2010 Review

This year was the first for this website. In looking at the blog’s statistics, it’s interesting to see which posts were the most-read. I’m listing the top ten posts with a brief summary, in case you’re interested. Thanks very much to everyone for visiting.

1. Life is Beautiful (May 15)

This was the most-read post of the year, and it was a very personal one. I wrote about the tenth anniversary of the death of my brother Kevin, and how I’ve used anthropology and evolutionary biology to maintain perspective on the beauty of life.

2. Making Peace with the Past (Apr 14)

If past injustices are not addressed, they can fester for decades or centuries. However, people seem to crave forgiveness, justice, and reconciliation. [Armenia, the Soviet Union and Poland, the former Yugoslavia, Tiger Woods, Joshua Blahyi (‘General Butt Naked’), and Gandhi.]

3. Lingering Effects of the War in Laos (Feb 24)

A summary and discussion of the effects of unexploded ordnance, dropped by U.S. planes during the ‘secret war’ in Laos, and how these continue to plague the country.  Includes results from a survey done by the Laotian government on 95% of the villages in the country.

4. A Human Biology of War: The Proximate and the Ultimate (Jul 24)

This is an important one to me. An exploration of how stressors from war impact non-combatants and become embedded in their biology, through the lens of biological anthropology. [Michael A. Little, Tom Leatherman, Alan Goodman, American Revolution,  General Rupert Smith, Peter Salama, Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, Niko Tinbergen, Dutch Hunger Winter, Matt Ridley, plasticity, Richard Lewontin].

5. The Power of Love (Apr 3)

A look at the social nature of primates – including humans ­-  and how breaking bonds can induce stress and interfere with physical growth in children. In addition, physical contact (and love) can of literally make premature infants grow better. [Harry Harlow and rhesus macaques, Robert Sapolsky, Jane Goodall, chimpanzees, Flint and Flo, tactile kinesthetic massage].

6. The Mystery of Sudden Unexplained Death in Sleep in Asian Men (Sept 26)

A review of the epidemiology and biology of the very interesting phenomenon of Sudden Unexplained Death in Sleep (SUDS) in young, healthy Southeast Asian men. Also briefly discusses ghost attacks as a cultural explanation for SUDS, and whether it is the same as Brugada syndrome. [biocultural, medical anthropology, Hmong, Southeast Asian refugees, sleep paralysis, ventricular fibrillation, QT heart intervals, thiamin, bangungut, Brugada]

7. Choice, Obesity & the Irrational Ape (Homo insensatus) (Oct 24)

Multiple factors influence obesity that lie outside the individual. It is more than a simple matter of individual choice. [Dan Ariely, predictably irrational, Jonah Lehrer, Nicholas Christakis and social networks, Gallup poll on ‘causes’ of homosexuality, economic recession, social forces, obesity epidemic, stigma,  cultural views of obesity, and of course ‘Invictus’]

8. War REALLY is Bad for Children (& Other Living Things) (Mar 11)

Guess what this is about. [Rohingya refugees, Myanmar, acute malnutrition, Croatia, Korea, Bosnia, delayed menarche]

9. One Big Family (Mar 14)

“Whether you like it or not, you are in fact my cousin…” We are all connected. [Darwin, Homo sapiens, human evolution, genetics, ancestry, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, cosmic evolution]

10. Us, Them, & Non-zero Sumness (Oct 9)

A look at the social psychology of ‘otherness,’ cooperation, and reconciliation, while incorporating the Red Sox- Yankee rivalry. Peace is possible. [Darwin, Robert Wright, non-zero sumness, Victoria Snelgrove, David Ortiz,UCLA & USC, ALP, Muzafer Sherif, Robbers Cave experiment]


11. The Sin of Certainty (Apr 8)

This one did not get very much attention, but I still think there were some good lessons in there. It addresses the need for humility in the face of what we don’t know about nature and ourselves. [wikileaks, Jonah Lehrer, dark matter, Richard Feynman, Gulf of Tonkin, Nick Kristof, the daily me, Dan Ariely, Frans deWaal and ‘jealousy’ in capuchin monkeys, John Meynard Keynes]

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