Thursday, May 09, 2013

End of Semester Brain Asymmetries

Illustration of a group of Flamingos; these birds turn their neck to the left or right when resting and the direction of this predicts their level of aggression.The tide of new books continues to roll in, just as students are less likely to want anything else to add to the mix of completing projects, studying for finals and returning library materials.  Nevertheless, there are many delightful books that offer a respite - just 15 minutes of reading a portion of Divided Brains (for example) could give you renewed enthusiasm for whatever lies ahead.  Development of lateralization in the brain is evidenced by a wide array of behavior and skills, from tail wagging in dogs (the tail swings farther to the one side or the other, depending on whether the dog is being approached by its owner or by a more dominant dog) to a larger than average posterior area of the right hippocampus in London taxi drivers (the size of the hippocampus relates directly to spatial ability).  Don't ask how we know - come take a quick look at the book and see what else is of interest on the new books shelf.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Mother : Caring for 7 Billion

There's no denying that population growth is a huge factor contributing to greater environmental and social issues. However, it is a concern that no government or society is willing to address due to political and cultural sensitivity. The film Mother: Caring for 7 Billion attempts to present a different plan for sustainable humanity as scientists and experts discuss overpopulation and the social complexities ingrained in history and surrounding the issue.

In celebration of Earth Day, and continuing throughout the month of May, this film can be streamed online for free at the following link. Alternatively, the DVD can be checked out directly from the Science Library.

If you have a continued interest in this important topic, consider checking out the following books that can be found in the science library:

Mother Earth and Uncle Sam: how pollution and hollow government hurt our kids -Rena I. Steinzor
calling attention to a problem harming our children and future generations - that is, pollution - that could be eliminated if government weren't underfunding projects, distorting science, or misusing cost-benefit analysis or regulatory authority

Why Have Children? : the ethical debate -Christine Overall
a presentation of the ethical reasons for and against having children, including discussions about reproductive freedom, obligations to procreate, and concerns about overpopulation and extinction