Forgive the absence of your humble moderator. I’ve been busy and sick since last week. “Busy” and “sick” don’t go well together.
As an opening for my return, we’ll start off with another issue of Around the Web.
Here’s a fun illustration from Dwayne Godwin and Jorge Cham about how music affects the brain.
(Image via Scientific American Mind)
Design ethnographer An Xiao Mina writes about how social media, particularly tumblr and instagram, can be used in ethnography. This way, interaction among people around the world regarding a set of issues is faster and easier:
” In my mind, the benefit of live fieldnotes is the conversations that they spark. Inevitably, someone on my Tumblr or Instagram feed makes a comment or asks a question that helps me clarify my thinking. Even a simple “like” from a number of people indicates a general curiosity about something I posted.”
Dr. Schahram Akbarian along with the team from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that humans have certain neurons, differently regulated from the neurons of primates, that might be the reason for our “unique cognitive abilities”. The regulation of the DNA sequence of these neurons are different from our primate cousins but similar to our closest hominin relatives, the Neanderthals and Denisovans. This may also give an explanation to the neurological diseases that only occur among humans.
“The key to the present study, led by Dr Schahram Akbarian of the University of Massachusetts and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, was not to focus on the “letters” of the DNA code, but rather on what might be called its “font” or “typeface”. DNA strands of the genome are wrapped in protein to make achromatin fiber, and the way in which they are wrapped, the “chromatin state”, in turn reflects the regulatory state of that region of the genome (e.g. whether a given gene is turned on or off). This is the field that biologists call “epigenetics”—the study of the “epigenome”.”
Lastly, an argument for gay marriage from Foamy the Squirrel. (Full disclosure: I completely agree with this squirrel)