, both fictional and non-fictional. Without going deeply into the details, suffice it to say that our dependence on ecosystem services makes manned space travel of any appreciable duration or distance completely unrealistic. Of Read More

Articles, Astronomy, Ecosystem Services, Space Travel

Scientific American “Controlling the Brain with Light”

Posted 09 Nov 2010 / 0

Neuroscience represents a sort of “last frontier” in biology: despite decades of research into the nervous systems of a diverse set of organisms, scientific understanding of how the web of neurons we call a brain creates complex emergent patterns of cognition and behavior remains limited. Part of the challenge faced by neuroscience has to do Read More

Adaptation, Ethics, Experiments (General), Genetic Engineering, Neuroscience