Minding the Borderlands

Mark Koester (@markwkoester) on the art of travel and technology

Weekly Links, February 22, 2008

I’m away for the weekend so here’s some articles that I found interesting recently…more to come soon. Happy reading!
1.) As I mentioned last week about the hope, charisma and even redemption campaign employed by Obama, there is an excellent article by the New York Times about the different usages of in the history of American politics and governance, entitled the Charisma Mandate.
2.) Doing the unthinkable. Two recent bombings in Baghdad killed around 70 people. The bombs were carried by two women with Downs Syndrome and were set off by remote control. These weren’t suicide bombings but homicide bombings.
3.) As an undergraduate, I cut my critical reflection teeth in women and gender studies principally as a social constructionist, meaning our identity and body is socially constructed by environmental factors. My central concern was trying to understand how male and female genders are constructed. But anyone who follows the developments in the neuro- and cognitive knows that pure constructionist and behaviorist claims are seriously threatened by recent empirical data about sex differences. This is a pretty hot issue that an article from the Skeptic entitled Sex, Brains & Hands: Gender Differences in Cognitive Abilities by Diane Halper does a pretty good job clarifying some of the research on the cognitive differences in genders (and ironically between being left or right-handed!).

Geek Alert!
Check out this music video from Scientists for Better PCR. In full tongue-in-cheek fashion, they go gospel-style to promote a new PCR machine!

STOIC Quote of the Week:
“When men are inhuman, take care not to feel towards them as they do towards other humans”
-Marcus Aurelius
Stoic lesson: Even those who treat people inhumanly deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. If you do otherwise, you become just as inhuman as those you would claim to be so cruel and cold-blooded.